One of the most frequent questions I get on this parenting blog (this is a parenting blog) is: At what age should I introduce my child to the music of Reuben Ingall?
The medical benefits of playing Ingall to a child in the womb are disputed, so let’s leave that, and I’ll give the simplest answer possible: You’re never too young, provided you listen to the right songs with the right mindset.
The question was sharpened for me recently when I was driving through Castlemaine with Clyde Enriquez. Clyde heard Dead DJ Joke’s wedding anthem Turn Down For Africa, and was instantly fascinated. She wanted to know more, hear more, and I was super frustrated with myself that I didn’t have an immediate primer to hand.
So: Clyde, I’m sorry I let you down that day, but without further ado, this is my proposed primer to the oeuvre of Mr Iconic. Enjoy.
pic by Sarah Walker
Dead DJ Joke – Turn Down For Africa
Start at one end of the spectrum. Reuben’s alias as a trashy mash-up DJ has produced way more than its fair share of gold, as well as a number of the best gigs of my life. This meeting of Toto and Lil Jon is a little slice of heaven, and the only song I would walk down the aisle to.
Microwave Drone Ritual
Right at the other end of the spectrum, Reuben’s gorgeous drone performance from 2014 uses the sound of a microwave’s hum as its source material, which he layers and processes through 20 minutes of beatific chill ecstacy, before the performance concludes with a gentle ding (and a meat pie, ready to eat).
Reuben co-released with Paul Heslin a video album of reworkings of christian songs from some old religious VHS tapes. The whole album is nonstop gold (and Paul’s half is just as good, crunchier and harder) but this is my highlight, a beautiful slice of almost-folk music and a video that features copious amounts of Adam’s butt in the Garden of Eden. (And if you’re curious, I blogged about the whole release when it first emerged and blew my mind in 2011.)
Don’t Give Up and Dealt
It doesn’t really work to say that Reuben has a ‘main’ practice, because as far as I’m concerned every one of his diverse tendencies is just as valid as the rest, but in terms of heart-on-sleeve sincerity and raw beauty, his albums of processed guitar, laptop and singing are just lush and beautiful. My pick is the song Easy off Don’t Give Up, with that beautiful clarinet loop.
Dead DJ Joke – Thong in the Sun
I like this Dead DJ Joke mash-up of Weezer and Sisqo more than I like all of Weezer and Sisquo’s respective outputs.
Foals – Electric Bloom (R Ingall remelt)
I don’t know the details, but from what I understand: a few years ago, UK band Foals invited members of the public to remix one of their songs, with the winners being included on the single. Reuben won that competition, with this song, which makes me think of things slowly fraying and collapsing in the cold. (Where do you hear it, though?)
Eric Carmen – Hungry Eyes (screwed by Dead DJ Joke)
My favourite thing that Reuben has ever done, I listen to this song 5-10 times a month most months of the year, then without warning it’ll spike to 50-100 times. Slowed down so that the guitar chugs along patiently forever, and the sax riff comes in like a motorboat propellor struggling to free itself from thick seaweed.
Finnigan and Brother – Move to Canberra (Dead DJ Joke remix)
It’s completely uncool to put one of Chris and my tracks in a primer introducing you to someone else’s music, but this remix is fucking hectic and it couldn’t be more trashy.
Reuben Ingall – Jeff Buckley’s Hallejulah
This is really special. Nickamc produced a double A-side release where Reuben and Nick Delatovic both recorded songs entitled ‘Jeff Buckley’s Hallejulah’, in respose to the all-consuming anthem. Nick D’s is a wonderful pop banger, but Reuben’s is a straight-from-the-heart flash of gentle singer-songwriter honesty, reflecting on a friend’s funeral, the lazy ubiquity of Hallejulah, but how it manages to twist your guts up just the same. And this twists my guts up, my goodness.
The guitar / voice / field recording / processed loops side of Reuben’s output hit a high point with his 2015 album Microclimates, which you can grab from Feral Media. For me, it’s the 1-2 combo of the last two tracks: ‘Just Open A Page At Random’, ‘And Drop The Pin Anywhere’.
So the first Reuben Ingall I fell in love with was back in 2007, his guitar drone alias Sevenen. It was gentle, spacey ambient drone, which to me always sounded and felt like a warm shower of sound. (Appropriately, I vaguely have memories that Reuben recorded these songs in the shower, though I may have imagined that.) I don’t have any of my home-pressed Sevenen CDs any more, so the only song I can include is his processed reworking of Max and Nickamc reading a little snippet of an old script of mine from War in the North Sea.
Dead DJ Joke – Party Mix
DDJ’s Party Mix is a brilliant 30 minute slice of wonderfully pieced together, totally garbage mash-ups, and it opens with an unbelievably stupid dubstep remix of Teenage Dirtbag. Total no-brainer, you can literally feel yourself getting thicker as you dance. And it works, every goddamn time. I found this on Discogs, where would you even go to
The Same Power
As an example of Reuben’s working process: a while ago I sent him a Youtube clip of a Hillsong tune that I’d found particularly moving (watch it, feel it work its magic on you), and asked him for a remix. He got back to me about 25 minutes later with three different versions. I’m gonna share my favourite: ‘Conquered the Rave‘, the most hyped-up trance remix, which is just manically (spiritually) beautiful.
Kill Climate Deniers – Music To Shoot Climate Activists To
So I did it a second time, and featured a song that I had some involvement with. But in this case, my involvement was mostly just sitting in Reuben’s living room and watching him assemble the track, which was a goddamn revelation. The combination of that rollicking synth riff and those belting rave sirens is absolutely euphoric. Go on, dive in.
Ahhhhh, there’s too many more! I haven’t mentioned his ringtone remixes of the Doors and Spiderbait, his album of trance versions of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the gorgeous live electro-acoustic group the Otiose Trio, or even any Inflatable Ingrid. But that’s enough for starters. Clyde, dig.
What did I miss?