List The Direct References of Stereolab

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is supposed to be based on the comic series Pravda la Survireuse by Guy Peellaert.

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 25 October 2007 00:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yes, this is a nice thread. Milton rocks.

nabisco, do they really reference _À Rebours_? That's one of my favorite books ever.

Turangalila, Thursday, 25 October 2007 00:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Here are the YouTube dissections of musical origins I was talking about. Apart from a couple things that seem too basic to see as steals (e.g., the Canned Heat), they're mostly pretty clear lifts or pastiches, without too many stretches -- and a couple disappointing "oh man, I can't believe you lifted the melody" parts. Mostly it's rhythmic grooves and feels they're snipping from things and using as a basis for their own stuff.

Artists mentioned: Faust, Piero Piccioni, Canned Heat, Gal Costa, Krzystzof Komeda, Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, Sun Ra, Snapper, Wanderlea, Laurie Anderson, the Association, the Archies, Serge Gainsbourg, Neu!, Silver Apples, Steve Reich, and Plastic Ono Band (as source of "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" bass line -- this was the only one that kinda surprised me!)

nabisco, Thursday, 25 October 2007 00:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

xpost turangalila I'm not 100% sure. 'against nature' is the title in translation and a direct reference would have used the original french. the lyrics do seem to me like a commentary or response to the book, I linked them upthread

Milton Parker, Thursday, 25 October 2007 00:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

if it is a reference it's admittedly not a very direct one (though I'm sure they've read it) -- with those lines about 'war', probably something else made the song's orbit as well

I actually liked this translation better, but I went for the pop edition to underscore the reference

Milton Parker, Thursday, 25 October 2007 00:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

You're talking about the bass line to "Metronomic Underground," I take it?
Yup, that's what I'm talking about, jaymc.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 25 October 2007 00:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Milton I can't believe you didn't post this -

Stormy Davis, Thursday, 25 October 2007 01:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

xxpost Milton

Hmm... yes. "Living fantasy of the immortal"


I've actually only read it in Spanish. Going to buy this version you recommend!

Turangalila, Thursday, 25 October 2007 02:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Gastr del Sol opened for Stereolab at the Metro in Chicago back in the mid-90s, and a couple weeks before the show I bumped into David Grubbs at the Hyde Park Kinko's on 57th St. He showed me the gig flyer he was printing up which read "Stereolab - 'John Cage Bubblegum' / Gastr del Sol - 'Steve Reich n Roll'"

Stormy Davis, Thursday, 25 October 2007 02:03 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I didn't actually go that show tho. Dumb! I never saw Stereolab.

Stormy Davis, Thursday, 25 October 2007 02:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink


jaxon, Thursday, 25 October 2007 02:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

it's been so long, but they ripped the bassline for a song directly from a yoko ono tune from her first or second solo album

jaxon, Thursday, 25 October 2007 02:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

dad a, Thursday, 25 October 2007 04:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Mark Rich@rdson, Thursday, 25 October 2007 04:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Prokofiev's Symphonie Diabolique:

dad a, Thursday, 25 October 2007 04:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

dad a, Thursday, 25 October 2007 05:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

if it is a reference it's admittedly not a very direct one (though I'm sure they've read it) -- with those lines about 'war', probably something else made the song's orbit as well

Well after the lines about war, they've got:
This is the future of an illusion
Aggressive culture of despotism
Living fantasy of the immortal
The reality of an animal

Of course the first line is:,204,203,200_PIlitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.gif
I wonder if the next three lines are from three other fin-de-siecle sources.

These Robust Cookies, Thursday, 25 October 2007 06:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

One of their tracks is based on "Disco Rough" by Mathématiques Modernes.

Raw Patrick, Thursday, 25 October 2007 09:20 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Can't think of anything less obvious right now (I thought I was a genius for spotting the 100 Years of Solitude thing once and then googled it and nabisco had already written about it on Pitchfork, thus I lose), but "Enivrez-Vous!" from Peng! takes its lyrics from a Baudelaire prose-poem.

I'd always wondered about some of these! Thanks.

a passing spacecadet, Thursday, 25 October 2007 10:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Maybe someone knows what that French Disco line really is: Bubble Withdrawal?

Mark G, Thursday, 25 October 2007 10:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

zeus, Thursday, 25 October 2007 11:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I have her CD somewhere, it is bats!

Mark G, Thursday, 25 October 2007 11:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

a lot of that youtube series of comparisons are a little on the vague side, but they're fun

I would not have compared 'Emperor Tomato Ketchup' to 'Why?' by the Plastic Ono Band, I'd have used "Les Histoires D'A" by Les Rita Mitsouko

Stereolab guilty:

Milton Parker, Thursday, 25 October 2007 23:20 (eleven years ago) Permalink

& I will post these anyway

Sylvie Vartan - Cette lettre-là (1965)

Sylvie Vartan - Par amour par pitié (1966)

Sylvie Vartan - Irresistiblement

Milton Parker, Thursday, 25 October 2007 23:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Pack Yr. Romantic Mind:

Bill in Chicago, Thursday, 25 October 2007 23:42 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 26 October 2007 03:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that was feeble, sorry

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 26 October 2007 03:16 (eleven years ago) Permalink

brilliant thread, that Jirí Trnka film is mindblowing. good work!

has anyone mentioned family fodder yet?, as a general influence and specifically savoire faire and it's uncanny resemblance to (i think) wow and flutter. was it milton who mentioned upstairs somewhere that sterolab steals seem a bit disingenuous? i dunno if i could go along with that, their references generally seem pretty overt, if obscure. i think it's pretty key to the appeal of stereolab that you just know everything is pilfered.

cw, Friday, 26 October 2007 11:51 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yet nothing sounds quite like Stereolab. Sort of like a robot made of all sorts.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 26 October 2007 11:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

holy shit this thread. overwhelming amount of info. more pls!

CharlieNo4, Friday, 26 October 2007 12:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

What Charlie No4 said above.

thanks, people

Daniel Giraffe, Friday, 26 October 2007 12:51 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"All good things to come.."

Mark G, Friday, 26 October 2007 12:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

MBV,Spacemen 3, Astrud Gilberto, Nico, Francoise Hardy.

Zeno, Friday, 26 October 2007 13:12 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Pause" samples the "Swedish Rhapsody" numbers station transmission.
(Numbers stations transmission consist of transient noise bursts with announcements.)
More info:

dad a, Friday, 26 October 2007 14:03 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Wouldn't it be quicker to just list the things that aren't a direct influence on Stereolab?

Like uh........ummmmm........

PhilK, Friday, 26 October 2007 14:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Corn Flakes

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 26 October 2007 23:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

You obviously haven't heard the obscure 1996 comp-only track "Kellogg Oberheim Fondle"

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 27 October 2007 00:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Does it count that they play this record sometimes before they go on mean it's a reference, or just a somewhat similar sound?

Soundslike, Saturday, 27 October 2007 00:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i'm not on board with a lot of these, but ...

-- jaxon, Saturday, 27 October 2007 10:23 (53 minutes ago) Bookmark Link

Some of those are either acknowledged influences (Gane has said Flower Call Nowhere is based on Fearless Vampire Killers, which is obvious when you hear the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH bit) or incredibly tenuous links. Quite a few are disturbingly close though.

Autumn Almanac, Saturday, 27 October 2007 01:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

keythkeyth, Saturday, 27 October 2007 01:46 (eleven years ago) Permalink

And from an NZ domain too.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 27 October 2007 01:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

You poopheadz, I posted those just upthread!

The really tenuous ones are the things that seem common to a million songs, too common to count as a "steal" even if they're directly referencing the original -- the Canned Heat one is pretty free-floating in the whole world of music at this point, and the Archies one is like, umm, pretty common rhythm guitar sound.

nabisco, Saturday, 27 October 2007 22:30 (eleven years ago) Permalink

now i see snapper, sorry.

keythkeyth, Saturday, 27 October 2007 23:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

astrud gilberto - "summer sweet"

listen to the verses and tell me that the organ sound and chord changes aren't like a total mid-era Stereolab sound.

Steve Shasta, Sunday, 28 October 2007 00:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Jon, amazingly comprehensive -- nice work. I will admit I had no idea of the extent to which their music was referential.

Should we start a thread about the 'Lab aesthetic -- ie, what the point of all this is? Because for me, the mind has always been engaged by the sum total of their work -- in particular, the (frankly unprecedented) vigilance of their postmodernism. But the heart, which has to judge Stereolab records on their musical merits, is altogether less convinced.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 28 October 2007 15:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The whole thing started collapsing under its own weight when they started collaborating with fellow derivative bricoleurs, the High Llamas.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 28 October 2007 22:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The Lightning Seeds: "Pure"

Mark G, Monday, 29 October 2007 16:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Pack Yr Romantic Mind from Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements begins with a sample from "Pop Orbite", a song on Chico Magnetic Band's album.

-- oscar, Wednesday, October 24, 2007 11:32 PM (6 days ago) Bookmark Link

actually "Pop Orbite" is sampling the same fragment of that Perrey / Kingsley tune "One Note Samba -- Spanish Flea". thanks for getting me to check out that Chico Magnetic Band album though, it's nuts

The Groop Played "Midnight Cowboy" Music

>Should we start a thread about the 'Lab aesthetic -- ie, what the point of all this is?

I think we all know what the point is, I like their tunes. If they're sometimes a little too wallpapery, the wallpaper suits me -- if I'm going to tune out to something lovely, it's reassuring that when I tune back in I realize the lyrics are about Bataille or Marx instead of guns or money or something poisonous). I like that they leave a trail of crumbs leading to the inspirations, I'm just surprised more people don't investigate them when it's such a blatant aspect of their whole project

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 30 October 2007 19:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Can I just point out that the arrangement of Perrey & Kingsley's One Note Samba/Spanish Flea medley is surely based on the Sergio Mendez medley of the same two songs which was released the previous year. All the changes take place at identical points in the songs, the tempo is almost identical also. It's like they used it as a template. I realize that this has nothing to do with Stereolab though I'm sure they must have at some point betrayed a Sergio Mendez influence.

everything, Tuesday, 30 October 2007 22:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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