April 29, 2010

Sleep Has His House - Current 93

"Have pity for the dead/Sleep has his house…"

The moving title track – centrepiece at 24 minutes in length – measures a repetitive, tender drone; a liturgical contemplation on the consolation of death and sacrifice. Medieval in the manner of the 14th century Pearl poet, conjuring a hallucinatory landscape ripe with symbolism.

Haunted, otherworldly, and more obviously personal than anything David Tibet created with the PTV-Nurse With Wound axis. Tibet’s harmonium roots his half-sung, half-chanted poetry. An overwhelming entreaty for compassion.

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Stop and Listen - Mississippi Sheiks

Old-timey? Ain’t no such thing no more. Dylan: “ …the Mississippi Sheiks, a little known de facto group whom in their former glory mustve been something to behold. rebellion against routine seems to be their strong theme. all their songs are raw to the bone & are faultlessly made for these modern times (the New Dark Ages) nothing effete about the Mississippi Sheiks.”

Modern times indeed.

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Take the Smith & Greil trail to the old, weird America.

April 28, 2010

One flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [OST] - Jack Nitzsche

Hawaiian melancholy all at sea with Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Poignant, sedated and in the final end, triumphant. McMurphy, Chief, Billy, Martini…. come meet the boys.
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Hit me
LKF Jim O’Rourke’s favourite soundtrack

Persistent Repetition of Phrases - The Caretaker

Meditations on memory and decay. Retrospection, amnesia, repetition, regression; Alzheimer’s unmasked. Overtaken by false memory syndrome in the ballroom at the Overlook Hotel. The sadness of lives lived and unremembered. History has ended. We lean towards ideas and aesthetics that are rustic, bizarre and old-timey. That is, towards the ghost of the past.

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More hauntology

April 27, 2010

The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (Original Television Soundtrack) - Robert Mellin and Gian-Piero Reverberi

À la recherche du temps perdu my arse. 23 secs, opening titles, crash of surf and a sunny morning, summer holidays mid-70s…and Robinson’s monochrome adventures.

My desert island luxury; your pleasure.

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Musiques de Films 1959-1990 - le cinema de Serge Gainsbourg

Decades before the relaxation of cross border genre rules – still to disappear entirely - Serge strolled with protean disregard through chanson, lounge jazz, world music (sic), ye-ye, pop psych, rock, reggae, disco et caetera.... Profligacy did him no favours outside France. Fearlessness and a shrug of the shoulders to Anglo-US misconceived authenticity interpreted as dilettante and cheesy.

Be under no illusion. Serge Gainsbourg was a genius and not to be taken lightly. Actor, writer, director, producer, performer, smoker and drinker. 20th century composer and lyricist nonpareil. An accomplished artist who gave up painting because he knew he would never equal Picasso or his scatological comrade in arms, Dali. He considered writing songs a trifling art form in comparison.

The high watermark must-have is Histoire de Melody Nelson. Go buy it. The box set of music for films you have here holds a mirror to his promiscuity, and for those already familiar with Serge, offers up some quirky gems to boot.

Bon temps!

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April 26, 2010

Chelsea Girl - Nico

Try and point to a significant man to man dialogue in the work of Jane Austen. You’ll be hard pressed. Austen wrote what she knew and having little idea what blokes talked about in private, she left well alone. She’s a woman’s woman. her analogue, Nico is a man’s woman. Bear with me.

9 out of the 10 tracks on Chelsea Girl are written by Nico's ex-lovers. Even the co-writes by Reed and Cale. She is receptive, passive and her dependency, like her relationship with the needle, is essentially penetrative.

Consider. Years of modelling and vamping around Europe with talented auteurs has led nowhere. A cameo in Fellini's Dolce Vita is not parlayed into an acting career. Strip Tease, her early recording with arch French diddler Serge Gainsbourg is passed over for a version by Juliette Greco (her voice isn’t sufficiently breathy and infantile); a spell with mod manipulator Andrew Loog Oldham fails to launch her in the charts; she washes up in New York and is taken up by Andy as his next superstar. They are briefly inseparable.

I'll be your mirror / reflect what you are / in case you don't know....

Chelsea Girl is the perfect album by made by a model. In many respects, the later Marble Index is superior precisely because her voice - like her new instrument the harmonium -  is her own. On Chelsea Girl the narcotic monotone is not yet austere, narcoleptic drone. What her first album has instead are wide-eyed melodies tarted up with baroque strings that lull you into a washed out mood of regret, degradation, and loss.

She works a magic within the limits set. A world of beauty and decay in miniature. Jane would have approved.

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Music for a New Society - John Cale

Sut i ddechrau? Let’s settle for “a stunning, symphonic essay on dread and alienation.” So goes the puff from Uncut magazine [May 2010] in a marginally less lazy than usual list feature on the 50 greatest lost albums (!): all official releases, officially unavailable.
Well received by critics on release in 1982, Music for a New Society, its architecture and tortured ennui didn’t have them queuing up outside Our Price. In his modish autobiography What’s Welsh for Zen?, Cale explains: “It was a bleak record all right, but it wasn’t made to make people jump out of windows. They wouldn’t have jumped out of windows anyway – they wouldn’t even buy the damned album.”

Bleak then and with a glacial beauty last heard on Cale produced Marble Index by Nico. The Welsh wizard’s masterpiece? Maybe. You decide.

LKFs Cale didn't learn English until aged 8. There’s no “Z” in the Welsh language.

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