Arnold Dreyblatt

Animal Magnetism (Tzadik 1995)

http://www.mediafire.com/?njyjz1mn45n

I have spent an hour or two pondering life while listening to the rich drones of Arnold Dreyblatt. I first encountered the name while paging through an issue of Your Flesh where Jim O’ Rourke listed his favorite albums of the year and christened Animal Magnetism the best of 1995. Being the bleating sheep that I am, there was an immediate order placed at the Wall to Wall Sound and Video in my godforsaken town. I expected something akin to the Scott Walker, Roy Montgomery and Rafael Toral listed in his love letter, but was pleasantly surprised to hear that it wasn’t quite like anything else on that minimalist list.

There are many improbably combinations that our minds can conjure: Peanut butter and cauliflower puree, scallops and butterscotch or Kevin Spacey in a Bobby Darin biopic. Most of these flights of fancy are purely the result of narcotics. However, I cannot explain Kevin Spacey’s unfortunate foray. However, if you had suggested that you could combine Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians with Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs, I would accuse you of putting your mustard in my chutney.

Thankfully, Arnold Dreyblatt’s Animal Magnetism does exactly that. It takes the textured waves of minimalist composition and the musician play like a band made out of junkyard instruments. This is somehow funky in its clunky and hypnotic sort of way. It is a strong, muscular album that removes minimalism from the realm of lanky miscreant and makes a dance party out of it. I haven’t yet been so far gone to attempt an Arnold Dreyblatt dance party, but give me a ring and we shall see what we can muster up.

This is the sound of music hitting ecstatic peaks and mining mournful valleys. This is the sound of repetition taken to new places. This beats the pants off those moments where I pleasured myself with sounds of a single string. It is a joyful cacophony that makes me realize all that is wonderful about music.

Mantler – Sadisfaction

June 19, 2008

Mantler

Sadisfaction (Tomlab 2002)

http://www.mediafire.com/?44kt44de9gz

I’ve always felt that the German Tomlab label doesn’t get the attention it deserves. From the lush glitches of Tujiko Noriko and The Books to the ambient ear candy of Sack and Blumm and Rafael Toral, it boasts more hits than misses. However, the label’s best, yet criminally unheard album is by Canadian Chris Cummings otherwise known as Mantler. If this album was released in the 70s, collectors would hail him as an eccentric loner akin to Skip Spence’s Oar or John Phillips’ Wolf King of LA. Now, it is a few steps below those in quality, but Sadisfaction exists in its own idiosyncratic universe.

On the surface, Sadisfaction is a gloomy, plodding electronic pop album with lots of retro keyboards, but Cummings’ lyrics must document a personal breakdown of some sort. For example, “I’ve Been Destroyed” features a creepy slowed down loop of him singing “I’ve been destroyed and broken down” as he testifies about how he is a masochistic cliche for allowing others to get close to him. The opener “You Were Free” deals with the crushing sadness he feels as he wakes up alone and goes on tear himself up over his tendency to think instead of act. Yeah, it all sounds like a page torn from a teenage diary, but his robotic take on Kraftwerkian soul hearkens back to the the 70s psychedelic soul balladry and Fender Rhodes work on Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone and Frederick Knight’s sadder tunes. However, it is much nerdier and asexual. I guess that is why he has been rejected so much that he has created an album like this. He even reminds me of a sane Gary Wilson on a few times. God, I maybe talking this album up too much because I can see how you may download this and be unimpressed and wonder why I ever described this as robotic soul. Me, I love every narcissistic, paranoid, insecure second.