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8. The Rapture: “House of Jealous Lovers” (5:14), from 12-inch (DFA 2002).
There’s more than one way to make a perfect record, and this is one of them, modeled on the 12-inch aesthetics that came to fore in the early ’80s (approximate first appearance: Larry Levan’s reconstruction of Instant Funk’s “I’ve Got My Mind Made Up”): keep the groove going, keep the listener’s interest, but keep moving shit around. In this case, it means establish the groove before you get to the song. (Compare certain African styles, or early Talking Heads, e.g. “Found a Job,” which get the song out of the way and then just keeps the music going forever.)
Killer bass-drums-handclap base; it opens as if in the middle of a dub mix of itself (not the one Morgan Geist provides on the remix, either). A cowbell enters soon enough, and as Levan’s “Mind Made Up” taught us, once you have a big fat thick groove, each additional instrument exists for the purpose of loosening another body part; that b-line/kick combo gets our feet moving, but now our neck’s gangling along, too. The guitar is both a statement of purpose (the bridge from disco back to rock, though the beat’s so tense it’s obvious where these guys are coming from anyway) and an afterthought--phasing up as if backward but within three strums, suddenly the center as well--sort of like not only the Gang of Four or Public Image Ltd. (whom the Rapture are frequently compared to, and rightly), but the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays as well; the early ’80s weren’t the only fertile time for rock-disco, you know.
Then the groove changes, preparing us for the re-entrance of the song-proper, and as much as I love that first minute, it’s the next 15 seconds or so that I love the most. They’re still in that zone, but it’s no longer simply machinic the way the swooshes of the intro indicate; we’re in full-on live-band mode, with the squelching noises of fingers sliding off strings adding to the overall feel (this returns around the third minute, right after the guitar solo, only with the shock-treatment call-and-response “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8”). If anything, the song-proper that slides into place is the worst part of the record; it’s when they concentrate on locking in together on the groove of their lives that they rewrite their destiny. I hope (still haven’t heard “Olio”). --http://web.pitas.com/mixproject/13_09_2002.html
--8 August 2002 --Michaelangelo Matos
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