(This is our second annual “Favorite Songs”series. It’s a chance for Range Life fans, friends and family to shout-out and share some of the songs that made 2009 better, dancier, more deeply felt, more memorable and enjoyable. Songs are presented in no particular order. Submissions are welcome! Send a song link and whatever you want to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Songs: “Quitters Raga” by Gold Panda and “Portofino” by Teengirl Fantasy
Song Links: “Quitters Raga” HERE. “Portofino” HERE. (Both Pitchfork).
“Quitters Raga” was my most-played song of 2009, followed hot on it’s heels by “Portofino”. That’s probably because I always listened to them together, in this order. Might seem kind of OCD but the combination of these two tracks never failed to please and if I ever did find myself listening to just one and not the other, I did so with the distinct feeling of missing something. They were excitement and calm, window and mirror, brilliance and ambience linked together by technological empowerment, software pushed into symphony.
“Quitters Raga” – fuck, man. It’s uncanny how much of a sense of the Modern World it captures. It’s a song about momentum, about action. About people, cars, subways, shutters, mouths, clouds moving. It’s HD video of city crowds translated into muli-colored soundwaves; a sonic tapestry of consciousness within the crowd – the window reflections, the shifts of space, our stop-action minds spliced with the meta-thrill of missing frames. I love it’s worldliness, the beautiful chaos of a bazaar; the way it’s voices communicate in tone and feeling what isn’t otherwise understood. If you haven’t navigated traffic with “Quitters Raga” blasting or walked to work with it on repeat in your headphones or bumped it at home, staring at your speakers, swearing they were folding into staccato origami, then your ’09’s due for an UPDATE. This is the pulse of music right now, the World Map in a digital nutshell.
At 2 minutes, “Quitter’s Raga” steals your breath, like a dive in the pool after chilling in the jacuzzi. “Portofino” then is the sound of melting back into the tub. I can’t get over how luxurious Teengirl Fantasy’s sounds sound, like they’ve discovered sonic tones for cashmere, fleece, fur. In the Music Industry of some parallel universe, “Portofino” is the high-end shit, with the fortunate dropping fortunes to fill their ears.
Just listen to the layers in “Portofino”. Sounds are stacked. The opening loop’s like sun through the branches. The snare’s a jellyfish, tendrils spreading and clamping. Then a beat with tracers. The wash of the tide. An old organ calypso. Locusts in the trees. Chinchilla synths. The voices of statues pushed through digital prisms. A laser drawing neon arcs in the sky. When I first heard “Portofino” I blipped “This song’s kinda cool but the structure is puzzling…” It just has so much going on. Even after hundreds of listens, I’m amazed at how fresh it sounds, how complex and yet comforting it is, how much steam’s still rising…
Time to jump back in the pool?