LWE’s Top 5 Worst Ideas of 2008


For our final year-end column, LWE staff writer Todd Hutlock takes to task the top five worst ideas of 2008.

Pundits can argue back and forth all they like about whether 2008 was a good year for music — that’s a matter of taste. What can’t be argued, however, is that for any and all of the highlights of the year that was, there have to be some low points to balance out the scale. From a magical flashing box to the ongoing war between vinyl and online buyers, these were the five worst ideas of the year.


01. The Cube
Richie Hawtin still commands much love and respect from me personally for his pioneering DJ skills, his large and generally excellent body of recorded work, his fantastic Detroit warehouse parties in the early 90’s, the visionary labels he founded, and, of course, the mighty and untouchable “Spastik.” But The Cube? Those of us who thought it was a joke to be played on too-stoned club kids soon were horrified to learn that, yes, M_nus was in fact serious about the thing, and subsequently became the butt of many a joke throughout the year. About the only good thing you can say about The Cube is that it distracted people from the equally ridiculous 10 Weeks of Silence (um, except for a few parties and these couple of releases that didn’t come out on time before — OKAY WE’RE REALLY BEING QUIET NOW) stunt at the beginning of the year. Come back from Mars and make a new album, Richie. We miss you.


02. Booka Shade’s Album Releases
After a massive 2007 and several years of acquired goodwill from the dance community, Booka Shade dropped the eagerly anticipated The Sun & The Neon Light on an unsuspecting world who met its release with shrugs, confused looks, and generally dismal reviews. By book-ending the year with the equally terrible Cinematic Shades (The Slow Songs), Booka Shade proved they still had a bit further to fall before they hit bottom. The duo have too solid a pedigree to be counted out entirely at this point, but they certainly have a long way to climb back up to the summit. To make matters worse, they were also involved in…


03. Remaking/Remixing Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman”
Fucking with the classics is always a dangerous proposition, and Get Physical showed everyone why when they solicited two singles worth of remixes of M.A.N.D.Y. vs Booka Shade’s version of Laurie Anderson’s classic ode to Massanet. While Reboot managed to not embarrass himself with his remix, the rest (including normally reliable names like Matt John and Audiofly X, as well as, erm, Felix Da Housecat) missed the mark dramatically, managing to insult Anderson’s lovely, sensitive tune by bleaching every interesting thing about it out in the wash. Please, please, Get Physical, stay away from Japan’s “Ghosts” and the entire recorded works of Brian Eno in the new year. Thanks in advance.


04. Beatport Drops Its Affiliate Program
When all-powerful online music broker Beatport abruptly dropped its affiliate program with little explanation and no warning, it was the final straw for some who were already skeptical of the whole online music thing. After reaping the many benefits of links and publicity from hundreds of smaller sites (including LWE), the move said, “Okay, thanks for building us up into a giant; we don’t need you anymore!” It didn’t help that more information came from a news item on Resident Advisor than Beatport itself. And while it seems to have affected Beatport’s reputation a tiny bit, few can walk away from the biggest outlet for techno/house mp3s and their many exclusive releases. Careful, Beatport — karma may come looking for you sooner than you think.


05. The Botched Release of Ricardo Villalobos’ Vasco EPs/CD
I’m just not sure exactly what Perlon were thinking on this one, as it seems to have issued these releases in the most backwards manner possible. First, Perlon released a double-pack “Part 1” with fantastic remixes (to say nothing of the stellar originals), and then waited several months before releasing “Part 2,” this time only a single piece of vinyl, not nearly as stellar. The “complete” CD release which followed contained none of the remixes, a 32-minute version of the mighty “Minimoonstar,” (more than twice as long as the vinyl edit) and one brand new track. So if you bought the vinyl versions, you were still missing the new track on the CD. If you bought the CD version, you didn’t get any of the remixes. And no matter what, if you wanted to hear it all, you just wasted your money on tracks you already had in some other format. And by the time the CD arrived, two of the tracks were months old — a lifetime ago in this genre — which led to middling reviews of the album when some of tracks had been justifiably raved about just a few months earlier. An artist and label of this caliber should really have been smarter about this.

harpomarx42  on December 19, 2008 at 5:19 PM

1. What is this…some futuristic disco ball? How much money/time/effort went into this? You know, somewhere, children are starving…
2. I didn’t bother buying the albums.
3. The Reboot mix and the original MANDY/Booka Shade mixes were fine, but the rest were utter trash.
4. I must confess, I never understood what the affiliate program was, but it still sounds like a bad idea to do this WITHOUT WARNINGS.
5. WTF Perlon. Srsly. I hope that all of the tracks will soon be released TOGETHER available in ALL formats. Is it a reality? Doubtful…

pito  on December 19, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Contakt was a dissapoint in Detroit.
about 5, i think Perlon try to space releases as much as possible, could be a good thing sales-wise.
i still don’t know what’s the deal with 32min songs. it’s like a joke.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 19, 2008 at 6:07 PM

@Harpomarx

The affiliate program allowed websites which linked to Beatport to receive a small payment for each time someone made a purchase or signed up for an account after clicking on such a link. Our “buy” links to Beatport used to generate a decent amount of sales for them and a respectable stream of revenue for us.

Blaise  on December 19, 2008 at 6:20 PM

As much as the promotion and the hyper surrounding the contakts shows was awful, the sonar show was one of my musical highlights.

honstermonster  on December 20, 2008 at 3:48 AM

Kontakt haha, for all US people… it should remind you more of a Sprint commercial than a techno party. woops.
as for beatport, yea that is an asshole in particular for blogs like LWE mentions it did help finance blogs that did not just put up music for download and instead supported a potential way of saving the music industry from the digital era.
i hope that they relaunch it in an improved form or that other digital retailers learn to better share the pie without needing 50% of sales, which is already ridiculous for a digital product.

Ciaran  on December 20, 2008 at 4:52 AM

Unfortunately the Beatport fiasco does go unpunished as they clearly take the market and with the recent drop in prices they seem to win win.

colin s  on December 20, 2008 at 8:58 AM

Hands off my Laurie! Reminds me of the South Park with Indiana Jones.

hutlock  on December 20, 2008 at 9:57 AM

@ pito:

Yes, I’m sure Perlon does try to space the releases out, and I’m quite sure that’s what they did here. It helped distract people from the fact that they were being asked to buy the same music twice if they wanted to hear it all.

Will Lynch  on December 20, 2008 at 11:41 AM

couple things about the Perlon release– I personally think the 32 minute minimoostar is fantastic, and a song of that length really only works on CD… I’ve always found that Villalobos’ remix of ‘blood on my hands’ suffered from the fact that you had to flip it over half way through.

also, Perlon is an excellent independent label that’s give us plenty of great music over the years. is it really fair to insinuate that the manner in which they released “Vasco” was an attempt to deceive consumers into buying the same music twice???

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 20, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Perhaps deceive is too strong a word, but I think the way “Vasco” was released was a calculated and self-aware move on the part of Perlon that likely had intentions of moving more units.

hutlock  on December 20, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Perlon is indeed a wonderful label, but they certainly aren’t averse to making money. Whether this was done to maximize sales or it was just a total botch-job, the consumer still wound up getting screwed in the end.

James  on December 21, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Beatport shuttered its affiliate program? Well, that explains the weird email (and stony silence) I received a few weeks ago.

Why does Beatport continue to dominate? It’s a terrible feeling to regularly give money to such a thoughtlessly designed & operated outlet – any recommendations for alternatives?

My current favorite is OtherMusic.com, but their techno selection is a bit small, albeit highly curated.

teleost  on December 21, 2008 at 5:05 PM

“i still don’t know what’s the deal with 32min songs. it’s like a joke.”

do you mean like one of those jokes that’s one of the best things in the world ever?

Martin Roberts  on December 22, 2008 at 2:43 AM

Kontakt in London also sucked. The music was rubbish, the concept was rubbish. For me, this was the final nail in Minus’s coffin. Richie really needs to go back to basics, I suppose that he has had a taste of the big time now and doesn’t want to go back…

Bernardo  on December 22, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Richie needs a good shave (head and beard) and a good kick in the ass. If the guy played a few old school sets he would regain it all in a minute…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zlpB6V-yYs

I know its going backwards but how good would it be to see that side again???

hutlock  on December 22, 2008 at 1:24 PM

I haven’t seen Richie play live since 1994. I prefer to remember him that way. I’ll still buy his mix CDs because what he does is just so innovative, but I have no desire to go beyond that.

More than anything, I’d just like to see him RECORD something. I mean, dude was on the cover of the freaking WIRE a few months back and he hasn’t even had a record out in how long now?!?

deejaycountzero  on January 2, 2009 at 10:47 AM

What’s especially interesting about the “o superman” remixes is that it had already been done, and pretty well I think:

http://www.discogs.com/release/97243

That attempt features a shuffled deep bass line that seriously moves butts.

barney  on January 14, 2009 at 4:47 AM

5. minimoonstar had me asking the same question at first. um, 32 minutes? then i listened to it and all suddenly became clear 😉

jonnyp  on May 4, 2009 at 11:08 AM

In defence of richie, i saw him at the Warehouse Project in Manchester and it was a great party. It wasn’t a contakt event however which maybe the reason it was so good! Definitely time he focused on some production.

Trackbacks

Ricardo Villalobos, Dependent And Happy | Little White Earbuds  on September 19, 2012 at 12:02 AM

[…] My Hands” remix the story veers off on numerous tangents: Fabric 36, “Enfants,” the botched Vasco release; all keeping Ricardo in the techno headlines, but for the most part marking a watered down version […]

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