Music for Lubbock – 1980


    Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Series is a group of recordings intended to be a soundtrack to your life, or to the PowerPoint presentation at your corporate retreat. The recordings are available for purchase or for licensing (if you produce films or advertise laundry detergent) on a sliding-scale fee structure. The first three volumes, though they feature different artists and very different music, were released together. Asthmatic Kitty intends the series to grow large enough to encompass any mood or ambiance for your soundtracking needs. The project is either a sad reminder of the cynicism and commercialization of the business of music or a really smart diversification strategy in tough economic times. Either way, the music in the series produces widely varied results between volumes.


    Some base their opinions of catalog music on its ability imperceptibly to create or underscore a mood, while others may listen to the music like they would any other record, looking for some interest beyond mere ambience. On either count, 900x’s Music for Lubbock: 1980 largely falls short.


    James McAlister, working under the monicker 900x, has done remix work and original film music, working with artists like Brightest Diamond, Slavic Soul Party and Sufjan Stevens. His extensive experience does him little service on this collection, which really works neither as catalog music nor as stand-alone music. It too noticeably sounds like a demo on a Casio keyboard to fade into the background and sounds too much like a Zelda soundtrack to be interesting.


    The compositions demonstrate strong musicianship, especially with their varied and creative use of time structures. But the tones used are distractingly and unabashedly the product of a dude sitting at a Mac, with no musical justification or rationale for the Tron-like tones.