Monday, November 07, 2005

Reflections with a Spastic Pulse

Back in the 1980s, there was a bit of music that, like a coelacanth, had somehow survived the transition out of disco into the New Age. It may have been in the public domain, or it may have earned considerable royalties for some composer (I imagine him with a thinning ponytail, driving a navy blue Saab, wearing a white turtleneck under a sports jacket. His friends call him "chief" but he hates it, considering it crass and possibly offensive to Native Americans. He is on his way to Asilomar for a Rolfing seminar. He's got a tape of Pachelbel's Canon in his stereo; he's chewing Wrigley Spearmint gum and half-wondering if he shouldn't have hidden his stash in the obvious spot under the passenger seat).

Anyway, you'd hear this music during sports highlights all the time-- especially during "This Week In Baseball." Close your eyes, picture Mel Allen's voice and a diving stop by Dave Concepcion, and you may be able to conjure up this tune. Disco drumbeat & synchronized bassline, minor key, vaguely melancholy despite the pace & cheese. Horns or synths would come in with the catchy chorus.

Find & download Stereolab's "Visionary Road Maps," part of the Kyberneticka Babicka EP; it somehow captures whatever good could come from the above (but of course throws in the requisite French-accented leftist nonsense, trombone, warm sugary dual mono, etc). They took "Mass Riff" from Instant 0 In the Universe, fried it up with some fresh garlic & olive oil, and made a tasty new song.

Nota bene: I'm a longtime Groop fan that'll follow them nearly anywhere, except some of their Cobra and Phases stuff. If you need an intro, start with Emperor Tomato Ketchup, I says.