Funny that mash-ups – a genre that brings together disparate forms to create something fresh and new, that is, at its very core, about unification – can be so divisive.
I can always appreciate the ethos behind mash-ups, if not the end result. After all, what is creation if not appropriation? Building upon the foundations of the past, enacting new contexts onto known forms, finding new wrinkles and creases in something well-worn, these are all concepts and approaches integral to the creative process. But my problem with some mash-ups is that too many of them fall back on knee-jerk unsubtlety. It’s so easy to get a rise out of someone when you take two obvious things and combine them to make another obvious thing. Where’s the art in that?
Got me in trouble again.”
Something can engender a response in you in the immediate, can excite and arouse upon first meeting. But it means little if it can’t sustain those surprises and newness over the long-term. That’s the difference between the flings and the relationships that develop into something more. The one night stand will flicker through your memory and is welcome to be revisited from time to time. But that’s not the one you’re going to get hitched to, if you know what I mean.
Duncan Gerow’s Little Dragon + Clams Casino = Ritual Union doesn’t suffer from any of these issues. Granted, he’s working with some killer source material. And he could stand to be a bit more creative with the title for his sonic transmutation. After all, he’s cribbing from the Little Dragon track Ritual Union, which is pulled from the album… Ritual Union.
But I won’t hassle this dude too much, not when the results are this good. Gerow uses Clams Casino’s The Fall as an underpinning for Yukimi Nagano’s misty vocals. The math is pretty straightforward but a little tweak to the tempo here and some decay punched in there and all of sudden we’ve got something beautiful and abstract. It could’ve turned out all murk and miasma. Instead, it breezes on by and has a unique kind of peace about it; the haze envelops but it never quite swallows you up. Little flecks of noise ring out only to fade away. Melodies and hi-hats clang along and keep things swaying along. It’s all very zen, to the point where I wish I had one of those little sand and rock gardens to tend to while this gently lilted out of my speakers.
So. It has put me a supremely tranquil and serene state of mind. I hope it will do the same for you.