Tuesday, July 24, 2007
and there was this song by a band i'd never come across before, but i'm sure they were pretty big by the youtube comments i've read, Alphaville and their song "Big in Japan" which is just totally awesome camp 80s pop - it's somehow cheesy and epic and catchy, and musically somewhere between Soft Cell and Tears for Fears... check it out!
actually, i'm not even sure if JC chose this song, it was unannounced, and sometimes i wonder if the RAGE producers sneak in some clips, since they can seem totally unfitting with the guest presenters' choices. but then again, you never know, i'll never forget that time Trent Reznor selected Ween's Freedom of 76 and gave it the thumbs up. actually i thought he and Dean were meant to record something or other way back... did i miss that?
Tom "freaking amazing" Waits has a great song also titled "Big in Japan", although from possibly, IMHO, his worst album in the past 10? albums, for someone who has made so many amazing songs and put out so many incredible albums that just take you into another dimension and make you wanna grab a stick and start whacking a chair in some frantic, hypnotic rhythm, while singing in a throaty, wrecked voice about some sailor in port in Singapore or something...
and while i'm on it (the JC rage special), how amazing is the Add N to (X) song "Take Me To Your Leader"? Jarvis said something about Goldfrapp ripping them off, does she cover that on one of her albums? it's a really familiar song, and a great clip too.
Sonic Youth’s “Sonic Death,” Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music,” much Merzbow I’ve heard (but not all), some of John Zorn’s work (yes, i don't rate all of it as amazing), Mayhem’s “Pure Fu*king Armageddon”… but I’d still and do still continue to give these albums/bands a go and have actually been enjoying a number of Merzbow ‘pieces’ from the Merzbox videos posted on youtube. You certainly have to be in the right frame of mind for these particular styles of music.
I still do find a lot of avant garde and noise music interesting, although I have increasingly less time (and patience) for such activities – I do also wonder how much patience the average ‘fan’ has – sometimes I might chuck on an album once every couple of years, have a laugh and get through half of it, and it’s still intriguing/amusing/confronting/otherwise entertaining for me for 30-60min, and because of this I still value and cannot consider selling any such records. CD artwork from such bands/artists is often an intriguing art in itself, making having a real copy worthwhile, but that’s a whole other discussion…
Friday, July 13, 2007
I’ve been thinking and meaning to write/crystallise my thoughts on albums which may be difficult to listen to or get into at first, but which can be very rewarding after a few listens and much open-mindedness. Certain albums (sometimes comprising a whole bands’ work) may come across as repugnant initially, for various reasons, yet may reward the listener on repeated listens and often become highly revered cult records amongst ‘true’ fans, sometimes for a good reason, but also sometimes just because the music is so extreme and where controversy outweighs the ‘quality of the art’ (in the ear of the beholder).
I’m interested in seeking out the albums that fall within this pretty broad definition which have worked well for me. I was initially thinking of stuff like the lo-fi tacky drum machines of Ween's early work, the amazing neo-classical darkwave of Shinjuku Thief, the goth/punk of Bauhaus, the brutal, ugly punk of The Birthday Party, some of John Zorn’s extremely diverse and eclectic albums involving almost all conceivable styles of music, but particularly those of collage, jazz improv, neo-classicalism and crafted noise, Mr. Bungle’s avant garde alternative art rock or whatever it is Disco Volante, the minimalism of Philip Glass, the extreme ambience and weirdness of Naked City’s Absinthe, or the noise and glitch sounds of Autechre and Aphex Twin, the paranoid lo fi black metal of Faxed Head (well, they’re certainly not for all people), the cheesy black metal of Sigh and Cradle of Filth (also not for everone), the beauty and strangeness of Eyvind Kang’s almost medieval, neo-classical and middle eastern freakout Theater of Mineral NADEs, improvisations like Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert, etc. on hearing these albums some people may question their worth as a medium of enjoyment or art or whatever, and that’s fair enough, because such unusual music can be jarring or boring at first. But over the past few months I keep hearing albums and thinking that I need to pass them on to friends. I think this is a good forum to rant about them and crystallise my ideas.