November 10, 2008 6:50 PM

A song rescued from cassette imagining the changes that the internet will bring.

Before working on cover requests*, I'm posting an old song that I recently found in my cassettes and digitized.

I think it's an interesting example of pop song as historical snapshot, and I like how my perception of what is laughable about it has changed markedly since I recorded it with my friend John. We put it together in 1992 or 1993 when we were both taking time off from college. It was the moment when there were starting to be murmurs about what the internet might become and what computers would soon be.

Anyway, John wrote a song about the futurist idea that technology would soon render our bodies superfluous (by 2008? surely), and we decided to record it as if it were the 1980s. I think we were thinking early 1980s, and the electric dreams-y synth patch betrays that, but the david and david sustained guitar tone is more late 1980s.

At the time, though, we thought we were mocking all that. The rest of our stuff at the time was taking cues from Husker Dü, Dinosaur Jr., and Uncle Tupelo, as you can hear in John's chest voice and the heavy, drony open chords. So the result isn't funny to me now--I think partly because post-soft bulletin by the Flaming Lips, electronics and indie rock have converged to the point where it's not as much of an issue. When I found it recently, 15 years later, it was interesting to listen to and sort out what we were trying to do.

(and a collaboration with By the Grace of God that I started before being totally buried in work over a month ago and really, really want to finish)

posted by umbú (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

John wrote a song about the futurist idea that technology would soon render our bodies superfluous (by 2008? surely)

Nope. John was seventeen years too early with that ETA.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

BTW, umbú, the music players here at MeFiMu aren't loading for me this morning, which occasionally happens, so I'm as yet unable to comment any further on your tune. Hopefully I can hear it soon!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:11 PM on November 10, 2008

Old tapes are so full of interesting stuff... also that off-kilter bassline in the first section gives me an idea. Hm.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:18 PM on November 10, 2008

Have you heard a band called The National? I feel like you predated their sound by ten or fifteen years! Good stuff.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 9:54 PM on November 10, 2008

Yeah, that bassline is really cool. And the drum track wasn't at all what I was expecting, either. This has some pretty cool stuff in it.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:07 AM on November 12, 2008

I'd forgotten how much tape rounded off all the corners.
It was like being in a sauna of sound instead of a boxes of over-loud nails over each of your ears.
The more you loved it, the more you played it, the more angles got knocked off.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Magnetic tapes.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?
posted by isopraxis at 9:55 PM on November 14, 2008

this is really fun. actually sounds a lot like old the national. HAve anything else with this guy singing?
posted by es_de_bah at 9:10 AM on January 9, 2009

Lyrics here:

The styles of evenings and their kind -
Who made them so weighless?
Wink and glide.

Boy was brought up in the light.
An animated astronaut floats by
across the glass.

Take these teeth and nails from us -
allow us to be weightless
to turn the world.

"We'll still be here in the morning.
We're turning off the monitor now.

And the wisdom will be running deeper with every step into the Model Mind.

There used to be a horse named Cracker boy would ride.
The hair on his mane was like the bristles on the brush to sweep the floor -
made him sneeze.

And the wisdom will be running deeper with every step into the Model Mind.

"Everybody owns themselves. It's gonna be fine.
I've got a secret - it's almost time to be weightless."
It's almost time.
posted by blue bar at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2010

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