Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Team Ghost: A Glorious Time

Who are Team Ghost? I've no idea, but this is terrific. I mean, it's hipster existentialism, and could almost have been a soundtrack to a minor John Hughes classic.
Why? Because it's an ode to youth, to dejection, to missing out.
It's not exactly Ben Johnson, but when sung aloud, the words take on a curious power. This is music with a sweet mix of joy and despondency. And it is mirrored in the opaque, elusive lyrics - lyrics that are suffused with the melancholy of leaving things behind.
The words quite shrewdly weave together the narrator's bitter disappointment with the crowd's feeling of ecstasy. And thus the music's soaring, dizzying ebullience is poignantly undercut.
It's the individual versus the group, old bean.
Stanza one talks of a clutch of jaded friends awaiting something great - "tomorrow/ they will be as one / in a land / of elation."
What this elation is remains unclear. But the second stanza - albeit slightly gauchely - offers the payoff, as the narrator breaks away from this happiness: "tomorrow/ when I'm gone / I won't feel the same / as I left you all." The song ends with the narrator turning, morosely, sublimely, to drink.
Truly, it has an air of mystery. The title's bittersweet irony is tremendously powerful. And the unknowable quality of the narrative lends the music a real sense of sadness.
And all in just four minutes.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Alter Ego: Sex and Gender

Amid the swamp of music in the 1990s, a lot of good music got overlooked. So did a lot of bad music. Alter Ego seem to be one of those bands who drifted into making awful commercial techno after a while, so they probably cover both sides of the equation.
But, in their early days, they were pretty good - and this piece startlingly so: with a lightness of touch that belied its hidden emotional depths. I first came across it on Trance Europe Express 3, the starting point for my interest in many electronic artists - Biosphere, U Ziq and Mouse on Mars among them. If you've never heard Biosphere's The Third Planet , then give it a listen.