Countach (For Giorgio)
Countach (For Giorgio) is an always interesting, and often incredible, explosion of the deep seventies.
The seventies were the decade of punk and disco, of Pinochet and Thatcher and the Historic Compromise, when AIDS and Reagan loomed. It’s when Outlaw Country came into its own, the same way that cyberpunk would later in the decade; by positioning itself explicitly against the work of women in the genre the decades prior.
Which is all a way of saying that as left field as outlaw disco might sound on its face, Shooter Jennings’ Countach (For Giorgio) actually makes plenty of sense. And it’s reflected in the record itself; for all the juxtaposition it does, opening with a rendition of “Ladies Love Outlaws” that onslaughts into synths, the jarring quickly becomes a synthesis.
There’s a third term as well, in this historical artefact-cum-fucked up album. “Chase,” the sixth track, features Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the game developer behind Ultima, Ultima Online, and (most recently) Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, inside of which Countach was debuted in a listening party. Garriott’s work in game design began in the mid-70s, positioning him as one of the field’s oldest practitioners. And a contemporary of all the aforementioned.
It would be easy to say that this overlapping history has had implications on the reactionary nature of games culture (it does). So, short of that, it is perhaps enough to acknowledge that, and move on.
As for the actual music on Countach (For Giorgio); it’s fucking good. Marilyn Manson is kind of embarrassing, and the NeverEnding Story theme is a weird thing to hear. Even that is in a good way, though; Jennings’ album is always interesting, and often incredible.
The particular movement it performs, between an emulation of Moroder’s disco embedded in his compositions and the country that gives Jennings his celebrity, is most beautifully represented in its chaotic movements. When tracks go from lightly, twangily sung to digital vortices; it’s not just aesthetically pleasing, but politically. It’s Reagan’s delivery devoured by its consequences, the pretty veneer of games answered by its ugly underbelly. And, importantly, the real pleasure always comes from the latter half.