Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Going against the flow
Kellman's retooled his C700 Go! 1981--cut it to 80 songs (from 100), added a few that weren't on the first time, and resequenced it to actually flow instead of stop-start/keep twisting around. This is all well and good, and bravo to him for being such a perfectionist that he's willing to put in even more work on something that takes so long to begin with. (Trust me, I know.) But I have to say, it's not just the completist/musical gigantist in me that's glad I still have the '81 in its original form. It's also the lover of form and/or flow--and, in this one's case, the ways those things can be fucked with to interesting ends. Kellman's original '81 reminded me of nothing so much as Pavement's Wowee Zowee--there was something really off about the sequencing, it zig-zagged all over, never settling into one groove for too long, and while that could be a bit unsettling (here I had been trying to make mine move as one thing and one thing only, as had Nate Patrin with his, especially since Nate got to the concept first, at least within our little portion of the universe or at least blogosphere*), it also started to work after awhile because (a) it drew attention to itself the way something more flow-y wouldn't and (b) the songs were so good. Ditto C700 Go! 1981 mk. 1; I've played portions (segments, chunks, blocks, groupings of songs) of it as much as any "album" since I got it a few months ago in a trade, and it's never been less than stimulating, even when the only thing it stimulated was the question, "What the fuck is he thinking sequencing this stuff like this?"

That was more early on, though, and a lot of those qualms disappeared when I got his 1994 C700 Go! a few weeks later. Suddenly, his '81 method made so much more sense, because I could now hear them as a dry run for the '94 mix, on which the disjunctions between tracks were so extreme but also so right they plunged you from one sensation to another before you had time to catch your breath--any CD that opens "Come Clean"-"It's a Kid's World"-"Bubble Metropolis"-"Aftermath" is doing far bolder things than most of the competition. Including mine; the first C700 Go! I made, 1997, felt so rigid in comparison, with its 30 indie rock songs followed by R&B mini-set followed by 30 hip-hop cuts followed by shitloads of dance stuff, etc. I still love the 1997 disc, and it flows great and has loads of personal resonance ('97 was a very important year for me, and the disc reflects a lot of why), but it's also very much a first effort at this. If anything it's too perfect, too streamlined, and there's very little about it that surprises me. Whereas Kellman's mixes did nothing but surprise me, and still do. I'm eager as hell to hear what the new '81 sounds like; perhaps I'll remake it using the old one, or just ask for another trade, but I do hope there are still some surprises on it. That's what this project is for, or should be.

*Yeah, I don't like the term either. But it looks like we're stuck with it, at least since Jay Smooth immortalized it in song.