A note to future departing music bloggers: Listening to Sigur Rós while writing a goodbye post is probably a bad choice.
A note to future humans on saying goodbye after nearly eight(!) years: Do it in person.
That’s how I tried to break this to Scott, but due to some crossed wires we wound up on the phone, and I wound up wrestling with a case of overwhelming emotion and an involuntarily ululating voice. It was a golden opportunity to bust the Antony cover of a lifetime; instead, I put my quavering vocal in service of thanking him for changing my life, being a great man, and one of my best friends. I’m doing that again here, in that this whole post is really a thank you to Scott; without him, there would be no here. (Truth.)
But first, let’s talk about us, and this thing we’ve built, together. By the end, we’ll have touched on a lot of things. Including that photo.
Welcome to Stereogum Sessions, wherein we bring a video camera to the bands we love and document them in action. This episode is on location, in a basement belonging to Brooklyn’s Small Black, a band we’ve been locked on since their earlier iteration as Slowlands, and one that’s grown into a cinematic widescreen synth- and indie-pop sound with this year’s Limits Of Desire. The band performed three standouts from that record for us in their Gowanus practice space — “Breathless,” “No Stranger,” and “Free At Dawn.” A Fun Fact for folks attuned to the indie rock internet a few years ago: Small Black’s basement is Juan’s Basement, the underground video performance show from the late-aughts (Juan Pieczanski is the band’s bassist/guitarist). The band’s practice space being a proven television set is one reason this shoot looks so good. The other is our crew of filmmakers, Alexandra Eaton and Amanda Marzullo, who beautifully shot, produced, and edited this jam. And the reason it sounds so good is Small Black’s performance, and the technical mix work of Jeff Curtin and Juan (i.e. Small Black’s rhythm section). Watch all three, here:
Cult Exciter is a duo with a brief bio: “from the caribbean to brooklyn, two friends work on an audio visual project.” With “In The Wave” we get a sense of the aural portion, a sensual brew of spare, bottom-heavy beat production, minimal jazz horn, and a soulful female vocal carrying the weight of all the yearn and pheromone in the world. The track is chill-out music for ambient hours, simple but enveloping, calibrated for the transitional moments before (or after) acts of destruction (or, the opposite). The pair have been friends since middle school in the Dominican Republic but began collaborating artistically only after their move to Brooklyn, with academic concentrations in fashion and music/film between them. “In The Wave” comes paired with a basic video (paramecium feeding on a microscope slide), but it’s the photo above that’s more suggestive of their visual direction: It comes from the personal collection of the singer’s grandfather, whose hobby was to drive around in the DR and on Long Island in the ’70s with a police radio in order to descend upon and snap photographs of car crashes. Take that, and hear “In The Wave,” here:
HI GUYS! I miss you! You are all looking mighty fine from the studio in Hollywood.
Michael, this is a kind post, and yes it was a very exciting moment, as you can see in the smile that’s about to split my head in two. Meanwhile, you remain the man. Let’s stage our own reunion at an OutKast show. It will be very meta. (And with you present, very metal.)
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel visiting the ‘Gum purely as a content consumer these past months, but I can say that, from this side of the divide, this place is as attractive in substance and commitment to the new (and the news) as it is in personality: A site for sore eyes. (You get it.) Contributing changed my life, and being a regular visitor enhances it immeasurably, perpetually.
MISS YOU // LOVE YOU.
A Fan In LA
Nathan, thank you for this. My only hope that week was that the horrendous incident could be something of a turning point, and the fact that Stereogum was able to be an agent in that made me love it, and what we’ve built here, even more than I’d thought possible. Appreciate your engagement and the note, man. Also, this is my first comment on Stereogum as a Los Angeleno, so here’s to that, and to you.
Thanks, Luke! Appreciate you taking the (endless) time to make it through all of those (many, many) words. Stereogum’s a special space, happy you’ve found it. Best to US!
Cerebrus, this is a vote of confidence I won’t forget — thank you for it. It was always a pleasure.
Much respect in return, donnytilla. It’s hard to stay hard in light of such heartwarming words, BUT I’LL FIND A WAY.
Raptor Jesus! I remember that night, we were standing in front of Beerland. You should know that whenever I’ve seen your handle here, I’ve thought back to that night and imagined your comments being spoken out of your actual head (or how I remembered it) and this was a good thing! My overarching sense impression of you was positive, though I could see the effects of the day you’d had, which is probably why our interaction was on the shorter side. But you’ve always been lucid and a great community member here, so thanks for that, and thanks for being good to me. Godspeed to you, too, dude.
Truth, dreamgalaxies. That JD can take you places (even if at times it only appears like that place is in the red). Thanks for the wishes, also!
Well, I did in this. So that’s a start!
Thanks, Burke. As for revolt, this video gives a sense of what I’ll do there. Appreciate the wishes.
I can think of no higher compliment. Or license for namechanging. Utmost appreciation, KIDCHAIR.