April 1, 2006

Dust is the Missing Variable

Some Hot Lazy Day / Obadia [2005]

I have no recollection of obtaining this song. If I were ever to pull a Rob Fleming/Rob Gordon and organize my music autobiographically, this would go in the unknown section at the back.

I was going to write "this would go in the unknown section at the back, alongside [clever band X] and [clever band Y]," but it's surprisingly difficult to think of a band or an album that you don't associate with some memory: a person, a room, a show, a meal, a holiday, a record store, a magazine, an advertisement... something. If you don't believe how hard it is to find an indecipherable, just glance through your own music in search of one. Lame or significant, something personal is associated with almost every song. Almost. There are always a few that manage to elude the memory.

Of course, the stuff that is lumped together at the back is usually the junk that you don't really care for. The Aristotle story is an exception. The librarian at Alexandria placed Aristotle's books on a shelf, with one coming at the end after the collection entitled Physics. The librarian had trouble understanding what this last book meant, so he (or she) decided to name it Metaphysics or "After Physics." It's probably a mistake to compare iTunes libraries to collections of ancient Greek texts, but the songs at the back, the autobiographical unknowns, do tend to be some of the most mind-blowing exceptions.

Yet, as much as it is meta-anything, "Some Hot Lazy Day" is also proto-something. Organic experimentalism. Electronic naturalism. Folktronica. Whatever you call it, it sounds like an earlier version. And it is. Recorded between 1998 and 2003, Obadia's free-to-download Where Does Dust Come From, with its hanging preposition, is both a question and an answer, before and after. It's free from associations and free to make new ones, both beyond the natural world and the source of it: both skin and fabric.

4 comments:

chrisk said...

i think i might have dumped it on you last year when we played music-swap. it's spiffy.

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