This is the wonderful Mount Kimbie remix of The XX’s “Basic Space”.
It’s a wide-open track, taking XX’s post-R&B and post-punk vocals and sliding them into a reverberant electronic setting. It lurches and lumbers in the lower registers, like many dubstep cuts do — but the bell-like guitar lines and sped-up vocals provide crystalline focus in the upper registers. The synths swell around the vocals, emphasising lines and harmonies — this avoids the trap of just laying a droning, minor-key synth across the entire cut.
This is soporific in a deep way — not content to trade on either Sandoval-lite vocal meanderings or cafe electronica, it swaps heavily coded ‘atmosphere’ for a lethargy and longing channelled deep into its make-up. In such a song, the weariness comes out the other side as energising. A kind of alchemy. Spot-on pairing of two new UK talents, then.
A gallery of 48 photos from an exhibition open now in Berlin. It covers the period 89-90 when the wall came down and things were still raw, open and hopeful. Hence the bittersweet title, with its troubling past tense.
Most of the pictures are from amateur collections, found in boxes and under beds, both personal and public.
This is one of my favourite pieces of music this year. Very rarely do I return to mixes as often as I have to this one — which is why I feel comfortable calling the whole assemblage a piece of music in its own right. Sherburne expertly ranges across electro, dubstep and experimental sounds. The mood, pacing and track selection are outstanding. The bass is beautifully outrageous.
Fittingly, the mix is now haunted by later events. Although I’ve had the mix for some months, its at once broad expanses of space, reverb and thump now remind me of seeing Vladislav Delay and AGF at Berghain a few weeks ago. Of course there’s a proximity in track selection and taste. But there’s also something proximate in hearing the music pulse, throb and splash off the concrete interior of Berghain — with its remarkably tuned sound system — and the capacious sounds Sherburne favours here.
If Hulu is the Blockbuster of online streaming video, Waxxfree’s selection of old films is the dimly-lit, smoky, curated, weird little store you would only comfortably venture into with a completed Cinema Studies MA. Old film posters. Soundtracks on the sound system. Nicotine stained fingers.
Except all this changes online, because there’s no neurotic, snarky little man - and they usually are men - to deal with when you check the disc out. You just stream and scroll through a potted history of half-forgotten films. No doubt the studios will get these videos removed from YouTube soon enough, so get watching.
I once wanted to write an essay on Wake in Fright, The Proposition and Patrick White’s Voss.
Wake in Fright is having something of a return to consciousness. My writerly narcissism wishes that it was my own work that could have done that; my caring-citizen self simply thinks it is a good thing this film is back in public view.
I had the idea back when I was writing my honours thesis in Cinema Studies. I was thinking then about aesthetics and politics in Australian film. I was looking at Mallboy and The Boys.
If these films expressed something of one suppressed Australian reality - the suburban underclass, passing in and out of prisons and welfare agencies - then Wake in Fright expressed an existential underside to the mythic ‘outback’. It’s a pioneer story, like many Westerns, but here it is deflationary, phobic, charged with some striking moments of surreal horror. Wolf Creek also did something like this, but simply transposed slasher film generics to the outback setting.
One of the benefits of delaying - or procrastinating or fearing - the writing of this essay, is that I would now draw on a few other sources. One is the Triffids, a band that channelled the sound of the outback into their music. The other is Meaghan Morris’s stunning essay, “White Panic or, Mad Max and the Sublime.” This might lead to other essays on the mythic quality of ‘the road’ in Australia.