Bizarro Masterpiece Theatre: Seth

This is about as tame as it's going to get.

Seth (1995)

What follows is a tale of unearthed treasure.  I’m not certain of all the details of how this gem returned to the world, but I do know that the video was found in the vaults of the Warehouse Nightclub in La Crosse, where it lay dormant for roughly 15 years.  Once rediscovered, the video was quickly uploaded to YouTube by Bizarro enabler Ben Koch, who brought it to my attention.  It promptly blew my brains out with its disturbing genius.

Seth Mitchell, who with his sweet mustache and insatiable eroticism comes off as a gay Burt Reynolds, spends about six minutes leering at the camera, gyrating and writhing around in various states of undress.  There are, in fact, moments where Seth is wearing nothing at all, and while most of the shots are no more explicit than any risqué photo shoot, there is that one scene in the shower where Seth’s balls, beneath his arched back and slutty pose, are clearly in view.

This is the tasteful nude shot.

Musically – and, oh yeah, I almost forgot there was music – Seth sounds like a cross between old timey industrial clanging and perhaps a lo-fi version of the repetitive anthems of Gary Glitter.  Vocally Seth sounds a bit like Q Lazzarus, the wistful yet forceful vocalist behind the tuck-it-back anthem “Goodbye Horses.”  Though I’m not even certain of the song’s title, Seth repeats “Can you feel it?” enough times that I’m assuming this to be the title.  Indeed, the song itself is essentially a hypnotic, droning mantra which serves little beyond providing music to accompany Seth’s striptease.

What’s greatest about this long and overwhelmingly uncomfortable video clip is that it was sent to the Warehouse in hopes of setting up a gig.  Originally, I felt as though I ought to compare this to someone sending self-made softcore pornography to a prospective employer – but then I realized that this is exactly what happened.  Seth Mitchell sent softcore pornography of himself to a venue, looking for a gig.  I applaud that sense of audacity.  I wish that more people – especially in real life – had Seth’s (ahem) balls.

This man is a champ!

Here it is!  (NSFW)


The Designer’s Drugs: Jamiroquai – Rock Dust Light Star

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Jamiroquai – Rock Dust Light Star

Anno: 2010


To call Rock Dust Light Star Jamiroquai-by-numbers by no means diminishes the funk brilliance that the album puts on display.  For its latest effort, the band puts out a nice balance of swaggering R&B slow jams with rushing dance numbers, resulting in a well-rounded collection of New Disco.

Yet will all due respect to the bluesy wah overload of “Hurtin’” and the slick Motown cool of “Two Completely Different Things,” perhaps it’s a bit too well-rounded.  Jamiroquai is at its best when it turns up the tempo.  The album’s best evidence of this is “White Knuckle Ride,” which is every bit as swift as the name suggests.  Augmented by the hint of high end guitar funk, a few synth outbursts, and the presence of disco divas in the chorus, the beats and bass of this song create perfectly measured yet exhilarating dancefloor pop.  The formula also works to the band’s advantage in “All Good in the Hood,” though this song is more balanced instrumentally and more focused on vocalist Jay Kay’s soul singing.

The album’s great swerve comes on the final track, titled “Hey Floyd,” which comes off as a fully orchestrated, piano-led theme song to some 70s copsploitation film.  The song takes an odd detour into a reggae phase at one point, but most of the song conjures images of cops in leisure suits chasing dirtbags through the urban decay.  While “White Knuckle Ride” may be the album’s most exciting song, “Hey Floyd” is its most ambitious songwriting.

Perhaps Rock Dust Light Star could have used a little more dance and a little less mellow, but on the whole it’s great fun.

The Designer’s Drugs: Kristian Hoffman – Fop

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Kristian Hoffman – Fop

Anno: 2010


Kristian Hoffman’s senses of the grandiose and the absurd lend his music a wide, smart scope that often defies categorization.  Knowing that Hoffman’s extensive musical career includes a collaboration with Pee-Wee Herman and that he was one of the main songwriters behind opera alien Klaus Nomi provides as solid a starting point as can be grasped.

Fop’s largest constant, beyond clever lyricism, is its tracks’ tendency toward whimsical, almost childlike vaudeville stylings directed by piano.  Yet even this isn’t set in stone, as there are plenty of Bowie-style guitar rockouts and soft-spoken balladry to be found on Fop as well.  The best example of the latter is the opening track, the extravagant yet soft-spoken “Something New Is Born,” whereas the former is best represented by the sinister, string-accompanied “Mediocre Dream.”

Yet with the wealth of tracks on Fop – 17 songs in total, with not one feeling like a placeholder – the listener has the freedom to go in whatever direction one chooses.  Hoffman’s consistent inconsistency might have not worked out so well had he not possessed the witty technique to temper his offbeat sensibilities.  Fortunately, he runs at full speed with both.