Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Mix -- "It's Angular!"

"Angular" is one of those terms that rock critics like to throw around, though it shows up in so many reviews that at some point you have to ask yourself whether it has any real meaning at all. I think, as a general matter, it tends to describe music with staccato guitar sounds, more clean than distorted, with a minimum of sustain or reverb. It also tends to be used to describe music which, rather than sticking to a standard blues-based riff or a simple, reconizable rock & roll chord progression, strays into more jarring chord changes. Sometimes it can be used to describe music which is simply minimalistic, with stark, crisp drums, bass & guitar but little smoothing around the edges. Anyway, this is my attempt to wrap all of that in a nice little 80-minute package.

Gang of Four is typically the band most associated with the term, and by some measure you can decide whether or not a song is sufficiently "angular" by deciding how much it sounds like Gang or Four. But, as the mix illustrates, a fair amount of punk and early post-punk was decidedly angular, the bare, jagged simplicity of the music a rebellion against the bloated, stadium-filling density of mis-70s hard rock and prog. The 80s and 90s indie scene had a few purveyors of the form, though bands like the Pixies and Pavement weren't exactly angular -- the guitar sound was a bit too rich, though the chord changes were suitably off-kilter and there were enough slashing guitar sounds swirling around to merit inclusion. And, of course, the 2000s have offered up a large number of bands with a retro-angular feel, perhaps most notably Franz Ferdinand, though acts like Modest Mouse and Interpol mine this territory as well.

Naturally, I had to include a stray Beatles track, for those of us who like to think the Beatles did everything first; yes, "Everybody Has Something To Hide (Except Me & My Monkey" is a fairly straightforward rock song, but those guitars...

Incidentally, I should add that I generally don't like my music all that angular -- I'm a bit of a traditionalist that way. But sometimes it's a nice break from more, er, rounded music.

Hey, here's an excerpt of that Gang of Four song, with Legos...


At 11:55 AM, Blogger Slack-a-gogo said...

As always, killer mix! I'm not even going pick out favorites because, as with most of your mixes, everything is either a personal fave or something I've been wanting to hear. Anyone that puts 100 Flowers on a mix is OK with me.

And you're spot on with the "angular" definitions. It's one of those phrases I use, but can really explain without just resorting to playing examples. I know what "angular" sounds and feels like - I just can't put into words. But Gang of Four is usually the first band that comes to mind for me as well.

Nice to see you're still at the mix game. I got so addicted to loading music onto my MP3 player and enjoying the wonders of shuffle that I unintentionally turned my back on mix discs. Plus some of the enthusiasm was lost with with AotM problems combined with losing track of the mix subgroup (tied to a long gone email account and a few user names ago, so I have no clue how to reconnect). I miss the old gang and hope to reconnect soon, but I did just post my first mix in almost two years.

Sleep Cheap
Dale / Slackagogo (f.k.a. This IsPop!)


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