NWT: Electric Light Orchestra’s “Time”

2 10 2007

ELO Time

Fans of Midnight Juggernauts and Cut Copy’s disco-rock beats, sweeping synths, Beatle-esque harmonies, vocoders and laser beams: we need to talk about Electric Light Orchestra. And not the ELO who brought you “Evil Woman” or even “Don’t Bring Me Down”, but specifically their hugely influential and yet under-the-radar 1981 synth-heavy experimental space-disco/rock concept album, “Time.” So I asked Ken Robin, a S.F.-based attorney, to talk about it, because he is my dad. He wrote this:

“When I first heard of Electronic Light Orchestra in the ‘70s, I immediately pictured polka playing Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music Makers. What else was one to think of in the early to mid 70’s when one’s idea of rock was anything but an “orchestra”? The whole idea of what became known as “symphonic rock” was not just a little bit off-putting to those who thought of the Beatles and Stones as something quite different from their parents’ music. But there was simply no denying the infectious nature of ELO and the genius that was Jeff Lynne.

ELO Live

So what was one to make of “Time” when it came out in ’81? Certainly this was a ”concept album” that had some “central theme” — but what was it? Space travel? The world changing so fast it was becoming unrecognizable? The dark side of technological advances? And was it more silly than academically stimulating in its presentation? I saw ELO perform the album live in the Oakland Arena when it first came out and it started with a midget sized robot doing the Prologue on stage as the band itself arose from under the stage in a huge plastic bubble. But we in the audience did not laugh or jeer. We were astounded. We cheered and yelled out in joy. Does this mean we were naïve? Unhip? I don’t think so. Nonetheless the passage of a quarter century forces one to pause and ask: Was it silly?

This video for Electric Light Orchestra’s “Twilight” conveys a bit of what it must have been like to see that laser-riffic 1981 show – shades of Daft Punk at Coachella, anyone?

Most people would likely include very few “Time” songs on their “ELO’s Greatest Hits” list, other than “Hold on Tight”. So what makes the album stay with me? Maybe it’s just a recognition that the ‘80s were here and we were not who we had been in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s and that this new 80’s decade, which would bring us PCs and glam rock and the rest of its “look at me” cultural icons, had changed us forever. In a wistful look at the situation, Jeff Lynne invited us to see a future of IBM computer robot lovers (“Yours Truly, 2095”) and other technological tools for escapists (“Twilight” and “Ticket to the Moon”) and to try to envision that world with both its possible benefits (“21st Century Man”, “Here is the News”, “The Light Goes Down”) and detriments (“Rain Is Falling” and the probing question of “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”).

“Time” didn’t prevent war or ensure justice but it was a decent and memorable effort, all the same.

Thanks Dad!

Fans of Midnight Juggernauts’ “Into The Galaxy” should definitely check out “Here is The News”:
MP3: “Here is the News” – Electric Light Orchestra

My favorite song from “Time” is the opening track “Twilight”, with its huge, simple synth line, massive, bombastic drums and crazy falsetto harmonies:
MP3: “Twilight” – Electric Light Orchestra

This next one is for all you vocoder lovers – the story of a man in love with his new IBM PC:
MP3: “Yours Truly, 2095” – Electric Light Orchestra

The album’s biggest hit was essentially a 50’s blues/rock song with updated production (but then again, that pretty much describes The Ramones entire catalog). This song was also used in a bizarre series of jittery commercials in the 80’s, the theme of which was “Be a Coffee Achiever!”
MP3: “Hold on Tight” – Electric Light Orchestra

You can buy ELO’s “Time” on iTunes or Amazon.

Baron von Luxxury


Gucci Soundsystem

28 09 2007


 Gucci Soundsytem might be known to a lot of you as the guys that brought you the awesome remix of Tiefschwarz’s “Wait and See”.  This joint, “Acarpenter”, is a bit different.  Let’s call it minimal disco.  This record sounds like Moroder teamed up with (insert something stupid here) and made a record in this modern day and age. 

“Acarpenter” came out on “Bugged Out” in 2006, but James Murphy, of DFA and LCD Soundsystem fame, loved it so much he picked it up.  As a bonus, the new Joakim remix is included.  If you thought the original was dated from the start (in a good way), then wait until you hear this one.

 MP3:”Acarpenter” – Gucci Soundsystem

MP3:”Acarpenter (Joakim Remix)” – Gucci Soundsystem

Buy the “Acarpenter” at Pure Groove.


The Neon Plastix

4 04 2007

The Neon PlastixThe Neon Plastix

A quick shout out to a band we played with on Luxxury’s recent UK tour. Lovely Doncaster’s finest New Wave outfit are without a doubt The Neon Plastix: disco, punk, funk, spastic, severely 80s, and almost diabolically catchy. In a word: infectiously awesome. Actually that’s two words. Still.

MP3: “Space and the Woods (Neon Plastix Remix)” – Late of the Pier
The Neon Plastix ‘space

The Plastix have loads of gigs coming up in the UK including one in London at Madame JoJos with the amazingly named and throroughly entertaining one-boy-show Psycho Fags in Bin Bags, who we played with in lovely Birmingham.

The Teenagers…Again? Why Not?

13 03 2007

Love it or leave it…I love it.

Mp3: Sunset Beach – The Teenagers

Bangers Du Jour

8 03 2007


My song of the week: a genius bizarro electronic cutup tale about a very special time called “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”. Apparently this is a reference to some sort of Internet forwarding phenomenon that I am far too highbrow to understand. However I laughed out loud at about three different places in this mix by the always amazing Claude Von Stroke.

MP3: Claude Von Stroke- Peanut Butter Jelly Time (Claude VonStroke and Julio Ingles Miami Doodoo Bootleg)
Via 20 Jazz Funk Greats

Palmsout (the amazing blog who also brought us the Daft Punk Sampling etymology a few weeks ago) has a regular remix exclusives feature on Sundays called, shockingly, “Remix Sundays.” This past week’s edition featured a few amazing ones, here are my favorites:

MP3: UFO (Van She Tech Remix) – Sneaky Soundsystem
MP3: Gravity’s Rainbow (Nightmoves Remix) – Klaxons
MP3: Around The World (Killdahype Remix) – Daft Punk
via Palmsout

Tim Sweeney

I used to subscribe to Tim Sweeney’s amazing Beats In Space weekly podcast until I noticed that it had eaten up half my laptop’s hard drive space! At 140 megs a week it’s a heavyweight workout, but worth the toll on your bytecount for an always amazing mix of disco, indie dance, electro house, with a lot of great vintage and obscure stuff. The show is mixed live on WNYU 89.1 FM on Tuesday nights and generally posted on the site the next day. He’s also got some sort of affiliation with DFA which I’m not too clear on, and I’ve seen him in Miami for WMC a few times. Ok, now I’m just stretching for material to write about. Check out the site to download a few episodes.

Beats in Space on Myspace

Speaking of mixes, go check Missing Toof today for a mix by All Night Dance Party, it’s slammin’ like Prince circa Lovesexy, in a white Canadian sorta way. (Look out for their remix of Luxxury’s “Sweet and Vicious” coming soon!). I’ll probably spin most of these tonight at Elbo Room. Come take a break from the dirty electro (we all need a sorbet in between meals sometimes) and check out the synthpop stylings of Freezepop along with Subimage, Sutro, and DJ Baron Von Luxxury in the DJ booth.



28 02 2007

I am in my hotel room in beautiful Waikiki.  I have to admit, I was a little aprehensive about Hawaii because I thought it would be too touristy.  It is! However, it is amazing.  My girlfriend Natasha, and I are still exploring but are enjoying all of the fine cuisine.  I have yet to have a Mai Tai.  Although I am comfortable in my manhood, it still seems like the tropical equivalent of an Appletini.  It is super expensive here.  I am rolling with Miller High Lifes (Lives?) right now due to the price.  Since our hotel costs too much in my opinion, I am enjoying one service they offer: FREE CALLS ANYWHERE in the United States.  So, I am serious, email me your phone number ( jsagouspe@gmail.com) and I will call you.  I need to get my money’s worth.  Aquarium tommorow. I am hyped. The aquarium is my favorite place in the world.  It is also important to mention that there are many Japanese tourists here.  I had no idea.  They all have the Japanese mullet too. I bet you guys would know it if you saw it.  Furthermore, In one of the Tony Hawk games, I totally skated off the top of this hotel over a helicopter.  Surreal.  If you ever come here, it is great, but stay to the tourist parts. It is depressing otherwise.  I hope to get to the other side of the island at some point though and maybe accidentally see some of the actors from Lost.  By the way, if you missed it, the science company that Juliet works for is called “Mittelos”.  This is an anagram for “Lost Time”, which is confirmed to not be a coincidence. 

Blahblahblah.  Too much rambling.  Here is what you all want:

MP3: “Fancy Footwork” – Chromeo

I bet you guys have heard the Thomas Barford remix.  Stick with the original. I have DJed that remix, and it is ok, but Chromeo is one of those bands that has such an awesome sound that no remix could ever do them enough justice.

MP3: “Find What You Get (Nik 7 Remix)” – Bang Gang

I totally stole this from the hollerboard! This is the Icelandic band “Bang Gang”, not the equally amazing Australian Djs.  I know very little about Nik 7, but this remix is worth a handshake.

MP3: “The Creeps (Fedde Le Grand Remix)” – Camille Jones

Is this remix enough to forgive Fedde Le Grand for “Put Your Hands Up for Detroit”?  You be the judge. That video gave me total price.  “Price” is the feeling when you feel embarassed for someone else and also feel embarassed for watching the, do that embarassing thing.  It was created by my friend Michelle after something she witnessed at Price Club.  Please use the word.  Make it catch on.