01 July 2010
so i was sorta in the alive
man, i shoulda known. the last time the alive asked me fer a sunmission they edited it until not only did it sound stupid but it didn't even make any sense. and well, they got me again. anyhow, here's what i actually wrote, in case any of you care. it'll make me feel better putting it here so please indulge me and don't see this as completely solipsistic. thx.
kedamono no arashi, unicorn (sony japan, 1990)
akin to spending an hour trying to dial in the best freeform radio
station on the planet, maybe skipping between two more unknown yet almost equally fantastic stations in the pursuit. a playful hawaiian number gives way to a soaring ballad with jet planes for a solo; a song with dogs barking the snare hits is one-upped by fifty seconds of thrash that disintegrate into a man quietly counting down from ten under a mournful string section. supposedly the lyrics are great too!
deceit, this heat (rough trade uk, 1981)
the sounds come from everywhere. sometimes they rise to a glorious din of polyrhythm and sometimes they ease disquietingly by, tense static tones that raise butterflies as they hint at some oncoming unknown explosion. the politics are never overt; the dub leanings never obvious or genrefied. performance tapes merge seamlessly with controlled environments. if you try to pick a song to put on a mixtape you'll just end up taping the whole thing.
dinner music for people who aren't very hungry, spike jones (verve, 1956)
along with delirium in high-fi (elsa popping aka andre popp, columbia,1957), the pinnacle of mono possiblility. in conjuring a dubious concept album of sounds and songs to test the limits and reveal the wonders of yer stereo set, spike jumped from single sides to a cohesive album filled to over-bursting with his and the city slickers' myriad talents and brain-blooms. i am constantly amazed at the thin, thin line they walked being complete badasses, completely serious, and completely absurd. a major coup.
ft. lake, his name is alive (4AD, 1998)
on their prior lp, stars on e.s.p. (4AD, 1996), hnia revisited one of the songs (a reworked gospel tune that goes back at least to the carter family) three times, eventually enlisting a full church choir for the transcendent, armhair-raising end piece. it was in this pursuit that a member of that choir found her way into the groop and onto this lp, broadening their already quite-a-bit-farther-than-the-eye-can-see horizons even more. their glorious schizophrenia isn't so much reigned-in as focused, and the songs themselves are an aural fourth-of-july slowed-down and drawn out to sparkle and linger in yer ears long after they've faded.
today's empires, tomorrow's ashes/potemkin city limits/supporting caste, propagandhi (g7 welcoming committee, 2001/2005/2009)
in the thirteen years since the bass slot in propagandhi was permanently filled by todd "the rod" kowalski, the band has made three albums that, for me, have meshed voltron-style into one giant document of their ridiculously wicked existence. sonically and politically each one has been built near the last's foundation, but reveals differences that serve to broaden the scope set by its antecendent - maybe even change the way you understand earlier stuff you might've heard a thousand times. and as was sorta written about a book i recently finished, you will emerge from the experience of listening to these a more clever person.
yes i used the word glorious twice. oops.