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Thread: the late night city aesthetic

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    Default the late night city aesthetic

    i once lived for a year in an apartment complex, a brutalist social housing thing built in the 1960s. for all its desolation it was cheap and i was treated to a spectacular view of airplanes leaving the airport in the distance, very large windows that bled into the city. i was engulfed by the night for the first time.

    being incredibly lonely for the first time in the city i decided to 'make a friend of horror', in the sense of abandoning myself to cheap 80s fare, the things that could be heard on the radio at 3 am. i wanted to embrace the city. my mental guide was a tune i had heard once on the radio but could not for the life of me remember who it was by. all i knew was that there were several voices over a sensual, drifting nocturnal thing, that it was probably a late 80s production, that was it.

    so i played phil collins' in the air tonight, sade's i never thought i'd see the day, maxi priest's close to you. i discovered rude movements by sun palace, added some suicide to the mix. all of this was to me the music of the late shift.

    i eventually left this place but i couldn't get that mystery track out of my head. i was beginning to think i had imagined it, abstracted it from different sources, but a few years later i found it. yes it's glossy, it's bloated, but it drifts magnificently. when i hear it i'm one with the thousands of people who toil away through the night, people who want to abandon themselves to sleep but can't, who lapse into sensual reverie. to me this is the sound of the city at night.

    Last edited by bruno; 14-02-2007 at 08:26 PM. Reason: fixed pic

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruno
    i once lived for a year in an apartment complex, a brutalist social housing thing built in the 1960s. for all its desolation it was cheap and i was treated to a spectacular view of airplanes leaving the airport in the distance, very large windows that bled into the city. i was engulfed by the night for the first time.
    I know exactly the mood of which you speak. This music works really well in Chicago, driving on the expressway at night, listening to a couple of stations that seem to play this sort of music exclusively at that hour (V103 FM comes to mind). I think there's something about the early 80s DX7 + house music keys +70s soul remainder that hits this mood perfectly. I always think that Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" captures the more paranoid side. However, I'm glad you mentioned "Rude Movements" by Sun Palace, because I think it is the strongest example of this; simultaneously sleazy and sophisticated, pensive and exhilarated, burned-out and still hopeful...

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    Bruno, your night music riff makes me think of arriving in Hong Kong the first time at the old airport
    and catching cab to Chung King Mansion.
    Disoriented , wary , not sure the driver wasn't messing with us -
    but the music on his cab radio , a frentic foreign musik i could not place , is burned into brain forever.
    Like a snaphot to replay over and over , sometimes bubbling up unexpectedly

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    Quote Originally Posted by polystyle desu
    the music on his cab radio , a frentic foreign musik i could not place , is burned into brain forever.
    i had a similar experience on a ride through the desert. up north you can go for hours on end in a straight line with virtually no distractions around you, and at night it's even more hypnotic (as attested by the wrecks that dot the landscape). so i had to talk to the driver and at the same time listen to his cassette of the most frenetic, halucinatory version of salsa i have ever heard, either very badly recorded or played on the cheapest equipment ever. the closest i have come to re-hearing it is sound music, which was an argentinian offshoot of salsa, but nothing as surreal as what i heard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vache
    I think there's something about the early 80s DX7 + house music keys +70s soul remainder that hits this mood perfectly. I always think that Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" captures the more paranoid side.
    it's true, and you don't see that engagement with 'the night' in current fm pop, at least nothing comes to mind. the last time i listened to late shift radio 1990 seemed to be the limit.

    that rockwell thing sounds amazing.

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    Great thread.

    I wonder what Maxwell is currently up to - he's the most recent example of this kind of music that I can think of. Did he just quit the industry?

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    moody synths. suspended tinkling sounds, like on in the air tonight. klaus nomi's keys of life. voices with a bit of reverb. deep r&b voices. the jones sisters' nights over egypt.

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    mc 900 ft jesus - the city sleeps

    I was like, 14? when I first heard this tune on the radio... it was the fist hiphop song that I ever liked.
    Last edited by zhao; 07-06-2006 at 10:13 PM.

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    early Detroit techno totally captures the desolate vibe of that city after dark...listening to "Strings Of Life", it is easy to imagine Derrick May hunched over his 808 in his loft, the sun rising through the steam of the power plant outside the window, the Motor City preparing to slog through yet another everyday...

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    around the time of this 'night exploration' thing i bumped into the name of kingo hanada. as far as i could make out he had a hit called midnight cruisin'. i loved that title. but that was it, i could find no more information about him, or it was in japanese and the translation turned up pure gibberish. in my head i associated him with salarymen drinking with their bosses in tokyo bars, that sort of thing, am i completely wrong? has anyone heard him? polystyle?

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    Default He's the Kingo

    Hmm, Kingo Hanada ... Aha Kingo HAMADA
    Midnight Crusin" '82 The Kingo's homepg http://www12.plala.or.jp/kingo_hamada/
    'Soft & sexy vocal , J-Pop , his 4th Album and title cut
    Also "Manhattan In The Rain" 1982
    Some lyrics by the drummer from Happy End (Harry Honsono early group , later of course of YMO) who wrote tons of hits for J artists
    'he's always searchin the night city and the cool people who live ' Kingo's theme innit ?

    And bk to your first tune , yea, great silky glide
    Quincy Jones simply a master , Barry White , MJ too ...
    Can picture the loneliness , perhaps buzzed but bored hearing this tune , looking out those big windows
    wondering what everybody else was doing at that moment
    I get those here in NYC , universal tunage

    Also sounds like it would fit with a nice LA night drive , out of the traffic , lookin down on the city

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    Original link is down.
    fuck the tango, do the fandango

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    thanks. the mystery has evaporated. midnight cruisin' has a nice cover, though, i wouldn't mind having that lying around. this is all garbage anyway. barry white.. i need to get some sleep.

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    lovely thread bruno

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    Quote Originally Posted by henry s
    early Detroit techno totally captures the desolate vibe of that city after dark...listening to "Strings Of Life", it is easy to imagine Derrick May hunched over his 808 in his loft, the sun rising through the steam of the power plant outside the window, the Motor City preparing to slog through yet another everyday...
    landcruising by carl craig too. thats a wicked lp.

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