A sort of tired determinism lay in the air over the second Sade Sunday meeting between Josh and myself. We intended on talking at a rope swing, which we had relieved ourselves of care on the month previous, that lay high in the Berkeley hills overlooking the bay and all its bridges.
The voyage was arduous at best. We got lost. Once we had found our former place of repose, the old rope swing was gone and in its place a frayed rope and now silent skid marks down the hill. Yes readers, we could have died.
So, we forsook to find a deeper nature. I was in my flip-flops and Josh in his typical short pants. Walden Pond this was not though, as we found only an uncomfortable log to sit on and spent most of our time relieving our feet of the burning burrs and miniscule prickers that had set themselves to task during the hike. The Fat Tire beer was good though, the conversation better, and the company, unparalleled.
Boyz II Men â€“ Cooleyhighharmony (expanded)
The germane of our conversations started with the recently reissued and expanded Cooleyhighharmony by Boyz II Men. I had chosen this record personally, for I have a love of blissed out R&B from the early 90s (e.g. P.M. Dawn and the Divine Styler). Imagined in my mind, the Boyz II Men debut held secrets within secrets, rich production and found unintended pleasures, not too mention memories of riding in minivans with suburban moms to haunted houses, junior high dances and cassingles.
To our surprise, Josh had found all this and more. He lovingly regaled me with a â€œnew jack swingâ€ history lesson as well as a Josh history lesson involving prom queens and boyhood crushes. He wondered what Boyz II Men would have sounded like in the 50s, or with live instruments, perhaps backed by a Daptone Records type band. Josh conceded though, however great the journey through the past, he didnâ€™t intend on taking it again.
I was left in the cold. I welcomed and waited for a flood of bad memories but got none. The music was not even slick. It was disgustingly, self-consciously digital, a horrendous palette of Midi. No disaster and no evil exist here, just measured doses of what a human being can stand.
The Field â€“ Yesterday and Today
Next, we talked about indie-darling and #1 IDM contender The Fieldâ€™s latest, Yesterday and Today. This turned out to be the record we liked the best this month, but had the least to say about. Josh stated that this record would sound great â€œriding in a plane above New York City, like the beginning of Hackers.â€ He also half-heartedly pointed out a couple of moments on the record he liked and praised the well-proportioned use of live instruments. I agreed with these statements and mentioned I liked this better than The Fieldâ€™s first record, but chose to say no more. I wasnâ€™t holding back. I was holding nothing.
And why is this? Is the goodness of Yesterday and Today so technical, so mechanical that it is delivered into my brain like a ghost of the interweb? On repeated listening I came up with no witty insights, not even towards my favorite subject, myself. Yes, I imagine it is so intricately scientific that it defies even my substantial understanding and I find myself not delivered into myself but unto a stark vision of computer love or the less tangentially meaningful, computer life. This, with live instruments, is no mean feat.