Altbau – v​š​echno je úplně jinéAltbau –

Of course I can pronounce it. I can pronounce it like a native.

A native of Leicester.

This one is from a Czech label called Stoned to Death who I have posted an album from before. They have no particular style to their offerings beyond the artists being local to them, as far as I can tell. But they frequently put out very interesting music ranging from lo-fi punk to American primitive with almost everything in between, and this is amongst the most recent.

The creator of this is someone called Angel Dodov, who also plays in 3 other bands with whom I am totally unfamiliar and am intrigued enough to want to hear more by, though my wishlist is currently ridiculous and I really shouldn’t add to it. But I’m going to.

I would call this really relaxing and hypnotic, and indeed it is as I dozed off the first time I listened to vidím tam nějaké hlasy, and then in the last track he brings in some vox which properly wakes up any drifters. So I think it’s fair to say he doesn’t intend for listeners to doze off, or maybe he likes rude awakenings.

The Third Sound – Fuzz Club session

The early part of the 90s, also known as my early 20s, saw me going through what a later, more judgemental me labelled as a middle of the road phase of musical taste, although it wasn’t that MOR. I mean, it wasn’t Chicago. The dominant heavy rock thing was grunge and I liked it, but not full time. And I didn’t really have that many routes into the underground then, though I did find a few under the radar beauties (Mary My Hope were everything the Smashing Pumpkins wished they were and never got anywhere near). It was whilst I still thought electronic music was Not Very Good, so nice, jangly, adult orientated rock like Chagall Guevara, That Petrol Emotion, del Amitri, del Fuegos, River City People, Steve Earle, All About Eve and probably much else in this vein was my taste. The reason I’ve pulled those particular artists out is because they’re the ones that crossed my mind when listening to this.

The reason I bring this up isn’t to throw shade on this album I bring your way. I happen to really like this album I bring your way. The reason I bring it up is because the sound and vibe of this album puts me in mind very much of the music I was listening to in that era, particularly the way the guitars keep doing little interesting figures during vocal phases. This period was actually quite the influence on my own approach to writing and arrangement, and this album has basically reminded me of that, and told me to stop being so judgmental of younger me. Maybe he was an idiot, but what gives me the idea that I’m so amazing, baby?

So the Third Sound seem to be the main project of someone who was in Brian Jonestown Massacre, a group I never dug that deeply, if I’m honest. This is a live album containing tunes from 4 of their albums, and this is the first I’ve ever heard of them. Have I ever mentioned how on the pulse my finger is? But there are some crackers, and the overall vibe is, as I mentioned, rather wonderful.

and then, upon the album finishing, I went over and turned on the radio to what turned out to be a bangin techno set and you know what? The transition worked perfectly. It’s fair to say, my taste has evolved since then but I obviously actually still do like this approach to rock music with a slightly psychedelic tinge.

Elsewhere VXIII

Many years ago – about 15, I think – I was chatting with someone who was guesting at a library I was working at and the subject of the fact I make music came up. When describing his own approach to music, he said that unlike me, he only consumes music…

It is impossible to consume music. You can engage with it or you can ignore it, or somewhere in between, but you cannot consume it. The music will remain unchanged, although your perception of it won’t.

Imagine thinking like that? I was too nice to debate with him about it, plus I think my thoughts on it took a while to become coherent even though it jarred me immediately. But it speaks to a mindset that believes it is only in existence to consume things because of much larger sociological factors that are not even wrong, that would be giving them waaay too much credit.

I was reminded of this exchange by all the giddy hype about what AI (sidebar: it’s all A, no I) can do for us to save us from the drudgery of, like, leisure and stuff, and reading, and writing, and creating, and making, and, and, and… all we have to do is give some prompts and it do all that for us! And then what do we do? More free time to merely consume things, I suppose.

A compilation like what I bring to your attention today simply could not be made with that kind of approach to music and discernment. There is a thread running through this that can only be done with human judgement. And indeed, DJ soFa, for it is he who has compiled this, has made several compilations and all of them have a particular feel to them though it would be an insult to insinuate they are in any way the same as each other; they are not.

This is why an algorithmic approach to music discovery will never throw the surprises at you that other humans can. You simply could not build in the coherent unpredictability required. In fact, all the best compilations, DJ sets, mixes – what they have in common is a coherent unpredictability. And probably all great art, for that matter.

If you want merely functional, then go ahead and knock yourself out with your AI approach to creativity and novelty, which will be neither creative or novel unless you assign a depressingly low value to what you consider creative or novel. But if you want the great, the sublime… you need the human touch.