Music

Locussolus: Locussolus

A cheeky throwdown that sums up DJ Harvey's love for Italo-disco, electro-funk, ominous downtempo grooves, and Oasis balladry.


Locussolus

Locussolus

Label: International Feel
US Release Date: 2011-06-21
UK Release Date: 2011-06-13
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Forthwith, the lyric of the song “I Want It” by Harvey Bassett, aka DJ Harvey, also recording as Locussolus. Picture Harvey’s leathery cool voice alternating with an enthusiastic female admirer’s:

“You waant it?” “I waant it!” “You waant it?” “I waant it!” “You loove it?” “I loove it!” “You loove it?” “I loove it!” “‘Cause I got it...” “You got it!” “I got it?” “You got it!” “You waant it!” “I waant it!” (Together:) “I LOOOOOOOOOVE it!”

This hook is a defining landmark of 2011 music that people will remember, through the heat haze of their sodden debauchery, for many years. In much the same way that they’ll remember a particularly racist bit of graffiti on the bathroom wall, or the exact angle at which a potential amour flirtatiously held a drink while being chatted up by some douchebag, people -- I’m not saying who, just people -- will remember screaming along with the hook of this particular Locussolus 12”, their hands aloft. It’ll be the screengrab from the Youtube video of their minds. That’s assuming they hear it.

“I Want It” is the grooviest song on the Locussolus album, which collects three of Harvey’s recent 12” singles, along with the new tune “Bloodbath” and four remixes. Actually, the Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas remix of “I Want It” out-grooves the original. It pretty much out-grooves anything you might hear this year, sounding as it does like the Chemical Brothers’ “Galaxy Bounce”, which everybody knows was the grooviest song on the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider soundtrack. Now, Harvey’s original “I Want It” is a fine piece of work. It’s got dramatic clouds of synthy portent bursting over a pop-locking electro groove that recalls Material’s 1981 “Bustin’ Out”. But the remix swirls the original into inspired realms of bouncy lunacy. It adds three minutes of running time, honky-tonk piano, cheesy organ, and a hilarious climax that includes a horn section playing Shocking Blue’s “Venus”, of all things. Essential.

The rest is less so, but still a heck of a good time. “Next to You”, the flipside of “I Want It”, features a slow strut of a beat and a synth breakdown that sounds more like an Atari breaking down. A female admirer sings wispy come-ons while Harvey offers to eat his shoe in his suavest Right Said Fred croon. It’s the true sound of chillwave. “Tan Sedan” plunders the deathless sound of Canadian Italo-disco group Lime, with Harvey looking for some loving in minor-key desperation as arpeggios gush around him.

Harvey makes his share of downtempo tunes, though he never sacrifices momentum or cool sound effects to do so. “Bloodbath” doesn’t exactly sound like a bloodbath, but it does have ominous white noise in the background, a repetitive three-note chirp, and ruminative strums out of Morricone. The bloodbath, you see, is taking place in the workroom of the lonely leather-clad DJ, his tools analogous to those used by the serial killer, his life a matter of careful planning and steady nerves, his hands always in the right place at the right time. (Harvey used to kill ‘em at the Ministry of Sound.) And “Throwdown” gets the “One of These Tunes Is Not Like the Others” award for most idiosyncratic track on a dance album. Specifically, it sounds like an Oasis ballad. Not a bad one, at that. Pretty chords, some weird guitar throb, and it makes for a nice change of pace.

Harvey’s dry British smirk is plastered across the very notes and beats of his disco music, so it’s ironic that the most annoying song here is also the one that goes for out-and-out laughs. Andrew Weatherall’s remix of “Gunship” has Harvey leering at “thickums” and pontificating about “big girls” and their “two cans of Spam”. Regardless of whether you dig the sentiment, a little of his unhinged drooling goes a long way. Aside from that nadir, Locussolus is varied, body-moving, and endlessly listenable. It’s also full of personality -- no matter how far Harvey stretches his instrumental grooves, he can’t hide his cheeky sense of humor. I like his beard.

8

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

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

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

rating-image