Wednesday, 19 August 2009

In2 Ether

Apologies for disappearing into the mists, but things have been crazy of late. Anyway I'm here now.

I recently wrote an article for FACT magazine in which I attempted to try and breakdown some of my favourite Danja productions which you can check out here. Here's an excerpt from the piece about Britney Spear's horror stripshow masterpiece, "Get Naked (I Got A Plan)".

Perhaps inspired in equal parts by a thirst to prove himself as a producer capable of functioning without Timbaland - and by the unique craziness that surrounded the recording of a monument to Britney's public meltdown - Blackout was the record that really unleashed Danja’s extreme, avant-garde pop sensibilities on his own terms. Producing seven tracks for the album overall, including the black glitter, electro throb of 'Gimme More', the song that was made notorious by “that” performance, chances are that Danja will never create anything as bizarre and uncomfortably dark-hearted as the standout on Britney’s mecha-nihilist masterpiece: 'Get Naked (I’ve Got A Plan)'. What seems on the surface to be the most vapid of sex-jams, seemingly designed to keep strippers happy and hanging off their poles, is in fact a queasy, creeped-out psychosexual masterpiece of levitating space-dream beats, zombified drums, and unbalanced horrorshow synths that positively wreak of doom and sound forever on the verge of falling apart - as they lurch forwards and compete to envelop Britney and Danja’s greek chorus of masterfully manipulated chants and exhalations. The quiet violence that’s often been threatened in that serpentine slither of a vocal is here coaxed right to the fore.

'Get Naked (I’ve Got A Plan)' is significant in Danja’s canon for also being one of the very few occasions when he’s stepped out from behind the board and entered the booth himself. Unlike Timbaland - who has always maintained a vocal presence on his tracks, more so as his career has gone on, much to the detriment of the music - Danja has tended to shy away from self-exposure, but 'Get Naked (I’ve Got A Plan)' is a rare exception to the rule. Recorded almost as a duet between Britney and himself, his presence on the track, which drips with backwater voodoo menace as his voice is screwed and reconfigured into a frightening rotting creak in one instance and in another an intoxicated vampiric slur that should come with a warning sign for impressionable young girls, is as intrinsic to the song’s success as the alien-sex sonics and Britney’s own disturbingly dead-eyed performance - a performance dotted with effecting, fleeting moments of sudden, tardy comprehension of a situation that she knows has already dragged her way too far down the rabbit hole.

Of course knowing all that we think we know about Ms Spears - the rumours of crystal meth addiction, a deteriorating family unit, suicide attempts, the witch-hunt level persecution and severe mental instability - adds an extra dimension to this already plenty disorienting song. There’s certainly something potently tragic about observing an individual seemingly retreat into their own fabricated world as Rome burns all around them, and so as it is on 'Get Naked (I’ve Got A Plan)'. While her life falls apart, Britney appears to be concerned with nothing but the discussion of cold, hard fucking devoid of any sense of love or intimacy. Add to that the fact that Blackout is a masterclass exercise in autotuning that subjects Britney’s voice to a series of quite brutal sonic violations, until it’s stripped almost entirely of its humanity, and your left with the sad and yet horribly thrilling sound of a woman who seems to have checked out of reality and given herself up to grinding mechanics - which in return assimilate and transform her into a ghost in her own machine. Even detached from the horror-flick storyboard that Britney Spear’s life had by this point evolved into, 'Get Naked' loses none of its impact.


So the reason why I've been so busy has been because of my recent reacquaintance with life in NYC. This week I'm djing at a few things you should come to and shake bones.

Tonight is SHAME, an anything goes kind of affair that will involve myself and my psrtner in crime, Lauren Chillhard, playing whatever we like, free of shame or regret. This will entail Madonna's "Erotica" album, 90s house, that new Shakira song about being a sex wolf, creeped out coldwave, and of course, lots and lots of SO BONES jamzzz! Its at Lulu's in Greenpoint. It will be a chilled affair.

On Friday, in collaboration with True Panther, its SOCIETY, a night of amazing, horrible, disgusting noise. Tanlines, Teengirl Fantasy, Sewn Leather, MNDR and Angels in America will be playing live, while Dean from True Panther, and myself will be playing African tekno, homo-haus, and plenty of Todd Edwards remixes. Lets smoke. Its at Monster Island Basement in Williamsburg.