July 31st, 2005


Black marks and Black Dice

For such a good magazine, OK Fred makes surprisingly uninspiring mixtape-style radio broadcasts. Radio Fred 07 is perhaps the dullest so far, not so much doki doki as guu guu. The trouble is that the Errol Dunkley reggae song that starts the broadcast ("OK Fred", which gave the magazine its name) is so good, with a lovely optimistic spirit and some great electronic details popping up all over the mix, that all the mediocre indie dirges they play after it just sound terribly dull; whiny “sensitive” songs with hackneyed chord sequences and trite guitar solos. The greatness of pop music is not here, friends.

"Where is it, then, Momus?" I hear you ask. And I am prepared to answer your question. It's in Polypunk, a selection of "Bits and Beats" selected by Digiki, a young man who is probably right now in a plane between Paris and Tokyo, on his way to a new life. Polypunk sparkles with inventiveness, textural interest, pleasure and love of pop on its own terms. It effervesces and inspires; pure pop poetry. For something in a more experimental vein, I'd also highly recommend (again) the Donna Summer WFMU airing of DJ Elephant Power's mixtape "The Impact of the Elephant on its Environment".

On September 6th Brooklyn's Black Dice will release their third album for DFA Records, The Broken Ear Record. I blush to admit that I've already downloaded the entire record from a rip of the promo posted, quite irresponsibly, on this I Love Music thread. Recorded in Australia, this record is one of the few I've heard recently which can really be said to advance the basic grammar of pop music. It mixes dirty tactile electronica with sounds resembling field-recorded ethnic music. It's a work of great originality. I will certainly be buying it in September, and will probably include it amongst my selections of the year. The record I've found myself playing most since getting back from New York is, oddly enough, by some of the same people: the much more ambient (but no less voodoo-druggy) Oboroed / Circus Lives by Terrestrial Tones (Dave Porter aka Avey Tare of Animal Collective and Black Dice's Eric Copeland).

Finally, a sartorial update. After an amazing permaflicker lightning storm in the early hours of Saturday, Berlin finally became warm enough for me to go out wearing my Moroccan robe. Turkish muslims laughed at me and German wags shouted out "It's the Ku Klux Klan!", but the robe felt great, so fresh and swishy and cool.