I bunked off my early morning swim (there was only a 40% chance I was going to actually get up that early on a Monday anyway) but the rest of the day calls for some circuit training later on prior to my Masters spin class and this very easy drill run.
I’m just beginning to amp up the mileage and intensity of my weekly runs, so today is just intended as a bonus run above and beyond the other two run workouts I do regularly. It’s more an excuse to get out for 30 minutes (4.13k) and get my skipping/leaping ABC drills over with, flush some fresh autumn air into my lungs and, of course, enjoy some tunage. Today’s listening pleasure is the ‘Modern Guilt‘ album by Beck.
‘Modern Guilt’ is the 8th official studio album and 11th overall by the Beckster, not to mention his shortest album running at only 33 minutes; making it ideal for this afternoons short run.
Beck as made a living bouncing from one musical extreme to the other. Here he has teamed with producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Joseph Burton) on a shared affection for late ’60s Psych-Pop.
Because, of course he has.
The album is a deft tapestry of drum loops, tape splices, and chugging guitars pitched halfway between new wave and Sonic Youth. This may not brood but it’s impossible to deny its heaviness, either in its tone or its lyrics. Beck peppers ‘Modern Guilt‘ with allusions to jets, warheads, suicide, all manners of modern maladies. In other words, it’s fun fun fun. And if the words don’t form coherent pictures, the lines that catch the ear create a vivid portrait of unease, a vibe that Danger Mouse mirrors with his densely wound yet spare production.
As on his work with Damon Albarn and the Black Keys, Danger Mouse doesn’t impose his own aesthetic as much as he finds a way to make it fit with Beck’s, so everything here feels familiar, whether it’s the swinging ’60s spy riff on ‘Gamma Ray‘, the rangy blues on ‘Soul of Man‘, the stiff shuffle of the title track, or the thick and gauzy ‘Chemtrails‘, which harks back to the sluggish, narcotic psychedelia of ‘Mutations‘ Danger Mouse assists not only with execution but with focus. It’s leanness is one of the greatest attributes of ‘Modern Guilt‘, as every song stays as long as it needs to, then lingers behind in memory, leaving behind a collection of echoes and impressions. If anything, ‘Modern Guilt‘ may be just a little bit too transient, as it doesn’t dig quite as deep as its subjects might suggest, but that’s also par for the course for both Beck and Danger Mouse: they tend to prefer feel to form. Here, they deliver enough substance and style to make this album an effective dosage of 21st century paranoia.
Truth, it was likely a little more upbeat than I needed to hear given that today’s purpose was to keep it easy but, meh.
What’ya gonna do?
For a change though it is overcast and began sprinkling rain while I was out along the Friendship Trail, but not so much as I didn’t mind. Any longer however, and it would surely have started to suck as it’s really beginning to come down now. So I’m happy I go out, did my set and got back in again. Time for a warm beverage and some lunch before getting back to the grindstone.