Crossing the Rubicon
I find myself playing with teleological tendencies, at least on a meteorological level, on grim, shivery days like this. “By golly”, I think, “it’s May 11th already- enough with the blustery shenanigans!” Sometimes, my friends, the fact that we can go from 80 and sunny to 39-degrees with a wind chill is so exasperating that I can’t help but wonder if nature doesn’t have a Hobbesian worldview and a dog that bites.
Still, we’re test free! Hooray! I don’t think I shattered any records or anything, but I’m feeling pretty confident that I did well enough at yesterday mornings purging. Were you aware, however, that it was Caesar who crossed the Rubicon, just as Washington crossed the Delaware? Perhaps you were. Me, I was stumped. I always imagined the crossing of the Rubicon happened sometime during the Middle Ages and was part of the mythological canon. Where I got that, I don’t know but I think Tangerine Dream had something to do with it. Of course, now that I’ve learned more it seems so blunt, a perfectly famous historical exclamation mark amongst all the mundane bureaucratic detritus. And certainly this crossing was as consequential as Washington’s own crossing. I feel such searing shame!
Here’s a smattering of what’s in rotation of late:
01) Bucky Done Gone: M.I.A.
02) The Hustle: Van McCoy -Choice feather disco from the golden era- complete with a stunning Herb Alpert like horn breakdown. Lovely.
03) Sonho Dourando: Daniel Lanois -from the Friday Night Lights soundtrack- the dusty elegance of Lanois’s swamp fuzz piling up atop a humble kick drum and some autumnal touchdown strings)
04) Big Day: Phil Manzanera (w/ Brian Eno)- Hadn’t heard it until last month- recorded almost 30 years ago for Manzanera’s debut solo album. Could just as easily have come from the first half of Before and After Science. Eno co-wrote the track with Manzanera and sings lead- some of his most affecting and swooning at that.
05) What Happened (Deep House Mix): Ade Duque ft. Blake Baxter- Ask anybody who loves House music- anybody who’s ever shared the dance floor at 3:00 a.m. with a couple hundred other fellow travelers while a DJ laid down a groove so thick and sublime you understood with perfect, joyous clarity just what it means to set your mind free and have your ass follow- ask this person what, at its root, House music is all about and they’ll tell you, “House is a feeling.” What Happened is the quintessence of that feeling. It kicks right out of the gate with the sickest, funkiest 4/4 and rolling bump bass that I’ve heard in years. Over this naughty groove, Blake Baxter playfully drops a litany of harsh condemnations and questions to the House music community (Chicago … the house sound. You gotta be kidding. What happened?” “New York … what the fuck happened?). About a month ago, in lieu of the treadmill I spent roughly 30 minutes dancing to this song 6 times in a row. That’s a potentially frightening vision to conjure and for that I apologize, but if you think that’s scary you should also know that I’m thinking of setting up the video camera next time to capture it. It’s all part of my larger plan to begin the 21st Century Jazzercise revival.
06) Double Dutch Bus: Frakie Smith- From 1981 and supposedly the source that launched the izzle slang craze of a couple years ago (it’s so 2003) as well as being an inspired sample source prominently featured in Timberland’s fantastic Double Dutch production from Missy Elliot’s Under Construction album. Definitely a gem from New York’s early 80’s post-punk days, it’s got hints of the Tom Tom’s Club’s lightly coiled funk esprit and a hefty dose of roller-rink disco spindrift.
07) Timy Thomas: Why Can’t We Live Together?: I can’t imagine the samba preset Timy’s got going on his organ here hasn’t already been sampled- the real question is why I haven’t sampled it yet!
08) Albums we’re excited about: Brian Eno- Another Day On Earth, the first entirely vocal album by the man in over 25 years! And if that weren’t exciting enough, Daniel Lanois has gone and done what I had hoped for and will be releasing an instrumental album in July focusing on his lovely pedal-steel guitar playing. Others too, including a new one by Colleen, Sufjan Stevens and probably most excited about the new one from Isolee