Monday, October 01, 2012

Music Review: Philip Glass Reworked, by Ty Braxton et al

It's not often that your eminently crabby correspondent gets his undies in a twist over the joy of some new piece of music. Far easier, far better, and far saner to either ignore the poppy, saccharine earworms of our day, or--if one must face them--lay slings and arrows upon the croaking, hideous, animate corpses which today pass for Popular Music.


Every so often something AMAZING forces itself upon my ears, and--like Neo perceiving the Matrix, or Dagny Taggert realizing that she kinda likes getting repeatedly sexually assaulted--the scales fall from my hear-holes in a Damascus-ish/Gestalt moment of pure, sensual recognition.

Ty Braxton's remix of Philip Glass is one such cannonball of eloquence. You can listen to it here (third song from the bottom).

Longtime fans of Glass' weird, cyclical, strangely-artificial-yet-deeply-moving compositions will recognize his song "Rubric" as the portrait of which this collage is sliced; it takes about a minute to recognize Glass as such, through the percussive skeleton which supports 'Rubric.'

Longtime Glass fans will also realize that, because our man Philip likes to skate along the edge of the artistically-feasible, experimenting at the perimeter of what audience-expectations will allow him to get away with, his stuff occasionally gets too weird to be enjoyable. I'm not criticizing: Glass does experimental music, and sometimes experiments don't achieve what you hoped they would.

Rest assured that Braxton's remix (on Philip Glass Reworked) has no such seven-minutes-of-the-same-goddamn-loop problem: it's by no means formulaic, but still, he's got the relatively easy job of funneling Glass' original work into a beat-based remix, which allows him to cherry-pick the most satisfying parts of Glass' original composition and showcase them in his secondary, derivative work. It's the same idea as when hip-hop artists sample from oldies, or for that matter as when mechanics build a Frankenstein-bicycle out of cannibalized parts: you steal the best that your predecessors have created, and use it to build your own, new hybrid. Braxton's also got one song available for listening on, if you're poor like me and rely on the post-scarcity/pre-artificial-scarcity areas of the internet to get your media--is another little godsend: "Ty vs. Debtchibe," on Surrounded by Silence.

Yay for good muzik.

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