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Watch Gordon Raphael's Confounding Video for "Substitute Music"

He produced the first two Strokes records and Regina Spektor's 'Soviet Kitsch,' but Raphael's own sonic journey is much more avant garde.
August 31, 2016, 1:42pm

Honestly it wouldn't surprise me if an alien with a boner for minimalist teutonic techno and post punk made this, it's that weird. White perforated leather gloves and an old telephone. Factory workers in the 50s hard at work. Is that a mini-bust of Mozart sitting next to the Virgin Mary and Tutankhamun? Gordon Raphael in a hat not disimilar to something Slash might select. It's all very bizarre.

If you're thinking, hey that name sounds familiar, well that's because Raphael recorded a couple of the greatest records of the 2000s—The Strokes first two albums, Regina Spektor's Soviet Kitsch, plus working with countless other artists—in his one time East Village studio, in London, and also where he lives now, in Berlin. But even as he's been busy producing, he's always been making his own music on the side and this video, for song "Substitute Music" is a track lifted from his forthcoming LP—recorded in Buenos Aires Argentina (how glam!). It's made up entirely of Raphael messing around with an Arp Odyssey synthesizer, an old 808 drum machine, and some overly distorted guitar. Oh, and his voice.

In order to help us explain what we're hearing and seeing, we probed Raphael for answers: “This is a song I've been developing for many many years. I can honestly say that I have recorded 20 different versions—and now I'm ready to release this particular one.

"There were two concepts I had in my mind when I invented this particular piece. The first was to try to create a song that would be very difficult (if not impossible) to talk over by audience members or listeners while it was being played. I tried to accomplish this by having one loud abrasive note playing on repeat through the whole song from beginning to end! I named it 'Substitute Music' because I wanted it to be something that was played when normal music was not appropriate.”

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