Cate Le Bon & Bradford Cox “Myths 004” (Mexican Summer)

2019-11-08T04:43:40+00:00November 8th, 2019|

As sure as if it had been mapped in the stars, or written in a prophecy buried deep beneath the sands of the Marfa desert, a collaboration between Cate Le Bon and Bradford Cox was always something of an inevitability. After years of admiring each other’s work from afar, the two finally converged on Marfa, Texas in 2018, at Mexican Summer’s annual Marfa Myths festival. Gaps puttied by a band of frequent Cate Le Bon co-conspirators on drums, saxophone, percussion, keys and additional guitar (Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, Stephen Black of Sweet Baboo, Tim Presley of White Fence, and Samur Khouja); the EP–fourth in Mexican Summer’s Myths series–was written and recorded in just one week.

For both Le Bon and Cox, Myths 004 signals a change of tack: meticulousness thrown to the wind as spontaneous, jammy tales of firemen and 5p plastic bags, unbrushed hair and shoelessness and makeup-daubed landscapes—roll effortlessly off their cuffs. “We committed ourselves to embracing the chaos, surrendering to all moments and moods that travelled through,” says Le Bon. “It’s a crude holiday scrapbook shared by all involved, an amalgamation of the changes in mood and light that shaped the days.”

Though Myths 004’s seven tracks are wondrous in their variety, they sit perfectly alongside one another–the gently melancholic cutlery drawer percussion of sole single “Secretary,” and the lippy cynicism and wit of final hurrah ‘What Is She Wearing’ united; along with every other shape, character, prang, plod and playful bite, by a feeling of sheer joy. ¡Viva la colaboración!

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Deerhunter “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” (4AD)

2019-01-25T04:57:33+00:00January 25th, 2019|

Deerhunter’s eighth LP forgets the questions and makes up unrelated answers. It gets up, walks around, it records itself in several strategic geographic points across North America. It comes home, restructures itself and goes back to bed to avoid the bad news.

From the opening harpsichord and piano figures of ‘Death in Midsummer’, it is impossible to tell where the record came from. Is ‘No One’s Sleeping’ an outtake of an aborted Kinks recording session in 1977 Berlin with Eno producing? No. That is nostalgia. If there is one thing Deerhunter are making clear it is that they have exhausted themselves with that toxic concept.

What they spend their time doing instead is reinventing their approach to microphones, the drum kit, the harpsichord, the electromechanical and synthetic sounds of keyboards. Whatever guitars are left are pure chrome, plugged straight into the mixing desk with no amplifier or vintage warmth.

The result is as thrilling, haunting, and unpredictable as anything in their roughly 15-year career.

Deerhunter have made a science fiction album about the present. Is it needed right now? Is it relevant? Perhaps only to a small audience. DADA was a reaction to the horrors of war. Punk was a reaction to the slow and vacant 70’s. Hip Hop was a liberated musical culture that challenged the notions presented wholesale about the African-American experience. What is popular music today a reaction to?

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