Minds Under Matter
Bands with the most rabid, enduring followings hover on the periphery of the pop world. They maintain an alliance with obsessive music lovers and connect with their fans because they're obsessive music lovers themselves. One such indie fave is Scottish band Belle and Sebastian, who projects an aesthetic somewhere between The Smiths and the Northern Soul sound so popular amongst UK record collectors. Belle and Sebastian revels in the cultural artifacts of forgotten musicians who once manifested their souls in their songs; what those artists left behind on seemingly vanished wax, the Scots rekindle.
It's that ethos which made Belle and Sebastian a logical choice to compile a CD for overseas label Azuli Records' Late Night Tales series, which has seen previous contributions from The Flaming Lips, amongst others. Band keyboardist Chris Geddes assembled Belle and Sebastian's edition, which was reviewed at hipster paradise PitchforkMedia.com last week, and he has crafted a seamless concoction of folk, bossa nova, funk and '60s psych that should go over well with any vinyl nerd.
What Belle and Sebastian die-hards in the North Texas area might not know, though, is that Dallas' own Rehash kicks off the collection with their dusted, brooding tune "Gratuitous Theft in the Rain." For the handful of people in the area familiar with Rehash, Geddes' use of a Rehash song makes perfect sense, and the notion that an indie darling from Scotland knew about a near-anonymous Dallas hip-hop production crew proves that Geddes is the obsessive music nut his fans believe him to be. It's also an indication that the sound Rehash's Chad Burnett and Wil Brooks create is worthy of far more shine than they've received up to now.
Their music could easily be compared to the dusted beat approach of high-profile producers like DJ Shadow or RJD2 (who also appears on the Late Night comp), but the overall feel invokes a different mood than other producers in that style. Rehash tunes often sound like they were found in some long-forgotten box in someone's attic as opposed to being created on an MPC sampler.
Having long been "bedroom DJ types," according to Burnett, the duo was inspired by mid-'90s Mo Wax releases and the early works of DJ Krush to buy equipment and craft their own beats. They released their first seven-inch in 2000, Last Part/Mind Under Matter, which has long been out of print, and followed up with other releases at a rather methodical pace, due partly to their extremely high standards. And despite never collaborating on a Rehash tune together, they've maintained a unified sound by painstakingly quality-assuring each other's work through what Burnett refers to as "rigorous nitpicking sessions."
Geddes first discovered Rehash on the popular vinyl-themed Web site Soulstrut.com, which contains reviews and a forum for beat-diggers to exchange tales of their latest finds. Geddes was impressed with the wide-ranging and informed tastes in a series of reviews posted by Burnett, a regular contributor who has also written for the highly regarded record journal Wax Poetics. In particular, Geddes thought his review of a Stereolab record was out of the norm for the usual beat-digger sensibilities.
That review piqued his interests enough to check the Rehash site (rehashrecordings.com), and before long he had purchased the group's entire catalog of self-released, limited-run vinyl. He also sought after funk and soul records the Rehash boys had written about on their site.
"I could tell from Hi-C [Burnett] mentioning Stereolab, the sound of their records and the fact that their mix included a lot of tunes that had been some of my favorites to play out DJing over the years, that pretty much anything they would bother to write about was going to be to my taste," Geddes says.
When the time came to pick tracks for the Late Night Tales compilation, Geddes was compelled to include Rehash for what he deems a love for the music and a remarkable knowledge base.
"I was motivated by the feeling that as a music fan and record collector, I'm basically a parasite of guys like them," he says. "I liked their music a lot and also felt a debt of gratitude for the music I'd discovered through them. Putting their tune in the mix seemed a fitting payback."
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