I’m not one to be moved enough by any advertisement to really alter my perception of a company, but I gotta say the new Lincoln ad campaigns are tugging at my heart strings. Sure, I’m not in the market for a luxury limousine right now, but who knows what could happen after the Powerball numbers are revealed. So first they post this awesome new commercial that shows Abraham Lincoln walking out of the fog like he just blew up a coke warehouse in a Tarentino movie. Then they put up the money to have Beck get 160 musicians together and create this truly epic performance of David Bowie‘s “Sound and Vision.” The power of the video more or less speaks for itself, so I basically just want to make sure people see this amazing thing. Beck’s own underwhelming voice really adds some humanity to a performance that otherwise be nearly extraterrestrial. The main thing to really remember watching the video is that this is a 360 degree performance. Now I saw Herbie Hancock perform about 10 years ago in full funk mode, and he had his sound rigged so that his sound-guy could use a joystick to rotate any of the instrumentation around the room in a circular fashion. This Beck thing is a whole other world though. As is somewhat abstractly displayed in the image above, not only is the audience positioned in a circle around Beck with the musicians surrounding them on the outside, the platform that the audience is on is actually moving in a circle. You can’t tell from the video, but these folks are actually rotating inside the music. Imagine if orchestra started setting up in this same fashion – it cloud breathe a whole new life and universe into the act of witnessing a live performance. I’m on board folks – I’ll pick you up in my Town Car.
Yesterday the good ole’ future fund-lacking folks over at NPR put up the latest track from Thurston Moore‘s upcoming solo album: Demolished Thoughts. The Sonic Youth frontman has touched nearly every angle of potential worlds that the music world can offer one man, but this latest track seems to find him taking control of but one more. “Benediction” is a gentle hymnal of indie-rock melody, and I have to slightly agree with NPR when they suggest a Velvet Underground-esque gentility to it.
But this is nothing that would have ever come from the heart of Lou Reed. The cynical nature of that man’s poetry is squashed here by the heart of a man who’s proven that the dream of Generation X was both real and beautiful – the idea that not being on any team in particular can produce something other than loneliness. It can produce a knowledge of yourself and an acceptance that pain and confusion are OK – not to be morbidly embraced, but to be aknowledged and aware. For a man who has been the anti-hero of legions of indpendently minded lovers of music, “Benediction” is the kind of song you always knew would come along some day.
It’s probably one of the most finitely produced tracks Moore has ever done, and some might say the violin of Samara Lubelski makes it sound a little too over-produced – like Phil Spector getting too formal on Let it Be. But those instincts are wrong – this is just different for Thurston, and after a long, heavy winter here in New England, this is the kinda different at least I know I’m looking for right now. With the whole album produced by Beck, I’m now anticipating a record I can see myself turning to again and again – in both times of darkness and joy. The official release of Demolished Thoughts isn’t until May 24, and I look forward to tying it to my soul. And with Beck drawing Thurston out in this way, I can only imagine what he’s gonna get out of Stephen Malkmus and his solo release later this year. Go. Listen. Now.
So like most audiophiles of the new millennium, the Pavement reunion tour last year brought tears of joy to my eyes on many occasions. And while band-member Bob Nastonovich is bummed to hear it, I personally think it’s great that Stephen Malkmus has stated he won’t be making any new Pavement albums or songs. When you retired on a good note, it’s best to just come back and play the hits and not tarnish your fans’ love with new crap – I’m looking at you Jane’s Addiction. That being said, I can’t fucking wait for a new Malkmus album. And no, it’s not some sort of weird fanboy hypocrisy to be craving his solo stuff while loathing the idea of new stuff with his old band – that’s just how it is. I am. You are. Whatever. Eat it.
Anywho, last Spring there were rumors circulating that Beck was gonna be producing the new album. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it at the time and mostly forgot about it til a friend mentioned it the other day. Which led me back to the Malkmus and the Jicks website where I noticed this post from October:
0ur future wise–we started recording with beck hansen in the late winter, and plan on getting back into it before the year is over… I dont know when the record will come out or what it will sound like. It is in a protools state of non reality right now.
So yeah, I guess it’s real, and I am for sure elated. The idea of two of my favorite independent producers working with each other, let alone that they both provide a significant soundtrack to my life already – well it’s enough to make me go skipping in the sleet. Easily my most anticipated album of the year, or next two years even. Here’s one of the greatest youtube videos of all time: