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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Look Back, to Varying Degrees



















The Joe Ledbetter shelf of glory! Bow down.

About 4.50 tonight the Lady called home to say she was on her way. She had an event with the school improv team tonight so she wouldn't be home for long, and given her tendency to not eat all day, I threw some stuff in the oven to be ready for her estimated arrival at 5,30 like the good housewife I am.

It was about 5.20 when she called to say as she was coming home she was driving behind a car who plowed into someone. Now a witness in an accident, she had to hang out and make statements and to the police. Being from Essex County, when I heard that statement, I thought she meant she had seen one car rear end another. It wasn't until she got home did she inform me that no, she saw a car plow into a pedestrian so hard it knocked the guy out of his shoes and sent him flying ragdoll-style the length of a city bus. Always an adventure in this town.

For now: Homemade Katamari models; the best ad campaign for Buckley's cold remedies I don't recall ever seeing on television; if you're in the spirit, the best internet christmas music station has gone online for the year. Lorne Greene is currently reading T'was the Night Before Christmas as I type this. Oh, and the always vital Michael Eric Dyson has a new book filled with his writings on hip hop. Further review later this week.

And if I may for a moment: on my old personal blog, I occasionally ran a feature where I would grab a CD I bought 15 years ago because I liked one song or wanted to be a rock snob and gave it another listen [Tha Pharcyde still holds up, Cool Blue Halo, not so much]. I need to take a moment to briefly do that here.

I work with this kid who's a little...much for your old pal. His idea of a formal greeting is to shout expletives as he walks in the store, he wears a bandana around his neck at work, he has bad tattoos on his forearms that look like he applied them himself and he listens to Alien Ant Farm [do people still do that? Really?]. Anyway, normally I don't encounter this boy too often but we were both on the morning shift today and I stood all I could stands and could not stands no more, so I grabbed the iPod and cued up 'Since I Left You' by The Avalanches.

If you've forgotten, The Avalanches were a crew of Australian turntablists who rode the wave made by DJ Shadow when Endtroducing... dropped and put together their own album of fully sampled music. The folklore associated with the album says over 2,000 pieces of music, some only seconds long, were used in the making of the album, though I don't know how true that is.. If anything, you know them for their novelty hit 'Frontier Psychiatrist' [amazing video, btw]. Ever since I acquired the album, I considered it a bit of a letdown, never reaching the lunatic genius that that one single reached. Today, listening to the album top to bottom, I realized why I thought that: because I listen to my iPod primarily on shuffle, I never heard the album as a whole, which is what it was designed to be.

The entire album is constructed as one long soundtrack to whatever insane movie was playing in the creators' minds. Samples reappear throughout the album, even for a moment, creating a unified listening experience, a sonic universe that can't be chopped up by the short attention spans we've developed in the subsequent years following the album's release. A group of DJs practicing the art of the album? Who'd a thunk?

So yeah, that album definitely holds up. Now why the hell haven't they been heard from since?

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