Everybody’s arguing about sound quality these days. Paul Rappaport incited a Lefsetz flame war that boiled down to “compression sucks” on the one hand, and “I cut my teeth with crappy 45’s stacked on a mono record player that looked like a princess suitcase” on the other.
“You listen to these modern records, they’re atrocious, they have sound all over them,” he told Rolling Stone. “I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really.“
Interesting, since the Bobster (who I admire more than any musical figure apart from John Lennon) plays mostly low-fi records from 1940’s and 1950’s on his XM Radio show. But I digress.
I agree that a lot of modern records are often packed to the density of a fruitcake, but is that always a bad thing?
Take “Thursday,” the latest from Asobi Seksu’s “Citrus.” It’s stuffed with synth banks, a drummer that seems to hit a cymbal every time he aims at a snare, multitracked guitars, a house dub bass that slaps like a broken door, and no matter what I do with the volume controls, it seems to get louder. But keyboard player Yuki’s sweet, Blondie meets the Cranberries singing swirls miraculously over “Thursday,” and other equally dreamy tracks, like a Grand Marnier float on an orange blossom cosmopolitan.
The band’s name is Japanese for “Playful Sex,” which must be the reason Yuki’s bilingual switch from English to Japanese on tracks like “New Years” feels so seductive.
Sure, the waveform likely resembles a caterpillar conga line, but it’s atmospheric and hypnotic music designed to take your mind elsewhere. Something I enjoy