niggy tardust / belated pumpkin

the new saul williams album was released yesterday, so i downloaded my copy yesterday morning and converted the flacs to mp3s so i could listen to it at work, and then burned the flacs to cd later to put it in the car.

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woah, that reminds me of a thing i saw posted to slashdot a couple days ago which said that critics are speculating that digital music may bring about the death of the CD and the resurrection of vinyl.  the  theory is that CDs — which previously had the advantage of being easily mobile — no longer have the corner on mobiliy since it’s just as easy to move mp3s around now, and that there’s such a cult following for vinyl and because of the whole “loudness war” — which, if you don’t follow the link, is the growing tendency to “record, produce and broadcast music at progressively increasing levels of loudness to create a sound that stands out from others.”  this kills a lot of subtle nuances that can be happening in music because everything is amped up to 11 — CDs may not have superior quality music to vinyl.  (you can’t amp up the loudness when printing a record the way you can when burning a CD, so vinyl can have a lot warmer and nuanced sound.)

anyway, i thought that was pretty interesting.  this tangent was brought to you by pi.

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anyway, the point is i was listening to it yesterday and it f’ing rocks.  saul williams is awesome, and this album is brilliant.  i blogged (i think) a while ago about how i heard rumors that it might be some year zero thing, but as far as i can tell that was just speculation — i can’t see any direct ties to that stuff.  plus it was released way too straightforward-ly.  trent announced the album on nin.com rather than the album being sent to us digitally from the future the way year zero was.  or whatever.

it’s hard to describe the sound.  there’s a lot of electronic influences, it’s true to its hip-hop roots, but at times sounds almost industrial (the nin element, i suppose), although that’s less than you’d think.  while “WTF!” sounds obviously like a lost nin track (not the least because trent sings vocals on it), “Scared Money” couldn’t sound further from nine inch nails if it tried, being a lot more 70s funk.  in the end, the album will be called “alternative” if it’s called anything.  every time i listen to saul williams, i feel like i’m taking an african american literature or -poetry or -history class because his cadence and his lyrics are so deeply founded in his culture while still not being alienating to me as a white person.  this is part of what makes him brilliant: that he can write black music and make it sound universal.

i hope to anything that this album picks up speed and people notice, because it’s seriously the best thing i’ve heard this year.  you can get the album at niggytardust.com or listen to tracks on saul’s myspace page (while reading some of his comments on the album, which are interesting as well).

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we didn’t carve our pumpkin until halloween, and didn’t actually finish until yesterday.  as such, it’s not so much a halloween pumpkin as a samhain pumpkin, which is still okay.

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