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M. D. Weiskopf
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The art of sample-collision has, over the course of the past two decades, moved from the remote, exclusive province of musique concrete inheritors like John Oswald and Christian Marclay, to the more populist terrain of hip-hop and the diaspora electronica of ambient, techno, and turntablism. The widespread availability of samplers and sound-manipulation tools has been largely responsible for this shift, analog "cut-and-paste" having been replaced by digital "sample-and-hold." In the field of popular music, the cross-application of these styles is still relatively infrequent, limited mostly to records like Who's Afraid [Art of Noise 1984], Escape from Noise [Negativland 1983], and Music With Sound [Tape-Beatles 1991] -- seminal works where chunks of audio verite collapsed, exploded, and superimposed themselves in ways that were anything but seamless. But the crowning achievements of this era are behind us, and their crucial tricks -- the almost accidental innovation, their sense of logic-defying discovery -- have been lost in a post-electronica sea of smirking breakbeat-jockeying.
Enter Elisabeth Esselink, aka Solex, with a debut album (Solex Vs The Hitmeister), recorded secretively in the back room of her Amsterdam record shop, that exuded a willful ignorance of the emergent principles of sample-based music: If anything, it sounded like Christian Marclay pulverizing a stack of Liliput, Delta 5, and Slits records and gluing them together willy-nilly. What's more, she actually sang -- neither the two-word happy-house sloganeering of club music, nor the abstract angst of alternative/industrial, but hilarious, subtle dissections of human discomfort. It was a beautiful thing. Yet when the news arrived that Solex's second effort would include not the musty, moribund music of her discarded 25-cent racks, but samples of live musicians and real performers, it smacked of calculation: Instead of the random and the unexpected, there would be the studied, pre-arranged sounds of jamming rock musicians, threatening at any second to disappear up their own post-rock orifices.
Thank the heavens, then, for steadfast iconoclasm. The new Solex album is upon us, and, if anything, Pick Up is even better than its predecessor. The opening title track has all of the eerie, disjointed majesty of "Who's Afraid," orchestra sweeps goose-stepping over rockabilly guitar slashes, percussive interjections, doleful trumpets, and abstract crowd noises. And Esselink's voice is even rougher, trading the subdued sprechtsang of Hitmeister for sing-song wordplay, jazzy crooning, and the occasional bout of freewheeling yelping. The "live" samples are, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from their predecessors, and the new songs swing, rock, and fall down with an even greater sense of urgency. Throwing a sampler down a flight of stairs never sounded so good. Somewhere, Luigi Russolo is dancing.