24 February 2011

Hong Kong In The 60s = Mad Men ?

Quick disclaimer: this is based on only about 3 tracks I've heard. The album itself could derail all of this...

Again, this is something I'm just not sure about. I like it. I mistrust it. It's beautiful but echoic, a mental echo of a Phantasy...

(the title suggests they know it, but I'm not sure if this makes me like them more or less)

...it's imitating sound and it's a great imitation: the soft burr, the perfect Mad Men glass clinks, the predictably heart-melting beauty; you can't see the joins and you wouldn't to - the joins would creak loudly, would call bullshit on the 60s... this is music of a time when men were men and women were grateful...

Now, I like Mad Men, watch it (in every sense of the word) religiously but it's the perversion that I like. It too is a lot dishonest but the style and the psychosexual dribbling appeals... It seems to exist solely to allow us to simultaneously sneer and indulge; how funny we (God, they) were, with their sexism and their racism and their funny little ways...

I feel a little the same way about Hong Kong In The 60s except that it seems to be pretending to find sweetness in it's sources; the resonances here are Razorcuts twee, Flatmates twee, Vaselines twee... i.e. lovely, sweet, gentle, empty... music for our 16 year old selves

Contrast with, say, Momus, who attempts similar tricks, off and on, with added (sweet) malevolence and much more honesty. Much more commentary?

Warren Ellis is quoted as saying it's “a charming summoning with a weird sheen of degraded international glamour” and that's a good starting point for discussion, except that it doesn't feel degraded to me. I think I'd like the degradation.

The band's name is perhaps revealing: my parents were in Hong Kong in the 60s and the casual, soon to be supperannuated, sexism (not that soon) was endemic and regarded as a cultural resource... the girls can't just sing sweetly, they must sing sweetly; they can't just wear pretty dresses and headbands, they must wear them, their hair must be... the world was like that but it seems Hong Kong was particularly like that: East and West meeting and dragging the best and worst of both worlds... a constant of the past and the present, a forward lancing unreal jet-age trail that derives from the Mad Men of the 60s and finds itself, 50 years later, as reality, as the heart and brain-melting echo of a past that wasn't.

I'm going to keep listening. I like it. I'm not sure of it. It's-

Hong Kong In The 60s - You Can Take A Heart But You Cannot Make It Beat*

As a Thought Experiment, extrapolate the title of this track: is this a meta-commentary? I kind of hope so.

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