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Schnipper’s Slept On

March 03, 2009

Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated recent release he thinks we need to know about. This week it's disc six from Philip Glass' ten disc Glass Box, along with three other songs keeping the blood pumping. Buy Glass Box here and read Schnipper's thought on it after the jump.

You know when you say something, make a joke, and at first you don’t mean it but then with repetition it stars to erode its way to truth? Or maybe it was a little true in the first place and you just didn’t realize it? Well, lately I keep catching myself saying “I hate music.” This largely isn’t true, surely, but in the context of work it is often rooted in some basic reality. This is no offense to the ******* ***** or ******* *** CDs on my desk, but it’s getting more and more difficult to find excitement with such a huge slushy haze of crap. I suppose this is naïve, that immigration attorneys grow to hate borders and their crossers, Unitarian ministers grow to hate vague idealists who want to get married non-denominationally, painters grow to hate canvas and its infinite and open promise. But, personally, it must have always been a private defeat. I love music, I don’t hate it, so why is my second nature flipping its north pole?

A few weeks ago I went to a fashion show. The clothes were for men, mostly modeled by men, but had a posh woman’s feel of chunky tweed and lush purple. The models walked harshly with a boot stomp, everyone with hair that you could describe as at least somewhat wispy. They all looked like little angels. But I only thought this because of the music: Philip Glass’ piece “Vessels” from his soundtrack to the film Koyaanisqatsi. Have you ever heard this? It makes everything feel like a floating heaven. Every car commercial in the world wants this as its soundtrack, luxurious smooth ride around unnamed and gorgeous mountain curves. It took me a week to track down exactly what piece of music it was, but when I did I realized I owned a ten CD Philip Glass box set. This specific CD also includes music from Powaqqatsi (honestly I don't even know what that is) and I began to listen to the piece “Serre Pelada,” as well. It opens with a gym class whistle and wood blocks before the entrance of a full staccato orchestra and then a falsetto choir. I have never heard such music. I am listening to it now on headphones in a room with ten people trying to deal with the inherent giddiness. This is corny! I feel like a major dweeb! Who cares? Go listen to this! You can download it on iTunes for 99¢. I’ve never heard of such a deal in my life! It is incredible that such (and I hesitate to use the next word as it is, I know, super trite, but I stand by it) joy is so readily available. I don’t hate music. I love music! Let us open our borders to all, marry those who wish to be wed, paint with a wild fever from within. In this spirit, below are three pieces of music I have been listening to this week that have kept me exuberant.

The Shins, “Gone For Good” acoustic alternate version

I am embarrassed that I really like The Shins. Should I be? “New Slang” was so good but the whole Garden State thing ruined it. I listened to that song over and over as I sat at my parents’ computer refreshing Media Bistro and Craigslist when I lived with them for three months and tried to find a job (that and Young Jeezy “Go Crazy,” both of those songs on crazy repeat). But I had never heard this song until a week ago at the bar where my friends Jessica and Justin celebrated their engagement. I leaned over and asked my friend Kevin, “What is this?” He told me it was some raw acoustic version of a Shins song and I was so bummed. Why can’t it be like David Crosby’s cousin Arnold’s unheralded demos from 1963 or something cool? It can’t be the fucking Shins that is so lame. But I guess there is a reason Natalie Portman is jamming that shit so hard because this is pop genius. Dude is talking about paying rent for someone for a year. But he says “twelve long months” because you know every time he wrote that check it pained him. You think he is going to say “twelve long years” but this is micro-pain. The kind that can only be worked out with happy folk pop. The end of the song dude just gives up on words and is like “da da da da dum.” He can’t even stay coherent, it’s too much to be a person. Get it out, get loose buddy, it’s working.

Joker, “Stuck in the System”

Are you kidding me? How is this even music? This shit is the future, pay attention. The interns caught me listening to this on headphones and playing airdrums while I was thinking some shit out the other day. That is super lame. Fuck it, I’m going in dudes! Oh shit I just stopped writing because I was was like Yo I should put this on so I can write about it better, and then I did and then I started punching my fist on my computer. Seriously this is so insane that four seconds after I made fun of myself for being a total fist pumping herb I got overpowered and did it again without thinking. Can you hate music that makes you clown yourself it is so good? I don’t think so. Fuck I just did it again when the beat dropped. This is like the instrumental, scary version of “My President.” If there was a scene in Dark Knight where Batman won the Olympics he would be driving the Batmobile out the stadium pumping this shit. There is a string line going through the entire song that keeps making me think about “Cotton Eyed Joe.” I remember going to a Mets game and they played that during the seventh inning stretch. People were so into it. This is a million times better than that. Joker is nineteen. I guess this is how you always have to ask little kids how to use new technology because right now I am 26 and this shit is just beyond me. I do not understand how this sounds how it sounds. Did you make this with lazers and really big tin cans? I know you actually just made this in your bedroom freaking out on some keyboards and some computer program that works with weird lines that I would never ever understand. So how does that translate over the Atlantic Ocean into making me want to punch people in the fucking face? In a good way!

Grizzly Bear, “Colorado”

I saw Grizzly Bear play on Saturday with a gigantic orchestra. It was in an opera house. Seriously the whole thing was so pretty. Even the “exit” signs were written in a nice font. But I wasn’t so so so jazzed on the Grizzly Bear/orchestra match up. It was cool with some really serene moments but I like them when they are aggressive and the orchestra didn’t so much clash with them as add some dainty accoutrements. Except for on “Colorado” which sounded so crazy. “What now what now what now what now?” And it sounds like he is saying “Call around” even though I know it’s "Colorado." It makes me think he is telling someone to check up, like how you might tell customers to call around to find the best deal. “Call around, Grizzly Bear is number one.” So I went back and looked for some live versions of “Colorado” and I found this extended one that I listened to over and over. It’s pretty zen, Chris Taylor talks about having a spider on his microphone. But after five or six listens to the summertime looseyness of the live version I went back to the original from Yellow House. Uh holy shit that song is really good dudes. Total nice one, Williamsburg! I don’t know if they meant to or not but it has total Hawkwind vibes. It opens with the piano bent over on itself and floppy sounding and has all this ambient noise and the vocals are doubled and echoed like total space music. But honestly (and I guess I always think this because I am a sucker for the cymbal) it is the cymbal that is holding that shit together. You don’t hear it because it’s faint in the background and muddled, but when you can discern it you are like Holy shit that cymbal is just jamming over and over again like some crazy space gong. This song is really heavy. Then everything drops out and they have this almost funky bass line. What? You guys are crazy. Seriously next time I slit my wrists I am listening to this shit because then I’ll be like Oh shit why would I totally want to die when I could jam this? But also if I decided to go through with it I would be like Wow this is completely appropriate music for me to totally die listening to because it is epic but not gaudy just like I have hoped I have lived and died because I like metaphors.

From The Collection:

Slept On
Schnipper’s Slept On