Prins Thomas: Live at Robert Johnson Vol 2

There's a track on this compilation called "Giorgio Carpenter", seemingly equating Moroder with Christ. Prins Thomas expertly carves out idols like this and more on his latest eclectic mix.

Prins Thomas

Live at Robert Johnson Vol 2

US Release: 2009-05-12
Label: Robert Johnson
UK Release: 2009-05-11

Prins Thomas, who just released a fine little album earlier this year with frequent partner Lindstrøm, is the second long-form selecta this year to celebrate a decade of Offenbach’s Robert Johnson club with an eclectic mix of dance cuts. Thomas, like much of the post-twentieth century dancefloor milieu, tends to favor repressed or taunted sounds, aggregating music’s punchlines-neobalaeric, prog-fusion, Italo-disco- with the hottest new techno or disco tunes to put them all on a level playing field. As such, he finds no difficulty in seamlessly intercutting just about whatever he chooses into his deejay sets.

This attitude is very much befitting of the earliest disco nights, which would drop in the odd danceable track from any number of sources as the genre continued to develop out of a nascent state. Prins Thomas delights in this miscegenation of styles, with an almost perverse glee at traversing this course through the apogee of obscurity, deriving here libidinal support from Norwegian indie band Kare & the Cavemen, closing interstitial gaps with1970s psych-organ grinder “Generation” by Anarchic System, and inducing gyrations via the post-rock motorik of Trans Am. Trans Am has certainly earned a place under the strobe light, though “First Words” off 2007’s Sex Change may not have been the obvious first contender for a spot at Robert Johnson. The track adapts itself marvelously to the mix though, pushing the pulse off-kilter at its moment of tension-building before Thomas returns it again for Map of Africa’s Madchester-esque “Wyatt Urp”.

As can be the case on 27 track mixes that fit on a single disc, many of the tracks are merely adhesive suture and thereby don’t really stand out or prove anything worth checking out further. Other tunes stay with you. Unfortunately, it’s Prins Thomas’s own remix of James Yuill’s obnoxious emo affirmation tape “This Sweet Love” (“Be the greatest man in history / The greatest man that you can be / Just be.”) that’s the biggest and most unwelcome show stopper, catapulting the listener queasily from outer space back to blandly acoustic-guitar-laden earth.

Live at Robert Johnson Vol 2 avoids dynamic matting for the most part, stopping only occasionally for a cheeseball guitar solo (Low Motion Disco’s “Love Love Love (Still Going Mix)”) or a novelty synth-funk dance craze that never was (Dogs of War’s 1977 French boogie “Le Stress”) to keep things spicey. The album really reaches its stride in its final quarter when Prins Thomas’s selections begin to fecundate the kind of fertile neon brood he creates with Lindstrøm, reaching an absolute zenith in the triumvirate of Matthew Jonson’s gorgeous and euphoric “Followed by Angels”, the Samos’s psych-rock and arp “Alpha Storm”, and Sebastian Tellier’s “Sexual Sportswear”, which is like a Wendy Carlo-curated church-mass-turned-relay race.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.