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Lunch tonight was: Carnitas, carnne asada and pollo tacos from the place by the Harley Davidson store. Washed down with a half litre Mexican coke!

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Alex V. Cook is an author, journalist and music critic living Baton Rouge, LA. His work has appeared in The Believer, The Oxford American, DownBeat, Paste Magazine, Hails and Horns and The Wire, and his first collection of essays Darkness, Racket and Twang: Essential Listening from the Fringes of Popular and Unpopular Culture was published by Side Cartel in 2006.

He is the music editor for outsideleft.com, editor for Sweet Tooth, and a frequent contributor to 225 Magazine, OffBeat and Country Roads.

He is a founding contributor to the Badasses of Contemporary Composition blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Funky Minimalism - The Greatest Common Factor

x-post facto: orginally posted at outsideLeft

Glissandro 7o - s/t (Constellation)

Now, this is turning out to not only be my favorite CD of so-far-2006, but that of my daughter as well. The CD player in the car is a field of battle, my side looking to see how far I can push the tolerance of a free mind, her side seeing how many times we can play the Laurie Berkner Victor Vito CD. To Ms. Berkner’s credit, I still like that “Bottlecaps” song after the 10,000th listen, but the rest of it has spent my interest. But this surprisingly funky, twinkling little broadcast from my favorite Montreal shivering anarchist collective is a winner for everyone. I’m guessing their name is a lamp on Fela Kuti’s Egypt 70 band, and it’s an apt description. The music usually entails a rather simple rhythm loop, an interlaced bass line and some chanted lyrics, and not a lot else. But it turns out, that’s all we need.

Those lyrics are rather reductive too, being snippets borrowed from Talking Heads and some group called Model 500, or just some fa-la-la’s being ululated over the rippling tranquility. It’s the collusion of rhythm and shimmer and repetition, pushing post-rock Jazzism into deconstructed Afropop territory. It's world music in the sense that it's of the entire world all at once, a beatbox programmed by our collective alpha waves. Its sweet, simple, poetic. I really love this CD a lot. If you remember that Ambitious Lovers song “Umbabarauma” from ’91, with its incessant world beat-meets-minimalism thing, then you might have a taste for what’s on the menu here. Or maybe Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians.” Or maybe your own heartbeat, pumping away in your chest, unencumbered on those rare moments of simple bliss.

Glissandro 70 - "Bolan Muppets"

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