Tag Archives: Stereolab

Seventeenth Week: December 27th, 2015 – January 2nd, 2016

This is the last week of this thing, at least for a while. Essentially, it boils down to me only moving forward and listening to new stuff once or twice, but not getting to dig in deeper. I also don’t get to listen to stuff that I know and love and just want to listen to again. Scaling down from 10 records to five made the “project” very do-able, but it didn’t make other music-listening any easier.

I initially started this project/blog because I felt like I wasn’t listening to enough new music. I got a little jaded with the stuff I know, and I knew that there’s a lot of music out there that I don’t know, so challenging myself to actively listen and explore new music was a great solution, and it literally opened up my horizons.

I became acquainted with 140 records, all of them I listened to for the first time in the past 17 weeks. Now is the time to go back and listen to them and get to know them very well. A week or two break won’t be enough to do that, because of the same life limitations that make it difficult to listen to 10 (or 5) new records every week. If I ever reach that point again where I only listen to stuff I know and I get bored with it, then I’ll start listening to five new records every week.

I should say, though, that writing about what I was listening to enhanced the listening experience, and I was getting a lot more out of one listen than I would otherwise. It also helped cataloging things in my head, and having a record of my thoughts on them helped me not forget them. So I’m going to keep writing about new records I listen to, and maybe publish a post when I listen to five or ten new ones.

If you’re one of my friends who kept checking on this site every week (or whenever), then thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to read. If you stumbled on this website and you took the time to read it, then thank you, too.

1. Ron Carter – Third Plane [1977]

Saw this at a record store for $7 and figured that a record with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams can’t be bad.

It’s not bad, but it’s not what I hoped it would be, which is funk inspired jazz like Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters stuff. Instead it’s these three dudes jamming on what sounds like Real Book standards. In fact, when I said to my wife “I don’t know about this record” she said “yeah, it’s perfect for background music” (she was doing some work).

The second side is a little better.

2. Terry Riley – In C [1968]

Absolutely gorgeous and relentless. Nothing like I ever listened to before, although there are similarities between it and some Philip Glass works. It’s going to take me a while to decipher this whole thing, but it’s really incredible.

3. Kluster –¬†Zwei-Osterei [1971]

This record, like Klopfzeichen, is very avant-garde compared to Cluster, and I like it more than Klopfzeichen. it’s pretty amazing to hear the change between the two group. You could say Cluster is almost pop music compared to this stuff.

Anyway, not much to say about this record, other than that it’s more a collection of sounds and truly minimalist. There’s also a lot of spoken word, but I have no idea what the guy is saying because it’s in German. I think I heard Hiroshima at one point, so maybe WWII?

¬†4. Harmonia & Eno ’76 – Tracks and Traces [2015]

I bought the new Harmonia box set (don’t worry, I had a gift card for about half of it and sold some records). It has all the material that Harmonia ever released, pressed on vinyl, and this record, along with a few extra tracks is in there. I decided to write that the year is 2015 because it does have some extra tracks (I’m listening to it with the extra tracks).

It’s a pretty fun record so far. Very ambient-y, more than Deluxe or Musik Von Harmonia in my opinion. I find that around that time in the 70s, that was Eno’s thing – always try and turn things into ambient music. It’s not bad, but so far I think that is kind of holding Harmonia back. I’m also only on the first side, so I’m holding off on any real judgement.

The fourth side of the record is really strong with a couple of excellent tracks – When Shade was Born and Aubade.

5. Stereolab – Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements [1993]

I like this record better than Dots and Loops. It’s more experimental (kind of) and has motorik, and the songs are overall better. However, at a little over an hour it’s a bit too long. Going to put this one on more often than I will put Dots and Loops probably.



Sixteenth Week: December 20th – 26th, 2015

1. Thoughts Detecting Machine – Work the Circuits [2015]

Thoughts Detecting Machine is Rick Valentine who was in Poster Children, who I don’t really know very much about. He plays everything himself (guitars, bass, programmed drums) and performs it all by himself too – just him playing guitar and singing, and a computer as a backing band. The first time I saw him live was pretty incredible and I bought his EP immediately. I’ve since seen him two more times and it didn’t have the same effect on me. One time I thought I was just watching someone look at his computer and play guitar, and the third time fell somewhere between the other two performances. Anyway, I bought this LP.

It’s alright. It’s a similar production and songwriting like what’s on the EP I have, but the songs aren’t as good. I think one song was at the level of the EP, but (of course) I only listened to it once, so maybe some things haven’t just sunk in yet.

2. Anthony Braxton – Creative Orchestra Music 1976 [1976]

This is an interesting record. It’s a mix of bebop and carnival music with some free improvisation. Some songs (like the first one) even have bebop solos. I like this mix of straight ahead and free stuff. It makes me appreciate both more.

3. Stereolab – Dots and Loops [1997]

Another band I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. I think it’s happened more than once that I’d hear this cool song and ask what it is and be told it’s Stereolab, so here I am listening to what I think is their most successful album.

It’s kind of lounge-y, a little like Jamiroquai but not as coked up (the first couple J records were great!). It’s also a long record, and those are always difficult the first time you listen to them. I think I need to listen to it where it’s more in the background than almost the sole thing I’m focused on, get used to the songs and see how I feel about it.

4. Can – Soon Over Babaluma [1974]

Did these guys jump the shark? Possibly! In terms of sonics they’re maybe being more innovative than the previous records, but the songs are kind of meh.

5. Cluster & Eno [1976]

You know who’s playing on this record.

Only listened to it once and I’m not feeling it. It’s more ambient than the stuff Cluster was doing, and sounds closer to “modern” electronic music than 70s electronic music. I feel like it’s more about sounds than actual songs, but at the same time it’s different than the Kluster record from last week. As always, I’ll give it a few more listens, but I don’t have any hopes that they’ll reveal much.