The Supreme Beings of Leisure debut has the distinction of being one of two albums that I’ve ever purchased after hearing less than a minute of music from it. The other is The Dandy Warhols Come Down. I bought it shortly after listening to snippets of a couple of songs at a Barnes & Noble kiosk. Incidentally, it’s entirely possible that themodernista sold the cd to me about six months before we officially met.
For a time, I was enthusiastic about it and the record received a lot of play. That was five years ago.
I can truthfully say that, despite the enthusiastic start, the album hasn’t aged very well. Perhaps it’s because it has this kind of big-budget Propellerheads-meets-Portishead slickness to it that comes across as formulaic. Like a Michael Bay film, the Beings produce a superficially appealing work that can’t help but come across as cold and calculated from the start.
Granted, the album’s retro-lounge-spybreak sensibilities do sound good and the music is not unpleasant to listen to. I just can’t escape the feeling that each song was deliberately designed to be used as the establishing background music for trendy night clubs on TV or in as many commercials as possible.
In the end, I think I’ll hang on to it (for a lark), but I won’t respect myself for it.
Supreme Beings of Leisure
i spent the past few days in boston and have some sore legs and about 330 photos to show for it. i had fun; boston has earned a place on my ‘favorite cities’ list, which includes pittsburgh, paris, and the strip in vegas. the side effect, of course, is that outside of my normal daily routine, i had far less opportunity to tunequest. so now, i’m officially behind schedule. whereas before this trip, i had to listen to 45 songs per day to be done by 1/1/07, i now must listen to 46. hopefully, i can make up the lost time in the coming week.
what did i listen to in beantown?
- propellerheads [decksanddrumsandrockandroll]
- bjork [all is full of love]single
- bonobo [animal magic]
- tosca [dehli 9 disc 1]
- the dismemberment plan [change]
- mouse on mars [actionist]single
- bran van 3000 [discosis]
- blur 
propellerheads: excellent big beat electronic music that channels the above-mentioned james bond sound and seemingly anonymously took the world be storm in 1998-99.
tosca: dehli 9 is perhaps the finest example of downtempo electronica in my collection. this side project of dorfmeister’s (of kruder & dorfmeister) is about as upbeat and groovy as downtempo gets. this disc is energic and jazzy.
bonobo: more downtempo electronic, but slower and with a flair of india.
dismemberment plan: this was the first plan album i heard and it is also the group’s last. having heard the previous records, i must say that the band’s trajectory was ever upward. musically more complex and lyrically engaging than anything to date, this album rocks.
and finally, bran van 3000. discosis is an inventive album that features some very slick song-writing and an impressive array of guest stars. unfortunately, the record was slated for american release about a month after the beastie boys grand royal record label collapsed. thus, this expression of musical genius remains hard to find in the states. don’t ask, if you find it, buy it.