Music

Tosca: No Hassle

Next to this, Tosca's fifth record of blunted chill, Prozac looks like a double-shot espresso.


Tosca

No Hassle

Label: !K7
US Release Date: 2009-04-28
UK Release Date: 2009-04-27
Website
Amazon
Amazon
iTunes

Richard Dorfmeister has appeared on very few dud albums in his career, between the legendary Kruder and Dorfmeister mixes and the respected Tosca catalogue. However, since Y2K, he hasn't shown up on many great albums either. He has barely spoken to Paul Kruder in years. Tosca, a project between Dorfmeister and his Vienna classmate Rupert Huber, ran out of the gate with the slow burning trip-hop/dub classic Opera and the easy-drinking taste of Suzuki in 2000. Then it seemed the operatic duo tried to spread themselves too thin.

2003's Dehli9 was a sprawling two-disc affair that injected more straight-laced world music influences, minimal piano compositions, and full song vocals (instead of immaculately arranged, choice samples) into the mix. Two years later, J.A.C. unleashed a funky, electro, disco pop affair that was smothered with singing, plus a few slower numbers seemingly tacked on for balance. It may be cliché to say, but No Hassle is a thankful return to form.

Lately, there has been a big push in electronic music towards songwriting, that is, lyricism. Susumu Yokota's Mother and Tim Exile's Listening Tree both broke with tradition for those artists in 2009 by featuring singing on almost every track, and those albums suffer for it. Any club veteran will tell you a deejay with a microphone never ends well unless he or she only announces drink specials, but they all cave to the urge to lead the dance floor through several rounds of Simon Says (throw your hands up, make noise, etc.). Many an otherwise decent night out has been ruined by this sad trait.

Bucking the savage trend, No Hassle features no main vocal tracks, returning to the use of samples, the use of the voice as an instrument that helped to give the early Tosca so much character. Through this, combined with a return to the downtempo/trip-hop aesthetic that served Opera and Suzuki so well, the album more aptly displays its theme than a thousand fumbling pseudo-spiritual singers ever could. Actually, Opera now seems largely half-baked by comparison, but I guess that was part of the idea in the first place. The theme of this record should be obvious from its title. No Hassle means hakuna matata, no worries, no bother, and the album delivers the finest chill music in the world today. If you can't chill out to this, you're cold.

Is your boss crawling up your ass? Are your parents using you as a moderator in their long-overdue divorce proceedings? Did your sibling or cousin recently ask you for money again without paying you back from the last time? Do you think your cat is peeing on your clothing out of spite? Are you anxiously counting down to the Armageddon at the end of the Mayan calendar (December 21, 2012)? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are hereby prescribed No Hassle, a scientifically tested mix of equal parts Zero 7 and Boards Of Canada, with a sweet Lee "Scratch" Perry coating. It makes an hour on the bus seem like three hours in a pool filled to the brim with the genitals of your choosing. Next to this, Prozac looks like a double-shot espresso.

7

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

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

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

rating-image