11
Jul 20

Omargeddon #14: Un Escorpión Perfumado

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I recently reread Elena Ferrante’s excellent Neapolitan quartet with the same obsessive passion that consumed me when I read it the first time. It’s a sprawling Bildungsroman packed with evocative characters and slow-burn plotlines that, even on the reread, took priority over all other forms of media I could engage with. But if I didn’t subscribe to the well-known axiom that you shouldn’t judge books by their covers, I doubt I would have chosen them, because of the soft-focussed cheese that graces their covers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t apply this advice to not judging an album by its cover, so I put off listening to Un Escorpión Perfumado (A Perfumed Scorpion) for a very long time. It’s my least favourite ORL cover by digital collage artist Sonny Kay – the scantily draped woman with weirdly cylindrical, gravity-defying knockers makes me both side eye and eye-roll.  But this was a schoolgirl error, because when I did listen to it, the album proved to be both a delicious listen and very important to my ongoing desire to identify every version of every ORL song ever* for the mythical episode of Mastermind that I won’t ever appear on.

I found it particularly satisfying that these seminal versions were immediately apparent to me; usually I’m vainly trying to extract various hooky needles from musical haystacks. “Agua Dulce de Pulpo” (Octopus Sweet Water or possibly Octopus Kool Aid?) has since been reworked twice, first on Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar as “Tentáculos” (Tentacles), and again on Zapopan as “Tentáculos De Fé” (Tentacles of Faith). The remainder  of the songs on the album appear on 2016’s El Bien y Mal Nos Une.

1
Jul 20

The Pollards Of Lop Episode 1: Cover Versions

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Last month’s Twitter poll was about Cover Versions, and to accompany it, I was joined virtually by Cis, Mark and Pete to CAST THE PODS and talk about cover versions in general. And here it is.

 

 

The vagaries of music licensing and podcasts mean that this is all* discussion, so you might want to go and listen to some of the songs during or after the episode. I’ll be putting up “show notes” on this post listing what we discussed when but for now, happy exploration.

*aside from the opening and closing music courtesy of one Podington Bear on the Free Music Library.

30
Jun 20

The World Cup Of 1990 (Admin)

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This month’s poll at @peoples_pop on Twitter is about the year 1990.

This is the nerdy procedural post about how I’ve put it together and how I’m going to run it. DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE ADMIN.

1
Jun 20

Omargeddon #13: Infinity Drips

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Wikipedia has been a blessing and a curse for the Omargeddon project. On the one hand, it’s brilliant for stuff like release dates, personnel and links to interviews. On the other, some of the data is patchy, as when noting and linking previous versions of songs. Plus, not every album has its own dedicated page. But it’s a fairly easy way to find the story of the story of the album, whether that’s dissecting the concept or just detailing inspiration, which is particularly useful for digital releases without liner notes available. So I usually read up on the relevant Wikipedia page before starting a new review, and since I’ve been puzzling over Infinity Drips for a while now, I turned there for some answers. 

Except to my annoyance, I was given sorta answers and further questions confused with half-truths and gorilla dust. Personnel is listed as Teri Gender Bender on vocals and lyrics, with ORL credited with instruments and samples, which isn’t desperately helpful. It’s evident from the first listen that this is a project inspired by Eastern influences, though I wasn’t aware till then that most of the song titles are named after Arabic words for stars. I’d like to know where the samples have been sourced, in addition to the Jerusalem field recordings used in past releases, and which instruments specifically were played by Omar. But probably most personally vexing was reading that “Azha” appears in “Happiness” from Unicorn Skeleton Mask and the first three tracks off Zapopan, thus rendering the table I so confidently constructed for Unicorn Skeleton Mask out of date. 

I find these elements nearly impossible to excavate from the cluttered layers of sound, so I’m not surprised this connection sailed clear over my head. On the first listen, Infinity Drips felt to me like an off-the-cuff piece that was the product of an afternoon working off the effects of a smoothie made from psilocybin mushrooms, absinthe and six whole nutmegs. Two weeks later, Weekly Mansions was released, and for a very long time that was my go-to soundtrack, so I didn’t listen to Infinity Drips again until I started this project. There’s a lot to be confused by but also a fair amount to love, and this is all due to the magically surreal power of Teri Gender Bender. It’s grown on me with repeated listens, and yes, I do love it, in a way. 

12
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 8

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These are the groups for Day 8 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.

11
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 7

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These are the groups for Day 7 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.

10
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 6

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These are the groups for Day 6 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least (except today Division 6 is a bit special).

9
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 5

FT2 comments • 221 views

These are the groups for Day 5 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.

8
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 4

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These are the groups for Day 4 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.

7
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 3

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These are the groups for Day 3 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.