I’ve wanted to Play Forward Ari Gold’s Transport Systems for forever. Co-Editor J. Dub Played it Forward to me (who has interviewed Ari Gold for mandrake society radio not once but twice; links at the end of this post) around the inception of popolio late last year and now I’m Playing it Forward to all of you. I’m Playing Forward the whole album, but representing it with these two choice cuts.
Released in October 2007, the thing of it is that I wasn’t too familiar with gay artists or gay music before meeting J. Dub.
What I like about this is that, one, it’s a solid effort regardless of Gold’s sexuality. Secondly, I know he has previous work (which I have not listened to as of yet), but it sounds, to me, like an album by an artist coming into his own, finding his groove, and drawing on his previous musical and life experience and explorations with a clear(er) vision. It’s cohesive, both sonically and conceptually. It really comes together.
The reason I picked Track 2, “Transport Me,” is because it really is a clear definition of the album concept and title. I also like that though he seems to identify as a gay male he doesn’t forget the rest of the lgbt community. This track and I think the album overall speaks to the fluidity and spectrum of the gender and sexuality of lgbt people. I also think he doesn’t forget about transgender folks, which I think sometimes can happen with mainstream gay media of any kind.
Now, I’m praising this aspect, and it may sound like it comes off preachy, but it doesn’t. The opposite reason is why I like it. It’s incidental and natural; not forced. Not that he has a responsibility to be the spokesperson for lgbt people. That’s just it — this is who he is and he’s being himself, doing him, and having a good time on this album.
I like Track 6, “Mr. Mistress,” because it’s about a realistic life situation that could happen to any gay man and I’m sure is happening to some right as I type this. And it’s just nice to hear a song about a relationship that isn’t the typical boy-girl thing. The beat is reminiscent of “U Know What’s Up” by Donell Jones featuring Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, which I love and featured on a Left Eye MY TOP 1o in January here. Just to reiterate, I love that the situation conveyed in the song is not pretty; it’s just real. Thus is life.
Overall, it has a 1990s hip hop/R&B feel with some electro and dance elements thrown in and if you don’t know by now, I’m a teen of the 90s. So, I was all about it.