Monday, April 30, 2007

Ghosts in the machine

I just upped a new recorded mix that I made this week, which you can download right HERE.

The tracks I used were:

B.E.A.T. -Justice
Anything New - Digitalism
WeKnowYouKnowIt - Foreign Islands (Filthy Dukes remix)
Dance to our Disco - Punks Jump Up (Baseball Furies Edit)
Trash - The Whip
TVTV - Digitalism
Gravity Rainbow - Klaxons (Nightmoves remix)
Banquet - Bloc Party (Boys Noize vocal remix)
No More Conversations - Freeform Five (Switch remix)
No More Conversations - Freeform Five (Mylo remix)

And it was all done on two CDJ800s, one shot, no plan.

I also got around to talking to Joakim Bouaziz, head of Tigersushi Records about his new album, Monsters and Silly songs. Check it out.

Fate works in aggravating ways for Joakim.

Serendipity’s a bitch. That’s what Joakim Bouaziz, French composer and founder of Tigersushi Records, found out when recording his newest album, Monsters and Silly Songs. After losing the entire master copy of the completed album, he was forced to start over, only this time employing a fresh approach and a full band to create a cathartic sonic foray into the nether regions between electronica, organic psychedelia, folky dance music and experimental noise. As he navigated the streets of downtown Toronto in between gigs I queried Joakim, via cell phone, about just what happened to his album and how he went about rebuilding his creation.

Joakim: It got completely lost. I lent my computer to someone for five minutes and when the guy gave it back, the hard drive had crashed. I lost everything on the hard drive, I couldn’t get it back, and I had no backup, so I had to do it all over again. The problem is I didn’t really remember what I’d done, so it’s like a new album. So, somewhere there’s a lost album!

jack oatmon: Damn! So what’s changed between the two albums?

J: I can’t really tell, but I guess the process of making the music is different because when I started again I already had the band with me for the live gigs. I felt that since we’re playing together live, maybe we can do some live stuff in the studio, too, which was different from the songs I’d done before. It’s really just the techniques that were different. The composition and everything was the same, but I could use more instruments with the band.

j.o.: Do you think that a lot of artists who make electronic music are tending to go in the live direction, with more instrumentation?

J: Yeah, but that’s not really a new thing. For a few years now a lot of electronic artists have been bringing in live musicians. But, for me it doesn’t really matter. I could do a record using only samplers tomorrow. I don’t feel like it’s better or worse, it’s just a different way to make sound. I don’t think of it as a revolution. There are very good things in both worlds. I don’t try to oppose analog and digital, for instance. I try to mix the two, because I think that there’s something magical in all the analog equipment: the recording and the synthesizers just sound better. But then there are so many things that you with a computer that you could never do with an analog synthesizer. What I try to do is really confront these worlds, like making very digital sounds and recording them on tape, for instance. I wanted to have this warm, organic sound that you can only have with vintage equipment.

j.o.: To me, the new album has a very melancholy feel to it. It seems very moody and emotional. What’s behind that?

J: I just feel the music that way. That’s precisely the kind of thing that you cannot explain or objectify. That’s just the way I feel things, and I’ve always been more attracted to sad songs. Even when I used to play classical music, I was more attracted by the dramatic rather than the happy music.

Capitol hill thrills

So I managed to claw my way off the island last Friday, April 20 for a trip to Ottawa, both the political epicenter of the country as well as the nation’s capital for hideous, domestic, pastel blouses, sports tees and sensible haircuts. Not being a fourteen year-old Green Day fan anymore, it wasn’t until I strolled up to Capitol Hill that the significance of the date dawned on me. A throng of shifty-eyed adolescents wearing baggy cargo and listening to atrocious 90’s rave music congregated on the grass in front of the stoic government headquarters, pipes and bongs in hand, reminding me that, not only was it four-twenty, but it was almost 4:20. Naturally, I giggled and squealed in mirth.

As I stood there, I briefly wondered whether Stephen Harper was gazing out his office window, waiting to punch the clock, roll home and skin up a joint for the first hot weather of the year. The answer is, of course, not bloody likely. In fact, I’d bet my procreative faculties that the Prime Minister hasn’t even had the chance to fail to inhale, regardless of recent allegations that the government has been charging an arm and a leg for medicinal marijuana (for which, by the way, research funding has been cut to the tune of $4 million). No, the Doors of Perception are safely rusted shut for this gentleman.

That got me to thinking about other cultural landmarks which happen around that traditionally-mild weekend, and how they relate to our pal Steve (can I call you Steve?). Earth Day’s a touchy subject to any politician, particularly one who once called Kyoto a “socialist scheme” in his call-to-arms for “our campaign to block the job-killing, economy-destroying Kyoto accord.” Especially when recent polls indicate that the environment has surpassed even healthcare in the average Canadian’s itinerary of concerns. Damn, I guess last weekend was kind of a Conservative Kryptonite. Well, maybe Steve was up there worrying about whether voters detest him for not being a tree-hugging stoner. Again, not bloody likely. In fact, I’d go pounds to pennies that he’s feelin’ pretty damn good about his shot at reelection, given the recent rise of support for the similarly-aligned ADQ back in Quebec.

On top of all that, I thought, Steve’s got a mean hard-on for arts cutbacks. Gulp. Just then, as I looked down in the grass below me in dismay, I saw a jettisoned wood pipe lying on the ground, laden with a bowl of fresh ganja. I try to stay away from weed these days, but, damn, I thought, as the pulsing beat of pre-millennial trance rumbled the grass underfoot, better smoke that shit while I can.

Things to look forward to before Steve guts the arts:

Rumor has it that French techno kingpin Mr. Oizo might make an appearance at this year’s Mutek Festival. Piknic Electronik starts back up on May 20 with a crazy lineup for the summer. Air will be at Metropolis on May 6 and LCD Soundsystem are due back on May 9 at Spectum. Orchestral electro phenomenon !!! will be at Les Saints on May 18 and Datarock hit La Tulipe on June 3 with CSS and Bonde Do Role.

Art, weed and nature: the pillars of society.