Squarepusher: Big Loada. (Warp Records WAP92 CD)
(7 tracks, 28 minutes)
I play Ping Pong with this record on in the background, and very invigorating it is too. Squarepusher doesn't play real bass on this as much as on his other records, so it actually sounds less like 70s jazz rock fusion (something his 'Hard Normal Daddy' album strays dangerously close to). It's hard, fast, relentlessly inventive drum and bass (I think this is what's known as the 'coffeetable' end of the genre). 'A Journey To Reedham' is a bit Motorik, 'Full Rinse' has some ragga rap thing going on, 'Massif' sounds like Aphex Twin...
What I think I seek and find in this record is a clean contemporary wash for my apartment, something robust, clever, jittery and edgy that clicks with the weird roofscape of air conditioning systems and little corrugated utilities sheds I see from my windows, framed by the sinister winking towers of the financial district nearby.
It's actually the record I've found myself reaching for most this summer.
Cornelius: Fantasma. (Trattoria Records, Tokyo. Menu138/PSCR-5623)
(17 tracks, 71 minutes)
Keigo Oyamada is Cornelius, ex-partner of Kahimi Karie and capricious director of Japan's coolest label, Trattoria Records. His band started out making efficient but rather dull acid jazz but, with last year's '69/96' and now 'Fantasma' have ended up quite extraordinarily interesting. Amongst Keigo's amalgam of influences I can hear the Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, AC/DC, Stereolab, Beatles, Primal Scream, Beck, Indian music...
This is also in the best possible sense graphic designer rock: it's all about de- and re- contextualisation of musical sources, the continuous reassessment of the 60s and 70s... It's about texture and colour over message. It's trendy, eclectic and eccentric sensibility work. Keigo stands in a wind-tunnel of influences, revivals, design ideas, musical bad taste turning into good taste. His talent is one of filtration
The gadgets and gimmicks are worth a paragraph to themselves. My favourite track is 'Typewrite Lesson', a surprisingly funky thing built around a touch type tutorial record. A cute girl repeats a string of increasingly sinister acronyms during this 'lesson', ending with 'USA, RIP... Good luck!' 'Mic Check' is a loopy soundcheck, somehow jolly and wonderfilled despite the banal repetition. 'Count Five Or Six' takes electronic voices and makes something very rock and roll out of them.
Somehow Keigo's model experiences are not just musical: dioramas and theme rides are important to him, Disney must be a hero, but he also has enormous nostalgia for the 3D and stereo sound systems (Byneural Microphones, anyone?) history forgot.
Kreidler: Weekend. (Kiff Records, Dist. Rough Trade Deutschland)
(14 tracks, 50 minutes)