Friday, April 26, 2019

Forgotten Fridays: At Home with the Groovebox

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

I just realized we have yet to do a Forgotten Friday yet this year, so here we go with an old favorite from my college radio days...

At Home with the Groovebox was released by Grand Royal back in 2000. All artists recorded songs with the Roland MC-505 Groovebox. According to Wikipedia, the Roland MC-505 is "... a combination of a MIDI controller, a music sequencer and a drum machine." Since this was released on the Beastie Boys label, it's filled with artists either on Grand Royal or friendly with the Beastie Boys. As you can imagine, the results vary wildly, but all are pretty interesting. 

One of the better contributions is from Pavement. "Robyn Turns 26" is a dream for those of us that have ever wanted to hear Stephen Malkmus rap and may be a direct descendant of Groove Denied, his dance inflected solo album from earlier this year. Money Mark, Beck, and Air are all basically what you'd expect, and they've all heavily dabbled in such music in the past. Sonic Youth's "Campfire" is experimental noise even by their standards. Bis's "Oh My" is a strong highlight, and somehow keeps their energy even with being limited to one instrument. Sean Ono Lennon gives us "Winged Elephants," which manages to be 60's, 80's, and psychedelic all at the same time. "Today I Started Celebrating Again" is an electronic folk song from Bonnie "Prince" Billy. And Cibo Matto's contribution, "We Love Our Lawyers," is perfection.

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