Archive for the 'Albumin’' Category

Albumin’: David Holmes Presents: The Free Association

January 2nd, 2024

Album cover for David Holmes Presents: The Free Association

New year, new thing to try for maybe a few days!

I realized with my recent Apple Music year in review (no Spotify, sorry but I like having a music library, I’ll keep reveling in my vestigial millennial obsession with owning things thank you) that, beyond a sudden surge in orchestral songs playing in the background for online D&D games, my music listening has dropped off a cliff to almost nonexistent in the past decades. There’s lots of reasons for this, among them: an upswing in podcast listening (itself vastly reduced now that I don’t commute), watching more streaming shows during downtime, and my wife and I having differing musical tastes resulting in least common denominators like Disney soundtracks and Christmas pop songs dominating any remaining music time. I like discovering new music but have always been terrible with the “discovery” process (I haven’t turned on a radio on purpose in like twenty years).

So in an effort to revitalize my listening habits before I get so stuck in my ways that I’ll just keep grumbling about what passes for “oldies”, I’ll do what the last few generations of Internet users do best and gamify the act of music listening itself. Gonna make an effort to listen to entire albums, with a mix of mainstays in my music library plus newcomers (would even take a recommendation if folks have any), and write up my brief thoughts here. This may make things worse! Let’s find out together!

Kicking off this project with a Dave Holmes jaunt, when he broke from his tradition of composing Ocean’s franchise soundtracks and filling the album with movie dialogue samples to guarantee a worse listening experience, and made an album of original tunes with lyrics and what sounds like a full band, the eponymous Free Association. I love his scores, but this change-up was exactly what I needed from him back in the aughts, and this album remains a regular fixture in my music library. I only recognize one song carried over from his past works, “Paper Underwear”, but even just having this instrumental without George Clooney piping in was a godsend. The instrument samples are sometimes a bit crunchy and repetitive (we can still judge aesthetic choices), but I’m always happy to run into any of these tracks in a shuffle, so actually sitting and giving the whole album a listen was a delightful treat to kick off the new year. It’s a quick listen and I happily recommend it to anyone who has fond memories of the heist movie boom and wants to feel like they’re smoking cigarettes in a back room and planning to rob a casino (or if you want to actually do the heist part, I don’t know your life).

While writing this, I realized that the track list changed some time between me buying this CD and it ending up on streaming services, both with a new song order and a song replacement! It’s wild to me that something I try to reference from my past isn’t locked in place like a time capsule but can change based on, what? Song licensing? Did Holmes make a whole-ass different track (“Sugarman”) as a single back in the day and later on a whim just decide to kick out “Somedays”? For accuracy’s sake, here’s the album as I have it in my library:

  1. Don’t Rhyme No Mo
  2. (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart
  3. Le Baggage
  4. Free Ass O-C-8
  5. Somedays
  6. Everybody Knows
  7. Pushin’ A Broom
  8. La Dolce Vita
  9. Paper Underwear
  10. Whistlin’ Down The Wind

I’ll avoid uploading the song for fear of copyright strikes and legal actions (amazingly things that can happen even if a song exists nowhere on the Internet for legal purchase or stream), but there’s a sample on UMPG Songs for reference. I’ve grabbed Sugarman and the “new mix” of Wooden Heart (I hear some more prominent organs and a general up-pitching, but maybe someone with a better ear has more thoughts) to add to my collection.