I was recently stuck at an airport waiting for a 2-hour delayed flight, and took the opportunity to pick up a copy of the New Yorker, inside of which was a great article by Sasha Frere-Jones about James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem.  Unfortunately the article is not available online (the abstract is here, but doesn’t give much), but for anyone perusing the news stand in the next week, take a look and give it a quick read – it is extremely well-written and manages to eloquently present many of the reasons that I, and others, like LCD Soundsystem.

In short, James Murphy creates simple, yet well-crafted and deliberate, music that burrows deep inside you, with dancing as its only outlet.  Often, he does this by taking existing elements of other songs and refining them to their essence, before combining them “into an easily felt, comprehensible new arrangement”.  The article also speaks about Murphy’s thoughts about melody, and his desire that beauty should feel like a rare thing, a culmination and apex of the song rather than something prevalent throughout.

When listening to the first track off of their new album, “Dance Yrself Clean” (my favourite so far), I’m struck by many of the above thoughts.  The song construction is relatively simple, and deliberately so – the simplicity manages to train the ear and mind to think they know what’s coming, lulling the listener into a state of calm by subtly layering in pleasant rhythms and sounds.  That is, until the ear detects a bit of a change – a repetition at a higher frequency, a change in tempo, an impending sense of urgency, and then… an explosion of dirty, funky, crunchy, danceable grooves that absolutely pull you in.  It is this ability to pull the listener into the rhythm, rather than bombarding them with it, that I think makes this song, and other LCD Soundsystem songs, so great (Someone Great and All My Friends are other great examples of this).

Anyway, read the article if you get a chance, check out the new album streaming in its entirety here, and go see them on their 2010 tour if possible (May 25 at Kool Haus for Torontonians).

[mp3] LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yrself Clean

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