List The Direct References of Stereolab

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"All good things to come.."

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

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

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

"Pause" samples the "Swedish Rhapsody" numbers station transmission.
(Numbers stations transmission consist of transient noise bursts with announcements.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVqaoxxsN7Q
More info:
http://www.simonmason.karoo.net/page30.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_station

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

Corn Flakes

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 26 October 2007 23:52 (ten 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 (ten 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?

http://perso.orange.fr/vivonzeureux/Images/familysavoir1.jpg

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

i'm not on board with a lot of these, but ...
http://youtube.com/watch?v=IrFdR7I_kjM
http://youtube.com/watch?v=s9N1uwNEraM
http://youtube.com/watch?v=E9iiJy0jWSg
http://youtube.com/watch?v=LNAO-vqa6R0

-- 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 (ten years ago) Permalink

http://www.seafriends.org.nz/photolib/shows/snapper.jpg

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

And from an NZ domain too.

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

now i see snapper, sorry.

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

The Lightning Seeds: "Pure"

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

This thread is why I've never liked Stereolab and have never tried very hard to

Tom D., Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

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

See, Jon, I actually wasn't be snide about asking what the "point" of them is -- reading this thread, for the first time I began to think that maybe I was missing something about Stereolab's referentiality. I honestly used to think, "These guys are the lowest form of hero worship" -- Neu, Serge Gainsbourg, etc. It never seemed to rise above the materials they were pilfering.

But what you've laid out above is much, MUCH more obsessive than that -- more than I ever realized and definitely more than mere hero worship. It's almost as if Stereolab intentionally went into this thinking that they were going to be analog plunderphonics, creating their work exclusively out of the songs and aesthetics of others' to the exclusion of any original material whatsoever.

And I think that's absolutely fascinating -- a word I never would have associated with Stereolab in my life.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

Primal Scream for hipsters

Tom D., Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

Because Primal Scream are for the masses, maaaaan

nabisco, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:48 (ten years ago) Permalink

The idea that they're somehow insane plunderers is getting WAY overblown on this thread, for a lot of reasons:

(a) the stuff up at the top of the thread consists of the same kind of iconographic / non-musical references most every band takes up in the service of creating an image/aesthetic

(b) the number of direct musical borrowings may not be as high as this thread makes it seem, considering that this band has released approximately 18,000,000 songs

(c) the only reason those borrowings get tagged as somehow significant is precisely because they were borrowing from sources that were (at the time) somewhat arcane -- a rock band that borrows just as much from obvious sources like the Kinks or Clash or Gang of Four or whatever is not considered to be plundering, mostly because they're interpreted as following in a common tradition, and not trying to get credit for those sources; it's not necessarily a safe bet that anything different is going on with Stereolab

(d) it's somewhat off to act as if these borrowings were somehow discrete: one of the best things about their middle period was the way a lot of their influences just went bubbling around in an amalgam that could seem to be referencing, say, K Komeda and Neu! and Jobim and Francoise Hardy in equal parts and at the same time

nabisco, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

Exactly. It's worth pointing out for example that their song "The Free Design" doesn't actually sound like the Free Design, "Into Outer Space With Lucia Pamela" sounds completely unlike Lucia Pamela's album of that name etc etc.

everything, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 18:09 (ten years ago) Permalink

BUT the coda for the song "The Free Design" is an intact borrowing of the intro to ABBA's "Dancing Queen"

the point that it all comes out sounding like Stereolab has already been made on this thread, I think they certainly have their own distinctive voice. but it's a strange voice with hundreds of carefully chosen historical voices shoehorned into it. nabisco's point C is also key, the things they reference were obscure during their own time and still obscure by the time Stereolab brought them up again -- making a preferable alternate history = having a voice

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 18:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

is there a specific origin for the phrase "space age bachelor pad music" or is that just a record collector catch-all term for "Martin Denny and Esquivel records"?

I googled for it but all I found was the Esquivel record under that name, which was a collection that came out after the Stereolab EP had already used the phrase ...

dmr, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 18:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

http://www.chaoskitty.com/sabpm/sapvol1.html

It should be pointed out that the phrase "Space Age Pop" wasn't in vogue when this music was created. That term arose during the mid-1980s, when cultural trashpickers--underground cartoonists and free-form DJs--were scavenging through thrift store bins and used record shops, paying 50 cents an armload for the stuff--because nobody else wanted it. Moreover, the vinyl archaeologists who bought those castoff relics developed a new (or in some cases renewed) appreciation for the quirky signals etched in the grooves. The producer credits Los Angeles artist Byron Werner with coining the phrase "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music"--later shortened to Space Age Pop by the producer.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 18:59 (ten years ago) Permalink

So [ban me], are you saying I should just go back to being bored by them again?

Because I can!

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:13 (ten years ago) Permalink

(what did N-i-t-s-u-h's name get replaced by "[ban me]" in my post?)

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:14 (ten years ago) Permalink

cause you're always going around using people's real names

An Incomplete Catalog of Space Age Bachelor Pad Music

Danny and Dena Guglielmi's 'Adventure in Sound' & Elsa Popping's 'Delirium in Hi-Fi' are standouts. The latter's particularly French, a 1959 pop record made with concrète techniques.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

Since when is that verboten? Everyone's emails used to be on here WITH their names!

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

happier times

remember rivers, becky?

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

I have the Elsa Popping record. it's pretty good but the descriptions of the songs on the back of the sleeve made it sound like it was going to be really really good.

dmr, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think that record's really really really good. side one's especially demented.

& the Boris Vian involvement is a huge connect-the-dots perk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b5Cs0AlsZM
http://wapedia.mobi/en/Boris_Vian

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Froth on the Daydream" is an excellent book

zappi, Thursday, 1 November 2007 13:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

Ok, Nabisco:

(a) the stuff up at the top of the thread consists of the same kind of iconographic / non-musical references most every band takes up in the service of creating an image/aesthetic

Yes...and no. Not every band does it by any means -- these guys worked extra hard at creating that image/aesthetic.

(b) the number of direct musical borrowings may not be as high as this thread makes it seem, considering that this band has released approximately 18,000,000 songs

Ha, agreed but...now I'm just guessing, but I bet it is.

(c) the only reason those borrowings get tagged as somehow significant is precisely because they were borrowing from sources that were (at the time) somewhat arcane -- a rock band that borrows just as much from obvious sources like the Kinks or Clash or Gang of Four or whatever is not considered to be plundering, mostly because they're interpreted as following in a common tradition, and not trying to get credit for those sources; it's not necessarily a safe bet that anything different is going on with Stereolab

The first difference with the Kinks, Clash and Gang of Four is that you wouldn't notice those sources as much anyway. With Stereolab, you do -- even if you don't get the references, as I was mentioning earlier in the thread, there isn't a moment in their catalogue (as I know it anyway) that at its most opaque doesn't sound at least like an homage to someone or something. Beyond that, though, is there ANYTHING they're done that doesn't hark back to some other source, be it a song title, lyric, instrumentation, artwork, melody, etc.? Again, this isn't something I really thought much about before -- but I'm asking seriously...

(d) it's somewhat off to act as if these borrowings were somehow discrete: one of the best things about their middle period was the way a lot of their influences just went bubbling around in an amalgam that could seem to be referencing, say, K Komeda and Neu! and Jobim and Francoise Hardy in equal parts and at the same time

This is a point I actually agree with, in large part. But I would chalk that up to the maturation process more than anything.

"Insane plunderers"? I dunno -- pop's been around too long to argue anything exists in a vacuum. But Stereolab very consciously seem to not even bother trying.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 1 November 2007 14:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

BUT the coda for the song "The Free Design" is an intact borrowing of the intro to ABBA's "Dancing Queen"

Haha, I never noticed this! Probably because I wasn't really familiar with ABBA when Cobra and Phases Group came out.

jaymc, Thursday, 1 November 2007 14:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

Those YouTube clips are great; I think the Komeda/Sun Ra/Ono comparisons are the most striking - the rest are a bit of a stretch.

Of course, now I must go out and buy every Goraguer/Komeda soundtrack I can find.

Michael Jones, Thursday, 1 November 2007 15:01 (ten years ago) Permalink

Komeda did Rosemary's Baby, I believe.

jaymc, Thursday, 1 November 2007 15:01 (ten years ago) Permalink

BUT the coda for the song "The Free Design" is an intact borrowing of the intro to ABBA's "Dancing Queen"

Holy shit, so it does! That's why it's bothered me for so many years.

Hey and now Dancing Queen's always going to remind me of The Free Design.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 2 November 2007 01:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think they got that part via "Oliver's Army."

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 2 November 2007 04:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

j/k

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 2 November 2007 04:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

Oliver and his army
Will work on a project
To make the people happy
And further production

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 2 November 2007 04:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

NTI -- there was an ILE thread where people were having fun posting my real name a lot, so the Lou E. Jagga code got applied. This will be awesome if I become famous and successful and there are threads like "Nobel Prize awarded to BAN ME."

It's funny how it seems like you agree with me about the mechanics of point (c), but still see it as a problem! I think the thing I'm trying to get at there is that it's not necessarily a matter of varying levels of "creativity" -- the way Stereolab will approach a task like "sounding like Neu!" does not seem to me to be particularly less creative than the way some standard-ass rock band might approach "sounding like the Clash." And Milton's point about having an alternate history of basic references is kind of key here. I think I wrote somewhere (review of Oscillons?) that there was a later-90s point where any given Stereolab track seemed like a thought experiment in imagining different pop worlds: one song where pop's main influences were Hardy / Denny / Faust, another where pop's main influences were Can / Jarre / Gilberto, and so on infinitely. This made for interesting stuff, I think.

I am totally cool with you just plain being bored with it; I just tend not to agree with the idea that it's some kind of shameless mix-and-match "easy" plundering, largely because they've tended to do the mixing and matching in a really sophisticated and hard-working way.

nabisco, Friday, 2 November 2007 18:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

Wait, wait, wait -- I think you misread what I meant. I'm not saying they're boring -- I'm saying I may have missed how fascinating they are! I may have missed the extent to which they were essentially coding everything they did in, yes, another language quite apart from what we think of when we think of "pop." And yes, I'm saying that's actually a helluva lot more fascinating than, yeah, "Now let's juxtapose Neu! and Bridget Bardot."

I still find the depth of their plundering to be kind of remarkable -- it's certainly far more sophisticated than I'd thought when I listened to them during the mid-90s. I mean, Magma notwithstanding, there aren't too many acts who've essentially created their own language.

So, getting back to my earlier point, I guess that's the aesthetic then -- "Stereolab's Bizarro Pop Canon."

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 2 November 2007 19:12 (ten years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's definitely a good part of the appeal! If you listen through the EP tracks on Oscillons, you get more of a sense of how they were working that angle -- a lot of their sidework tracks seemed like fun-experiment answers to questions, some of which actually may be as simple as "what if Bardot fronted Faust?" and the like. Did someone mention upthread how their on-stage set-lists would contain working titles that were just the sources -- songs referred to as, say, "Sun Ra Cage" or "Can samba" or whatever? The main one that always sticks out in my memory had the working title "Heavenly Van Halen," which is the kind of interesting pop-imagination experiment I can totally go for. (Was that the one that wound up being called "Pinball?")

nabisco, Friday, 2 November 2007 19:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

BUT the coda for the song "The Free Design" is an intact borrowing of the intro to ABBA's "Dancing Queen"

Wow, I must say -- I just dl'd Cobra Phase and listened to this w/o actually hearing it, until I played it back. It's pretty clearly intentional but buried beyond belief.

Incidentally, I'm only 3 songs into it, but Cobra Phase seems pretty packed with the Dave Brubeck "Take Five" grooves.

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 3 November 2007 19:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

Some further insights via Simon Reynolds' interview w/ them in 1996:

"I'm not into the kitsch element," Gane says. "I'm more into the futuristic side, the way orchestral big band music was crossed in the '60s with early electronic music – stuff that was originally done for cynical, commercial reasons often resulted in some very strange combinations and juxtapositions of sounds."

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 3 November 2007 19:51 (ten years ago) Permalink


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