Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Little Noises That Move Me

If Kaiser's gonna risk alienating our audience ("audience") by turning this into a philosophy blog, I'm going to risk alienating our audience by turning this into a music geek blog.

So here I am, Saturday night, alone - and at university no less. In a large, white, mostly empty, room. Attempting to finish a stop-motion animation ( this 'incremental movement - take a picture - incremental movement' stuff requires a patience so vast anyone that would choose to do it twice [regrets, I have a few] must have some kind of reverse ADD [DDA?] ). I want something other than the buzz of the flourescent lights to allievate the solitude. The only music-playing device around is the iMac at the back of the room. The iMac speakers are like some kind of bass black hole, so you wouldn't imagine they'd be good for any music falling under the broad spectrum of 'dance' (they make beats sound so tinny it's like the amplified sound of a cockroach jumping up and down on a bottlecap. Or something). And yet why is Triple R's 2003 mix "Friends" sounding so pretty and intimate and involving for the first time?

They call the stuff "microhouse" ("they" being music journalist people - Philip Sherburne to be exact) and argue endlessly about what constitutes the term (though they seem to be just about the only ones listening, outside of Cologne, Germany). For our purposes,we might call it headphone house with bent for intricate programming (though it does the stuff a disservice to just imply that it's smallified house - you might even say the tracks take a certain aspect of house and intensely focus their sound around it (microscope:scope::microhouse:house. see?). But before we get too dry and technical, let's go back to "Friends". Though I've have had a copy since about midway through last year, and had tried to listen real close at the right times, it hadn't connected. Now, with the pitchshifted wails of (Robag Whrume's remix of) Metaboman's "Easy Woman" trying so desperately to reach me from across the yawning emptiness (the same emptiness I now feel in my stomach, hunger must make me emotionally vulnerable), I'm feeling it for the first time. I think it's the simultaneity of my loneliness and the tininess (and, yeah, tinniness) of the sounds, made resonant by the bigness and openness of Room 4 (as I affectionately call it). Everything in this environment is so clinical and functional and bland and clean (except for the mess of pastel chalk I've made on the ground around my work area), even micro-emotion sounds deeply felt.

(If it's macrohouse you're after - and you're in or around South Africa - you could do worse than to immediately book tickets for the Basement Jaxx show that's happening around the middle of this month, it promises to be headburstingly, synapse-firingly great.) (No, they're not paying me)(Though I'd take the money in a second if they were).

(And before house leaves the house, I'm making a public plea for someone in the know to help me [re]connect with the latest in kwaito. I listen to Y and MetroFM on a pretty regular basis, but too often I've heard them cut from a killer local track to an ad, and then not tell me what I was listening to when they return. Is that some scheme to get people to SMS those services that tell you what's currently playing on the station? Bah, capitalism).


Blogger Kaiser Gestalt said...

My mother doesn't appreciate being referred to as '"audience"'.

Great posting - but where do we find the music?

12:53 PM  
Blogger Kaiser Gestalt said...


Speaking of music.
Its cribs weekend on MTV (let no one say Hectic doesn’t have its finger on the cultural pulse).

When did people start calling their homes cribs? Does this express an unconscious desire for the sheltered family unit?

MTV Wombs is going to totally suck.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Kaiser Gestalt said...

And speaking of the media, does anyone remember what Darrel Bristow-Bovey's column in the Sunday Independent was called? Remember why he lost it?

Now turn to page four of the new-look Sunday Times Magazine. Note the title of the new tv column.


3:32 PM  
Blogger Kaiser Gestalt said...

Speaking of the Sunday Times Magazine (sorry, I'll stop now), this letter was printed today:

"I have been in jail for killing my husband. Now I'm battling to find a boyfriend. Do you think it's because I'm a Libra?"

- Lonely Linette M

4:38 PM  
Blogger Kaiser Gestalt said...

Correction: 'Speaking of music' (comment 2) should have read 'Speaking of macrohouse'.

We apologise for the error

11:17 AM  
Blogger Kaiser Gestalt said...

Speaking of things that need correcting,

I saw Collateral last night. It’s pretty bad (do we have a review section?).

There’s a scene were Tom Cruise is about to kill the owner of a jazz club. Cruise says he won’t go through with it if the guy can answer a jazz question: Where did Miles Davis learn music.

Now this dude is one hot musician and all-round cool cat who’s hung out with the greats. His reply: Julliard. Cruise shoots him. Miles dropped out of Julliard and was mentored by Charlie Parker, it turns out.

Thing is, everyone knows this. This esoteric nugget of Milesography is even in the liner notes of my ‘Best of Miles’ CD for God’s sake. There is absolutely no way that a Miles buff (and most casual jazz fans) would not know that.

(Most painful moment in cinema – in Runaway Bride (worst movie of all time? Why did I watch it?) Julia Roberts’s character gives Richard Gere a record. ‘Wow, Miles Davis, this is so rare’, he says. It was Kind of Blue. The best selling jazz album ever. Argh.)

The next bit is even worse. (Well this happened first, but you know what I mean.)
The musician is telling a story about how he got to play with Miles. Jamie Foxx asks how he performed. ‘You aint shit playing next to Miles Davis’ was the reply (or words to that effect).

Now Miles was a genius. One of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. But why? It wasn’t his technical ability. He was no Charlie Parker or Coltrane. He was technically good, but no super-virtuoso. (Note how he dropped out of Julliard – that wasn’t his scene.)

Miles was great because he was so cool. Because he was an innovator. Because he could swing. Because he could swing with a sound that was completely new. Because no one could play a trumpet like he did. No one.

And because he was unsurpassed as a bandleader. No one could get what he did out of a musician. (Listen, for example, to Hank Mobley’s pedestrian solo efforts. Then hear him blowing the hottest sax with Miles at the Blackhawk.) Playing next to Miles Davis, you sound fucking fantastic (do we have an obscenity policy?).

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kaiser, shut the fuck up already

4:46 AM  

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