I've Got My Eye On You
Every now and then, people will ask: "How do you find out about this stuff?"
They are totally baffled. Which is always funny to me because it's not like I'm a musical super sleuth or anything. I find out about bands by doing the same things I've always done: I go to shows, I read reviews, I talk to my friends, I buy records.
I am approaching my 31st birthday. It's not a big deal. I only mention it because, for me, it means I don't have the energy or patience to attend as many rock shows as I did when I was 17. I go to fewer shows, but I read more reviews. The reviews are no longer in fanzines, but primarily online. I don't have any favorite music review websites. With a few exceptions, I kind of don't even care what the reviewers have to say; I just need to know what they're listening to. I do, however, try to stay away from Pitchfork because those smart alecks tick me off. I can do without the sarcasm.
Like with hi-fi gear, the best way to find out about music is to listen. These are lucky days because the internet provides all kinds of ways to sample music for free. I am not a downloader (I'm just not into it), but I do visit the many band pages found throughout Myspace.com. If there's ever a band I'm not sure about, I do a Google search on their name. Most often, their Myspace page is the first result posted. I go there and listen.
When I discover a band I like, I tell my friends about it. Either they've already heard the band (in which case I'm all like, "Yo, dude, WTF? Why didn't you tell me?"), or they're happy to listen and offer their own opinions or related recommendations. For instance, there are many times when I'll hit up Jon Iverson with a link to a band's Myspace page, and he'll tell me, "What you need to be listening to is the Grateful Dead." Or Peter Gabriel. Or Mahavishnu Orchestra. Or some other weird stuff. (Thanks Jon!) Jon's recommendations are always enlightening (seriously!) and lead me to other great pieces of music.
When I hear something I really like, I go out and buy it. I want it. I need it. Really, it might be a sort of mental problem. Records are providing a temporary replacement for something else in my life. Love, perhaps, or self-esteem. I don't know, but as I've said before: It's a safe addiction. Music is good. It makes the world a better place. At the very least, it makes my apartment a better place.
But enough about me. Last night, under some sort of spell, I went out in search of Syclops' I've Got My Eye On You. I had to have it. I found it at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square. They had just one copy, and it would be mine. When I brought the album to the cash register, the clerk exclaimed: "This is a great album!"
He was right. The liner notes credit Hanna Sarkari (bass), Jukka Kantonen (drums), and Sven Kortehisto (keyboards and electronics), but I think that's just to put you in the mood. The music here is by Maurice Fulton, a dance producer known for meshing electronic beats with live drumming to create frenzied rhythms. I've Got My Eye On You is exciting because it plays like what Herbie Hancock might have created today, if the Headhunters were still spacing out in rocket ships. Jon Iverson might even agree. Visit the Syclops Myspace page, and you'll find references to Miles Davis, Weather Report, Charles Mingus, and Freddie Hubbard. You'll also find one sick, funky jam called "Where's Jason's K." You can listen to the entire album at RCRD LBL, but you really need to hear it on your hi-fi.
I've Got My Eye On You is a double-LP, packaged in a beautiful gatefold.