Vox Hunt: A Favorite Song from ’06

Audio:  Share one of your favorite songs from 2006.

Pitchfork: There was a track written about on Pitchfork recently, "Something Isn't Right", the first track on Scale,
and the writer, Mark Pytlik, said that you could tell in a few moments
it was a Herbert track. And I think that's true; despite how different
your records sound from each other, there is something there, a thread
through them. I know that at various times you've talked about music as
a way of getting away from ego, but I do feel like there is something
you can't get away from. I'm not sure exactly what it is; to me it
seems like a rhythmic sensibility that informs your work, a swing that
sound like Herbert. Are you aware that a part of yourself is in there,
regardless of the materials you're working with?


MH: I'm not. I'm really not. I know I have patterns and I've always
tried hard to avoid them. There are definitely certain things in my
music, if I'm looking back, "Well, that was a period where I was
experimenting with a certain kind of chord structure or a certain kind
of sound." I've tried really hard, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you
what that sound, what that tangible sound of "me" is. I think rhythm
is, when you talk about rhythmic sensibility, quite perceptive in that
I like to have at least one thing that is at least common or familiar
to the audience. Other than rhythm, the only thing I could say is that
I take a great deal of pride in every single sound I use. I'm always
making sure that I'm not using a pre-set or something that everyone
else has done. I try to be original in every piece of music I do, and
of course I probably fail every time.

Pitchfork: Let me ask you– that moment in "Something Isn't
Right" where he sings, "Do you re-mem-ber?" First time I heard that it
reminded me of "September" by Earth Wind & Fire. I was sitting with
my wife and I asked her, Do you think that's a direct reference to that
song, or is it just a few notes that sound similar?

MH: There is a very slight reference there. It's a reference to the
11th of September because that's what the Earth Wind & Fire tune
was called. I almost had it "Do you remember? The 11th of September?"
But there was no way I could possibly put that in.

Pitchfork: So that's the kind of reference you're talking about, where you embed those kinds of things in the music.


MH:
Exactly. And the record's full of them in different places. It's
kind of like, trying to use every weapon in your arsenal to point
people in a certain direction.

Snap, crackle …

[…] Time changes when you listen to Steve's music. It is, or rather was, so
unorthodox, that the pulse and rate of breathing, thinking, and being,
changes. It's like someone invented an alternative way of keeping time.
A more human way – reflective of the ominous pain inherent in modernity
and the future – whatever it may hold for us. So debased and insulted
by the abomination that is the modern pop single, humans have forgotten
how to actually listen to music
– music that shows us something other
than which clothes to buy, or how much to spend on that Sweet Sixteen
Party, or which ride to pimp. Steve shows us that there is a different
way. Would that we could all listen to him. […]

Sam Gustin, Huffington Post, "Steve Reich Rocks New York"

Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks
Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (Live in Glasgow)

[…] If lyric poetry is, as Czech novelist Milan Kundera recently wrote,
"the most exemplary incarnation of man dazzled by his own soul and the
desire to make it heard," surely the pop song is the highest
incarnation of all-consuming love and its fundamental need to be
shared.
[…]

Marc Hogan, Pitchfork, "Peter Bjorn and John, Writer's Block"