RadioDavidByrne Nov. playlist: all funked up
I've been totally grooving out to the retro funk playlist on David Byrne's internet radio station all month, but keep forgetting to blog it. Here. This edition's disco-era theme, I'm told, is a byproduct of his work on a forthcoming musical that chronicles Imelda Marcos' Studio 54 years. "Here Lies Love," Byrne's collaboration with Fatboy Slim, is set to debut on stage in early 2006.
From Byrne's liner notes for the November playlist:
These songs may have been what folks were referring to when a certain portion of the population held up “disco sucks” banners in the 80s. These self-proclaimed music critics often stated that what bothered them was that these songs were made by machines (they often were, and proudly so) and therefore lacked sincerity or realness. I think what they were really afraid of was the fact that many of these songs emanated from a mostly Black and often gay subculture — a combination which was so unimaginably scary that its musical representation simply had to be fought off at all costs.
The songs are, as mentioned, proudly artificial studio creations. Linn drum machines and synthesizers abound, and there are no attempts to disguise, for example, the synthesizers as pianos or organs — they are made to sound all squirmy and slithery in reference to bodies on the dance floor — and elsewhere. And maybe linking these with the mechanical programmed beats was a way of taking the oppressive aspects of the modern world, a mechanized world controlled by distant suits (especially if you were stuck in the projects) and turning it on its head — using a thing that represented the worst of modern life and making it ecstatic and celebratory.