May 1, 2003
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Soft Pink Truth
The Wind-Up Bird
April 30, 2003
Pale Horse and Rider
Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers
April 29, 2003
Set Fire to Flames
There has always been something deeply disturbing, if not unnatural and alarming, about the happy pink soft flesh tones and clean lines of Japanime and "cute" design. The cultural paradoxes of Japan in regards to sex—hidden, but truly perverse—trickle through all aspects of art and music, and here in the "West" the totality of the impact comes across as a little uncanny: like seeing a mirror replica of yourself, but in the opposite gender. The effect of Minikon is somewhat similar. A happy, flat pink face sticking its tongue out at me sucks me into the cd cover...those big fish-like bug eyes on this floating head, amongst the pink sky and off-white clouds...there's a connection here to Massimo that is neither musical nor through a direct similitude of the design—it's a connection born of the lines of perversion.
Which brings us to the music: happy dancing music—music for love luck! Warp-electro on uppers is run through a Canto-pop filter; subtract the vocals, remix the star sheen space-sounds and elevator piano, paint it pink with a hint of Fantastic Plastic Machine and you are mindmelding with this optimistic manifesto of the out-of-the-ordinary, a childhood fantasy on stilts. There's not a hint here of sarcasm, the beats never self-destruct—nor do they turn to a sexiness, a groove, a sweat, a funk; they also avoid a ranchiness, an electro swank. Minikon is barely even "playful" as its pink joy is true to the core. There's nothing to play with, as it is neither serious nor silly: the damn music is just pink.
The entire listening experience is silly, however, and one cannot but help wonder as to who exactly sits down and listens to a purist remix of pop-orientalist anime dreams... This is not music for the date sitting on the couch, a relaxing dinner, or reading; nor is it party time music; nor even contemplative, deep listening—in fact, it seems to work best when I went to make dessert, which is what this CD prompted me to do: whip up some ice cream with strawberries and smile ridiculous smiles. If this album was striving for an all-out situational concept approach, this album would be shipped with whip cream and a joint.
And so what are we left with? Twisted and insanely happy music for driving through downtown with the lid down, freaking out both women and children, growing a handlebar mustachio? A soundtrack to some small, private Hell, a remix of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, swarming crowds of sticky & stinky wunder children screaming for chocolate? We're as best off asking as to why clowns play so prominently as psychotic murderers in horror movies—for the answer is no doubt the same: a desire to slaughter innocence with the production of its most nauseous manifestation. An infection of pink happy electro bath-time music for children with My Little Pony syndrome. Is this nothing less than a twin-cousin of Tomas Jirku's GI Joe Killaz project? A My Little Pony posse? Rainbow Brite: Crack Whore? A symptom of the desperate attempt to grapple with the colour schemes of the '80s that demented an entire generation brought up on florescent socks?
Indeed, "let's enjoy minikon" and set the mind to pondering the Infinite madness of this strange, pink album (the soft pink truth?). There is no answer here. "I don't see any method, Sir." There is nothing to explain the logic of late postmodern music in this respect. Like vending machines that sell used panties, Minikon marks the world with its scent.
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