Saturday, January 20, 2007

Randomiser #20: 20 January 2007

Today's song: The Aphex Twin, "Xtal"

This is from his debut album, Selected Ambient Works 85-92, back when music critics with more buzzwords than sense were calling him the Mozart of ambient music. With hindsight, that's a rather grandiose description for someone who was making records like this - a pleasing, trancy little number which would have been fairly cutting edge at the time. In fact, it's still significantly ahead of the pack today, with a catchy hook and a nice organic sound to it. A lot of electronic music from this period sounds terribly dated nowadays because the synth sounds are awfully primitive, not to mention over-familiar. This still has a timeless, ethereal quality to it.

Subsequently, Richard D James went on to become one of those electronica types who shoves out seemingly random collections of music that make you wish he'd be a bit more selective. His double album, Drukqs, contained a horrific amount of padding, and these days I tend to regard him as a bit of an underachiever. But the ability is still there, when he chooses to put his mind to it.

Also today:

- The WWE has been on a firing spree, laying off a batch of wrestlers in order to slim down the ECW roster and make way for cheaper newcomers. Most of the list comes as no surprise, because they're people who haven't been seen on television in months (frankly, I'd forgotten that the Gymini were even on the roster). There's also a batch of minor ECW wrestlers who were supposed to be filling out the card on the planned ECW live shows, and became surplus to requirements when the WWE pulled the plug on that whole operation. At the bottom of the list, there are a couple of people who never made it onto TV at all; the WWE has evidently given up on them. And when you consider they just brought up Deuce & Domino, the 50s rockers... well.

The more surprising ones: Tatanka, the Native American Stereotype has been on TV quite a lot, and had a minor running storyline where he was becoming bitter over a losing streak. Sylvester Terkay has also been a fairly regular presence on ECW's show, although they've clearly been easing him out in favour of his partner Elijah Burke (who does all the talking). Neither of them are especially great losses to the show, but they were at least doing something.

Bill DeMott is one of the trainers in Deep South Wrestling, the B-list developmental territory. He hasn't been seen on TV in ages and he's a slightly surprising lay-off, because somebody's got to train the newbies, and he's at least got years of experience at it.

And the poor old Basham Brothers are also joining the unemployment line. That seems harsh, since they're actually good, and they were on TV regularly, playing Paul Heyman's riot cops. Naturally, they had to be written off the show when Heyman was booted, but since they were working masked, it would have been easy to bring them back in a new role. I don't understand the logic of this one at all.

History suggests that the more recognisable names on this list will be straight on the phone to TNA and booking their flights to Florida, where they will be breathlessly shoved onto TV while the commentators bleat about the latest thrilling defection from the WWE lower midcard. Reportedly, the Bashams both have a ton of untapped potential that the WWE writers never bothered using, so you never know - perhaps things will work out for them down in Florida.

- Sticking with wrestling, I'll leave it to others to comment on the death of Bam Bam Bigelow, since his career pretty much predates my having access to US television. Unfortunately, the premature death rate among professional wrestlers is terrifyingly high; to a large extent, the industry gets away with it because of a perception among audiences and regulators that it isn't really real, and therefore nobody gets hurt at all.