Monday, September 10, 2012

Fast vs. Slow

Gary Clark Jr. put out a spectacular 12" this year that the VVers picked up at The Sound Garden in Syracuse. Maybe you've heard of Mr. Clark? He's been playing the circuit of summer festivals and played at the White House recently with BB King, Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, and other blues rock legends. Well this guy is basically crushing it and comes from out of nowhere. He's been given the crown before raiding the castle. So we pick this up not really knowing what we're getting into at all. Drop the needle and it's like being transported to the first era of Black Sabbath. Pure thunder sludge (you get what I'm saying here, right?  No?  Oh... ). He. is. ever. so. patiently. crushing. it.  Right around the time when you can imagine sparking up the crack pipe things go a little funny. You see, this guy is all stoned out, distortion riffs and we have no real concept of what his voice sounds like. At first, the glances exchanged across the room were to the tune of, "is this guy doing a Barry White impersonation?" Pretty shortly into the vocals we recognize we've had it at the wrong speed for the first third of the song. Damn, but it sounded great like that! Not that he doesn't sound good normally, but it's hard to go there since we've gone there.  I still pretty much play it at the slow speed every time up till the vocals start.  As impressive as Mr. Clark is at "real" speed the crushing it just doesn't last as long.

Oddly enough, the opposite scenario recently played out where Beastie Boys 12" 3 MCs and 1 DJ was removed from the turntable and en queue was Duke Ellington's Daybreak Express, which has been on pretty good rotation for the past few years at the VVers house.  However, during this listen, there was a renewed "wow" factor in the sound, and I'm pretty sure there was some serious hipshakin' going on (most likely while cooking dinner).  Again, no vocals until a few tracks in, and POW... chipmunks.  Female vocals are NOT supposed to sound like that.  Having realized that I never changed the speed from the previously played 12", things started making sense.  I was so impressed by the jazz sounds flying from the speakers - they were on super speed and so were we.

Does it matter that the wrong speed is sometimes the right one?  Possibly, but it's all in good fun.  It's not like these records have a guide on them anywhere as to what speed you are supposed to use.  As the listener, you get to decide. This discovery was a happy accident; this ain't happenin on other music formats!


  1. can't wait to hear your review on Orion~~

  2. P.S. Gary Clark Jr. didn't come out of nowhere, he came out of Austin f'in Texas. Seriously, we got some good blues/rock guys hidden among the walls of Antones and Red River St. Make a trip and we'll be glad to show you.