For he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one

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Set 2 2008, 21:57


The main ingredient in mølje. Picture from the wikipedia entry.

The suspense must be killing you, dear readers. I'm well aware that the desire for pyrotechnics and improved word-wielding have kept you up for many a sleepless night in the week that we have spent apart. Also, in the farthest reaches of your mind, there surely must have dwelled the slightest trepidation caused by the fear of those oh-so-anticipated things not coming to pass. Well, loath as I am to toot my own horn, I can but direct you towards the following text, beseeching you to make up your own minds (if you have no idea what I am talking about, clues can be unearthed here).
Dear readers, for the twentieth time,
let your eyes feast on the wonder of The Cull.

* 50 Cent - I Get Money
For all those years, I didn't like him, and I'm pretty sure it was out of prejudice. I mean, didn't he look stupid, with all those muscles, that silly grin and that stereotypic thug image, oiled muscles (Ladies Love Cool Fiddy)? Didn't he sound stupid, with that slow, durr-ing drawl of his? All those people singing his praises, while I was crossing my arms and scoffing: nine out of ten critics (and fans) surely could be wrong. Here I am, then, a scant six years later, grooving to the King of Vitamin Water, and not quite willing to believe I could be this stupid, that I could reject music so insidious and grin-inducing just out of some silly prejudice. I let the hype turn my head all the way in the opposite direction, and for that I am sorry. Now, can I get some money too?

* Ada - Sternhagel
It means "star-hail". Quite the apocalyptic image, if you don't want to choose the more romantic interpretation. Would you want a pretty, innocuous electronic ditty to accompany your death by scores of meteors falling to earth like hailstones? If so, you could probably do a lot worse.

* The B-52's - Dance This Mess Around
We should be so grateful to those years around that point where the previous century's eight decade turned into its ninth. Never has there been so much space in popular music, so much gleeful flaunting of conventions, so much respectful respectlessness (yesit'sarealwordIcheckeditsothere), so much insanity, so much gloom, and so much fun. Hip hop was gearing up, electronic music was coming to a boil, punk and disco had done their respective jobs, and out the other end came screaming newborns like new wave, post-punk, goth, synth-pop, house, Detroit techno, and all kinds of other things falling between ill-defined and rickety chairs. You won't find all of the things that made the late seventies and early eighties so great in The B-52s, but there's a lot of it there. In this track alone, there's menace paired with manic glee, an avantgarde song structure laced with genuine pop sensibility, there are rockabilly guitars alongside squeaky synths (could be organs, but humour me when I try to make a point, please), retroism and futurism hand in hand. You can have your mid-fifties, your late sixties and your early nineties, if I can keep my 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981.

* Basement Jaxx - Take Me Back To Your House (Speaker Junk Remix)
In electronic music, I gather that a lot of importance is given to when and where beats are dropped. Both in a DJ set and in a single piece of music, the way in which you introduce the beats after a piece of (relative) tranquility is pivotal to the success or failure of your work. There are three or four of these "drops" in this remix, the first of which is one of the most effective and devastating I've heard. Initially, I was a bit disappointed with the rest of them, since I, after that first spectacular jolt, expected to be blown out of the water at each turn. But then I came to realise that the subsequent ones weren't tailored to have the same effect as the first one, but instead, each of them had its own, quite distinctive effect on the flow of the track - not all them were there to blow the top off the heads of the audience. Neat.

* C.O.C.O. - Your Own Secret Way/Sly
There's a lot of that space I talked of regarding The B-52's here, but it might be as much a result of C.O.C.O.'s bass-drums-vocals line up, as an homage to the sonic desolation of that period. Their reductionism is a strange one, though. It's like they mashed two totally different songs (genres, even) together, but by stripping away the elements that might have tipped the listener off to their scheme, C.O.C.O. have emerged with something that sounds wholly their own. Every now and again, I want to point my finger and shout "There, that was something that didn't fit! I can totally hear what's missing!", but when I have to identify the missing thing, the glimpse is gone. If it was the hem of the sequined dresses of a girl-group, or the earphones of a cratedigging DJ, it's gone when I turn around to really catch it.

* Vladislav Delay - He Lived Deeply
This track is 12 minutes and 54 seconds long. Last.fm tells me that I've listened to it a total of 19 times. I've spent just over four hours of my life with this thing constructed by Finnish super-producer Sasu Ripatti, and I'm not even close to making out what it is. Am I supposed to immerse myself in it, this odd jumble of inconsistent beats and random sounds - or should I perhaps just step back, remove myself, until I'm far enough away that I can make out the entire picture? Four hours in its company, it filling the role of unobtrusive and strange background music, was definitely not enough.

* Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - I'm Not Gonna Cry (Live on KCRW)
As far as I can tell, the only way I can pay money for this song - which I would be more than glad to do, it being one of the most rip-roaring pieces of music I've heard in quite a while - the only way I can pay money to Sharon Jones, the Dap-Kings and their record label, for performing, record and releasing this scintillating slice of soul, is by buying a vinyl single from said label, and shipping it from the USA to Norway at an exorbitant rate. In this day and age! I tell you, it ain't right! But I'm not going to cry.

* Junior Boys - In the Morning
All respect to Andi Tomi, Junior Boys and all the other people peripherally and not-so-peripherally involved in the making of this slinky and feisty little number, but In the Morning is still only the second best song I've heard prominently featuring the words "too young".

* Yoko Ono - Sisters O Sisters (With Le Tigre)
You are one of the most vilified figures in popular culture. You also have a cool, interesting voice, and are not above collaborating with some shouty electro-rockers on a bouncy little cover version of one of your own anthems. You call your album Yes, I'm A Witch. You're all right.

* Bjørn Torske - Møljekalas
Since I've already done it once, I might as well... "Mølje" is sort of the non-official dish of the northern parts of Norway, a soup-like thing with boiled atlantic codfish, liver and roe (you know, that caviar stuff). "Kalas" means party. A meal of mølje is often a festive thing, where alcoholic beverages are consumed and much merriment is had by all. A møljekalas, if you will. In my opinion, Bjørn Torske's bucolic music is a bit too lacking in the raucousness department to accurately describe such a party, but that shouldn't detract from its obvious qualities in and of itself.

* Union of Knives - Evil Has Never
If I'm not mistaken, rock music is expected to expound on the virtues of evil, often in theatrical and gory ways. Rock music is not supposed to highlight evil's inability to love. Come on, that's just wrong. I dunno, perhaps they just felt the need to lower the expectations that inevitably come with having a band name with deadly weapons in it.

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