Artist: Alder and Elius
Title: King of Pop
Format: 7" single
Catalogue Number: KMAS003
Year of Release: 2000
A King Of Pop
B Selected Memories From The Astonishing Hereafter
King of Pop features, not surprisingly, a load of Andy Warhol samples. This interested me mainly because the subtitle to my blog is a none-too-subtle Warhol reference (see here) as well as being a reference to a record label run by David Holmes, amusingly described here as 'long dormant'.
It opens with an interviewer posing the question, "What was the most exciting thing to happen to you?", and Andy replies, "Well, er, I haven't thought about it". This fascinating exchange, along with another interviewer sample saying "Artist Andy Warhol" and other interjections from Andy such as, "Er... no", and, "Ah... Yes" are peppered through the opening minutes of this long track, accompanied by drum samples that reminded me of Duran Duran song intros, and a bassline bordering dangerously on 'slap'.
Things chug along like this for sometime, and then to add to the overall eighties remix vibe, a chord progression comes in that sounds like it's been lifted from hyphen-dropping French keyboardist Jean Michel Jarre's breakthrough album Oxygene. (Granted this album was released in 1976 (in France, 1977 in the U.K. (or 'the rest of the world' as we like to call it)), but it only became really big in the Eighties.) This is joined by a languid arpeggio line that too would not disgrace one of Le Jarre's classics, Magnetic Fields perhaps?
The drum loops are more interesting, being built of cheap-sounding samples (or samples expensively treated to sound cheap), but the loops are unusually long,and most of the drum sounds get fired off in rounds of five, so you get a "d-d-d-d-d" of a tom, swiftly followed by the 'ts-ts-ts-ts-ts' of the ride, and they use far more toms and bass drum sounds than any others in the loop, occasionally layering snares and hi-hats over, but not often. It's a vaguely tribal, driving groove, and works well.
There are a few wet synth squiggles to alleviate the boredom that builds around the 5-6 minute mark, then towards the end a different chord progression sneaks in, drums do a hokey-cokey, then are stripped back to cymbals, and more Warhol samples round things off, this time banging on about "to see our lives as movies, and to star in them, and to direct them", which I guess must have sounded more profound back in the day.
Vaguely apropos comment - The only piece of artwork by Warhol I liked was one of a late series of pictures, I think done in the 80s, called 'Camouflage'. It looked a bit like this one, and it was hanging in the Modern Art Museum of Berlin, a converted train station. It was the scale that was impressive, it was bigger than the side of our house. I remember thinking, "That is one big piece of camouflage". I'm one hell of an art critic, as you can see.
The B-side, for all it's promising title, is like the A, only less so. Drums a bit more tribal, samples a lot more nonsensical. Nice grey marble vinyl, nice insert.