Sunday, May 14, 2006

"I like boring things..."

Among this weeks acquisitions, I was able to obtain a copy of the rather handsomely packaged and newly minted book; Andy Warhol Screen Test: The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne - Volume One. The books editors have undertaken the immense and frustrating job of cataloging and organizing every single "screen test" from the original Factory years. Every still from the series is presented, as well as a short bio of each "star", with amusing quotes and anecdotes where necessary.

I have been a big Warhol fan since my early teens and drool at the idea of being able to lounge luridly over the minutiae of his career. Especially the early years, largely due to the fascination with the Factory, it's occupants and hangers-on, the "superstars" and street trash, and how for a few short years in the magical isle of Manhattan, Andy was everything to everyone and the central point between all places light and dark. Warhol helped create the over-saturated junk culture world we live in today, for better or worse, and is most likely the nucleus for all that we consider "art" or artful design.

One of the things that attracts me most is his idea of blending the high and low, it draws me in where ever I notice its presence. Like the Krautrockers mixing British blues rock with avant-garde composition, the radio friendly pop song and musique concrete. Or the current wave of designer toys, museum quality work reduced to vinyl molded bears and bunnies. Adultswim and limited edition sneakers. Graffiti writer clothing lines and the FM3 Buddha Machine. Sure, the downfalls of living in a disposable society are plenty, but so are the benefits.

Another aspect of the Warholian philosophy that I adore is the use of repetition. Adopting the Buddhist axiom to the extreme, (if something is boring for 2 minutes, try it for 4, etc...), Andy used repetition in image, theme, and most poignantly in his early filmwork. Imagine actually watching all 4 hours and 45 minutes of "Sleep". Unfortunately, I think almost everyone missed the point at the time, but the effects of the experiments are still felt, like an endless series of waves rippling to the shore. A perfect analogy of the idea it represents.

Between the repetition of krautrock and the angularity of post-rock lays This Heat. Their debut filled with tape manipulations, heavy repetition, and chaotic rhythmic explorations marked a turning point in modern music, and has been referenced almost as much as the Velvet Underground. Brit DJ John Peel was among the first to champion This Heat's new adventures in noise, and Made Available collects their sessions recorded for his radio show.

Wine, Women and Song recently featured The Psychic Paramount, current defenders of the art rock repetitious riff throne. I fell in love with this record and had to dig deeper, there was no way these guys just came out of nowhere. As it turns out, from 1997-2001, members of The Psychic Paramount brought sheer terror to those lucky enough to cross the path of Laddio Bolocko, the band before the band. Hailing from NY, (where else, right?), Laddio tore clubs and basements and speaker cones to shreds with their own brand of heavy psych. Often compared to Can and This Heat, their brief legacy has been committed to a double disc set, The Life & Times of Laddio Bolocko. These guys will change you're life. You have been warned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot for This Heat !! Keep up the nice work, grtz from France

12:40 PM  
Blogger mayohumbert said...

Check out the Laddio, too, mon ami....
if ever there were a modern equivilant to This Heat, they are it.
and I promise to keep it coming if you promise to find me a place to sleep in France when I tour Europe next summer....

2:45 PM  
Blogger drbenway808 said...

Won me over with your review, grabbing the Laddio after my limit's up. Thanks a bunch

7:25 PM  
Blogger mr.A said...

Laddio Bolocko is fucking awesome. This one is going to end in my cd collection i no that for sure. Thanks for the great tunes dude.

9:50 AM  

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