Todays track is a bit of a weird one – believe me when I say you have to hear it to believe it. I was working from home today so my pick is a freebie. The last few posts I have done have been for new tracks that are pretty well known and getting quite a bit of coverage. But the beauty of contributing to a blog is the opportunity to indulge oneself now and again and also maybe share something that not too many people may have come across. So todays pick is a bit out there. Chatting to my mate John from work a while back, about electronic versions of songs, prompted me to dig out an old favourite of mine.
I have gone for a track by self-titled ‘Cyberpunk Rock Band’ – 386dx. Where to start with this one, well 386dx is Russian, Alexi Shulgin, a contemporary artist and musician. Basically, 386dx was a computer running windows 3.1 and everything he does in this guise is through that machine hence his adoption of the name. As well as creating the music on this machine he also performs live with it using it to also run his visuals. Even the vocals are created by the computer – the result is at times amusing, brilliant and at others downright scary.
I picked up his first release after hearing it on John Peel around 1998 (I think). It is called ‘Best Of 386dx’ and is made up of 15 cover versions. As well as playing the cd you can actually boot a version of windows 3.1 from the cd and recreate the tracks yourself. To be honest I have never done this (not being the best with that sort of thing) but I am thinking I need to give it a go. The tracks he chooses are all classics: California Dreaming (unnerving yet weirdly brilliant), Jumping Jack Flash and Satisfaction, Should I Stay or Should I Go, Light My Fire, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Rock ‘n’ Roll to name a few. Every track has something interesting about it, even the ones that don’t really work. The computer generated vocal obviously can’t deal with the different timings and subtleties of a human voice and so it kind of creates its own weird timing and versions. As Mr Shulgin considered it a punk band I have gone for his version of The Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy In The U.K.’ – to be fair, it is the best cover on the album, from the computer replicated cry to start the track off to the completely out of key bridge. It really suits the computer sounds and vocal (not sure what that says about the band and Lydon), plus, you could argue it is what punk was all about. Simple music that anyone can make. Computers and the web have made it far easier for people to create and get their music out. I guess you could call this one of the earliest adopters – brilliant.
For more on Alexi Shuglin go here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Shulgin
For more on the above album and 386dx go here http://www.easylife.org/386dx/
Playlist: Thursday 3rd May 2012
No playlist today.