Sunday; the Sabbath, the day of rest, the Lord’s day. Whatever you want to call it, it was on the first Sunday ever that God finally kicked back, brewed up an Ovaltine and took a break from six entire days of slaving away laying the groundwork for the unadulterated shit storm the world would soon turn into. It could be argued that given the way things have turned out, God did a bit of a cack-handed job with the whole creation of the world thing. For a start, Adam would surely just have spent his days fishing and masturbating in the Garden of Eden if God hadn’t created Eve. And surely the snake was a mistake. Just my opinion of course; my experiences of world planning are limited to say the least and given that I only have one planet to compare notes against I can hardly lay claim to being an expert. Basically, if we want to lay the blame for the world’s problems at anyone’s door it should be at God’s since he (allegedly!) started the whole show and things seemed to go pear-shaped the minute Eve showed her face. So God and his planet building; nice ideas exectuted in record time but fatally flawed nonetheless.
Anyway, back to Sundays. That grating, dull thud at the back of your head on a Sunday morning is not the effects of too much soda water down the disco or a teenage guilt-niggle forcing your brain out of your nose because you slowdanced with someone else’s girlfriend. That itchy, nauseous, white-noise-in-your-head feeling you’re experiencing is actually your conscience telling you you’ve been much, much worse. You see, in much the same way the Eve was way back when, you’ve perhaps unwittingly also been seduced by the snake. In a figurative sense of course. That slithering, hypnotic, fork-tongued little cretin has managed to insinuate itself way into your heart, curl up there and is slowly squeezing out any sense of right or wrong when it comes to matters of the dancefloor. It’s made you lazy and convinced you that every time you swill up on cheap beer and hit the club to freak to the latest plastic happiness remix from Kitsune or some other godawful bleepy, scratchy drivel from Ed Banger that you’re having the absolute time of your life. And you fall for it every time Goddamn it! So much so that musicians are even taking the piss out of you. MSTRKRFT dropped one of the least inspiring records ever produced recently; dropped being appropriate because I can’t believe that even they like it. Just open iElectroMusicStar, click in some beats and add Cliché-Glitch-Filter and hey presto; instant second LP. Simian Mobile Disco did more or less the same. The breathless enthusiasm of their debut album, so fresh and immediate that we all wet ourselves when we heard it, has been replaced this time around by a bunch of fat, flabby, custardy tracks which even the way too obvious celebrity mates shopping list can’t lift out of the ditch it landed in. And by Jove, if I hear one more person giggling and turning to jelly at the thought of an imminent new Klaxons LP, I might just have to start my own religious cult which encourages their ritual slaughter. With spoons. Even Digitalism don’t bother anymore. If I was the promoter of the last gig they DJd at and they turned up in crumpled white t-shirts on my shift, I’d have pulled the plug and horsewhipped them on stage until they went home and got fucking dressed properly.
So we’re in an ever decreasing circle. It’s like an yawning great black hole pulling us – lazy musicians and undiscerning record buyers alike – into a seething, inescapable cesspool where all we can do (apart from burn) is pull robotic moves to Pop the Glock and bore each other to death about which Maison compilation was really the best. For ever. It’s not even that we’ve been sold a lie because it was true once; it’s just no one can be bothered to admit it. It takes a bit of time and bravery to confess that the current batch of electronic music is really rather shit. You can be dancing in some club, convulsing like a spastic sat on a pylon and twenty minutes in; epiphany. It’s like the Burning Bush or the parting of the Red Sea when slowly you realise: Hey, I’ve been programmed to like this. It doesn’t speak to me. It doesn’t make me feel anything. I’m on auto pilot here. I just don’t like this. So what do you do? Go back to Nu Rave? Indie rock? Chiptune? If those were the only choices I’d start hiding pills in my socks and start going to Donk parties.
But there is a light; a distant golden glimmer at the end of this fat, flatulent tunnel of muck. And it’s name, rather appropriately, is “Godly Grooves“. And my God, if this record had floated down into my room on a cloud followed by all the angels and cherubs of the heavens, I couldn’t like it more. Arok and Scientist are German DJs and have clearly been snorting inspiration because they’ve just released the strongest contender yet for Best Record of 2009. A unique and ultimately screwy mixtape of rare 60s and 70s Christian grooves, originally released on obscure, religious labels and selected, dusted down, scrubbed up and remixed into an hour long compilation. Blessed be, they’ve even put it out on a brand new imprint and limited the run of units to a mere 100. So heavenly, so unusual, you virtually lose your powers of description and can just goggle open-mouthed in wonder at how someone could have come up with a record which on the surface of it sounds monstrous but which in reality is the nearest thing we’ve heard this year to perfection. Religious music is usually whack and about as much fun as a day doing door-to-door with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is different; bizarre, crackly Christian tracks sung in German over lo-fi beat samples, fat basslines and off-kilter registers. It has to be heard to be believed. And believe it you should brother. Refreshing proof that there are musicians work out there who can move the boundaries of what electronic music is all about, incorporate hitherto untouched genres and spark off something new.
So will we all be dancing to obscure Christian grooves in the near future? Unlikely. And admittedly taking it in context it probably isn’t the greatest album ever, but the fact that it’s just about the only original thing I’ve heard this year (barring Health and Robot Koch’s LP) makes it worthy of a special mention. Plus the fact that no one will like it makes it all the more attractive.
God speed at the disco my children. Amen.
“Goodly Grooves” was released through Audiac Records.