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Friday, November 20, 2009

Summer Reading Split 7" (Chimney Sweep)

Summer Reading 7"is a split record put out on Chinmney Sweep featuring:

Eternal Summers: Secret Languages/Electric Blue
Reading Rainbow: Be Who I See/My Sunrise

reading rainbow side--echoe-y male/female vocals blend together to sing pretty, washed-out melodies..minimal drums, guitar, keyboards, the vinyl crackles, or is that the recording....the sound of a scratchy needle, a crappy stereo, a tinn-y cassette... willful aesthetic choices...question mark...now that we live in an era when everyone has access to digital technology do these sounds still retain their politicized "we lack access to the means of production" signification? what is it that we are meant to hear by the inclusion of this surface noise? is it nostalgia for 80's lo-fi indie pop or is it more of a nod to that tradition? if you are discovering that music now, as a younger person who did not live through that period, then do you realize that some of us deliberately made music with our fingerprints all over it as a form of class warfare, so as not to invisiblize the PROCESS of the making of the thing, so as not to pretend we were machines or rich, so as to encourage the disenfranchised to make their own music--to say that it can still sound good even if you record it on a crappy cassette 4-track in your bedroom? turn the song down, turn the static up. regardless of the why of it sounding like this, I like how it sounds, probably for the set of reasons I described that are historically associated with the aesthetic choices made here, but I don't know why these groups made them, and it feels a little odd--maybe even disingenuous--to hear records that sound like this that are being made now...there are quite a few as you probably know. There is a nice luminous-sounding quality of the Reading Rainbow recording--each small part played on a few different instruments come together minimally creating an aural landscape or impression. was the room big or small? I really don't know. crappy microphones or expensive? home recording or studio? is the band rich or poor? punk or preppy? college educated or working class? did they record this on a computer and then put it through some kind of effects-box to make it sound this way or did they record it on a hand held tape recorder on a late 70's Tascam they bought on eBay? really, it beats me. I guess what I am missing is the context in which this record was made...the why and the how and the so what. I wouldn't think this would sound good on an iPod and maybe that's part of the point but I'm really not sure. I listened to the Reading Rainbow side about 10 times in a row before I flipped it over. The Eternal Summers side is nice too, but it sounds more like an overcast Northern England town to me than sunshine; it's freezing cold, not warm or bright.
this record sounds like it was painted with water colors, not acrylic or oil or finger paint. it's good to listen to in the dark, in the rain, when you don't want to go outside and get your feet wet or whatever. it is pop music, but not so good for dancing. I don't think it would sound good if someone tried to play it at their DJ night. maybe that's also part of the point? just a guess.

1 comment:

Tobi Vail said...

this is funny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr5WEweEdNY really they don't seem to be dancing to the song though do they?