Seconds
A.R. Kane: A Love From Outer Space



i guess it’s because it just sounds so superhuman. Gurgles and orchestras and bass and piano playing the same blues and all the same pick-up beat rhythm. Vocoders and exclamations of "eeh!"—alien love, surely—and pedal-filtered whoopee cushions. And even when the throng of mutated bongo slaps drops out and the production bullshit (it's world music, you know) gets destroyed if just for a moment, it’s this ridiculous ode to the best love of all, and that is the love from outer space. But then it’s always been this way, since P-Funk’s odes to shaking asses in spaceships and Sun Ra’s declaration that he was from Mars, and not—what, Arkansas, yeah?

I don’t think I really want to go down that route at all, actually—"the black Jesus and Mary Chain" earned their place among indie white people and probably didn’t have to worry about getting shit blow’d up at then; "A Love From Outer Space" probably isn’t about meeting your consummate mate in a place where race doesn’t exist. I don’t know what it’s about. We’re told, over and over, "she loves me, she loves me, she loves me—a love from outer space," but it’s repeated so often and as the tide changes from ecstatic dance to punctuated horn blasts and minor key changes ...

And his love echoes in the background, cooing like a muted Eastern goddess of his/our/my dreams. She disappears and leaves holes like the resonance of a teardrop in a pond inside of a maelstrom, then, of light and sound and drum machine bongos. You must imagine Rudi dancing inside his recording studio with his headphones and laying down vocals as he’s overtaken by such glee—round choruses of his own voice wash rise as the song ends and trumpets blare louder than ever as the volume slowly dips. Too proud to leave the song, too blissfully in love.

I suppose I could just say that girls wouldn’t understand this. Rudi Tambala called his girl equal parts winky girl and bitch and killed her on "Lolita" and then came back with this. With this, this pop ditty and two chords and Pharrell—for real—falsetto, this time nothing can go wrong. Love is the fight between machines and people and aliens? "She’s come from Milky Way / she’s come to earth on my birthday." Struggling with a girl that he can’t ever know but has to be with, surely—right?

A dance-pop song, then, that predated Pills, Thrills, ‘N’ Bellyaches and seemed to have all the world with it with lazy vocals in the middle and not-so-lazy stuff everywhere else. And it messes with formula so brilliantly, abiding by that looped back-back-back-forth stomp and ridiculing it simultaneously by placing choruses at the beginning of the song, in the middle of verses and bridges, after the bridge, everywhere—and dropping out of the dulcet-toned delivery for a hallucinogenic—rap?

Are we in love? Is he pulling our leg? Love vs the techno machine? What? Is this all just a bullshit party jam? Arthouse danceirony? The aforementioned bridge where all the rapturous mirth of noise drops out for an 'honest confessional'—I know where she’s coming from! Space is where we both belong!—restores our faith in the narrator’s perfidious nature with such unblinking urgency—'means no.' Sweet cries are eased into a venal admonition—this time nothing can go wrong, I’ve got to tell her in this song—which in turn descends into mumbling about guests and caresses and hearts and communication and we’re poised for some decadent noise jam like they’ve always don with pianos and twittling bongos and feedback and gorillas shouting and Rudi growls and then—"I say sha la la la, hey!" Finger snaps, dance drums and a bit of scat singing. Fucking hell! She loves me!


By: Sam Bloch
Published on: 2004-03-04
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