Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shut the ^&*$ Up, Donny: Señor Coconut and "La Vida es Llena de Cables"



Why the title for this post? And what does it have to do with Señor Coconut? It's all in the title of his song: La Vida es Llena de Cables. The first thing that comes to mind when I saw it, strangely, is the movie The Big Lebowski. In one scene, as The Dude is getting deeper into a mystery, Maude Lebowski shows him the beginning of a porn film. In the film, a woman in lingerie answers opens a door to reveal a strapping, long blond-haired German guy named Karl Hungus. "Meine dispatcher says there is something wrong with deine cable," he asks? Later, in the same scene, after being introduced to a topless Bunny who was there "to use the shower," Karl proclaims, "Mein name ist Karl, und ich bin expert." Or something like that. In any case, the fact that Señor Coconut is German and the word "cable" is in the title of the song just took me to that scene.

So, it's a stretch. What isn't a stretch is that yes, our world is full of cables, like the song title says. At times, I get sick of all the cables that sit on the floor, in the corners, tucked under furniture so as to not be seen. They can be hazards - how many times I have tripped over my computer cord while getting up from a table, endangering my health and that of my computer. They can be unsightly. They are ungainly - pulling a vacuum cleaner around a house while trailing a cord which catches on any corner is particularly frustrating. And yet we seem to like our cables and wires. For some reason, they make it seem like there is something going on. I remember looking up at telephone wires (back in the days before cell phones, kids!) and thinking of the myriads of conversations that were happening, all carried on low bursts of electricity through those wires, and thinking how grand the modern world seemed. Opening up some piece of machinery to see all the wires tucked into it was fun - pulling them out in all their myriad colors even more fun - and then leaving the machinery there because I couldn't get it back together. In a way, Terry Gilliam echoed this dependence on the methods of modernity in his classic film Brazil, where instead of wires the annoyance and symbol of modernity was the ever-present ductwork in every building, every dwelling.

I wish, and still hope, that energy transmission can be made wireless as Nikola Tesla envisioned. Imagine that vacuum cleaner without a cord! Imagine never worrying about the state of battery health in your computer - it just runs through transmitted energy! Imagine space freed up, the dust bunny gathering places gone, if we had wireless energy transmission! Apparently it's possible, but as always, the question of how people would pay for it gets in the way of its implementation. Electricity on a subscription basis? Perhaps!

Wow, all that from Señor Coconut! Senor Coconut is one of the performance names of German Uwe Schmidt (he also goes by Atom and Atom Heart). A German composer, musician and producer of electronic music, he is credited with the creation and development of electrolatino, electrogospel and aciton (acid-reggaeton) music. He started performing on drums, then founded his own label in the early 80s where he produced electronic groups for cassette release. He also produced his own work under the name Lassigue Bendthaus. In the late 80s in Frankfurt he became influenced by the emergence of pre-techno music, and he began to produce groups and his own work in techno and trance. After suffering some financial problems, he moved for a few months to Costa Rica in the early 90s, and became enamored of Latin music. The mid 90s saw him touring extensively and also developing the germination of an idea that became Señor Coconut, and he began to live permanently in Chile. In the 2000s he has remixed a number of popular artists and has continued to record as Señor Coconut as well as his other monikers. He has also written tracks and scores for movies, and has branched into other arts including photography. La Vida es Llena de Cables is from his 2008 album Around the World.