Know Your Product
Left turns, folk bliss, and an online do-it-yourself song kit
Published: March 16, 2011
“Where U From”
The Baltimore club of the internet is a weird place. The madman interpretations out there in the world don’t represent so much of an evolution of club as they do cultural super-collider byproducts—which is about as close an analogy to fast-moving chaos as you’re gonna find. Ricky Rabbit—or Rick RAb or Ricky RA or Nick Rivetti—you might know most recently for doing production for hibernating Maryland hip-hop trio Food for Animals and, otherwise, as a member of the circle of future-forward, post-genre dance-floor producers that includes folks like Mark Brown and Cex.
That post-genre bit makes “Where U From” an interesting thing, seeing that it’s an explicit exercise in genre, and that club is historically a pretty simple, even rulebook-y thing. Well, maybe less than you think: The pieces here are all wonky, the track jumps around like it’s covered in springs, the bass is look-at-me heavy/quaking, and it generally seems like one big build with no release. “Where U From” still feels mostly right, though, and doesn’t lose club’s vital ad hocness. Nor does the song sound like a variation on club music because that would mean it was spinning toward a specific style or thing. With many a dashing and darting layer producing unexpected trippiness, “Where U From” feels like a particularly mindmelt-y one-time mutation inspired purely by a why not? sense of fun.
For more information visit soundcloud.com/rick-rab.
“Weepy Little Fingers”
“I should blame the haze/ for the way my mind behaves/ you cease to believe/ that I’m in a Southern daze,” sings Kelly Laughlin on “Weepy Little Fingers,” a release that comes almost immediately after the folk trippers’ records Rejoice found its way to the world, and that’s set to be on Friends Records’ upcoming compilation. So, haze, daze, Southern—check, check, and check on “Weepy Little Fingers,” the latter if only because it reminds you a bit of Blue Ridge jam music in its rather in-your-face grooviness (if not quite swing) married to chime-y guitar riff and lyrics more as vehicle for a lovely honied voice than content. The song’s feet are way more on the ground than that though, and when Secret Mountains bring on the big shreddy psych climaxes, it’s another thing entirely, a take on the kind of folk-pop Arbouretum has been mining for a good while now, but with an eye way more firmly on sheer prettiness.
Maybe Secret Mountains are a new thing for you and while you’re investigating further, stop off at the sextet’s web page, where there’s currently a most excellent sound/video interactive piece: a grid of YouTube clips of band members playing this or that all set in the same key. Your task is to arrange it into song as you see fit. It works very well.
Secret Mountains play with outer minds and Lands and Peoples March 23 at the Windup Space. For more information visit secret-mountains.com.
> Email Michael Byrne