“Suicide Demo for Kara Walker” - Destroyer
(Words: Kara Walker, Music: Dan Bejar, available on Kaputt, Merge Records 2011)
Music Diary Project Day 2 (Context here)
Overall, this was a pretty “quiet” day. First, an omission from yesterday though:
“Break (All of the Lights)” - Childish Gambino
I heard this Monday afternoon while going through Google Reader. Childish Gambino is actor Donald Glover’s (best known as Troy from Community) MC name. Glover put out a bunch of self-released mixtapes and albums (with his “official” debut due later this spring), and this track (which splices together parts of Kanye West’s “All of the Light” and its gorgeous instrumental interlude) shows his strengths as both a producer and lyricist. I’m finding myself liking his tracks more and more each time, meaning either I’m getting used to his style or he’s honing his craft. Either way, I’m game for hearing more.
Kaputt album - Destroyer
Tonight when I got home, I played Kaputt on my computer speakers and sprawled out. Kaputt, both by nature of liking it and from getting it early in January, is the new album I’ve listened to the most times so far this year (iTunes says 15 times, plus a couple spins of the CD in my car), and several times I’ve played it in a similar way to today. It’s a little unnatural for me to listen to a Destroyer album this way (and perhaps it’s this quality that turned off some people to it), as Bejar’s songs demand some unpacking. There’s certainly a quality to this album that rewards deep though, but it also seems to get lost in while listening. Now that I’ve heard it so many times, the melodies are familiar and comforting.
“Suicide Demo for Kara Walker,” which appears at the top of this post, might be my favorite song so far this year. I like the combination of different sounds, in particular the light touch of the flute near the beginning and the subtle disco groove in the middle. Over its eight minutes, it goes in a couple interesting directions without making any drastic shifts (and in a way, that’s one of the things I find appealing about Kaputt specifically and Destroyer in general - the subtle movements within a larger aesthetic style). Most notably, the lyrics feel different because Bejar didn’t write them; artist Kara Walker gave Bejar a series of notecards with phrases on them, and Bejar wrote music around her words. It makes the storytelling more fractured than Bejar’s circuitous style. It still tells the story in an oblique way, but rather than doubling back and elaborating on itself, it gives shards of the story individually, eventually piling up the way one’s notecards might pile up. Then again, maybe I’m just projecting more of the process upon the final product.
(I enjoyed reading your suggestions last night and this afternoon, even if I didn’t get a chance today to follow up on any of the interesting things you folks are listening to this week. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow).
How about you - what did you listen to today?