Monday, December 7, 2009

are you serious? just for the experience?

Two bands, one song. It’s edgy, if you’re smooth. It’s hard, if you’re soft. It’s rock, if you’re pop.

Foto Na Dans has been silent for ages. They do that a lot, have you noticed? In between explosions of incredibly ornaMental magic (and my kittens fart a lot. Because they're Mental)

But now it’s summer, and we're smiling, even if we can’t afford it, and Foto have a new song. Well. half of a new song. Well, no, half of a chorus. And some riffs between beats.

It’s a collaboration which is aiming itself straight at the dans floor, and might well floor detractors of attractive commercial compositions. They'll frown, they'll tap their feet and nod their heads, bemused, because this is the beauty of music - it makes its own rules, and breaks them just as easily.

Here we were thinking Foto were the last of the puritans. Maybe they're the first of the finest to go, 'fuck it, we're going to make this work (financially)'. This collabotrack is, ipso facto, a fascinating contrast to their erstwhile EP, Pantomime Op Herwinbare Klanke, whose evolving narrative placed the band in the league of gentle men who make music for art cinema and theatre. Being a veteran Foto fan, a puritan; i'm bemused, my feet are tapping, my head is nodding and i guess i'm grateful for new track because it's a chance for me to practise a bit of diplomacy. In contrast to the earlier EP, the single Dans Republic is a pointed reminder of Foto's flexibility. in comparison to Foto's other compositions it also highlights the fact that dance music is really rather taut, where classical prog rock is perhaps taught. or untied....

why>? well, check the choon.
verse/chorus/verse/chorus it goes. obvious, you say, that's most music. but it's also much the same on a micro level, and that's its defining (in)difference. Op af op af. High five for a clever chorus - old school and heady and easy, but splicey, too. You’ll spend some time finding just where it moves from on glaise to dee taal. Don't think too hard, just
dans - it’s all in the details. Not that I can quite trace Le Roi in those details, and is it really Foto if all you've got is the biting grind of that guitar? Also, can't say I think much of the derivative melodies. There are moments where it feels like a pastiche of recycled classic pop refrains and moments where that doesn't matter because it's a banging ballad. If they are subconscious cut & pastes, they blend well, and that's where the foot tapping head nodding comes in. But maybe I'm wrong, maybe the formula of easy sound is simply used so universally that after a while all dance songs sounds the same. Still, there are definite references to top forty hits from our t(w)eens...and

it’s edgy, if you’re smooth. It’s hard, if you’re soft. It’s rock, if you’re pop. But the bottom line is that it is a fine, bilingual, cross-genre fusion, and there aren’t many musicians who can mix the delightful simplicity of dance music with the darkness of cathedral rock without also making a mess. Instead, Flash Republic and Foto have made a summer club and compilation hit, and I’m sure TeeJay is taking notes. I'm proud of both bands for standing up and facing the music in a gutsy display of commercially viable sonic diversity. Have both parties put their best foot forward or have they put their foot in it? I'll love dancing to it because it has a history and a future, because it's catchy and I can. But I'm not necessarily going to buy it. Oh wait! they anticipated that. It's available free for download.

Boof boof boof boof.

Take the chance.


p.s. there is a huge irony in the line 'ek wil sing in Afrikaans'. But i guess only Anglo-Saxon fan/atics of an Afrikaans language band will smile along with me on that one.

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