IAMX is my current favorite band. My favorite living musician, singular, is Ben Lukas Boysen AKA Hecq. I owe both of these discoveries to DJ Intoner, who spins in San Francisco and Berlin, and formed much of my current musical tastes. My favorite composer is Jerry Goldsmith, who died a few years ago, which still makes me sad. He wrote my favorite film scores, and even at his worst he was brilliant. My favorite game composer is still a tossup between Michael Z. Land and Clint Bajakian, who together did the Monkey Island scores, music that’s far more beautiful than it has any right to be.
If you asked me five years ago I would have named Splashdown as a favorite, who are still adorable and worth a listen.
Hecq’s “Night Falls” album is, in my opinion, the opus of a living genius. I listened to it for the first time while I was drifting off to sleep in my freezing Edwardian apartment in the Oakland ghetto. As the first distant, clear notes of the track Bending Time found me out in the dark, my torso prickled and burned with how intensely, hotly, despairingly beautiful it was. I hauled out of my bed and stumbled to my laptop, where I mashed out a note to myself not to forget the name of the song. As Hecq gets more into harder, darker dubstep tracks, he’s split his ambient stuff off to be released as Ben Lukas Boysen. Both projects are mind-numbingly good. I can’t shut up about Hecq.
IAMX is a little more known, and is the second band of Sneaker Pimps’ Chris Corner. I’m fascinated with the man himself, who appears to be one of these musical avatars with little in the way of real humanity, almost a Klaus Nomi figure. He’s a style icon and libertine, as rock stars should be, and I believe he has produced and is producing some of the most innovative and stylish pop music of this decade. The first track, President, on the album “the Alternative”, is literally a pop waltz. It’s one of my favorite IAMX songs. 3/4ths time, banging piano, an uncomfortable meshing of synth and real instruments, it lands somewhere between Muse’s pretension to Queen’s throne, and the old super-clean and tragic shrillness of the 90s’ Sneaker Pimps.
Every band, composer, and musician has a Missionary Track: the song you send to savages to convert them to the cause. The one song that “sells” a band. It’s usually not their radio single, either, which tends to be wholly strange from its album (you’ve bought an album based on a radio hit and been disappointed, I bet). So here are my Missionary Tracks for the aforementioned musicians:
Album: Night Falls
Track: Bending Time
Album: The Alternative
Album: Titan AE official soundtrack
Track: Karma Slave
You’re already in love with Jerry Goldsmith, though you may not know it. He did a huge number of the iconic and incomparable Star Trek themes and scores, and tons of films. My personal favorite score of his, although probably not the best, is from the Mummy. His mixture of grandeur, emotion, and charm is unmistakable.
Album: The Mummy OST
Track: the Caravan
That’s scratching the surface. We play music in SWEATSHOP.tv during the entire broadcast, so next time I have one, drop in and listen.