Catching up: Björk, John Carpenter, DJ Clent

bjork

Björk
Vulnicura
One Little Indian

I guess this is Bjork’s breakup record but I always heard, well, all of them as breakup records. All that vocalese and weird phrasing and unprompted high-note-hitting screams angst to these ears. It’s just that on Vulnicura the lyrics match up to the overall mood. You can’t mistake “History of Touches” for merely pining for the fjords.

It really works. The prog-rock time signature wonkery and emotive ramblings perfectly capture the feeling of once-solid emotional supports disintegrating with little warning. And the production is riveting, making full use of strings’ inherent melancholy. I wouldn’t wish the apparent emotional turmoil of this record on anyone, but sad Bjork appears to produce the best Bjork.

carpenter

John Carpenter
John Carpenter’s Lost Themes
Sacred Bones

People need to make more John Carpenter movies, apparently. Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s Drokk was apparently commissioned for Dredd, but the filmmakers ultimately didn’t feel the very Carpenter-like vibe of their score would fit the more conventional-action-movie movie itself. Likewise, apparently Mr. Carpenter has lots of tunes for movies that never existed or got made, and it’s a fun game to listen to these while imagining a Snake Plissken-like figure walking across a rainy landing strip toward the camera. Carpenter’s got a fabulous sense of drama and clearly knows his way around a synth or two; I’m not convinced I’ll be listening to this set more than occasionally given that his compositional skills are more limited than his arranging or melody-crafting ones — there’s a certain formulaic quality that’s maybe to be expected from a director who makes a lot of genre pictures. Still, some good fun to be had if you don’t ask too much of it.


dj-clent

DJ Clent
Last Bus To Lake Park
Duck N’ Cover

Since footwork was thrust into the wider consciousness (ie. white people like me discovered it – in my case, with DJ Rashad’s Just A Taste which was four years ago), the releases I’ve cherry-picked from the ether have spanned from super basic hack-job sampling to futuristic brain-melting slabs of innovation. Props to veteran DJ Clent for making a record squarely the middle of that spectrum without sacrificing any urgency or excitement. “Space Control” feels like a race car that’s going to fly off and smash into the warning track at any second, but miraculously holds onto the groove; “Fear This Muthafucka” pairs an eerie vocal siren with a series of spoken and synthesized barks that are as disorienting as being slapped around the face. But “Let Me See You Juke” is as straightforward as they come. Your juking, motherfucker, let me see it. The Nintendo song doesn’t totally work, but otherwise Last Bus To Lake Park is so good that I have a hard time choosing a favourite. Naturally, the track with the most “motherfucker”s wins by default.

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