The Hasbeens, I Fall To Pieces

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Photo by Simon Nunn

[Frustrated Funk]


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The Hasbeens have released only three records so far, and all three have been greeted rapturously. The question left to answer about their simply constructed, repeatedly beguiling electro/disco cuts seems not to be whether or not they’re worth listening to (they definitely are), but rather what it is that makes them so damn good. “I Fall to Pieces” is the latest release, having migrated from Clone X to Frustrated Funk, another of the many arms extending from the Vishnu-esque Clone body. The 10 Euro asking price might seem a little steep for a platter containing one pleasant three minute piano ditty and only one traditional track. When considering that the record that started it all, 2006’s “Make The World Go Away,” will set you back about €40, “I Fall to Pieces” suddenly seems like a good investment regardless of the music inside.

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For me, though, there will be no buy low, sell high on this one. “Central Do Hasbeens” is half Paradise Garage melancholy and half an insouciant grin acknowledging the ability of melodramatic strings and chords to pull at the softer fibers of our hearts. “I Fall To Pieces” will sound familiar to those who already know The Hasbeens. Its five minutes are pushed and pulled along by a geologically slow house beat, and the whole affair is drowned in a heavily processed vocal, the lucid human appeal of which shines through all the more brightly for being tampered with. Electronic music has always shied away from using the voice in too untransformed a way. The droll, bass-timbred monologue of contemporary deep house has the perfect forebear in the stylized yearning of Robert Owens, the escapist grandeur of divas like Liz Torres and Bryon Stingily, and the processed harmonies on Gino Soccio’s “Remember.” The modification of the voice into something alien enough to sit comfortably in an electronically made sonic world has been centrally important to house and to disco from the time of the earliest electronic innovation. The most memorable records in both genres often succeed, and still manage to resonate with us at those levels that only the voice can. The Hasbeens have done one of the best jobs in doing this among contemporary dance music of which I know, and in so doing, have crafted a wonderful new release.

Sophie Vernon  on September 4, 2009 at 5:07 AM

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Richard Carnage  on September 9, 2009 at 1:23 PM

You can get “Make The World Go Away” on this: http://www.discogs.com/sell/list?release_id=1213706&ev=rb

No need to spunk forty notes!

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