Friday, November 7, 2008

808/pacific state!

808/pacific state!
It's feast or famine I guess. Here's the second post in two days, a nice oceanic follow up to yesterday's piece.

I originally wrote this in December of 2006. I just dug it up and tweaked it slightly.

808 State- "Pacific State"--- 1989 Calming, water lapping feet, dolphins dancing. But also neon, strobe, taxi rides, subway trains, coffee, liquor, cigarettes, ecstasy, cocaine, sex, steel, glass, concrete, dense populations, rushing. Either way, a rush. It's kind of sad though with the alto[?] sax bringing melancholy, calling me a loser for not hearing this classic till 16 years after it hit the dance floor. The sax is also of the blues, lamenting the era that has passed that was actually very present when the cut was first blasted on high powered night club PAs. It's a blues in hindsight, because when it was first played, it was new, fresh, innovative. Now the sing-songy looping keyboard synth sounds dated, demolished like the Hacienda itself. You can't go home again.

It also sounds a bit sleazy; the saxophone (or is it clarinet? or a synthetic melding of the two?) and propulsive pounding beat recalls half-remembered, half imagined, always fuzzy porn movies. And the encapsulated sleaze was also very real in '89: the desperate dance floor outing, which leads to the desperate dance floor grind (cock into denim), which leads to the desperate salivating kiss, which leads to the desperate shared cab at 3:30, and the desperate shared bed, and the desperate grinding sheets. And the sleaze is not just pheromonal, it's also synthetic: roughly cut cocaine, and what is dancing with out pills? The song recalls the sleaze of dancing as a means to another end.

But the song sounds lonely, recalling the nearly empty dance floor perhaps on an off night near close, or 10PM when no one with self-consciousness has yet made an appearance. It recalls the sleaze of 80s excess (and timeless excess: Excess then! Excess now! Excess later!) but also the spirituality of the solitary dancer, out for the beat and not the hook up.

And it also sounds dangerously close to smooth jazz: the saxophone, a trapping of the true Blue Note, re-contextualized with a propulsive beat to become waiting room wallpaper.

"Pacific State" has both beauty and cheese, but it's the mix that saves it from the smooth pap. There's a hint of rawness in its sailing. It's dangerously close to smooth jazz, but danger can be beautiful. It makes the heart beat fast.

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