December 15, 2005

[Music] Rotation Devices 12.15.05

Greetings from butiboi! There's good news and bad news in Rotation Devices this month, therefore I'm adding a new section called Record Player Hater, which will feature a review of, to put it bluntly, an album that I consider a real shitty deal. Here goes.

[Record Player Hater]


MADONNA - Confessions on a Dance Floor
Warner Brothers 2005

Okay, where do I start? I'm sure we're all aware of the publicity blitz preceeding the release of this album; the fall from a horse with a spectacularly quick recovery, the so-called controversy over the "Isaac" cut on the new album, her new purple wardrobe, her strict guidelines for Lola (nigra, pleeze), the loss of her Mavervick imprint, and her new documentary, ad nauseum. To be truthful tho', I've always been a fan of hers, although the last albums with any true soul on it were Bedtime Stories and the superb, underrated Erotica.

Sadly, I bought into the hype that COADF was going to showcase the return to her dance roots, and thus, I eagerly awaited this release. I should have known something was amiss when I plugged into her website and read about the producers contributing to this project (Mirwais, Stuart Price), and the release of "Hung Up", which sounds like a techno-tweaker-gap-store-cum-abercrombie-&-fitch-store-mix nightmare to be played only on the so-called Party Station. BTW, any producer who would bite the vocoder effects of Cher's "Believe" should be served up a plate of iced cold shade! Surely, I thought, the whole album couldn't possibly sound like this - the release was trumpeted as a return to her dance ROOTS so I expected to hear some soulful/poppy/dance funk shit a la her collaborations with Shep Pettibone, Reggie Lucas (Stephanie Mills, Mtume), and of course Patrick Leonard and Steven Bray.

Great early albums notwithstanding, I guess I finally have to acknowledge what some critics have said about Madonna all along, which is that she is neither a great master of re-invention nor a great innovator, but a crass, manipulating, transparent fraud (American Life), who'll pander to any given trend of the moment. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't expect the album to be a total rehash of her past shit, but when you put out misleading info on your website that you're sampling groups like the SOS Band on your new album, then I buy the shit and it sounds like one long fucking 135 bpm mix for 20 year old twinks, with no variations on the theme whatsoever, then I'm gonna be pissed, a'ight?!! And I won't even bother discussing or listing tracks; what's the point?

If you go for this type of sound, great. This might be the album for you, but for me, it's just one more slap in the face for dj's and listeners who yearn for true soulful/funky house soundz to be played on the air, thus ensuring their true place at the top of the charts like back in the day. Whew! Was that a rant or a review?..............

........../'/.../..../......./¨¯........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
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[Heavy Floatation]


A&M 1989

In 1985, I remember listening to the QUAKE, which was the premier alt/new wave station in SF at the time, and the moment I heard the line "summer girls in disarray, can be so free and easy now , well, we'll be free and easy" from "Stay", I knew what I was hearing was not only the most beatifully lush electronic jam I'd heard up to that point, but what I'd hoped would be a group that would stick around forever. Indeed the Blue Nile is one of those groups that I can truly say created the blueprint for what is now known as electro/chill. In 1989 the group released Hats, which has not left my turntable since! Lead singer Paul Buchanan's plaintive vocals combined with pristinely gorgeous, at times eerily dark melodies and straightforward lyrics ("sometimes I walk away, when all I really want to do, is love and hold you tight" "Downtown Lights") simultaneously transports me to the past and future......This album has no filler cuts, but my personal faves include "Over The Hilltops", "From A Late Night Train", "Let's Go Out Tonight", and "Seven A.M.". After repeated listenings, I'm sure you'll consider this record to be your "soundtrack" as you move throughout the day.

Although the group has released only 4 albums in 25 years; A Walk Across the Rooftops/1984, which includes their first hit "Stay", Peace At Last/1996, and High/2004, they've left a bounty of great jamz to tide you over, and while you're at it, check out Annie Lennox's cover of "Downtown Lights" on her underrated Medusa album. I'll also be reviewing "High" in the near future.

In the meantime, put this record on and feel the love, make a baby, touch yourself in a nice way, or just think about stuff, um-kay?