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Day 3 – This Can’t Be Happening, This Is Happening

May 26, 2010

Back in 2007 I saw Daft Punk at Lollapalooza.  The show was everything a raver in the year 2707 could ask for – dazzling and ever-surprising light show, two guys in robot suits who might have been roadies or rodeo clowns for all we know (but who cares), and the absolute greatest, loudest, clearest sound I’ve ever heard at a festival.  From the far end of the mammoth field at the south end of Grant Park, the volume was still like being in a great dance club and the clarity like having a rockin’ pair of Bose headphones glued to my skull.  This video only sort of does it justice, but is worth a look. 

CD#3: LCD Sound System – This is Happening (DFA)

I mention all of this to lead into my review of today’s cd, the much lauded new record from the dazzling LCD Sound System.  Bop over to Metacritic to see the pretty much universal praise handed to it.  As I write, the band is playing the Metro and I’m sure it’s dance mania.  This CD works best at a loud, Daft-Punk-ish volume, as I discovered when I nearly pulled into streetside shrubbery when the music kicked in halfway through “Dance Yrself Clean.”  As the party continued through “Drunk Girls” I was sold, and already like it better than their last record, Sound of Silver.  Just check out the video!    But what’s also cool about LCD is how good it sounds on low volume.  I remember listening to the first Anti-Nowhere League cassette with Kristi, my girlfriend at the time, in my dorm room while we were reading from our film theory books.  There’s a magic to music that pulls you in on multiple volumes, and I’m predicting this one will be on my front seat all summer.

Book#3: “D.I.Y. Culture” by Michael Kimmelman (NYTimes, April 18, 2010)

This wonderful article raised so many questions about culture and society and the ways in which it gets defined.  Yes, I used passive construction there but that’s the point – so much of the worries about globalization have been about how outside forces come to dominate and define a “culture” which then meets the more democratic and organic forces of the internet and its free tools and network to foster ideas at microscopic levels (in comparison to the McDonalds scale of delicious world dominance).  Kimmelman reminds us, “We miss much about how culture works today — including how what might be called local standards of quality vie with the global aesthetic of sensationalism and fashion — if we stick only to seeing it as critics and consumers through our own aesthetic lens.”   Which is why it’s essential to also realize how many lenses are available to us to explore.  A day of listening to music, watching films, or viewing the art from another culture just might do the great work of causing a little reverse globalization and increased understanding. 

And I guess it just means I’ll have to buy a few more CD’s to do my part.

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