Feelings of an energetic spiral motion feeding into itself, forever and ever. A cycle never ending, energetic limbo. Those are the first thoughts that come to mind when The Normal’s, or Daniel Miller’s, masterpiece, “Warm Leatherette”, is played against my ear drums. This cycle I’m describing is very similar to minimal techno in that it constantly repeats itself, in a drone like manner. Songs like Studio 1’s “Gelb” (“Yellow”) that are extremely repetitive remind me of The Normal’s hypnotizing track. “Warm Leatherette” may not be a club banger like “Gelb”, but the beat is constant enough that it could be played in a club setting, provided the timing is right.
Have I mentioned that this song also makes me want to dance with “Thriller” zombie hands sticking out while moving side to side? Well, it does. It’s the kick drum’s pattern, and how it plays along with the synth that really get my body into position. Overall, Miller creates a special mix between New Wave and Minimal that I just can’t stop listening to. There’s also a sensual punk kind of spice added to the composition with the lyrics; “A tear of petrol, is in your eye. Quick, let’s make love, Before we die. On warm leatherette.” The lyrics are primal and unforgiving and beautiful to some.
My absolute favorite part of Miller’s composition is that there’s no real chorus (catchy section). What fills the composition is a snare, kick drum, synth, and a voice. What I love is that Miller is pushing the boundary of standard familiar song structure, while still maintaining a level of the bare bones structure. Miller chose to keep this bridge of energy up until a point where he feeds fuel to the fire by talking about a car crash. Daniel Miller is a genius for this. “Warm Leatherette is ’78 prize gem. Anyway, check the song out, and if you ever come across the vinyl, just buy it. Don’t think twice. I will post the tracks referenced below.