Beck – Lloyd Price Express

where it's at single

Beck’s song Where It’s At took the world by storm in 1996, forever banishing the idea that he was a one hit wonder and showing that he was an innovative and exciting musician. Several singles of the song were released during the year, each featuring a different set of remixes (for a total of seven), including an infamously lame version by Oasis’ Noel Gallagher.

That’s OK though, the Make Out City version more than makes up for it, full of horns and bombast. But here we’re going to get a little funky: the John King remix of Where It’s At, entitled Lloyd Price Express:

[audio:061110LloydPriceExpress.mp3]

The Nine Beats of Ratatat

ratatat - 9 beats

It’s a bit of a cosmic coincidence that I happen to be on a huge Ratatat kick right now and a new Ratatat bootleg has happened to suddenly surface around the net. It’s titled 9 Beats and is apparently a rare look at the band’s early/demo work. How early? It doesn’t say, but it probably pre-dates their 2004 debut.

The tracks on the album aren’t songs per se. They’re mostly extended loops of beats and melodies that last between one and two minutes. Then, just as you’re starting to really get into them, they just stop. Most of the unnamed tracks don’t even get a fade out. Banagale has more info.

It’s pretty interesting stuff.

Here’s a taste for you. It’s track “two.”

[audio:061019RatatatTwo.mp3]

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Update 3/29: Some tracks from 9 Beats have turned up as the backing music on Ratatat Remixes Vol 2. Specifically:

  • Beat #1 is used for Memphis Bleek’s Alright.
  • Beat #2 is used for Young Buck’s Shorty Wanna Ride.
  • Beat #3 is used for Notorious B.I.G.’s Dead Wrong.
  • Beat #4 is used for Young Buck, T.I. & Ludacris’s Stomp.
  • Beat #6 is used for Slim Thug, Bun B, and T.I.’s 3 Kings.

Ratatat really does make the world a better place

Take for example this remix.

Normally, I absolutely can not tolerate Missy Elliot. I just don’t like her style. And her 2004 single I’m Really Hot was a completely egotistical crapfest which couldn’t manage to display the slightest bit of talent or even a minisculey appealing hook.

So it is a bit of a minor miracle that Ratatat manages to not only make the song listenable, but the duo actually creates something awesome from it.

Have a listen:

and a free download.

All hail Ratatat. Truly musical gods.

Where are the Dust Bros?

Wouldn’t you know? as soon as I bring up my film score classification difficulties, I am presented with yet another challenge. Fight Club. Both the film and the soundtrack by The Dust Brothers are, I do say, fantastic. but I am torn between keeping the score with my other filmtracks or moving it closer to its musical brethren. In either case, the fact remains that this is electronic music done right. It’s got great mood, nice beats, interesting sounds, is slow, is soft, is hard and is driving fast when it needs to be. Recommended.

Speaking of the Brothers Dust, where have they been lately? Fight club was released in 1999 and I haven’t seen or heard anything from them since. I know they’ve been doin’ the producer/mixer thing for a while, and i’m sure that Beck keeps them busy. But seriously, their independent work is so so good that it’s disappointing to see them working on other people’s projects and not their own. Though, the Nickel Bag remix of Hey Man Nice Shot… that’s kickin.

The “art” of the mix

London’s herbaliser brings together a masterpiece on nearly every album and 1997’s blow your headphones is no different. hip-hop-funk-rock at its finest. it’s well composed and smoothly executed; listenable on its own, or as i played it, as some fine background music for a couple rounds of pictionary. i can’t recommend this stuff enough.

Dmitri from Paris‘ A Night at the Playboy Mansion is similar, in that it is also dance-related, but it’s more what I’d term "special purpose music." You see, Dmitri from Paris is actually DJ Dmitri and this album is an example of the most dubious of musical achievements: a mix-album. the idea that someone can stitch together a bunch of somebody else’s songs and essentially laud themselves for the transitions between songs, is just peculiar. I did it in high school, back when we made "mix-tapes," and it’s not that hard. I even did it for free. in the age of the instantly-assembled iTunes playlists and do-it-yourself mixes, the goal of the commercially-released mix-album seems absurd.

That said, A Night at the Playboy Mansion works. dmitri brings back the flavor of those decadent days of disco, for about an hour. But its success is also its failing.

I call this "special purpose music" because it’s not really listenable on its own. It works great to set a party mood or get the energy pumping‚Äďanything required to turn on and tune out. Heck, I had it turned up while cleaning the house this weekend. And that ability makes this a record worth keeping, despite my inclination to dump it.