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Weevie - Nighty-Night: Deep Soul In Dub

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Artist: Weevie

Album: Nighty-Night: Deep Soul In Dub

Label: Stoic

Review date: Mar. 8, 2004

I love to sleep. It might be my favorite thing to do. I love wading in the ocean, but I live in Chicago – how often does that happen? (Lake Michigan doesn’t even try.) Even sex has to get pretty damn steamy to hang with those fleeting moments of semi-consciousness that buffer the descent into dreamland. And it’s these moments I love. When in dreamland proper, I seldom notice I’m asleep. So a lot of my doings over the years have been attempts to stretch and enhance these ‘tweener moments, to spend a little more time in that train station, hold my breath and take that feeling around with me.

It’s an essential plank in my musical platform. Before I ever wore myself out for the pleasure of exhaustion, before I knocked back Clonopin with Jack Daniels, I fell asleep with headphones on. Used to pass out that way every night.

I dig dub because I get chills from listening to most anything familiar slowed down. The more chipper and obnoxious it is in its original form, the more mellow and just it sounds at half-speed. So whether or not Weevie’s scratching skills are competitive, I don’t give a fuck. Most of Nighty-Night sounds like a complex mix show lucked into a turntable right as the belt was crapping out, and it’s, uh, just my speed. [Cough.]

As a Donovan album track oozes into a narcotized “That’s Saying a Lot,” field recordings of waterfalls, cows and Black Israelites punch up the pleasant stupor like second-hand anecdotes filtered through dreams. Bugs Bunny swings through “Rigor Mortis,” his mock-paranoid punchline (“You ever get the feeling you’re being… watched?”) estranged from context.

A rugged bootleg of “What’s Going On?” elucidates a point I didn’t quite hit earlier: your typical respectable pop tune has a core of howling sadness that can be divined by slowing it down. It works like gangbusters on “Get Out of My Life Woman” and “Cowboys.” And there’s no bad reason for taking some smug lite jazz (Grover Washington’s “Hydra”) slapping it dizzy and spiking it with King Lear dialogue.

Trying to get to sleep makes as much sense as trying to secure someone’s affection by pouring guilt on them, so it wouldn’t be particularly Zen of me to recommend Nighty-Night as a sleep aid. But it’s sweet ‘n’ soothing, it’s got lackadaisical funk beats, and you don’t have to worry about the stale AAs giving out entirely. It doesn’t resist anything, least of all the passion and gloom bubbling under its source material.

By Emerson Dameron

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