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What's new in iJamming!...
Tue, Oct 23, 2001
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
HEDONISM:
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
MUSING ON A SEPTEMBER MOURNING
PART1:
My immediate reaction to September 11
PART 2: Messages from friends & family overseas
PART 3: Observations & quotes from others.
PART 4: LINKS
PART 5: COPING - 2 weeks later
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
JOHN ACQUAVIVA
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured albums
(Hub, Slumber Party, DJ Harry, Spearhead, The Who tribute
)
Albums that sound different since September 11
(Charlatans UK, Arabian Travels, Cafe del Mar, Sugarcult)
Featured wine region 3:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE WHITES
Featured wine region 4:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE ROSÉS
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother (DB, Spooky, Jody, RSW, Bad Boy Bill)
FEATURED Wines (Langlois Cremant de Loire, Honig Sauvignon Blanc, Campbell's Muscat, Brumont Gros Manseng, Dr Frank Gewürtztraminer, Daubree CoteRotie, Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, Mas Saint Laurent Picpoul, Quivira Dry Creek)
The iJAMMING! interview: DAVID SYLVIAN
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
From Homework to the Disco:
DAFT PUNK
grows up and dumbs down
The iJAMMING! chat:
MARK PERRY

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
The Return of Shoegazing:
DOVES take New York by swarm
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
Musing with SALLY TAYLOR:
"I'm not interested in what the major labels have to offer."
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
TRAVIS.
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
LLOYD COLE
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
Featured vine:
VIOGNIER:
Finally, a worthy rival to Chardonnay.
The iJAMMING! interview:
BOY GEORGE.
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
SUPERDRAG
They love rock'n'roll but they don't want to deal with the hassle
From the JAMMING! archives: RAYMONDE in 1985
The full iJamming! Contents
From Homework to the Disco:
DAFT PUNK
grows up and dumbs down

(The review below was originally scheduled for the April issue of Revolver. A last minute layout crisis forced it out. Not the first time, won't be the last. Revolver not only pays its writers regardless of whether a story is printed (as should be the case in publishing if a story is commissioned and accepted), it's also been kind enough to OK this review's use elsewhere. For me, that means here.
DAFT PUNK
DISCOVERY
VIRGIN

Four years is a lifetime in dance music. Whole genres come and go; fortunes are made and careers forgotten. Yet ever since Daft Punk's pioneering 1997 debut ‘Homework’ introduced French house to the masses, Parisian disco producers have been permanent guests of honor on the global dancefloor. And rather than wearing their welcome thin, their increasing reliance on vocodered vocals, Chic bass lines and filtered synths appears appears only to have made it easier for the likes of Dimitry from Paris, Cassius, Bob Sinclar - even Madonna with her Mirwais-produced ‘Music’ - gain immediate entrance to global club culture's VIP section.

The return of the originators, then, is cause for excitement. But those hoping that Daft Punk will accept the mantle of next Underworld or Moby - extending existing electronic genres into something futuristic - may be disappointed to find that the duo has instead entered a Fatboy Slim phase. This decision to dumb down was well broadcast by the single "One More Time" which, in the vein of the Fatboy’s “Rockafeller Skank” a couple of years before it, has gone from irresistible to inescapable to infuriating in inverse ratio to its rise in mass market popularity. On ‘Discovery,’ “One More Time” is followed first by the Queen-like guitar squealing of “Aerodynamics,” then by Daft Punk’s singing debut, “Digital Love,” best described as Buggles goosing Supertramp under the strobe light. Retro can be fun, obviously, but given that Daft Punk's videos, tours, online ventures and iconoclastic imagery have all proven revolutionary, it’s hard not to feel disappointed that ‘Disco-very,’ to logically unravel the album title, is so reactionary.

Less debatable is Bangalter and Homem-Christo’s studio genius. “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” will have techno producers worldwide scratching their mixing boards in admiration of its breakneck vocal cut-ups. The instrumentals “Crescendolls,” “Superheroes” (with inspired Barry Manilow sample), “High Life” and “Voyager” are hyperactive, hedonistic calls to the dancefloor. And the finale “Too Long” brings back “One More Time”s American singer Romanthony for another house anthem of emotional emancipation that oh-so-wryly clocks in at precisely ten minutes.

"Retro can be fun, obviously, but given that Daft Punk's videos, tours, online ventures and iconoclastic imagery have all proven revolutionary, it’s hard not to feel disappointed that ‘Disco-very,’ to logically unravel the album title, is so reactionary."

Yet even allowing for dumbness as an art form, ‘Discovery’ occasionally sounds just stupid. “Face to Face,” featuring New Jersey vocalist Todd Edwards, recalls the worst of early 80's synth-poppers Howard Jones or Nik Kershaw. “Something About Us,” with the Punks back on vocal duty, is schmaltzy disco balladry as also doesn’t need reviving. And while there is justification for French producers’ reliance on the vocoder (in that it disguises and globalizes their heavy accents), there is also the matter of overkill. We’d reached that point long before Daft Punk made the effect mandatory on ‘Discovery.’

It’s informative to return to ‘Homework’ and hear how sparse, refined - how techno, as opposed to disco - that debut sounds in comparison. Earnest, too: on “Teachers,” Daft Punk name-checked underground producers like Jeff Mills and Joey Beltram for the eventual benefit of millions. There is nothing half so educational on ‘Discovery.’ Dancefloor devotees may ask why there needs to be, and it's true that at only 25, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo have ample opportunity to make the dancefloor ‘Sgt. Peppers.’ In the meantime, they've come to join the house party that they kicked off four years ago and have since been too busy to enjoy. When it’s over, there are going to be some seriously painful hangovers - but no one in Paris seems about to turn out the disco lights.

A controversial album, for sure. Picking up the cover artwork off Amazon.com, I see many intelligent comments (and obviously, some less so) regarding the artistic qualities of this album's musical volte-face. Click here to read what some of the Yanks have been saying, here to read some Brit opinions. Anyone got a French link?

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iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2001.