Monday, January 09, 2006

A is for A'ight: Aim's Cold Water Music

And thus it begins...and in alphabetical order, no less!

I first heard Aim while sitting around DJ Taro's room: he was done with his original Piece Meal format of trip hop and drum n' bass (he segued into the unfortunate realm of cheesy big beat), and was purging his collection of same. Or: he was in need of cash. Aim had stood out in the boring world of trip hop, which was perennially stuck in mindset that 75bpm and no hook meant something overtly deep. The track had made two bucks for a single seem like an even better deal.

Trip hop was painfully close to lite-jazz by that point, torch divas apparently being a growth industry, but Aim infused a touch of soul and funk back into the mix. In hindsight, it might not have been a coincidence that a young Kayne West was cutting his Bobby "Blue" Bland teeth on "Heart of the City" at around the same time - Aim does the same thing for Spirit's "Mr. Skin" on the highlight of Cold Water Force, "the Force."

It's easy to focus on "the Force." So easy, in fact, that I only really remember the album for that one song (on good days, maybe the title track too, which is reminiscent of mid 90's Ninja Tune product), and have completely neglected all of the other tracks. There's one of the early appearances of Kate Rogers on "Sail," one of the more interesting vocalists of the lot, and one of the many classical-music-set-to-beats-ain't-that-novel tracks, "Demonique" (see also DJ Cam's contribution to the first Respect is Burning, the Runaways UK's "Finder Kreepers"). But if I've forgotten all of these other songs, it must've been for good reason, and upon listening to it again (albeit briefly), the reason is clear: they're just not memorable. While I'm not about to pawn the Aim albums, their function has been largely lost with time, their importance has been largely lost with time, and, save for a handful of hits from his previous output, Aim better be glad that his peers (Nostalgia 77, anybody?) have been putting out much more mediocre music in the recent years.

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