Agoria - At The Controls (Resist Music; 2007)
I had an awesome thing happen this past weekend—the type of thing you know is inevitable, but you just don’t know when exactly it’ll happen. I was up at my parents’ house, and one of the best things about going up there is that my dad is a complete audiophile, and has poured tens of thousands of dollars into his home stereo system over the years. So every chance I get, I bring up an album I know he’ll be sure to like. His musical world revolves around Dylan (to an unhealthy degree), Emmylou Harris, The Band, Leonard Cohen, Gillian Welch, and stuff along those lines, so the techno and other dance music I usually play are worlds away from his norm. I brought up middle ground albums that we bonded over, like The National’s “Boxer,” Sigur Ros’ “Agaetis Byrjun,” Beach House’s “Teen Dream,” The Notwist’s “Neon Golden,” and even stuff like Poristhead’s “Dummy” and The Books’ “Lemon of Pink.”
Next came his somewhat reluctant admission that of all the electronic stuff I’d played around the house, the one he really got into was Daft Punk’s “Alive.” He said he could feel the palatable energy of the crowd and the sheer power of the music. So I knew he was getting there. I let that sit for awhile, and then finally decided it was time to make my move and play him a full-fledged techo-y, dubsteppy, whatever-y album on his system. My decision didn’t come easily, but then when I thought about something that would be intricate as hell, to really give his speakers a workout, super rhythmic, and melodic enough to keep his attention, one popped into my mind pretty easily. After much consideration, I headed up to Richford and handed over Pinch & Shackleton’s self-titled for him to throw on.
We sat and listened to the 50 minute barrage of every type of percussion imaginable, constant twists and turns, beautiful choir-filled passages, and ridiculous panning. After the last seconds of “Boracay Drift” faded out, my dad turned to me, shook his head and said, “Well that was wonderful.” He then said, “I can’t believe I’m actually starting to understand this type of music.” So first of all, score for me, right? Secondly, and more importantly, I have the ultra important task of finding the perfect follow-up to play for him, since I’ll be headed up there again this weekend. I listen to music eight hours a day, so I can run through a lot of albums in a week’s time. There have been several very worthy candidates, including Shackleton’s own “Three EPs,” but it’s finally come down to the one that has caught my attention more than any other, and that would be disc two of Agoria’s “At the Controls.” Kind of odd choice, I know, but I’ve been on a huge DJ mix kick lately (blowing through Fabric, Balance, Panorama, etc. compilations like crazy), and I’ve finally found the one that will provide all of the above, plus a whole lot more.
This disc is just straight-up mind-blowing. That’s not to say the first disc isn’t awesome, because it is, but given the length of both CDs together, I gotta pick one. Disc two is just out of control from the start. There’s a whole lot of ambient, including Murcof’s gorgeous “Cosmos 1,” which follows a freakin Bauhaus track, and then you’re launched into a dark, beat-driven, almost gothy section which includes Fly Lo and a Burial remix track back-to-back. Then there’s an awesome passage filled with choral music and huge beats, and there are dark pop songs sprinkled in, and blown-out, shoegazey techno, and the list goes on.
I have a feeling that this one is gonna help move my dad along in his growing love of dance music. There’s no way his jaw isn’t going to be on the floor throughout most of the mix. So there you have it. On Saturday, it’s game on, and I plan to go up there and blow him right back in his chair. So I guess this is a roundabout way of me endorsing both Pinch & Shackleton’s self-titled album from last year and Agoria’s “At the Controls.” Both are awesome in their own right, but there’s the added impressiveness of winning over the heart of a 66-year-old folkie. I’ll throw on a follow-up post to let you know how the Agoria mix goes over. Wish me luck!
—Josh Laclair // December 20, 2012