07 February 2005

Le Tigre #2

"TKO - Hot Chip TK Max Mix" by Le Tigre:

Cut free from the Perky Eighties Post-Hoodoo Gurus FM-Rock Chassis of the A-side (reviewed here) this flip-side remix initially felt disappointing…but somewhere around the 9th play (What, you think I’m bluffin’, hombre? Well, I don' fuck around, senor: this is Method Record-Reviewing…) I eventually stumbled over the realisation that the opening bars had craftily referenced every single Pop Record made in the Mid-Eighties that has a drum-machine intro…

All at the same time.

And if you think I’m kidding, then listen carefully to it a few dozen times and then meditate on my words, o foolish one (unless, of course, you’ve got a life…in which case: stop reading this and read a book, cook a meal, have a shag….).

I realise now that my initial disappointment was entirely based on the fact (Purist Tosser that I am) that they had probably achieved this by piecing together a virtual drum-kit from samples, rather than using an actual 80’s-vintage drum-machine like a Linn or DMX on the intro . But, of course, you can’t do this when you’re concurrently retro-referencing over a hundred different records to create an idealised Meta-Intro Hyper-Context. To their credit, they achieve the necessary effect without needless clutter; my only criticism is the apparent unanalogueness of that first 30 seconds, but, still, it’s nothing that a bottle of Tequilla couldn’t distract you from.

Another sneaky production-element worth high-lighting in the intro is the use of flange or a short-delay to metallicise a high-hat or one of the drums. This was a popular technique used in the Eighties to divert attention away from the limited sonic palette of drum-machines available at that time; basically, it was a cheap and (ch)easy method of adding some variety and 'movement' to otherwise stilted electronic drum-patterns. I use a similar (subliminal) technique in my posts that was taught to me by my venerable Blog-Master: a cranky, old Nth-Grade Verbal Nullsmith who inhabited our local and looked a bit like Bill Burroughs if you squinted when you'd had a few. Or maybe he was just a pissed-up tramp who’d come in to warm himself up. Actually, that might explain why he drank Gee's Linctus with cleaning-fluid chasers and why I could never understand a fucking word he said….

Anyway, around the 27th play I finally realised what the tinny, tinkling keyboard sounds remind me of: Of course, it's “North Star” by Philip Glass, and from there, it’s a short conceptual jump to the idea that, well fuck me, Le Tigre are actually referencing The Aphex Twin (though don’t ask me which track….), or rather, certain generic tonal-tropes that sometimes infest tracks by various Rephlex Post-Aphex artists which, in turn, probably come from their (the Rephlex artists, that is) (un?)conscious fetishisation of 80’s Electro (and its preferred modes of sound-generation), in particular, certain vintage reverb-units (possibly made by Berhinger) that are coveted for their ability to make keyboards sound creamy and otherworldly due to the accidental addition of harmonic overtones.

So far so good.

But the important point to bear in mind is that this mix is, er, quieter than the other one, so your attention is actually more focused on the lyrics and the vocal delivery than on the guitar-y version. Paradoxically, a computer-based 'electronic' remix of the band that strips out the guitar overdubs actually makes them sound a lot less like bloody Republica and succeeds in realligning them with the Kleenex/Liliput axis of bratty, refusnik euro-punk that's probably their logical progenitors.

But what, I wonder, would happen if you remixed Global Goon in the style of Essential Logic?

Finally: the sleeve. Hats off to Le Tigre for wearing dorky-looking coordinated 'costumes' that remind me of Devo, The B52s (or worse: The Three Courgettes), etc which is presented as part of an equally-coordinated Post-Jill Mumford design conceit. (And the back is even worst: a couple jagged triangles of pink and powder-blue deliberately intended to invoke the rear of an early Cure or Passions single...) This is only let down by their hair-styles (which don't quite work, but nice try)...and that tattoo really should have been lasered-off (or at least hidden) prior to the photo-shoot.

All-in-all: an excellent effort which proves you can sign to Universal and still have your cake and eat it.

Somewhere around the 86th play I started hallucinating, so I read a book, cooked a meal and had a shag.


4 comments:

Psychbloke said...

Now THAT is cool - the A-side on one blog, the B-side on another.....

headphonesex said...

I wanna hear this.... am i missing the link somewhere???

:-(


I heart Hot Chip

james headphonesex

kek-w said...

Nah, you're not missing a link, James...I didn't post an mp3. Just Blog-sitting: I leave all that stuff to Loki.

Glad the post wet yr lips; I recommend you get the 7" single replete w/ Hot Chip mix, or even better, the (not-so-)new Le Tigre LP, even tho' it is on (ptui!) Universal.

caro said...

actually the vinyl is on chicks on speed records. go buy! and i think the fact that they have changed to universal is a good move for them as activists they want to reach a wider audience and now they can.

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