DJ SPRINKLES – Midtown 120 Blues (2014)

Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by: Michael Strait

I’m completely at a loss with this music (if it can be called that). I spent some time looking for reviews and interpretations to help me make something of it and I found this one that is well written and positive in an understanding way:

After listening, all I can do is be negative in a non-understanding way:
  • this music can be successful in a trendy (or retro) restaurant, where you go for a hip dinner (music somewhat subdued in the background)
  • it can also succeed in a nightclub for an afterparty (substantially louder, making conversation difficult but still making chilling out possible)
  • this music can be appreciated by other generations and indeed, other people, as a kind of background music for studying or reading or entertaining guests in your house
  • some people may listen to it concentratedly as there are some semi profound lyrics (voice overs, really), and sometimes certain themes sort of develop, not unlike some minimal piano music (think Reich or Ten Holt).
To me it fails. Funny thing is, there is no nasty or aggressive sound or amateurish sequence to be found on the entire record, and it’s definitely trance inducing. But in the end it’s all much too repetitive for my taste, this music could go on for ever and really tries to. I like me some drony stuff at times (whether it’s classical minimal music or some Krautrock), but apparently not so much if it’s this synthetic deep house stuff. The proposition of drony, trance inducing music in reality appears to be a lack of ideas; repeating themes and grooves ad infinitum is presented as an artistic choice, but it really is evidence of a total lack of creative inspiration.

It’s a bit like Steely dan-lite (or Gorillaz-lite): no biting lyrics, rather simple and repetitive rhythm charts, no real musical instruments to speak of and no solo’s. A song like Sisters, I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To with the title being repeated for 11 minutes overstays its welcome by 8 minutes. To me the instrumental tracks are muzak, to be played in the background of time sharing and real estate commercials, travel programs or ‘win compilations’ of people water skiing, parasailing, reaching tops of mountains at sunsets and the like. But then a track like Grand Central, Pt. II (72 Hrs. By Rail From Missouri) wouldn’t be out of place on The Division Bell either, and is actually my favorite track, probably because it does not have the annoying rhythm machines.

Ultimately it’s an acquired taste I have no interest in acquiring, but then I have no intention of trying. To come back to the positive review found elsewhere: if this type of music (deep house, apparently) is anything for you, this artist might be one to check out. 

Author: tomymostalas


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