Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jamin Warren: Thanks For Writing Nothing

This is a review by the aforementioned Pitchforkmedia record reviewer. There are a lot of things that piss me off, and this review is certainly near the top of the totem pole. Enjoy.

The Further Adventures of Lord Quas

[Stones Throw; 2005]
Rating: 7.0

A friend of mine suggested that I give the new Quasimoto album a positive review without even hearing it. He argued that Madlib and his pig-faced sidekick are so unique that critics shouldn't discourage their creativity.

This is a hilarious suggestion by Jamin Warren's friend, but it brings up a solid point. When do critics stop judging records by what they sound like, and start judging them by how they "should" sound like? I liken it quite easily to most critics' effortless lambasting of the Beastie Boys "Paul's Boutique" at the time it was released. Record reviewers wanted more party jams backed by a Linn drum machine, not a forward-looking pop culture pastiche. So they killed it with negative reviews. Fast-forward to now and the record is regarded as a Golden Age classic, easily trumping its Ill predecessor.

So, Jamin, what do you think of this album?

Obviously, that [not reviewing an album] is just not the way it works-- records can't be rewarded purely based on speculation or concept.

Whoops, Jamin is treading in dangerous territory. He knows the way it works, this record-reviewing business. He's half-right in a half-retarded way though, as a record should never be reviewed if it is only speculated over. That's why "Chinese Democracy" doesn't already have a 2 page David Fricke spread in Rolling Stone.

He is very wrong concerning album reviews and his view that they shouldn't be rewarded purely based on concept. Jamin obviously missed the 70's, when concept-oriented bands like Yes, King Crimson, and Genesis garnered glowing reviews for their CONCEPT albums (with "Topographical Oceans" being a hilarious exception). Of course, to judge a record PURELY on concept is fundamentally wrong when taken literally, Jamin. So you just wasted a sentence stating two fundamental truths everyone is aware of. Great.

Those types of comments aren't surprising coming from a Madlib fan, though. The artist has a vice-like grip on a whole legion of followers, many of which are loyal enough to his creative muse that, for them, the joy of a genuinely rewarding listen is secondary to the joy of just hearing what he cooks up.

This is my favorite kind of horrible music criticism. The critic does not like the record, and decides to criticize the fans for accepting an artist's new record without bias. Hilarious.

Also, what the hell did that last sentence really mean? ..."the joy of a genuinely rewarding listen is secondary to the joy of just hearing what he cooks up." What the hell?! There's a difference between a "genuinely rewarding listen" and "just hearing what he cooks up?" Oh, I get it Jamin. The difference is the ever-following-retard-sheep-Madlib-fans don't care about quality, they'll just listen to whatever shit Madlib spoons into their stupid ears. The AUDACITY of someone enjoying an album that they ENJOY and YOU don't! We must destroy these fans, Jamin, because they're not just like you!!

This is actually not awful logic: Madlib's work is generally worth seeking out, even when it's beneath his usual standards.

Oh, cool, so you DON'T think that people are stupid for...wait a minute. Jamin is claiming to know exactly what quantifies a standard-to-awesome Madlib release. I hope he backs that up with some quality writing...

The problem here is that pieces of Misadventures simply aren't finished. Who wants to be the first to say it?

But he doesn't. And YOU want to be the first to say it, Jamin. I'm beginning to get the feeling that Jamin has not listened to a lot of Madlib or Lord Quas in his time. He may have downloaded MADVILLAIN or a Lootpack track and figured he knows his shit. He doesn't.

I mean, on one hand, if it's unfocused, it's probably because it's a fucking STONER album.

Yes and yes, Jamin. For once we are on the same page.

If it's slow, then it's reflective; if it's sparse, then it's minimalist. But again, taking it at face value, on those terms, would be to gloss over missteps out of deference to the record's concept.

Not sure where you're going with this. If it's slow, then it's reflective? Are you saying that Madlib lovers use adjectives freely to make excuses for the overall concept of the music? I have now become aggravated.

We aren't all stoners, and the sad truth is, "Bus Ride" really is just a couple of monotonous Melvin Van Peebles samples, and Madlib's snickerings, lugubrious bloops and weedtalk on "Greenery" really aren't all that fascinating.

Fun times are when Jamin states the obvious some more. We are now exactly halfway through the review, and this is the first description of any music on the album! Fucking awful! Wow, and so far there are no sounds except the above "snickering, bloops and weedtalk!"

I listened to this album more than once. I noticed the use of percussion equipment, moog and other synth samples, driving overloaded bass licks, and interpolated dueling vocals. Oh wait, all of Madlib/Quasimoto's vocal contributions have been chalked up to nothing more than "weedtalk." My bad, Jamin. I forgot that this review is more about nothing than how the fucking record sounds. Maybe this next passage will glean something from this veritable cube?

I'm a huge Madlib fan, but there's a lot of nonsense here. Were Madlib not the stoned-face iconoclast we all know and love, it would be easy to point to these kinds of seemingly mindless excursions as pomposity. (That loop at the end of "Shroom Music"? The 30-second Nick at Nite samples? Come on, dude.)

Great. That's just great. So, instead of talking about the record, you focus on one of the weirdest tracks as if it represents the entire album. Cool. If I were someone who knew nothing about Madlib or Quasimoto and I was thinking about buying the album, here is what it sounds like according to Jamin thus far:

1. Pieces of Misadventures aren't finished, and Jamin isn't afraid to be the first to say it.
2. It's a FUCKING stoner album
3. Snickering, lugubrious bloops and weedtalk
4. Melvin Van Peebles samples

This is the antithesis of a music review. This is the music review's foil. Jamin Warren is simply wasting his time before he's finished.

But Madlib isn't pretentious; he's just imperfect, and when you head into a project like this expecting-- even hoping for-- 27 stream-of-conscious studio experiments, it colors the whole thing differently.

"It colors the whole thing differently." That is how Jamin Warren says, "I hate it when people like things they expect to enjoy." Quas has always been about stream-of-consciousness recording. I'm pretty sure most of Madlib's excursions are created this way. So......I'm at a loss for words here.

In Madlib's defense, there is a ton of evidence of his genius at work here.

Hold on tight, Jamin Warren just might review A SMALL PORTION of the music on this album! Unbelievable!

Shit, cut out a half-dozen two-minute sleepers and the rest of the material is actually rock solid: "Rappcats, Pt. 3" buzzes with breakbeat intensity as Quas rips through his all-time favorite MCs, and Doom returns with some Madvillainy shine on "Closer".

Wow, it is and was unbelievable to expect Jamin Warren to solidly review any music on this album. Besides the two radio-friendly singles and some other "rock solid material," the rest of the album sounds like...yup, you guessed it, snickering, lugubrious bloops and weedtalk.

It's almost as if he fast-forwarded through the album to find his favorite tunes...

As an album, though, The Further Adventures of Lord Quas doesn't cut it. I'll admit that somewhere in here lies a damn strong record, but it takes a lot of fast-forwarding to find it.

And there you have it. Mr. Warren fully admits to fast-forwarding through the record. This is truly astonishing. Not only did he get away with barely speaking about A SINGLE NOTE of the music or lyrics (whoops, I meant weedtalk), but he admitted to not paying attention at all, indeed, fast-forwarding through stuff he didn't like. By ignoring the stuff he didn't like, he couldn't tell us why he didn't like the record because he lacks a distinct talent: The ability to criticize music.

He threw down some contentious facts about Madlib and his eccentricites and tried to skirt around the obvious flaw in his review of someone's music: he forgot to review the music.

Shame on you Jamin, shame on you.


Anonymous said...

free por [url=]latino fat women your tube[/url]

Anonymous said...

Jamin Warren seems like the kind of person Lord Quas would smack with a brick.