Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Signed, The Management

MGMT represents a powerhouse creative team consisting of Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser. Formed in 2002 while the two were freshman at Wesleyan University, MGMT continues trailblazing through unexplored territories of music to this day.

The duo originally began working together in their dorm, loosely collaborating without any serious intention to work together as a band. When emailing back and forth discussing projects, they mocked the corporate world by signing their emails "The Management." They took this up as the name of the band until another band of the same name got in contact with them, after which they simply became known as MGMT.

Oracular Spectacular (2007)
Andrew and Ben describe the songs that eventually became their debut album, Oracular Spectacular (20067), as goofing off. They say that they were experimenting with styles, attempting to write songs in various genres and with various pre-determined themes. This album landed them a record deal, which they accepted while warning the execs not to expect them to ever make music like that again.

Congratulations (2010)
In 2010 they proved how serious of a warning this was with the Congratulations, a rambling, beautiful, saga of an album, which chronicles the pressures and stressed of artistic success. The transition from radio-ready pop songs to psychadelic indie tracks meant that MGMT went largely unnoticed by mainstream music culture with this release. Interestingly, the album prophecies its own lack of success, while simultaneously mocking mainstream music and paying homage to big creatives such as Dan Treacy and Brian Eno. This album is the result of Andrew and Ben not only breaking away from the pressures of the studio and choosing to make the music they themselves wanted to hear, but also their collaboration with the band that had been touring with them, which they now made permanent members of MGMT.
The complete MGMT

In 2013 MGMT released their self-titled third album. For this album, Andrew and Ben once again worked as a duo, writing without the help of the rest of the band. The two got a penthouse room in New York to write, and wrote a considerable amount of the album while violently ill with the stomach flu together. In Congratulations, the band's sound hints at something greater. It sounds constantly on the verge of slipping away out of the control of the song. MGMT capitalizes on this notion, and the result is an album that is ambient, distorted, twisted, and somehow more beautiful
than anything they had yet created. The album came shipped with an "Optimizer" which was a mix of video and CGI crafted as a visualizer for the album. Andrew and Ben have made an album that sounds unlike anything else, but maintains beauty while being boldly experimental, something that, unfortunately, other experimental works have a tough time doing.

MGMT leaves you wondering how far Andrew and Ben can push it, but reassures you that they are nowhere near their limit as a creative team.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting about MGMT! I love hearing background stories on bands, and I think their story is no exception. I find it especially interesting how sure they were that their work would not be marketable (or even good?) and warned their record company not to have high hopes. An indication of truly intrinsic motivation, perhaps?
    MGMT is an undoubtedly unique band, and all three of their albums so far have had quite distinct sounds. It will be interesting to see where they go next and how long they will continue to write music as a duo.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.