Review : Co La - Daydream Repeater
PitchforkA couple of weeks ago, Pitchfork Editor-in-Chief Mark Richardson wrote a column on what he called "the Tumblr-ization of indie." One of his ideas was that an artist like Lana Del Rey is basically a collage-- or in his metaphor, a Tumblr-- of images and sounds she thinks are cool. In a cultural moment when the past is instantly accessible-- not to mention one in which we're used to constant reference and appropriation-- it makes sense that we start conflating "who we are" with "what we're into." Instead of creating, the artist collects. As viewers-- or listeners, or whatever-- we learn to read between the lines and explore juxtapositions. Is it possible, for example, for me to express something about myself that can't be best expressed by saying, "I'm pretty into Hawaiian slack-key guitar music and body horror movies?" Liking things-- something we all do by reflex-- becomes a creative gesture if you do it thoughtfully.
Listening to Daydream Repeater, Ecstatic Sunshine member Matthew Papich's first full-length album as Co La, I revisited an experience I haven't had since college: Walking down the street, seeing someone wearing the t-shirt of a band I like, and thinking, cool. It's comforting to know other people like the same things we do-- in this case, skinhead reggae from the mid-1960s, field recordings from the Cameroonian rainforest, cricket noises, music in major keys. It's an incredibly lightweight album-- thin-sounding, super-repetitive, bright to the point of translucence. (Though Daydream Repeater doesn't sound stylistically like Ecstatic Sunshine, people familiar with them might recognize the directive: feel good all the time, over and over again). Papich is no archeologist, nor do I think he's trying to show off his knowledge of obscure sounds-- most of the time, he doesn't even bother disguising his samples....full text
Tinymixtapes“We cannot retrace our steps, going forward may be the same as going backwards. We cannot retrace our steps, retrace our steps.” —Gertrude Stein
You remember that naughtily delighted moment when, as a kid, you found out that Coca-Cola was so monikered because it originally contained cocaine? Co La — Ecstatic Sunshine’s Matt Papich — isn’t much like that, though the looping, self-centered conversation characteristic of coke is definitely a metaphorical point of reference. That is to say, his tracks are constructed from brief loops of other works, often (briefly) recognizable. But would you ever drink coke from a stein? Another Stein wrote, of “A Sound”: “Elephant beaten with candy and little pops and chews all bolts and reckless reckless rats, this is this.” Is that this this?
John Gill has argued that Gertrude Stein’s work, in its separation from syntax and meaning, has an “innate musicality” which consists in its words; Co La is attempting a similar job with his approach to looped snippets. But Daydream Repeater isn’t a modernist work — on the contrary, I wouldn’t usually say this (as being too facile), but it’s deeply postmodern. The quote with which this review opened demonstrates the irony by which repetition, a literal retracing of one’s steps, comprises both novelty and a strategy of defamiliarization. The twiddling of ‘tender buttons,’ the dissociated erotics of the technological age, is exemplified not least in the cover art. And here we might also think of the deconstructed ‘cover’ as version, that is, purposefully imperfect simulacrum, as something that is both Same and Other: “originally rid of a cover.” The album’s title, in referencing a hit by an artificial band from an age of authenticity that now seems naïve, speaks, or rather (given the privilege that that term reserves for the biological and the anthropocentric), is articulated, toward the same concerns....full text
Consequenceofsound.A few years ago, Matt Papich and eventual Ponytail founder Dustin Wong worked together as psychedelic maestros Ecstatic Sunshine. Once that project had run its course, Papich had to find the next thing, and has now found his way to Co La. The familiar disassociation of the name, that separation of a familiar sugar rush into two halves, is a core of Papich’s work on this project’s debut album, dropping funk, tropicalia, and dubby house into a blender, and pouring the neon green results into shot glasses for easy consumption. Sometimes the mix is a bit off, but the intent to get crazy is always the same.
When Daydream Repeater is at its best, it’s a combination of saccharine pop and trippy psychedelia, a la El Guincho or recent Animal Collective without any of the vocals. The sub-bass bubbles to the surface on “Turned Twice”, as twinkling piano and faded harmonies loop around. Papich’s heavily reverbed mumbles and intonations add a shambolic, mantra-like quality to the mix. “Smooth Solidarity” pulses like a reggae jam caught in deep space, and “Egyptian Peaches” ripples and fades, bright, angled saxophone tripping out over the top.
There are a few points at where the seams show a little too clearly, the loops too obvious and stilted. Opener “Cocktail” rips a swing beat and fingersnaps straight from the Twin Peaks soundtrack and then adds some distant, warbling female vocals, without building to anything or forming an idea. The vocal samples in “My Jamaican” sound like they’re coming from a handful of button-pushes on an old synth, the flow startling and stumbling...full text
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