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And I find something touching in this story—maybe contained within it is an explanation of why Arling & Cameron sound warm rather than cute, gentle rather than like a poke in the ribs. Which is to say that they discovered freedom in obsolete styles: old jingles, cocktail textures, anything they liked they were free to play, if it made them happy. So they'd created a safe place of gentle textures and happiness. But the styles were safe because the styles were dead: Lounge music, spy soundtracks, and so forth have long since had their social and emotional significance erased. It's yesterday's sophistication and sensuousness—now stripped of any threat or impact. VIP lounges of today don't play such music, do they? The elegance here is an elegance that no one either aspires to or fights against anymore.

The concept "all-in" is impossible, of course, but it could be the motto for a glorious journey. Arling & Cameron have reclaimed some of the pop past; I wonder if next they'll try to reclaim the present, which would mean taking in the socially divisive, the apparently incompatible.

I have no reason to assume that Arling & Cameron would sound as good if they absorbed the modern-day pop-sound film-track ("Mambo No. 5," Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Metallica, "Back That Azz Up"). But if they did sound good doing so, they'd sure matter more.

Free jazz wasn't free enough.
Free jazz wasn't free enough.

Details

Arling & Cameron
All-In
Emperor Norton Records
Buy    Listen

Arling & Cameron
Music for Imaginary Films
Emperor Norton Records
Buy


Emperor Norton, 102 Robinson Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Arling & Cameron play the Knitting Factory March 4.
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