LP: Neurovision by Telex
1980 Sire SRK 6090, Promo
Favorite Track: Reality
“With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d–
‘I came like Water, and like Wind I go.'”
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
The best way to pick music is random chance channeled through your inner aesthetic. Follow that hunch even if you are looking down at an album cover made of gross 90’s neon squiggles. You never know what you might discover if you never give it a chance. People ask me how I discover my favorite music and books and I say simply, “I judge them by their covers.” Of course, that is exactly what one should not do, but the world of advertising and branding has made it easy to spot the underground Talking Heads-influenced indie group versus the photoshopped pop diva. When I was a teenager, I bought Less Than Jake and Rancid because I liked their album covers. My jaw dropped when I actually heard them. Reading the linear notes than led me to the Clash, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols (who I used to openly hate until I sang God Save the Queen for karaoke and understood everything), and the rest of my musical taste is just sampling everything I can get my hands on between that magical period of 75-81. Another time a friend recommended that I buy an Os Mutantes album if I ever saw one. A week or so later, I found a reissue, bought it, and now am in love with Tropicália. A friend who lived on my couch owned the Nigeria Special LPs whose bright and colorful covers reflex the warm poly-rhythms inside. Yet another friend had come back from a run while listening to Neü and I asked for a listen. Using the library, I heard bands like Faust, Amon Düül II, and La Dusseldorf.
Telex is my latest find. I went record shopping last Tuesday and stopped at Black Plastic first, a deviation from my normal routine. Periodical departures from routines are vastly important to gain new experiences. Once again my “luck” flared and I found a small goldmine. As I had not been in Black Plastic for a couple of weeks, I methodically checked for those pesky Damned, Buzzcocks, Happy Monday, Liliput, and Fall LPs. As I looked around, my ear caught this interesting mechanical sound. I found myself listening more than looking. My eye spied the album by the record player and I noted its blue and red stripes against a white background. It would be interesting to hear again, I thought as I combed through the Ts for no reason at all that I can think of now. And there it is–a second copy of Neurovision. I checked with the clerk just to make sure it was the same album and then I bought it with the others. Why not? Then I went to ShakeIt Records and saw another copy of it on their display wall. Was the universe telling me I should own this album?
When I put side A on at home, I became temporary confused. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention at the store or maybe the clerk started with side B. I didn’t recognize the first two songs and although I enjoyed them, they did not quite grab me like the songs I heard at Black Plastic. The contemplative Tour de France and the Kraftwerk-pastiche of Euro-Vision had me dancing in my socks. But, when I flipped it over to side B, the one-two punch of the Sly and the Family Stone re-working of Dance to the Music and the unsuspecting woodblocks of Reality sold me that I had made a wise decision purchasing this strange, new album.
Just like that I had a new friend.