Record Label: History Always Favours the Winners
2017 repress, limited to 400 copies.
The third of the three 2LP editions in James Leyland Kirby's When We Parted My Heart Wanted To Die series. The synthetic luster of Memories Live Longer Than Dreams already appeared cracked and damaged the first time around, and in 2017 its phosphorescent glow remains a beacon of shelter for contemplation and secluded mind-drift, offering a surreal, nostalgic night-light to the gloomy and confused world it diagnosed and predicted nearly ten years ago.
Written during James Leyland Kirby's forlorn purgatorial years spent in Berlin during the period which shaped the modern world as we know it -- a time when global financial institutions collapsed, YouTube's all-encompassing archive was beginning to spill over, and Facebook and Twitter were starting to enmesh the entire planet -- this final instalment finds Kirby channeling osmotically absorbed visions of the future, as spelt out by Vangelis, Lynch and Badalamenti, Eno, and Kirby's own The Caretaker alter ego, into a waking dream sequence of quietly anguished sound poems for the contemporary echo chamber, relinquishing a traversal of the hive mind's private fears and shared nightmares rendered in ghostly scrolls of synth noise and sweepingly emotive cinematic gestures.
It effectively diagnoses a sort of cultural malaise that was perhaps embryonic in 2009, as the golden age of dance/pop form and optimism which resulted in radical acts such as V/Vm and the Ccru was now left shimmering in the rearview, with the momentous energy of its accumulated, independent scenes being diffused into institutions or calcifying into hyper commercialism, leaving little or no room for ambiguity, irony or subversively socialist thought within its increasingly binary wake; a wake which has now bifurcated into extreme left and right-leaning politics with a gulf of misunderstanding in between.
Keening and reeling away his own thoughts on the matter in that inter-zone of negative space, Kirby draws on ever tightening coils of cultural feedback loops and the infidelity of memory to parse, process, and secrete a slow, plasmic ooze of melancholic musical form that perhaps best represents the feelings of our age; of our shared future occluded by an inglorious or illusive past that promised much, yet never paid up.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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