Everything’s Great, And We Like Everything

ostinato is Stylus’ live music column.

Le Kop Shop and Peer Pressure Present The NYE Jump Off
DJ Mehdi, Ghislain Poirier, Megasoid, A-Rock, Hatchmatik, Maysr, Rhys Taylor
Fractal, Montreal

Ended up here on several good recs, plus faint remembrance of liking DJ Mehdi’s House In Montmartre contribution from filterhouse forever ago, plus the dismal NYE options in this otherwise fantastic Canadian town. Next to Tiesto and Tommie Sunshine and the Boogie Wonder Band, who look like this, Ghislain Poirier was Larry Levan—and Catchdubs, and Benihana, and the Creative iRiver, combined. It’s what we in the biz like to call Mashup In The Flesh.

Rolling up on Fractal around 12:30, in a desolate part of town the cabbie said was Little Italy, I walked up a bunch of sweaty metal steps, then up a bunch of just regular metal steps, through the door, and into Bizarro world. This same exact hip-hop/electro/Baltimore club/mashup-type party I was convinced was happening, second-for-second, exactly the same, in upwards of ten different locations. Which was perfect. I had found the scene. These were the people from the loft parties from the pictures I had seen on the blogs. The loud-patterned fake-BAPE sweatshirts (hoods up), the bright sneakers, the spacious hornrims, designer t-shirts, and effortless uncool. This was a loft party in Montreal. Serious Place-To-Be Action. There was one bathroom and a coat check and a humble disco ball placed nowhere near a light source. Support poles bisected the room into a dark hangout section, where a girl was hulahooping to the delight of a line of toilet-waiters, and a brighter for-dancing section, where in front of the DJs the party’s self-determinedly primest cuts hyped the crowd like hired dancers at an uptight corporate party.

People seemed happy. They’ve paid attention to the music lately and they recognized most tunes: T.I.’s “What You Know,” Yung Joc’s “It’s Going Down,” Tiga’s “You Gonna Want Me,” Lily Allen, White Stripes, the possibly obscure 2005 electro tune “Zdarlight” by Digitalism. No need for apologetic transitions—the more incongruous the sequence of genres, the more honest, the better. Because by now we all get it. Everything’s great, and we like Everything. There were two fast-edit movie projections on two separate walls, interrupted by flailing arms, twirling heads, a few 2007 eyeglasses, and one routine that involved a girl on the raised stage twerking her butt into the face of a man standing on the (non-raised) floor. I would see this routine performed exactly seven times.

Now I know I’ve been out of the club game for some time, but wait just a second: Who on high demanded that all these tracks, and I mean pretty much almost all these tracks, had to be played all at once, remixed, and backed by Baltimore breakbeats? The build on “Zdarlight” is ruined by some jackass barking over it; “It’s Going Down” has its own tempo and fantastically imitable dance, but is willfully misunderstood for the sake of hiccuping it through the Lyn Collins break till it sounds like a dentist’s drill; Aaron Lacrate’s gutter remix of “What You Know” is first infuriating, then just sad—really sad. You wonder if the guy even listened to the original track the whole way through before he decided to produce the single worst stretch of sound I have ever heard. Upstage the DJs—I don’t know who they are but one of them has a respectable hi-top fade haircut—bounce between decks and a laptop, overloading the mix with incongruous layer upon incongruous layer of unpitchmatched track, the sum never greater than one part. After about 15 seconds, it was unbearable. Couldn’t even stay for the headliners.

No sense playing dad here. No sense talking about how, maybe even just a year and a half ago, mashups seemed at least somewhat respectful of their source material, how there was this magic involved where, had you not heard the originals, you might even mistake the mashup for the monolith. How one song, overexposed by time and radioplay and movie-soundtracking, might find new life with the slurping bassline from “Cannonball” under’t, or Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” atop. No sense remembering 2 Many DJs, Never Scared, live mixing, the ethics of appropriation, the double-edged sword of limitless technologies such as Ableton, which have brought remixing careers but one Oink torrent away. Who knows whose intentions, so no sense wondering aloud why DJs aren’t content spinning records they like, why they’re so anxious to prove themselves as capital-a artists, as if actual records exist solely for their own carefree mutilation and samplification. No sense, because this is the liberal horseshit world so much artmaking and art consumption exists in, where even tonight’s heedless brute-force mix of everything to the point of nothing isn’t “bad,” just “not for me, but I can understand how other people like it.”

But Christ, I really don’t understand how people like it! This is truly vile shit. On a second look at the crowd, I started to feel like maybe I wasn’t alone in my thoughts: The floor had thinned out considerably, leaving the hype squad on stage to their own devices, no doubt genuine and good-natured. But the thing about genuine, good-natured people is that a lot of them clearly don’t give a ratty fuck what they’re listening to, as long as they know what they’re listening to, feel it at 130bpm, and can download it off Discobelle. In 2006, did “liking music” really just mean “identifying samples”? Did “I love music” merely mean “I am capable of listening to six different songs at the same exact time”?

While at coat check, time to go, the room filled with Diplo’s recent “remix” of Justin Timberlake’s “My Love,” a blend of JT’s vocals over the instrumental for LCD Soundsystem’s “Someone Great.” A guy in a shirt next to me, disinterested in everything but the girl hulahooping beside him, perked up. He turned to his ladyfriend and said, “Do you hear that? You won’t believe this. That’s ‘My Love,’ and it’s being mashed up with a song that hasn’t even been released yet.”

These are two great songs that just don’t belong together. Has our cultural ADD reached the point that we don’t have the time or patience to listen to them separately? All at once and off to the next? Woof! I don’t need no heartache.

By: Nick Sylvester
Published on: 2007-01-16
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