Monday, July 28, 2008

Bend Me, Shape Me #10: Polydistortion










Ask me about GusGus!

In 1995, shortly before Easter, I moved to California for the first time. This set the stage for the last seismic shift in my development as a music appreciator. At the time, Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW was playing some of the best music I'd ever heard.

In 1997 I discover GusGus, the band that loved design.

In 1998 I discover Mrs. Word Player, the designer who loved music.

You can guess what happened next, as long as your guess involves painstakingly programmed 90-minute mixtapes lobbing in from both sides.

GusGus have a healthy self-image.

The day I first heard "Polyesterday" on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" was a very great day. I almost had to pull the car over.

Thank you Chris Douridas. What an unbelievable track. Of all the "Bend Me, Shape Me" records, I may love this Polydistortion most of all. Well, at least I do right this second anyway.

Polly yesterday,
found another way.
synthetic one way or the other.

A biggish (twelve members at one point!), rotating Reykjavik-based collective of film, design, and music types featuring crate-digger break beats, slip-slidin' robobass and a truly odd crossroad of genre influences like disco, gospel, acid-house, hip-hop, dub, and ballad.

"Polyesterday" is, as of this writing, the definitive GusGus song. It bumps to the tightest drum loop I've ever heard. I don't want to know who they're sampling- I prefer to think they found it in a volcano.

This is the album that might pour out if you dropped the previous nine "Bend Me" records in a blender and hit liquefy.

To better understand who I am, it helps to know that I was too embarrassed to introduce myself to President Bongo (pictured) of GusGus on the dancefloor of Avalon.
Maybe it was his halo...

Track 2 acid-room fave "Believe" has its percussion lifted from the album version of Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie." Hear it, and you'll believe too.

Track 10's main room peak hour "close yer eyes and gesticulate!" leftfielder "Purple" is an all-time standout in the failed genre of trance.

Since 1997, I've seen GusGus twice as often as any other musical act. Different lead singers, DJ sets, and indifferent late period albums couldn't stop MWP and I from boogieing to our pink-haired, Icelandic club purists. If anyone ever comes across the GusGus remix of Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot", pay the man and send me the bill.

Dig that gun. Blow your mind.


This was fun.

Thank you readers. I'll see you in September after a quick month off.

Cheers to those of you who do what you want to do and not only get away with it, but go to sleep feeling good about it every night.

I emulate you.

I salute you.

**If you're new to the site, the goal of the Bend Me, Shape Me series can be found here.**

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