3/31/10

THE SLOW-MOTION WORLD OF SNOWPONY

Going through my music library and I stumbled onto an old favorite, the 1998 debut by the indie-rock supergroup Snowpony. Totally consuming my thoughts these days.

MY FAVORITE RECORD IS THE SLOW-MOTION WORLD OF SNOWPONY


I guess I bought this album when I was 14, when it came out (1998). I had read a kind of tepid review of it in CMJ, which I religiously read back then. As I remember it, the review basically said that this album wasn't as good as it should have been, given the provenance of it's members. That it did not sound like the sum of it's parts. Members Debbie Googe and Katherine Gifford had been in My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab, respectively. This, however, was not shoegaze-y, drone-y, emp pop. This was not proto-marxist 1960s-inflected indie rock. This was sort of a darkwave dance album, made with samples. This is what really struck me about the sound of the record and why I love it so much. This is the era of Solex. Of sampling no longer being a novel act in and of itself, it was by 1998 an exhausted technique. It wasn't new. Snowpony sampled, like, Sonic Youth's "100%" with a sort of tongue-in-cheek knowledge that the average person who would buy the Snowpony album would be able to recognize the Sonic Youth guitar squalls that pop up during the Snowpony song "3 Can Keep A Secret (If 2 Of Them Are Dead)". And I did recognize that sound. This record has some really beautiful moments, and I remember really thinking it was very cool more than ten years ago when I first heard it. Katherine's voice is sort of low, lilting. It was one of the first (and best) times I heard a lead singer who wasn't trying to beat you over the head with their personality. She was not out to tear you down. You had to pay attention to her words, and then the real magick begins.



Going through some old mixes last week, I came across their song "Siamese Fighting Fish". Katherine once said in an interview that the first time they really thought of themselves as successful was when she heard this song come on in a dance club. I read this interview like five years ago or so. When I stumbled across this song, at first I thought "Oh whatever, why would anyone ever play this song in a club? It's too weird, drone-y." Then, as I listened harder, I realized "I don't know if I've ever listened to this entire song all the way through." Then I heard the lyrics to the chorus, which are so beautiful I want to re-post them here. Please check out this wonderful record.



YOU AND ME, INVISIBLE
GHOSTS ON THE STREET.
YOU AND ME IN OUR SLOW-MOTION DAYS,
INDIVISIBLE, INCREDIBLE.

1 comment:

Yosser Hughes said...

Was Katharine Gifford in Stereolab? I thought Moonshake... dunno. Never came across Snowpony at the time, but have heard a few things since. I definitely should hear more, but the internet (unusually) doesn't want to help...