Monday, April 9, 2012

Music Made Me - Part 22

Sure Thing - Saint Germain

Okay, one more ambient track before we move on. Groovy, bluesy, relaxed, repetitive. Good for programming and parties. I like it, partially because of the fact that it doesn't tax my brain.

Undress Me Now - Morcheeba

Jessica finally made it out to a Morcheeba show, at the Moore. It was around the release of their album Charango, but I remember that we hadn't heard it. Either it wasn't out, or we hadn't picked it up yet, I can't remember which. What I definitely remember is that it was very fortunate that we caught this show. Shortly after the band split ways with the lead singer, Skye Edwards, in pretty much the Worst Idea Ever. I don't care if you have artistic differences and are miserable, it's your job to suffer through that and keep bringing me more music. I have needs.

I remember her singing this song at the show. She was entirely wrapped up in the performance. When the song was over it was as if she woke up and just then realized what she had been singing. "Undress me now, you know how / Using my mind". Suddenly she had returned to earth and was blushing and embarrassed. It was adorable.

We Will Become Silhouettes - The Postal Service

There's something special about The Postal Service. The way the electronic elements blend with Ben Gibbard's vocals is so… something. Wistful? It sounds nostalgic to me now, but I'm pretty sure it always has.

I remember listening to this album while playing Halo with the boys (Alex, Ben, and Rob). It doesn't seem like the most obvious pairing, but there's something about the genesis of this music that works so well for a bunch of programmers playing video games.

I think it was actually in response to Daft Punk, and it was probably two years earlier, but I distinctly remember a car conversation with Rob where he made a critical connection for me. Our generation grew up with Nintendo. The only way to communicate music on this hardware was with glorified bleeps and bloops. What the musicians of the time were able to accomplish with this was actually pretty incredible, but the important point is that we as kids were absorbing this new kind of music slowly, and in an enjoyable context. Those seeds laid dormant for years and years and eventually blossomed into brain receptors that were attuned to things like The Postal Service or Daft Punk. We had never thought of ourselves as being listeners of electronic music, but without knowing it we had been prepared for this since childhood.

I adore this album. I've heard it countless times, and it still totally works. It's simple, and joyful, and just lovely. Except for the last track. I recommend erasing it from existence.

I Know You (Pt. III) - Morphine

Back when I was in college I used Napster to fuel my music discovery. There wasn't much barrier to trying something new. Then they shut down Napster and that all became hard again. People still did it with torrents and such, but at this point I had a job and a paycheck and didn't feel comfortable stealing music off the internet. Music is important to me, and when I find something I like I don't have a problem paying for it. But in this legitimate world how do you discover new music?

Into this situation was born the music subscription. Pay a fixed fee for access to all the music you want. I started doing this when Napster relaunched as a service, and I've been doing it ever since (although now with Zune). Under this system there's absolutely nothing getting in the way of finding new music, which is how it should be.

Another aspect of this newfound access is that I could dig into my back catalog of artists. Despite my love of Morphine I hadn't really had a chance to listen to their older albums. As soon as I hooked up to the music subscription fire hose I was able to check out everything else they had ever put out.

This song is off of Like Swimming, and it's amazing. It's so deep and dirty. Soulful. I love how it rolls into the chorus with those paired sax hits. It's sexy, sultry, and oh so good.

Chicago - Groove Armada

Through work I got on the Halo 2 multiplayer beta. I had played my fair share of local LAN multiplayer on the first Halo. In the sequel they were doing some pretty revolutionary stuff with how they brought this online, and that's what I was supposed to be testing.

What does this have to do with music? Well, I had both my Xbox and my Media Center hooked up to the TV. I had a Napster app on the PC that let me stream pretty much whatever I wanted. I figured out a workable setup where I could get the audio from that in addition to the audio and video from the Xbox. I set this up right around the time I got on that multiplayer beta, so the whole time I was playing I could listen to music.

This song is completely linked to the "Ivory Tower" map from that game. As it grooves along I can see myself running around in that space. The song and the environment and the game just all fit together for me. It's one of those crazy tight links that I keep talking about here - personal but undeniable.

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