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Point-Counterpoint: The Pros and Cons of Steve Aoki

Point-Counterpoint: The Pros and Cons of Steve Aoki

The Daily Swarm collects an argument currently consuming the web regarding the relative merits of L.A.'s reigning superstar DJ, Steve Aoki. A few days back Pitchfork (predictably) slammed Aoki's new mix, Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles. Reviewer David Raposa gave it a 2.5, writing: "After 50 minutes of this tired nonsense, with the highlights (like the bloops and bleeps of Yelle’s thankfully untouched “Je Veux Te Voir”, or the bits of Datarock’s strummy “Fa-Fa-Fa” that aren’t beset by hot hot air) sorely outnumbered by the lowlights, the mix ends with another turgid rock-meets-dance-with-guest remix, this time a track by Dim Mak group (and post-punk aficionados) Scanners with additional words of wisdom offered by Justice labelmate Uffie."

Urb editor-in-chief (and occasional L.A. Weekly contributor) Joshua Glazer had no patience for the indie-centric Pitchfork's tirade, and shot back a defense. "Pitchfork may suckle at the teat of Justice and Daft Punk," he writes, "but you know at their fundamental core, they'd rather be giving Arcade Fire the obligatory handjob while posted up in their Chicago digs (Chicago indie rock, btw, is the most pretentious smarter-than-thou scene in the entire country). So that leaves poor Aoki, alone with his mix-CD on Thrive (a quintessential old-school electronica label) to pummel mercilessly as the once mighty Pitchfork lashes out against a section of the music industry that doesn't need their approval to survive. And it stinks."

Whether you agree or not on the merits of Aoki's mix debut (I'd give it a 5.264826547, - and deduct at least .7854126 points for the appearance of the world's worst rapper, Uffie ) it deserves mention that reviewer David Raposa doesn't seem to follow current dance music all that closely, and seems ill-prepared to weigh in; in his long list of reviews for Pitchfork, the writer appraises mainly (surprise surprise) rock and indie rock (Mary Timony, Bottomless Pit, Tara Jane O'Neil, Queens of the Stone Age). The closest thing he comes to writing about dance music is New Order (Waiting for the Sirens' Call, which Pitchfork gave an astounding 7.9).

UPDATE: Aw, shit, now Time Out Chicago's gotten into this mess: Taking umbrage at Josh Glazer's characterizaton of Chicago as "the most pretentious smarter-than-thou scene in the entire country," Time Out's Scott Smith fires back that "Urb’s got to be a little touchy. If I lived in the metro area of Los Angeles/Beverly Hills and the most buzzworthy band my city had right now was Film School, I might start tossing around insults, too."

It's a shame that Smith doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about, but a bigger shame that I'm wasting precious time reporting this crap. Jeezy creezy, man, can't we all just take a jumbo bong hit, pop on a Tortoise album, listen to some tasty jerk-off-jazz-rock licks and take a little nappy-nap? Maybe we'll all wake up feeling chill, man.