One of the tropes (foibles, quirks, whatever) of listening to a significant number of records – especially over an unrationed and drifting quota of years – is the propensity to assimilate (see, taste, whatever) music. Music in terms of slanted, mathematical properties.
And if the subject is contemporary sound: multiply that cynicism.
It’s not so much the technical aspect – the music theory underpinning chord construction and the exoskeleton of arpeggio make-up. There is a wee bit of that, but it’s more what pseuds would term as sonic algebra. Record A equals a subset of Record X (released twenty-five years previously) divided by the square root of last year’s Club Hit Z. Band K, who strip mine the artistic temperament of Act J, thus factored up to the power of producer L.
Or to put it in a less poncy manner: after all this time it’s possible to define the specifics of many act’s record collections. Or iPob tracklisting, as is alas rapidly becoming the exclusive case.
This is possibly a slightly jaded method of appreciating music. Not every track sounds like an XTC b-side, and it’s a little of rich of me to bemoan otherwise.
On the other hand, the trinkets and worthless magpie treasure that wrap itself around the entrails of the music industry – the hype sense of scene, the hipster trousers; style over substance, and a degree of music journalism that reads like something one of those pastiche online auto-generators spat out during a hangover. There’s a couple of tracks beneath the words, and yet this piece of “journalism” on the band concerned – published in a well-known music paper, no less – is one of the most clumsy pieces I’ve read in a long time (and that includes some of the posts on this site).
So: Passage, the début album from Exitmusic. Released back in May, which I missed because I was otherwise engaged (drunk, strung out on crystal meth, whatever). Points of issue: if you wish to receive a Christmas card from me, don’t derive your band name from a Radiohead song. And should you want to be remembered on your birthday, don’t make records that:
= Radiohead – ( unreleased Sigur Rós track X a Hope Sandoval 7”played at 33 r.p.m.).
So yes; colour me somewhat cynical about all of this at first listen. And by the second listen I was beginning to understand my initial thoughts may be skewed. I’m not going to deploy manifold adjective to describe Exitmusic’s sound, or the dynamic behind who they are and where they’re travelling to – for the simple reason that this is an album that’s generated a fair degree of media attention; if this blog is one thing, it’s definitely not to here replicate the tropes (foibles, quirks, whatever) of readily accessible, mainstream music commentary…
So perhaps I’ll simply sign off by giving you guys the credit. The credit you deserve, you lovely, intelligent audience… listen and evaluate yourselves, etc.
Exitmusic / Passage
Exitmusic / The Night