Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ill Communication, Beastie Boys, 1994

When seeking a hit of artistic adrenaline, this album is one of my first stops.  Although I tend towards a diet of art that is typically spare, natural, and clean, every now and then I want to gorge myself on just the opposite.  Here, Side A is particularly speedy, boasting some of the Beasties' greatest tunes ("Root Down", "B-Boys Makin' with the Freak Freak", "Sabrosa"), it starts in fifth gear and through a flurry of dance-rap, funk, and punk, it keeps it up for the next 23 minutes.

Like Tarantino, the Beasties are one of our great practitioners of post-modern missile command, more often than not eschewing an introspective style for something that instead uses blended forms to grab our attention.  Some artists almost want to bore you, force you into stimuli time out, to ensure their point is made.  I think the Beasties, like Tarantino, start from the opposite place.  As long as they hold your interest, they feel they're doing their job.  And if some way, somehow you learn something on top of that, well then all the better.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Remain in Light, Talking Heads, 1980

Bouncy and modern, Remain in Light is widely regarded as a masterpiece, one of the most accomplished albums of the eighties and the pinnacle creation for one of America's most adventurous New Wavers.  The team of Eno/Byrne hit the trifecta with this album.  They make us feel.  They make us think.  And they also remember to entertain us.  A headphone album chock-full of fascinating soundscapes which will hold its luster and avant-garde posture happily ever after.