Although Christgau gave Fade an A-, it’s to my ears thus far a very weak one – no magic moments. I’m thinking especially compared to Summer Sun, which I heard for the first time in years the other day – those two extra beats the band sneaks in after the first chorus of “Little Eyes,” the chord change-up on “Season of the Shark,” the entire lyric of “How to Make a Baby Elephant Float.” No such moments on this new record; in fact, the whole point of the record is a static feel that I suppose for them metaphorizes constancy or something like that. I’m glad I didn’t overreact like everyone else seemed to – trying to avoid groupthink, trying to stay on my toes.
Two compilations I’m working on, the Box Tops and Matthew Shipp. The former should be incredibly easy – I know their oeuvre fairly well, or at least better than your average downloading rock critic. The Shipp records (the Thirsty Ear ones, I guess) I’m trying to learn and/or re-learn for background. Listening to “Nu Bop” now and the great parts are overwhelming me like they didn’t ten years ago. Especially love the rhythm section (William Parker I assume is the contrabassist, who the fuck is that killer drummer?) and FLAM’s production fiddle faddle is key. Actually, sticking with the acoustic meets electronic program is really the key – to my ears to the whole thing takes a dive when things go ambient, i.e. when Shipp takes a solo turn. The high points are really great though. Also have “Harmony and Abyss,” which I preferred back then, and downloaded “Pastoral Composure,” which gives the forthcoming comp its first track. I should also get “Equilibrium” and “Harmonic Disorder” for sure.
How weird — just realized William Parker has played with Shipp and Yo La Tengo. There are few things I love more than coincidence. Shipp would be great on a Yo La Tengo record.