Jai Paul, Daft Punk and the need for speed.

Guest contributor Chris Lings ponders musical pre-eminence and the future of reviewing. The solution is excellent, we’ll call it alt-post-existentialist pre-criticism. 

Nowhere does time move faster than in the music blogosphere. A prime example of this could be seen last weekend when Jai Paul’s debut “album” suddenly appeared from the ether and became available for all to download on Bandcamp, causing the internet to shit itself silly for a couple of hours. Mystic Meg, I mean Vice, whipped it’s dick out and began masturbating, shouting “I told you so!” while everybody else frantically began to copy and paste code to ensure theirs was the site you would stream it via first. There was no time to question such silly notions as ‘validity’ and ‘authenticity’. Links had to be posted, opinions had to be made. Christ, track by track reviews would need to be drafted before Sunday dinner hit the table! And even then, that might be too late.

As it turned out, everyone had to backtrack on the debut album talk because what had actually happened was that some chancer had stolen Jai’s laptop and uploaded a bunch of demo files – either that or it’s some genius piece of marketing from his label, XL, we just don’t know (rest assured, people are investigating into this). What we do know however, is when (or if) his album eventually comes out -presumably sometime in 2019 – people will once again fall over themselves to prove they were first to hear it. I’m not saying that’s wrong; that’s just the way it is.

Jai’s time will come again, but with speed and relevance in mind, our gaze must turn quickly away from him and onto another highly anticipated release from a semi anonymous production source: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. Reviewers are presumably limbering up now, practicing their ability to digest music at revolting speeds and curl out a review of the album before anybody else. But are they doing enough to get ahead? I don’t think so. Things need to go to the next level and those bloody dinosaurs waiting to actually HEAR music at least once before they review it are missing a trick: Why review what you know and live in the past when you can review something before it even happens? Speed is of the essence. It’s twenty-fucking-thirteen guys and we’re talking about an album made by a pair of French robots here!

I know I’m not hanging around and so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you my track by track guide to Random Access Memories.  A track by track guide delivered with absolutely no listening experience to back it up at all but crucially delivered before anybody else – and really, that’s all that matters. Deal with it haters:

1, Give Life Back to Music – Intro skit inspired by classic rap albums featuring bizarre narrative of the duo being brought back to life with an injection of funk. Includes witty lines and “emotive” piano stabs from self-proclaimed Canadian genius, Chilly Gonzales.

2, The Game Of Love – The band express their fondness for mid 90s ITV dating show, Blind Date and its host Cilla Black with a 7 minute epic, part composed by Paul Williams.

3, Giorgio by Moroder – Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder attempt to contact the spirit of Donna Summer, using a Ouija board found at a Parisian car boot sale patched ingeniously if somewhat crudely to a Roland Juno 60. The results are mixed to say the least.

4, Within – Useless slap bass noodling stretched over 4 minutes presumably only included to avoid band tensions. In a recent interview Manuel had his reservations, but opined “Albums are like marriage; there’s gotta be a little give and take.”

5, Instant Crush – Upon hearing of Jai Paul’s 100% unofficial cover of Jennifer Paige’s anthem, ‘Crush’, Thomas and Manuel decided they’d try and steal his thunder by releasing  their own version on an album that won’t be hauled off the internet within 48 hours. Hurriedly produced in an overnight session fuelled by cheap instant coffee, it’s enjoyable (because, who doesn’t like ‘Crush’?) despite the unimaginative title.

6, Lose Yourself to Dance – A cunning sample of the Kanye West classic, ‘Stronger’ underpins this piece of quintessential bloghouse. The obvious similarities to a number of Justice tracks are unavoidable though and begs the question: Who really is under those helmet-masks?

7, Touch – Dance rock crossover number destined to be the soundtrack to drunken fumbling in university town indie discos. Distinctive cow bell and handclaps make this instantly enjoyable but it lacks a little substance.

8, Get Lucky – A silky smooth disco number featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals and the unmistakable guitar of disco leg-end Nile Rodgers. Terrific stuff. 10 out of 10. Reeeeal Nice.

9, Beyond – This sounds so French it’s basically the audio equivalent of a frog sat on a lily pad made of garlic in a pond filled with red wine. The frog has a moustache and is wearing a beret. This metaphor makes no sense but the song is roughly 5 minutes long.

10, Motherboard – Animal Collective’s Panda Bear reportedly spent three days in the studio with the band trying to recreate the sound of an actual motherboard using only a guiro and amplitude modulation techniques. Eventually the members of Daft Punk tired of his efforts and got him to do some vocals instead in what turns out to be an unexpected triumph.

11, Fragments of Time – Slightly disjointed effort featuring Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas that harks to past glories but never quite fully takes off. Casablancas allegedly brought his own 80’s sci fi inspired ideas to the table but his hopes were dashed when the band revealed they already made the Tron soundtrack 2 years ago. Casablancas delivers a lazy, crooning performance featuring vaguely coherent lyrics about Japanese girls and grocery shopping in Manhattan.

12, Doin it Right – Yes, they certainly are doin’ it right on this number! More sexy licks, straight from Nile Rodgers’ unmistakable guitar, penetrate your ears while a four to the floor 808 dry humps your face. A dirty cousin to earlier track ‘Touch’.

13, Contact – Moody closer to what’s certainly been a varied album. The song title hints to the subtle yet effective sampling of Karlheinze Stockhausen’s ‘Kontakte’ in a piece that flirts with the line between art and not-art. As the song begins to fade a fanfare then blasts out of nowhere congratulating you on reaching the end of the album. A satisfying end.

So there we have it: A world exclusive! Join me next week for a full, in depth critique of the Rolling Stones headlining the Pyramid Stage and an exclusive review of Dr. Dre’s follow up to 2001. Bye!

Chris Lings


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