-
neumu
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 
-
-
--archival-captured-cinematronic-continuity error-daily report-datastream-depth of field--
-
--drama-44.1 khz-gramophone-inquisitive-needle drops-picture book-twinklepop--
-
Neumu = Art + Music + Words
Search Neumu:  

illustration
44.1kHz = music reviews

edited by michael goldbergcontact




Editor's note: We have activated the Neumu 44.1 kHz Archive. Use the link at the bottom of this list to access hundreds of Neumu reviews.

+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive



peruse archival
snippet
    
artist
DJ Shadow
recording
The Private Press
MCA
snippet
rating


In Camera Lucida, his classic work on photography, Roland Barthes discusses an element he calls the "punctum," the detail that pierces the frozen surface of the photograph to provoke an unexpected emotional response. The punctum, for Barthes, is a private experience, wholly subjective. There's no science to it, it simply happens. Something reaches out and grabs you by the collar — or it doesn't. The punctum depends upon processes of mechanical reproduction for its existence; it's the errant detail that subverts the document's dry facticity. The punctum itself can never be the subject of the photograph — by definition, it's superfluous, excessive, supplementary. The punctum sees Barthes at his most maddeningly abstruse; it's not a concept you can necessarily use as part of an efficient interpretive strategy. As an arrow for your theoretical quiver, it seems bound to go wide of the mark every time.

And yet. Something about the concept seems particularly apt when discussing music — especially sampled music, which is so rich with layers, connotations, and untimely debris. It's a testament to DJ Shadow's ear that he's pockmarked his latest album, The Private Press, with moment after moment that works in similar ways to Barthes' punctum.

Perhaps this is no surprise, given the album's title: "Private Press" refers to a long-lost attraction from penny arcades, whereby ordinary people could make a recording, usually a letter to a lover or family, and have it pressed onto vinyl in an edition of one. Photo booth meets the dubplate. Shadow, the consummate crate-digger, has stumbled across more than a few of these artifacts in his years of buying vinyl, and he opens and closes his album with samples from his collection.

On the opening track, "(Letter From Home)," a Billy Strayhorn tune simmers beneath a scratchy recording of a woman speaking. "451 Commercial Avenue, Apartment K, Richmond, California," she begins. "September 9, 1951. Dear Lester, I'm sorry I didn't write before, and because this record wasn't sent, which I intended on doing before this, everything went wrong. Tonight, we got together and kept the kids up, and decided to have a little fun making this record. Well, of course, coming up we didn't have any trouble, we had a lot of fun. Mama slept all the way, and I didn't get tired driving -- I was overanxious. We got in about 12:45, got to Richmond, woke the family up. There's so many things I could say, but I just can't get them together! I'll let you hear from somebody else."

And with that, Strayhorn fades out and Shadow's real work begins, with an hour of heavy lifting and soldering. The track is only a bookend, but it carries a surprising emotional weight; in leaving unsaid more than it makes clear, the woman's tale conveys a powerful suggestion of mystery. The sense of history is strong: the woman's voice identifies her as, most likely, African American, and her skeletal tale of family and migration speaks quietly to the history of African Americans in the Bay Area during the post-war years — a vital and under-explored pre-history to hip-hop. But the punctum that rends it all — and this is what I like to believe Shadow heard as well — is the weird twinge to the woman's voice, caught somewhere between joy and grief. When she says, "There's so many things I could say, but I just can't get them together," you can hear her voice breaking with an overwhelming love. I imagine her to be Lester's sister, and in this subtle modulation, you see the shy, idolizing girl of her youth reappear for the briefest of moments.

What does this all have to do with DJ Shadow? After all, isn't this a hip-hop record? Fat beats, deep bass lines? Well, yes, of course: The Private Press follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, 1998's Endtroducing, building on a formula of merging complex breakbeats with long, sampled phrases from a variety of sources: rock, soul, even techno. Shadow, by designating his art as nothing more (or less) than a wildly imaginative reading of his record collection, is deeply invested in recorded history. But The Private Press breaks from the hip-hop tradition of sticking to public, cultural history by indulging in something more veiled, more personal, more private. By framing his album with the conceit of the private press record, he reclaims the aura for the recorded document; in Shadow's hands, the record morphs from commodity to sacred covenant

I realize I've said next to nothing about the album itself, but what's to be said that you won't have already read in any of a dozen publications? The Private Press is full of rollicking beats, spectral tone colors, and enough subtle textures and supple surfaces to fill a textile warehouse. It's part hip-hop, part turntablism, part rock music, part electronica; it's a party record and a wake-up-and-drink-your-coffee record. More than anything, however, it's a private record that leans close and divulges one secret at a time. Perhaps you'll find it in the cracking of an anonymous woman's voice; perhaps your punctum will pierce you elsewhere. But if it's true, as the last track proclaims, that "You Can't Go Home Again," Shadow's crafted a record full of unheimlich collisions that serve as temporary, sonic dwellings — the most personal form of shelter you can find.


by Philip Sherburne




-
-snippetcontactsnippetcontributorssnippetvisionsnippethelpsnippetcopyrightsnippetlegalsnippetterms of usesnippetThis site is Copyright © 2003 Insider One LLC
-