Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 64: Betty Page Private Girl:Spicy Music & Tim Berne's Blood Count "Memory Select: The Paris Concert"

Even though they're not a huge, raging success I kind of am digging the playlist posts because it gives me short term benchmarks to look for. Like, I'm kind of excited that we're almost halfway to the next one.

Various Artists
Private Girl
So before 'hipsters' became 'fucking hipsters,' there was the nineties. Well, alright, hipsters have more or less always been fucking hipsters, it's just that in the nineties the internet wasn't developed enough to pour so much concentrated and self-aware hate on them.

But all the conspicious affectations were there, vintage lunch pales and ironic t-shirts and a concentrated and meticulous air of not-actually-giving-a-shit.

The kitsch and irony of the time, as I've talked about before, had a lot to do with the lounge scene. Tiki gods, Mancini music, island themes. And an essential element of any kitschy vintage scene is and always will be Bettie Page.

In the great vin diagram of tastes, this is where me and 'hip culture' intersect. Lounge music is really just a variation of 'cool jazz,' and sometimes contains elements that I really like, like surf guitar or a growling saxophone. Hell, I even like the whole 'Tiki' look--there's a throw away Halloween decoration in my Bus I call Voodoo God (not Tiki, I know) who protects the Bus. (It is important to remember that Voodoo God does not protect the Bus from breaking down...a caveat I have been forced to add...)

And I really like Bettie Page. It all started with a copy of The Rocketeer a friend showed me when I was in junior high. He had been Dave Stevens' neighbor and had this signed copy of a book I had never heard of (it was years until the movie was made) that contained something I already dug, vintage action sci-fi and the romantic interest who I was later to learn was modeled off Bettie Page (Dave Stevens was later able to interview Bettie on a recording that is already on my hard drive).

So I snatched up these promos like a rabid dog. There are a few in this series, Danger Girl, Jungle Girl, and Private Girl. I have all three, or at least had. My favorite by far was Danger Girl, which I actually tried to load onto the hard drive years ago but was too scratched. I was only able to save my favorite track, Mood One by John Barry. Jungle Girl actually came up today but it was empty. So Private Girl is the only one to survive onto the hard drive.

Each one has a pretext for the selection. Danger Girl is "Burlesque music," Jungle Girl is "exotique [sic] music," and this one is "spicy music."

Though the music is just pretext. What these CDs really are is another collection of Bettie Page pictures fitting into the theme of each album. The collected music is just a bonus, really. But I really actually like some of the music, especially the ones on Danger Girl, obviously.

The music ranges from that 'cool jazz' variation to something you might expect on Lawrence Welk. It certainly starts to turn Sin City into a different movie...

The songs are short, too, twenty-eight tracks not even amounting to fifty minutes.

These collections are really reliant on context. Without them I'm not sure I'm going to associate it with this collection. It's just going to be more of that quirky 50s and 60s music I have lurking on the hard drive. A lot of flute, a lot of organ.

Tim Berne's Blood Count
Memory Select: Paris Concert 3
Here's a pretty sharp contrast. The second track on this disc is longer than the entire last disc. In fact, only two tracks make up this particular CD. It's stealth Winter & Winter, it came in a conventional jewel case instead of the corduroy one. Mostly because this isn't the Winter & Winter release but the Verve one. But there is a Winter & Winter release of this album.

But still, you can judge a CD sometimes from its cover. If it's a saturated picture of a man taken at a weird angle, it's probably a Blue Note CD from the sixties. If it's a picture of a man in blue collar settings, probably blues. If it's abstract art, good chance it's some high concept European free jazz.

Which is exactly what we have here. You know you're dealing with some really out there stuff when there are things like only two tracks on a CD that's over an hour long. Or there are no liner notes, just more abstract art.

The band is made up of Berne and Chris Speed on woodwinds and then guitar, upright bass, and drums. The music is rhythmically unteathered and full of the squawks and pops that people tend to associate with free jazz (if they know what free jazz is).

For all the 'freeness' in free jazz, modern free jazz has some pretty elaborate arrangements. The long piece, Eye Contact, have actual movements to it separated by wild solo segments. And this is not uncommon in modern free jazz, especially coming out of Europe.

I really dig this kind of stuff but it's hard to find other people willing to stomach it. Every once in a while you run into that Mike Patton fan that is able to relate in some ways to the music. Or I wear someone down and eventually ease them into the wilder elements of jazz. But usually, this music is the music I play to ensure I'm alone.

It's not without its melodic elements, they're just punched with chaos and walls of sound.

No comments:

Post a Comment