(Jorgen Angel/Redferns – courtesy of Pitchfork)
Have you ever noticed that the snare drum never quite hits usually in “Sunshine Of Your Love”? Maybe you have; Ginger Baker never would have assumed that you would expect something like that, given the circumstances. Circumstance is everything, and what you don’t notice can alternately end up killing you, or being the very reason you feel love.
Baker, best known as the drummer of Cream, passed away on Sunday at the age of 80. Anger and belligerence are as key to his story as they are to those of his dairy bandmates’, and Baker was perhaps the most prominent person that enabled the expansion of what we thought a rock trio could be. Getting Jack Bruce to run through a fuzz box helped, sure; throwing Ginger Baker as many drums and cymbals as he could handle, though, was the key revelation to tying the British blues rock push together.
(Public domain, hopefully? Let us know if this is a problem)
After the fact, he would simply refer to the performance as “beautiful” in an attempt to deflect accusations of controversy in the face of a divided nation. A few months after that, around the change of the calendar, he would roll out his true protest, the finest electric guitar symphony ever conceived, in what would end up being the only showcase for his talents that were actually on his terms. He would be dead within the year, nobody the wiser.
But in this moment, at 9 am the morning after the damn thing was supposed to end on the saturated grounds that were never as good as they looked on film long after the fact to the millions upon millions who were nostalgic for something that never was, he was free. He hoped only for as much as that for everyone else. Fifty years ago today, at right around the time this post is publishing, Jimi Hendrix played the longest set of his career at Woodstock, a sloppy, convoluted mess which nevertheless gave us an interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that has confounded and inspired ever since.
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
Unlike His Royal Badness himself, it came suddenly. A text message, then two, a tweet here, a trending Facebook post there, and then it was clear: As TMZ first reported, Prince Rogers Nelson, the ageless king, and queen, of your favorite musical style, had passed away suddenly at the age of 57. As the man himself once sang, everybody wants salvation, but we here at Tuesdays With Horry can’t (knowingly) give you that, so we’ve pieced together a few memories and thoughts on this diminutive genius who was larger than us all. Dig, if you will, our picture.
Last Saturday night, a couple of us trekked all of a mile down the road to a bar with a stage, paying $10 ($12.50 with service fees) to see three artists perform. One of those artists, one Natalie Prass, took the collective breath out of Snug Harbor in Charlotte, North Carolina, inspiring such admiration that we had to get on G-Chat and gab about it Monday afternoon. What follows is a transcript of that conversation, edited for grammar, clarity and unnecessary buffoonery.
Flying Lotus performing at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
The idea of a producer/composer as we now know it is something that two decades ago might have seemed unnecessary or excessive. The rise of DJs as actual musicians rather than jukebox heroes, people who create rather than simply derive, has powered this century toward an electronically-driven, hyper-evolving state in which genres become all but irrelevant. People like Aphex Twin and DJ Shadow blazed a trail for computer-programmed, beat-driven music that incorporates samples and drum machines in experimental capacities. A flood of noise precedes a few identical bars before one element changes, soon leading to a fire sale of sound exchanged for something entirely different.
To call Steven Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus, simply a DJ is to miss the mathematical beauty behind the cacophonous waves he creates. On his first four LPs, as well as the handful of mixtapes and EPs in between, he explored rippled soundscapes which tore through the listener’s consciousness so quickly and maniacally that there was hardly time to breathe. On his latest release, You’re Dead!, Ellison finds himself delving further into the infinite influences which have surrounded him since childhood and molded the 30-year-old’s long view.