Fat Freddy’s Drop – Based on a True Story

‘One of the ways we create safety: The more we have in common, the less alone we are.’ – (Mike Powell, 2013 here.)

‘To say a record came out in 1968 is a matter of historical fact, but the reality is that records come out whenever people hear them first. Having been born in 1982, the year 1968 is an abstraction to me. At best, I can read a book about it, or talk about it with my parents. But in the context of my own experience, Astral Weeks was released around 1998.’ – ibid.

It’s the first quote I’m most interested in, but I want to consider the second first as it too has delectable sentiments with which I agree. I’m going to lift an idea from E.M. Forster’s book Aspects of a Novel for exhibition. What Forster proposes when a reader is considering a novel, which I am now extending to when a listener considers a record too, is that they should not consider what came before or what came after, as one is inclined to do. Its context in history muddies perception. What they should imagine is each artist, each maker in the same room simultaneously creating at the same time. The writers scribbling away in unison, Woolf, Dostoevsky, Homer, Voltaire, all there… The musician’s strumming, humming, clapping along; Jimmy Page, John Cage, Shostakovich, Son House… each tortured, each inspired all creating as if in stream of conscious their the final draft, the polished recording arising from their fingers. It does not matter when each individual piece was created, it’s what was created that’s important. Upon discovery that’s when you’ve turned your head to that corner of the room. They’re already there, quietly doing what they’ve always been doing.

A favourite Woody Allen quote which I’m going to paraphrase is ‘There are two sorts of lives; one is horrible, and the other is miserable. Horrible is being born with a deformity, born blind & deaf, crippled, genetic defects. So you better be thankful you’re miserable.’ Or something along those lines.

Now to return to the first quote, a phrase that struck me into observation. We strive for commonality to prove to ourselves we are not abject abnormal anomalies. The more in common we have the more we can share experiences, more of our lives feel justified if there are others who are in agreement of a time well spent. It aids our identities as we are social creatures and require affirmation from somewhere, particularly coming from colleagues. We have but one life, its conception is held together by those around you. Orphans tend to live pretty fast.

With all that said, the advent of the internet over the last ten years has created a Tower of Babel society, we all speak different languages. What interests me, and the society I belong to, is of no importance to you, in fact it doesn’t even exist to you. We are in micro-audience mode and it’s only the pre-millenials who are amassing together under festival tents and we’re only going to get smaller us micros.

Talk of technological ecosystems is interesting, Google synthesises one’s entire internet experience: search, social media, blogging, email, shopping, so many ways of sharing and yet none of us do! The crap we do in our lives gets dumped on Facebook, what about what we’re thinking on ideas and subjects? If you’re doing that on Facebook stop boring everyone! People don’t give a damn what you and your buddies have  to say on something infinitesmal to them.

There, they want stories to replace the soapbox on TV because that’s failed to hold their attention. Takes too long. Where are my .Gifs and instant gratification? That’s what unites people nowadays, look at the shares, that’s what online advertising is latching onto now, why, because it works! We’re the generation of 3 second videos and 141 characters. Marshall McLuhan said ‘the medium is the message’, and oh boy what a message…

More to come on this I think. For now this is Fat Freddy’s Drop 2005 debut, music honed on tour and recorded so exquisitely and compiled into what is called Based on a True Story this is polished dub, think Thievery Corporation but with bigger swells, better songs, an attitude that can only be found in the Kiwis. A big seller downunder, and cruelly overlooked up here. Quality.

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