Monday, 9 January 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #11 - Tranquility Bass, "Broadcast Standard Series"

Not strictly new music, but then I'm not strictly listening to new music - just music that's new to me.

Tranquility Bass was a guy called Mike Kandel from Chicago, who put some tunes out at the beginning of the Nineties and then put them out again on this compilation last year. And he didn't seem too worried about forcing many of them out back in the day. A KLF workrate, seemingly remixing the same few tracks a couple of times each.

A friend of mine put a YouTube (the very clip below) last night and I thought it was awesome - and I was right, begobs! It silks about the place with the clear-eyed look of The Grid and The Orb. All that early Nineties optimism. Touches of the global, like your Loop Guru and your Transglobal Underground. It really did seem like techno was going to save all us back then, melt us together and send us to Saturn on dubby cruiseships. And it was over so quickly. Can you blame a pasty-faced, whispy-bearded thirtysomething for wanting to dip his toes back in that holy pond again?

That's the reason I want to hang around these dusty old musical corridors of my youth - they didn't last very long first time around. Poodle rock was with us for what felt like decades, the decline of Western Civilization took a long time. But that Second Summer of Love could be measured in acid-tinged dragonflies. 'Ardcore, the one that spawned Jungle, seemed to melt away back into the generic soup as soon as it had arrived. Gangsta rap continued to hustle on corners until my ears bled. Maybe these musical forms could only exist as brief, amorphous moments and never harden into full-time genres; but when their ghosts are summoned up again my ears prick up. And I try so hard to stretch the moment, stretch it until it squeaks.

"They Came In Peace" is the peach. Sums up the whole inner/outer space exploration theme beautifully. And I mean beautifully. Birdsong, childish chatter, sputnik beeps, jungle noises and lazy, arching synth sounds; and most importantly, the space to let it all breathe deeply. The "Lunar Dub" version might be even better with touches of Depth Charge kung-fu samples, fractal keyboards and cool-to-the-touch loping bass. God, to be one hundred and eighty-six again!

Rating: Beautiful out of Body Experience

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