hmm maybe start a blog about it?
― desk calendar white out (Matt P), Friday, 6 April 2012 22:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
wonderful suggestion, matt
― preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Friday, 6 April 2012 22:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
did you like the last album?
― diamonddave85, Friday, 6 April 2012 23:02 (1 year ago) Permalink
i didn't love it, no, but i didn't find it anywhere near so draggy and tedious as KFL, maybe just a product of relative brevity
― preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Friday, 6 April 2012 23:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
helps that the song "night drive" is right up front, feel like KFL makes me wait forever for something i actually want to hear.
― preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Friday, 6 April 2012 23:08 (1 year ago) Permalink
and i don't know why "i want your love" appeals to me so much more than similar stuff on KFL, but it does. something agreeably scrapy/scrappy music that makes virtue of the dead-end vocal.
― preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Friday, 6 April 2012 23:09 (1 year ago) Permalink
I think I'm enjoying these descriptions of why you dislike the record more than anything.
― MikoMcha, Saturday, 7 April 2012 16:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think i really like this, maybe as much as night drive, dont get how the neil young cover is an exhausted gimmick.
― JacobSanders, Saturday, 7 April 2012 17:59 (1 year ago) Permalink
I don't have a sophisticated defense of this, maybe I like the idea of "a drug-deadened indietronic spin on the wallpaper mood music you hear in Starbucks"? Although I suspect that might actually apply as a description of another artist...
I should say, I have actually have been listening to this over my morning coffee!
Don't agree that the melodies are moving or memorable in any case, at least for the first half of the album. I haven't had enough time to absorb the rest yet.
― MikoMcha, Saturday, 7 April 2012 18:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
Last time I was in a Starbucks they played Paul Simon and the Decemberists and shit. To be honest I would probably really like to sit in a nice, non-sbux coffee place while Symmetry played quietly.
― LaMonte, Saturday, 7 April 2012 18:59 (1 year ago) Permalink
Don't agree that the melodies AREN'T moving or memorable, I should say, obv.
― MikoMcha, Saturday, 7 April 2012 19:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
i'm not so big on breathy-indie-covers as i was, i dunno, ten years ago, but on the neil young cover when i hear 'rock and roll is here to stay' i don't think 'indie cover', i hear them saying: this IS rock and roll, and for some reason i believe it.
― j., Saturday, 7 April 2012 19:40 (1 year ago) Permalink
i was a jerk about this. the starbucks slam was cheap, and saying that chromatics have "no ear for atmospherics" was absolute horseshit. that's the one thing they really do nail. the soundtracky instrumental pieces are some of the best tracks on here.
it's not so much that it's a bad album, but that i was struggling w it and frustrated. i've listened to kill for love a few more times now, and while i might not ever love it, i'm starting to come around. after venting, i asked myself why i was faulting this music so severely for for its "emptiness". if music music creates a generally pleasant atmosphere, why shouldn't that be enough? i had to admit that i was making an implicit demand that music w vocals and pop structures be insistently "engaging" on some level, that droning along pleasantly was cheating somehow, especially if the music seemed "stylish". once i had all that out in the open, i realized i couldn't really defend any of it.
i'm finding that kill for love is very well suited to half-distracted road listening. it's a somnambulent-romantic horror movie, and the dead-eyed vacancy helps tell the story and build the vibe. details like the dixie cup of blood are coming into focus. and the way "into the black" turns neil into "ventura highway" is starting to seem p funny & cool.
― preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Saturday, 7 April 2012 23:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
contie you should listen to this on a lonely night spent walking
― dayo, Saturday, 7 April 2012 23:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
lol, it's funny you should say that. i visited some friends yesterday, and by the time i got there, it was dark. walking through suburbia at night w this on headphones really helped me get where it was coming from and what it might be suited to.
― preternatural concepts concerning variances in sound and texture (contenderizer), Saturday, 7 April 2012 23:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
Was thinking of posting earlier on in the discussion that it's a great album for listening to while doing something else - I've been listening to it a lot at work this week. This is not a bad thing! Quality mood music is always welcome.
― James Bond Jor (seandalai), Saturday, 7 April 2012 23:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm loving the Chromatics album but I agree it's too much of a good thing. If they'd cut through all the meandering bullshit it would be one of the top 10 of the year for me. Some of the songs get ruined by their length... too much tension for too little payoff.
Kill for Love, Into the Black, At Your dOOR and Back from the Grave are tracks of the year tho.
― Moka, Thursday, 12 April 2012 04:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
Despite all of this I haven't found anything distracting me from enjoying the record all the way through. Funny since the last record I put so much effort trying to like, and while I did, I always felt it was carried by style points severely outweighing content. The new one is totally great, a good counter point to my usual noisy 90s indie.
― Evan, Thursday, 12 April 2012 04:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
i love how she sings 'i took a pill almost every niiiight'
― A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Thursday, 12 April 2012 05:17 (1 year ago) Permalink
^^^^^ yeah this
title track has kind of a Jesus & Mary Chain / shoegaze feeling going on that I love
― dmr, Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, that line is great.
― MikoMcha, Friday, 13 April 2012 12:02 (1 year ago) Permalink
Okay, so I've been listening to this album for three weeks straight now and am starting to fall in love. I initially disliked Kill for Love quite strongly (see above). I felt that its accolades were lazy and undeserved, that it was little more than an unfocused exercise in cynical, vacant and rather tediously predictable style. I wanted to dismiss it with prejudice, but felt that I should get to know it in order to more effectively eviscerate its pretensions. Thing is, the more I listened to it, the more distinctive and mysterious it came to seem. The melodies, textures and narratives didn't jump out and grab me at first, but I found that no matter how much I listened, I could neither satisfactorily solve for them nor leave them alone.
Two weeks ago, I allowed that I was "starting to come around". Now I'm almost certain that Kill for Love will wind up being one of my favorite albums of the year. Maybe that's a simple product of time invested, but there aren't many new records that I'd care to listen to 20 or 30 times in the space of a month, and fewer that I could still be productively exploring by that point. I'll happily admit that I don't fully "get" Chromatics, because that's what keeps me coming back.
The first thing I want to talk about here is the idea of distance. Over the past couple weeks, I've read a great many reviews of both Night Drive and Kill for Love, and I'm surprised at how little attention most critics have paid to the way Chromatics "distress" their sound through the application of faux vinyl crackle. This strategy is quite prominent on both albums, and it distances the listener from the music in at least three ways. First, it creates an illusion of separation in time. We are listening to something that does not exist in the now, but is instead arriving to us from the past, from the vinyl-only era of postpunk, Italo-disco and Carpenter-style synth horror soundtracks. The second way the distressed sound distances us is by calling attention to the mechanics of audio reproduction. We are not allowed to sink into the music as immediate/vicarious experience because we are constantly reminded that it is being brought to us via the agency of a medium. The effect is similar to that produced by scratches and dirt on an old motion picture film print. We cannot fully inhabit the vision because we are forced to notice the screen on which it is projected. Finally, the "surface noise" distances us from the music simply by obscuring it. At 2:14 in Chromatics' cover of kate bush's "Running Up That Hill", Ruth Radlet's voice is momentarily lost in distortion and crackle. Here the distancing actually eclipses the music for a moment. This trick is duplicated on the Kill for Love track "Birds of Paradise".
Chromatics' use of this kind of distancing is interesting to me because it helps make sense of their overall aesthetic and approach. When Night Drive came out in 2007, most critics addressed the band's radical shift from fragmentary postpunk rock to sleek, club-friendly electropop, but few admitted how little they'd really changed. Skeletality, noise, mechanical disaffection and staggered rhythms were a big part of the early Chromatics' game, and these are still some of the key elements of their sound. Night Drive and Kill for Love may sound slick and synthetic on the surface, but the individual sonic elements of which they're composed are often quite harsh and awkward. We hear fingers on strings, piercing highs and layers of hissing, curdled static. The rhythmic propulsion is often slightly awkward, lacking dance music's in-the-pocket drive, and most of the tracks feel weirdly scooped out, as though several key elements were missing. Riding over all this discombobulated emptiness is ruth radlet's paper thin whisper of a voice. She has no range to speak of and almost no expressive power. Her singing denies us even electroclash's comedy of confrontational disaffection.
These elements and approaches combine to create an interesting inversion of way "humanity" is conventionally constructed in pop. To some degree or another, we typically equate musical humanity with emotionalism and sentiment. Chromatics flip this completely on its head. In their music, the humanity is the inexpressive. It's the rhythm that doesn't quite come together, the hiccup in the bassline, the failure of the vocals to hit notes or convey emotion. Surrounding this frail and complacent vision of humanity are the mechanisms of music and sound: icy synth arpeggios and plodding drum machines, a fixation on medium and technology, the familiar phrases and melodies that pop songs ordinarily use to convey and induce feeling.
The problem with Kill for Love, mentioned by most critics, is that it's a sprawling, unfocused mess. Not only is it overburdened with second-rate filler, it's very poorly sequenced. Everyone seems to love the band's cover of "Into the Black", but to my mind, this is the song that plays over the end credits. It simply doesn't work as an opening theme. (And I'd like to object very strongly to the Pitchfork review's contention that it is in any sense a "deconstruction" of Neil Young's original. It is not. It does nothing particular novel to or with the song. It does not cause it say anything it didn't say the first time around. It is simply a cover. A nice one, but by no means a reinvention, illumination or deconstruction.) The album's running order as released puts too much emphasis on crispy, brittle, bleach-blonde sunshine up front, sickly horror soundtrack darkness towards the back. Both wear out their welcome, which is unfortunate because there are at least as many worthwhile songs on Kill for Love as there were on Night Drive. The playlist version I'm currently enjoying:
1) Dust to Dust2) These Streets Will Never Look The Same3) Kill for Love4) The Page5) Candy6) There's a Light Out On the Horizon7) Lady8) Birds of Paradise9) The River10) Running from the Sun11) Into the Black
― yuppie bullshit chocolate blogbait (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 18:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
could you elaborate
― Deverly (Bangelo), Monday, 23 April 2012 19:02 (1 year ago) Permalink
i dunno, there's probably a good rimshot gif out there somewhere
― yuppie bullshit chocolate blogbait (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 19:04 (1 year ago) Permalink
shoulda been an in-thread anchor-link
― j., Monday, 23 April 2012 21:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
thought about it
― THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 21:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
with parenthetical references
― j., Monday, 23 April 2012 21:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
anyway, a bit surprising that of the most popular chromatics tunes on spotify, only one is from night drive (the single edit of "tick of the clock"). rounding out the top five are three tracks from the in the city EP and "hands in the dark" from the after dark comp. wonder if night drive has only recently been added though.
― THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 22:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
I bought Night Drive on iTunes when it came out. "Tick of the Clock" makes sense because it was on the Drive soundtrack.
― stay in school if you want to kiw (Gukbe), Monday, 23 April 2012 22:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
"In the City" also had a video and some degree of promotion.
'healer' rips off a riff from shadowplay I think
― dayo, Monday, 23 April 2012 22:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
it turns out that time spent listening to shadowplay is time you can never get back
― THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 22:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
appreciate the challop ^_^
― dayo, Monday, 23 April 2012 22:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
i'd never heard of them, so it's hard to tell which ops are chall
― THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 23:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
you've never heard of joy division?
― dayo, Monday, 23 April 2012 23:04 (1 year ago) Permalink
lol me. i decided for whatever reason that you must be referring to a band, not a song.
yes, "healer" sounds a hell of a lot like "shadowplay" (a song by the band that is called the joy divisions)
― THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Monday, 23 April 2012 23:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
drumless version of Kill For Love fwiw http://pitchfork.com/news/46414-chromatics-share-drumless-version-of-kill-for-love-tour-with-hot-chip/
― diamonddave85, Monday, 7 May 2012 19:50 (1 year ago) Permalink
"The Page" from the new one really reminds me of Joy Division too.
― LeRooLeRoo, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 03:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
While I probably have no need for more Chromatics right now, I'm weirdly pleased with the idea of a drumless mix! Reminds me of Kaito's beatless Special Life/Special Love move.
Also interesting how close this new track list is at times to contenderizer's.
― MikoMcha, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 11:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
anybody else think Mssr. Jewel comes off like a total prick in that pitchfork interview from yesterday?
― caulk the wagon and float it, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 12:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
― caek, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 13:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
Um, yeah. He definitely comes across as arrogant, not that it's especially shocking for a record producer. Also seems to be willing to take a lot of credit for things, real or imagined ('the first mysterious blog movements', 'a lot of bands popping up that had a post-After Dark feel')...
― MikoMcha, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 13:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
And of course, the drumless versions are for web remixes (that JJ will apparently won't even end up listening to because he's in the studio jamming to Jacques Brel!). Anyway, I'm a consumer I guess, so I'll listen to these as well.
Speaking of remixes though:
― MikoMcha, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 13:42 (1 year ago) Permalink
haha gutsy indeed:
There's never been an Italians release that isn't good. There's no filler. Chromatics never released a bad record. Since In the City, everything's been great. All these songs are classics now.
― licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 14:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
That interview bummed me out.
― Davey D, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
Me too. I really don't like the way he keeps casually tossing off the lines about how he could just shit out awesome songs constantly and everyone would love them, but he just didn't want to.
― heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
chromatics are obviously a band helmed by someone more concerned with looking good than being good (or by someone who confuses the two). not always a bad thing.
― 10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
in the long run (part IV, lol), i've finally gotten my head around this album. it's not bad when resequenced, but still not great. some good ideas, but they're held back by their resolute commitment to their aesthetic - and to their crippled singer. ultimately i'm surprised by how little they've progressed in the last five years. this is basically a carbon copy of night drive, down to the corny overreliance on faux surface noise.
― 10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
that interview is hilarious.
But you can't look at this as a business model for other people because the only reason it was possible for us is because the record is so fucking ill.
There's been interest from basically everybody on the radio. Their creative departments are very aware of what we are doing; we're on that radar. I don't write Top 40 vocals, but my beats can be manipulated so that they can be on the radio and be just fine. And they're starting to recognize that.
might be totally true, but he still sounds like a dick.
― 40oz of tears (Jordan), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
oh he's so cool, he has no decision
― some dude, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:19 (1 year ago) Permalink