Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Justice... now what?

When the compressed-as-the-black-hole-in-the-center-of-the-Milky-Way, distortion-laden, six-hundred-foot-robotic-monster of an anthem Waters of Nazareth came out (note the mostly spot-on review but lackluster rating from Pitchfork,) I thought to myself, "This is exactly the kick in the ass electronic music needs, but nobody else is ever going to like it. It's way too nasty, way too dark, way too dense and way too fun for the chin strokers waiting for Villalobos' next 12 hour minimal-prog-trance epic."

Sonically, I thought it shared nearly as much with Speedy J's A Shocking Hobby as it did with Daft Punk. I was so infatuated by the density and texture of the sounds, I didn't even register it as house music at all. It reminded me of hearing Skinny Puppy... or Ministry's Stigmata for the very first time. Compare Stigmata to anything Front 242 was doing in the late 1980s to understand the paradigm shift: there was a renewed urgency and punk brashness in a genre best known for cold calculation and oiled precision at that time.

Regretfully, what followed that was a lot of misguided "I'm harder than you" garbage, which led to the marriage of industrial and heavy metal, which slowly and almost totally destroyed the genre's credibility (only to be further eroded by its second marriage to rave culture - i.e: VNV Nation - which is arguably even worse.) But I digress.

Before I finish digressing and totally derailing my own post, I think A Shocking Hobby was the first and one of the most brilliant "new industrial" LPs. I've been rather disappointed by Speedy J's output since then. 4/4 hard techno in 2007 is about as interesting (and sad) as Ministry making durdgey heavy metal. I dearly miss that genius period of his late Warp/early Mute years.

Back to Justice.

Likewise Justice let me down by not pushing their ultra-compressed, uber-nasty sound further in lieu of kitchy pop culture references on their debut full length. The point of this post though was their recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

I don't really know what to think. It is certifiably genius in a lot of ways, but on the other hand, it's like a comedy record: great the first time, but not worth repeating... ever. That's the problem with irony. Short shelf life. If Justice is going to last, they need a lot less irony and a lot more paradigm shifting moments. I know they are more than capable.

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