Monday, March 31, 2008

Stars on 16rpm

I usually can't stand chill out/downtempo: there are good songs but they're incredibly hard to find, drowned as they are by a phenomenal amount of unspeakably horrible sonic goo that targets zombies drinking $20 appletinis after a shop in the Meatpacking district. For every memorable track like Groove Armada's "At the River," there are dozens of drecky Café del Mar compilations.

Quiet Village shows how to do downtempo right. Starting off with its name, a nod to exotica master Martin Denny, Quiet Village is a collaboration between Joel Martin and Radio Slave's Matt Edwards. Silent Movie, the duo's debut album, is a classy affair packed with pensive, lush soundscapes, but my favorite songs are the ones that sound like disco slowed down to a deliberate crawl. If you bumped the BPM on "Pacific Rhythm" and "Can't Be Beat," they'd be dance-floor scorchers; on the album, however, they amble along with tranquil grace. The string arrangement on "Can't Be Beat" sounded awfully familiar, however, and after a while I figured it out: It's lifted from David McWilliams' 1967 hit "Days of Pearly Spencer" (I'm giving out Marc Almond's cover, a hit again in 1992).

Quiet Village "Pacific Rhythm" (from Silent Movie, 2008)
Quiet Village "Can't Be Beat" (from Silent Movie, 2008)
Marc Almond "Days of Pearly Spencer" (from Tenement Symphony, 1991)

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