Tag Archives: Lapland

Ratatat (early music)

13 Mar

No trippy nonsense today. I’m preparing to release my own music sometime next week and therefore am pooling my creative mental energy. What kind of music it will be considered I have no idea. And considering how I listen to such a vast array of different music, hopefully it will make no sense. I am hoping to invent a new genre – electronic poetry. Wish me luck.

Among the artists that influenced me the most are Dungen, Flying Lotus, and Animal Collective. But one band I feel stands out in particular given the type of music I tend to make. This band spoke to me when I was an angst addled teenager and the type of music just made so much sense.

The band is named Ratatat, like the sound that bullets make when they bounce off things… It’s a two-man group from Brooklyn which makes very chill electronic and heavily processed guitar sounds.

Today I’m gonna be showing you some of their less popular and older, but nonetheless chill, songs. Their music is almost genre-less to be honest. But as they were starting out they found a very unique niche. They were very good at making hip-hop beats. Actually one of their first albums was simply entitled “9 beats”, and no too long after it was remixed to feature various famous rap artists (such as Jay-Z and the notorious B.I.G.) rapping over it. This attracted people who listened to rap, but their fame grew a lot more swiftly on the indie scene as a result of their first two LP’s.

The first, being self-titled, included one single. The song above, while not the single, I feel like is a exceptional song. Named Lapland , it starts out with a slow instrumental drive, and then a quick sample of a gentlemen saying “you know what?” drops the song into a intense beat which sets the foundation for vibaciousness. Throughout the piece, synths and guitars are brought in and out, but the beat remains the same. That is what most of their music does. In my opinion you either like the beat or don’t.

The second album, named Classics was very similar and included three singles (progress). It includes the song above, Nostrand, which is an exalting piece. Most of the beginning is a slow, bass driven drive. The guitar enters about a minute in and chills you out with a super smooth riff. But what it’s actually doing is preparing you for utter bliss that is the drop at about 1:50. A shout, some clapping, and something which could be a guitar, or a synthesizer, or pure glory, does it job cheering up even the most depressing of situations. Truly great.

Most of their is this awesome. I’m showing you none of the singles because when hopefully you decide to give this band a listen on your own, the singles is what you will most likely hear first anyway. And then these other songs might go unheard.

A lot of their music is used in popular media, namely movies, commercials, and television series, so you actually may have heard some of it before. It definitely has to do with the simple, yet calm nature of their music and the lack of words. I almost consider it modern day elevator music, but obviously exponentially better. If they played this in elevators people would start camping out in them and I assume that wouldn’t be safe.

But let’s get back to the lack of words notion. As a kid and to this day the very idea of rap abhors me to my very existence. I could never understand what the rappers where trying to say and the only words I heard were things like “guns, titties, and diamonds” which would make me want to hit the nearest wannabe gangster in the face with a flail.

People would then use the excuse that it’s “funny”. No, it’s not funny.  These people aren’t being serious, their acting. Funny is a comedian, or better yet youtube videos. This on the other hand is the media industry fucking with your child-like minds. They’re telling you that excessive drinking, drugs, lavish parties, and such are ok because they want you to fail at life. Or at least be more depressed as an adult. It’s 60’s psychedelia gone haywire. It’s a form of mind-control and it’s working.

…Sorry tangent. Nonetheless I spent my teenage years not listening to rap, and then one day I heard Ratatat. Hip-hip beats… but without the rap! My mind was blown, as I assume many other’s were because I am pretty sure that this band is responsible for the Trip-Hop movement to which artists like Flying Lotus now belong to.

I honestly would have no problem with rap, IF IT MADE SENSE AND WAS INTELLIGIBLE! (cough electronic poetry lol) And besides, trust me, I know about lyrics that don’t make sense – I’ve listened to the Mars Volta since I was like 15. But that’s for another time.



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