Friday, February 29, 2008

The Birthday Party "Junkyard" (Buddha, 1982)

Artist: The Birthday Party
Album: "Junkyard"
Release Date: 1982
Label: Buddha
Genre: Post-Punk, No-Wave, Goth-Rock, Noise-Rock
Mood: Uncompromising, Hedonistic, Fiery, Unsettling
Reminds Of: Lydia Lunch, The Psychedelic Furs, The Stooges, Magazine
What People Think: AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon, CdUniverse

1. Blast Off!
2. She's Hit
3. Dead Joe
4. The Dim Locator
5. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)
6. Several Sins
7. Big Jesus Trash Can
8. Kiss Me Black
9. 6'' Gold Blade
10. Kewpie Doll
11. Junkyard
12. Dead Joe (2nd Version)
13. Release The Bats

The Birthday Party reached their peak with Junkyard. It soars on a pulsing energy that never fades. It is goth rock. Punk. Frightening rockabilly. Angular funk. Gospel and blues. Demonized cabaret lounge jazz. These and other styles collide in a gruesome, purposeless, and—above all—glorious spectacle. But the darkness in which this music dwells is entirely stable. It is confident at least. The album is mixed to emphasize the low end and the high end, with little mid-range. There are no compromises. The Thatcher-Reagan era has, in many ways, turned out to be the beginning of the end (or at least another milestone in the world's continued march towards an easily avoidable doom). Junkyard plays like The Birthday Party intuitively knew this. The slow groove of “She's Hit” reveals from the beginning that this group was more aware than most. They absorbed the maddening energy of the times, without becoming bound to them. Unlike the living dead of the world, who are modeled on an image of the past, The Birthday Party were in a state of regenerative flux, continually rebuilding decaying happiness. “Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)” is a sleazy literary come-on, and Nick Cave sings, “Where for art thou baby-face.” Still, the words come out more like a warning to a future victim issued too late. And yet, The Birthday Party can be trusted. Despite rubbing down and rubbing out simple hopes and pleasant dreams, the band's resolve is never spent. If something on this album doesn't arouse some in you, then might already be spiritually bankrupt. But at least you will wonder what you are made of. Barry Adamson guests on “Kiss Me Black” (filling in for the jailed Tracy Pew). His bass blasts to the forefront immediately with mangled tones that bend enough to engross listeners as much as whole songs or albums often do. Matched with Cave belting out, “Hey hey hey hey,” the song reveals no intention of relenting. The song is a small representation of all the band was. Easily the most important band to ever emerge from Australia, The Birthday Party later disbanded after recording a few EPs but no other full-length albums. While there is a saying about wicks that burn brightest burning the shortest, that quip doesn't quite capture what The Birthday Party were about. They were a black hole that sucked life and the universe into a seeming nothingness. What that leaves us with is anyone's guess. In a black hole, no known laws of nature apply.

(source:, user: azuege)

Incredible heat, amphetamine madness....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Motorpsycho "Phanerothyme" (Columbia, 2001)

Artist: Motorpsycho
Album: "Phanerothyme"
Release Date: 2001
Label: Columbia
Genre: Indie-Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Progressive-Rock, Art-Rock
Mood: Colourful, Versatile, Confident, Ambitious
Reminds Of: Small Faces, Spirit, The Gun Club
What People Think: Ssmt-Reviews, RYM
Defnitely Worth Buying: MusicStack, CdUniverse

1. Bedroom Eyes
2. For Free
3. B.S.
4. Landslide
5. The Slow Phaseout
6. Go To California
7. Painting The Night Unreal
8. Blindfolded
9. When You're Dead

Over the past ten years, motorpsycho and their on-board producer, that nice mr deathprod – actually former member helge sten – have metamorphosed from wacky thrash funsters to this current peak of genre mangling. Their soundscapes abound with interwoven melodies, layered harmonies, stunning orchestrations, doors-y keyboards and fuzzed-out duelling guitars, not to mention the occasional cittern, glockenspiel and guitarmando (12-string, of course). Miraculously, the elements of this sonic cornucopia tumble together and form themselves, more often than not, into eminently hummable pop tunes about girls with bedroom eyes, california's blue skies and how everything is great when you're dead. As good for the dancefloor as ice-skates are for mountaineering, every twisting, turning track requires – and rewards – a little patience.


"Satan stole my teddybear..."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mercury Rev "Boces" (Columbia, 1993)

Artist: Mercury Rev
Album: "Boces"
Release Date: June 1, 1993
Label: Columbia
Genre: Noise-Pop, Dream-Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Indie-Rock
Mood: Spacey, Trippy, Rousing, Dramatic
Reminds Of: Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Sparklehorse
What People Think: AllMusicGuide, IndiecateRecords
Definitely Worth Buying: CdUniverse, Amazon

1. Meth Of A Rockette's Kick
2. Trickle Down
3. Bronx Cheer
4. Boys Peel Out
5. Downs Are Feminine Balloons
6. Something For Joey
7. Snorry Mouth
8. Hi-Speed Boats
9. Continuous Drunks & Blunders
10. Girlfren

Mercury Rev are strange. Out of all the messy, out of control, and chaotic noise-rock albums to come out during the 90's Boces is pretty much the craziest. Not just because it’s overly filled with feedback and distortion, but because the band will go from playing light hearted dream pop to boisterous noise-fests. The mellow guitar lines and dreamy vocal melodies will lull you in and then the band will go crazy thrashing away at their instruments blasting hard hitting guitar riffs and thumping bass lines. Just take the first track Meth of a Rockette’s Kick for example. The group lulls you in with David Bakers hypnotic voice and the female la la la la backing vocals. The first part of the song resembles a demented Sesame Street theme song as it hypnotizes you with it’s whimsical beauty. However towards the end of the track Mercury Rev take you by surprise as they pump up the volume and ruthlessly pound out noisy guitar distortion. Blending dream-pop, psychadelica and shoegaze influences Mercury Rev create the ultimate stoner anthem with Meth of a Rockette’s Kick...and that’s only the first ten minutes of the album.Fortunately the opening track is not the only redeeming quality of Boces. The band continues to attack their instruments on tracks like Bronx Cheer and Snorry Mouth where Donahues raging guitar verses dominate the vocals and bass. You just can’t beat production like this, the double dueling guitars take over the music as the vocals are buried deep in the mix. Boces is both dreamy and out of control at the same time and that’s what gives it such a unique and interesting sound.But Mercury Rev can do more then turn up the volume on their guitar amplifiers. Boys Peel Out incorporates an xylophone into the music as it’s compelled by Bakers childish voice and whimsical lyrical imagery. While the tune is drastically different from anything else off of the album it does not sound out of place due Bakers trance inducing voice. The single, Something For Joey resembles a rusty Pavement song as its scratchy guitar riffs and dreamy, summertime atmosphere takes control of you. Mercury Rev even throw in a wiry flute solo during the instrumental chorus creating another strange yet satisfying effect. Possibly the eeriest song that the band has ever composed Girlfren takes away all the chaos and distortion that the album features and focuses on something entirely different. It showcases Baker mumbling indecipherable words over simple piano chords. Out of the ten tracks on Boces most of them have at least a few minutes of noise filled pop but Mercury Rev change things up occasionally and experiment with their already unique sound.If you combine the Flaming Lips, My Bloody Valentine, and the Melvins you have Mercury Rev in a nutshell. Boces is certainly not the most accessible album out there but it sure is one hell of a trip. The intricate blend of psychadelica, metal, shoegazer, and dream-pop creates such a trippy and chaotic atmosphere that it’s hard not to like. If you want something strange and experimental or if you just want to rock out then you cannot go wrong with Boces, the ultimate noise album.


"Your fume, baby soon baby, kaboom kaboom kaboom...Tonight I'll dig tunnels to your nightmare room..."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jim O' Rourke "Insignificance" (Drag City, 2001)

Artist: Jim O' Rourke
Album: "Insignificance"
Release Date: November 20, 2001
Label: Drag City
Genre: Indie-Rock, Post-Rock, Chamber-Pop
Mood: Refined, Gentle, Springlike, Laid-Back
Reminds Of: Gastr Del Sol, Smog, Mice Parade
What People Think: PitchforkMedia, SplendidMagazine
Definitely Worth Buying: InSound, Amazon

1. All Downhill From Here
2. Insignificance
3. Therefore, I Am
4. Memory Lame
5. Good Times
6. Get A Room
7. Life Goes Off

All pretensions of modesty -- and allusions to Nicholas Roeg films -- aside, Insignificance, Jim O'Rourke's third solo album for Drag City, reaffirms that he is not only a fine composer, arranger, and producer, but a gifted, creative songwriter as well. As with Eureka and the Halfway to a Threeway EP, O'Rourke continues to find as many possibilities in singing and songwriting as he does experimenting with pure sound. However, this time O'Rourke adds a few twists to the formula he pioneered on those two efforts. He sings on each of Insignificance's tracks, his frail voice providing a sharp contrast to the lush arrangements and sardonic lyrics of songs like the wryly titled opener, "All Downhill From Here," where he observes, "If I seem to you just a little bit remote/You'd feel better if you call me a misanthrope/Or whatever floats your boat/But as for me, I'd rather sink my own." On songs like "Get a Room" and the finale, "Life Goes Off," which, like "Halfway to a Threeway," are twisted yet poignant odes to the strange things we will do for intimacy, Insignificance recalls the sweet sonics and sour sentiments of O'Rourke's work with Smog. Beautifully arranged pop epics like the title track are clearly descended from Eureka's breezy brilliance, but the surprisingly insistent, crunchy rock guitars on the excellent "Therefore I Am" and "Memory Lame" add an extra bite and urgency that O'Rourke's pop-oriented work has lacked previously. Though each of the album's tracks is meticulously crafted, none of them feel overworked. That's probably because Insignificance was recorded in just under a month; it has the warm, immediate feel of an album that only took as long as necessary to make. Fans of O'Rourke's more avant-garde material may dismiss the album as too mainstream, but its endlessly listenable songs are just as significant as any of his more experimental work.

(source: AllMusicGuide)

So sharply tuned to the dark inner-workings of the human psyche; applause is due...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Laurie Anderson "Big Science" (Warner Bros, 1982)

Artist: Laurie Anderson
Album: "Big Science"
Release Date: 1982
Label: Warner Bros.
Genre: Experimental, Performance-Art, Art-Rock, Spoken-Word, Avant-Garde
Mood: Theatrical, Ironic, Sophisticated, Clinical
Reminds Of: Kraftwerk, Lydia Lunch, Brian Eno
What People Think: PitchforkMedia, AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: CdUniverse, Amazon

1. From The Air
2. Big Science
3. Sweaters
4. Walking & Falling
5. Born, Never Asked
6. O Superman (For Massenet)
7. Example #22
8. Let X=X
9. It Tango

From perhaps 1977-1984, music had a preoccupation with the progress of society and technology and George Orwell was to blame. 1984 created an unconscious cultural deadline for the self-examination of Western society. Rock music sang about the spawning of mega-governments, punks assaulted fascism, pop stars noted a scaled cooling of compassion, jazz captured the spirit of robots. Suddenly, the word “modern” became an esteemed concept. It instructed us to accept the reality of imminent nuclear war, to be gaudy, to indulge, to ditch your 8-track player and buy a Betamax, to compete for every decibel of laughter, scrap of land, and shade of color.On Big Science instead of fostering these notions, Laurie Anderson observes them. Culled from fragments of her performance art opus, United States, Live, the songs from Big Science are compassionate and alarming. They describe the death musings of a commercial airline pilot over an intercom (“From the Sky”), the hubris of urban expansion (“Big Science”), the ignorance of the free-born (“Born, Never Asked”). The minimal music is loyal to her themes, melding organic brass and woodwinds with electronic beats, vibes, and melodic interludes. Most of the songs find Anderson, speaking over the music with her compelling pace and diction. “Cause I can see the future and it’s a place - about 70 miles east of here,” she utters in the simple, Cartesian, “Let X=X.” In this essence lies the source of Big Science’s magnificence. Here silence is used as artfully as words. There are empty slabs of pause, appealing to mechanistic processing and as well as warm-hearted salutations. The renowned “Oh Superman”, the album’s centerpiece, is complete immersion in this notion. Anderson reads her apocalyptic verse while a robot voice echoes. This interplay is chilling: like a mental duel between compassion and complete detachment. The “song” finds Anderson talking on the phone to what seems at first to be her mother then she gives pause, “OK who is this really?” And the haunting reply comes, slow over a subtle, sweet keyboard dirge, “I am the hand, the hand that takes.”The world Anderson describes, however, is far from minimal or bleak, for she also gives us texture. “Example #22” erupts with rhythm and jovial horns. German samples abound with Anderson bleating,“Honey you’re my one and only, So pay me what you owe me.” A bass and kick drum join the fray and suddenly the modern world is dancing. “It Tanga” jests at the connection gaps between men and women, women speaking open-ended and men repeating ageless Dylan, “Isn’t it just like a woman.” And that’s how the sparse chaos that’s presented by Big Science ends. You’ve been lured into a dream without realizing. Anderson has assaulted you with enough thought and silence and sound that you return society more enlightened but less certain of anything than when you left.As “O Superman” climaxes, Anderson reaches a resolution to this societal fray and I can’t help but think that Orwell would approve. It unfolds gradually in the telling, “Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice. And when justice is gone, there’s always force. And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom” It’s a poignant conclusion for certain, but when living in a world of compromise and miscommunication, it may be the best of all things.


"This is the time, and this is the record of the time..."

Watch "O Superman (For Massenet)" video...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Moondog "Moondog" (Prestige, 1956)

Artist: Moondog
Album: "Moondog"
Release Date: 1956
Label: Prestige
Genre: Avant-Garde, Minimalism, Modern-Composition, One-Of-A-Kind, Experimental
Mood: Provocative, Theatrical, Complex, Ethereal
Reminds Of: John Cage, Duke Ellington, Steve Reich
What People Think: RYM
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon

1. Caribea
2. Lullaby
3. Tree Trail
4. Death, When You Come To Me
5. Big Cat
6. Frog Bog
7. To A Sea Horse
8. Dance Rehearsal
9. Surf Session
10. Trees Against The Sky
11. Tap Dance
12. Oo Debut
13. Drum Suite
14. Street Scene

By the standards of the mid-'50s, or indeed of any era, this was so far-out and uncommercial that it's difficult to believe it was even released. Moondog, by this time well known as a New York street musician, drives these pieces along with maraca and clava percussion, often in odd time signatures. The percussion lines are the backbone for unusual melodies, often Asian- or Japanese-inspired, with a movingly mournful (but not unappealing) quality. Washes of wind-like sounds and animal noises are often used to embellish the pieces. Bits of "Tree Trail" and "Frog Bog" even come close to exotica, but this ain't no Martin Denny (who, of course, was also using frog noises on record around this time); Moondog's music is much less frivolous in intention, and the round-like repetition that flavors all his work is present through most of this disc. To add to the unpredictability of the proceedings, there's a Japanese lullaby (sung by Moondog's wife Suzuko), a percussive duet between Moondog and tap dancer Ray Malone, tribal/Cuban drum passages, and a "Street Scene" track that mixes Moondog's drums and poetry with Manhattan traffic. All very enigmatic yet attention-holding stuff, ripe for discovery by new generations that will appreciate his defiantly idiosyncratic mix of styles and formats.

(source: AllMusicGuide)

Death when you come to me, I'll be listening to Moondog's tales...

Moondog's Corner...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Would you like a fresh vegetable soup?

Worldwide one of a kind, the Vegetable Orchestra performs on instruments made of fresh vegetables. The utilization of various ever refined vegetable instruments creates a musically and aesthetically unique sound universe.The Vegetable Orchestra was founded in 1998. It consists of 11 musicians, a sound engineer and a video artist. Based in Vienna, the Vegetable Orchestra plays concerts in Europe and Asia. From time to time workshops are given - on how to manufacture an instrument or on musical topics.There are no musical boundaries for the Vegetable Orchestra. The most diverse music styles fuse here - contemporary music, beat-oriented House tracks, experimental Electronic, Free Jazz, Noise, Dub, Clicks'n'Cuts - the musical scope of the ensemble expands consistently, and recently developed vegetable instruments and their inherent sounds often determine the direction.A concert of the Vegetable Orchestra appeals to all the senses. As an encore at the end of the concert and the video performance, the audience is offered fresh vegetable soup.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Paris, Texas" [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Warner Bros, 1984)

Artist: Ry Cooder
Album: "Paris, Texas" [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Release Date: November 9, 1984
Label: Warner Bros
Genre: Soundtrack, Instrumental, Slide-Guitar Blues
Mood: Eerie, Nocturnal, Enigmatic, Melancholy
Reminds Of: Robert Johnson, Albert Collins, Van Morrison
What People Think: RollingStone
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon, CdUniverse

1. Paris, Texas
2. Brothers
3. Nothing Out There
4. A Cancion Mixteca
5. No Safety Zone
6. Houston In Two Seconds
7. She's Leaving The Bank
8. On The Couch
9. I Knew These People
10. Dark Was The Night

Suggestive of both the imagery of Win Wenders' movie Paris, Texas and the desert itself, Ry Cooder's score is a peaceful, poetic journey into the soul of an acoustic guitar. "Paris, Texas," "Brothers," and "Nothing Out There" open the album as meditative blends of guitar twang and scratching ambient effects. The songs move at a pretty, slow place, and the opening track sees Cooder plucking his guitar's strings and letting that sound vibrate into thin air; it's a motif that he returns to repeatedly throughout the score. There's a bit of both humor and mystery to the stillness and the echoing, edgy sound effects that crop up. "Cancion Mixteca" includes a memorable turn on vocals by Harry Dean Stanton, singing in Spanish. "No Safety Zone" is almost completely ambient in its ethics, with fleeting experimental guitar playing, as the song works more as a mood-setter than a traditional song. "I Knew These People" begins with an extended segment of dialogue from the film before Cooder's somber guitar creeps in. The effect of the dialogue makes the track a fine, artistic statement, but the moment works better in the context of the movie than as a track on an album. The dialogue comes from a scene where the characters played by Stanton and Nastassja Kinski have a particularly emotional meeting. The majority of the score is delicate and stunningly pretty. The overall sense is that Cooder was reaching for spare, emotional movements. The score is stark, quiet, and as uplifting as it is sad. Cooder makes the music sound as modern and stylish as acoustic music can sound. The album is at once alien and organic. Since "I Knew These People" includes dialogue from Paris, Texas, the score works best for people who have seen the movie, but it's still a powerful and immensely evocative journey for those whose experience with the material is the album alone.

(source: AllMusicGuide)

I'll give it a try, sounds interesting...

"Paris, Texas" on IMDB...
Watch "Paris, Texas" movie trailer...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Clogs "Lullaby For Sue" (Brassland, 2003)

Artist: Clogs
Album: "Lullaby For Sue"
Release Date: September 12, 2003
Label: Brassland
Genre: Neo-Classical, Chamber-Jazz, Instrumental, World-Fusion
Mood: Sophisticated, Organic, Elegant, Eccentric
Reminds Of: Esmerine, Dirty Three, The Kronos Quartet
What People Think: AcousticGuitarCentral, SFGate, ClogsMusic
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon, CdUniverse

1. No.6
2. Who's Down Now
3. Turtle Soup
4. Scratched By The Briar Patch
5. No.4
6. Swarms
7. No.1
8. Gentler We
9. Lullaby For Sue
10. No.3
11. Limp Waltz

This Australian/US band's second full-length album shows that there are more varied ways around instrumental classical post-rock (or whatever the term is to be in future) than are dreamt of by the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor. Admittedly there's a moment or two where random sampled voices cut across the arrangements, but if the Australian-accented folks are meant to be some sort of critical focus, it's not apparent. Instead of obsessive structured sound, Clogs, led by violist Padma Newsome, embraces subtlety, variety and sometimes elusive melodies. Without seeming completely like an improvised effort, Lullaby for Sue sounds very much like it could have been created on the spot; the four main players freely able to allow for space and silence as much as adding their own particular parts. When there's an increase in energy, as the low-key growl of "Who's Down Now" shows at its start and end both, Bryce Dessner's guitar sounds almost like a strange signal; it's often contrasted with equally calmer moments. "Swarms" is probably where the band gets its most intense, building up to a tightly wound high point before settling down again, but Dessner's guitar is acoustic and the general feeling is dramatic but not epic. The fact that the quartet can effortlessly work with inspirations from all over the place -- "Turtle Soup" has hints of gamelan and other non-Western music -- is a further plus given how many other acts stick firmly in a European tradition. Rachel Elliott's bassoon and recorder efforts, most notably her work on the former, add both a mournful air and sometimes a bit of gentle playfulness, as can be heard on "No. 1" particularly well, while Newsome's one vocal turn on "Gentler We" is an enjoyable, unexpected surprise.

(source: AllMusicGuide)

Let's see what is all about...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Talk Talk "Laughing Stock" (Polydor, 1991)

Artist: Talk Talk
Album: "Laughing Stock"
Release Date: November 19, 1991
Label: Polydor
Genre: Post-Rock, Experimental, New-Wave
Mood: Sophisticated, Autumnal, Literal, Intimate
Reminds Of: Roxy Music, David Sylvian, Bark Psychosis
What People Think: HeadHeritage, SputnicMusic
Definitely Worth Bying: Amazon, CdUniverse

1. Myrrhman
2. Ascension Day
3. After The Flood
4. Taphead
5. New Grass
6. Runeii

Virtually ignored upon its initial release, Laughing Stock continues to grow in stature and influence by leaps and bounds. Picking up where Spirit of Eden left off, the album operates outside of the accepted sphere of rock to create music which is both delicate and intense; recorded with a large classical ensemble, it defies easy categorization, conforming to very few structural precedents -- while the gently hypnotic "Myrrhman" flirts with ambient textures, the percussive "Ascension Day" drifts toward jazz before the two sensibilities converge to create something entirely new and different on "New Grass." The epic "After the Flood," on the other hand, is an atmospheric whirlpool laced with jackhammer guitar feedback and Mark Hollis' remarkably plaintive vocals; it flows into "Taphead," perhaps the most evocative, spacious, and understated piece on the record. A work of staggering complexity and immense beauty, Laughing Stock remains an under-recognized masterpiece, and its echoes can be heard throughout much of the finest experimental music issued in its wake.

(source: AllMusicGuide)

I'm putting on my new headphones...

Listen to a Talk Talk interview back from 1986...

Black Dice "Cold Hands" (EP) (Troubleman Unlimited, 2001)

Artist: Black Dice
Album:"Cold Hands" (EP)
Release Date: 2001
Label: Troubleman Unlimited
Genre: Noise-Rock, Experimental-Rock, Indie-Electronic
Mood: Volatile, Cathartic, Intense, Anxious
Reminds Of: Melt Banana, Boredoms, Fuck Buttons
What People Think: Aversion, AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon

1. Cold Hands
2. Smile Friends
3. The Raven
4. Birthstone

Cold Hands is Black Dice's latest release, following an eponymous full-length and a split EP with Erase Errata (all released on Troubleman-- a label run by Unwound). The band basks in the experimental domain, but what discerns them from other free-form experimental artists is their roots in hardcore and noise rock. Each song is a journey into the left-field sector of the music world, featuring everything from abrasive drums and piercing feedback, to unidentifiable noises and obtrusive static.The opening title-track starts off with some clicks and clanks, almost like a mix between champagne glasses hitting one another and a wind-up toy. Gradually, mid-tone drones sneak their way in, accentuating the crystal clear treble of the clanking to an almost protruding quality. However, the minimalism ends here. The overbearing "Smile Friends" follows with manic drumming that defies any sort of time signature or conventional technique-- like a random hitting of tom-toms and cymbals. The high-end of the song is fleshed out with screeching feedback and fuzzed out droning; and what appears to be someone screaming into a microphone through some kind of distortion pedal makes its foray, but it is unclear whether it is vocals or some kind of weird electronic glitch. In fact, other than the percussive instruments, the origins of the other instruments are indistinguishable. "The Raven" follows in similar style to "Smile Friends," but proves a little more structured and continues for twice as long. The song is primarily a feedback-laden riff with a cacophonous stream of noise shooting through the speakers. Finally, Cold Hands closes with "Birthstone," a 10-minute rumination on more feedback, more cymbals, and more droning. Whatever register the feedback is in, it surely manages to drill at your head. If you listen to the song at a high volume, there is no way you can listen without tightening your brow in pain or abstain from twisting the volume knob down; the layers of feedback slice through the mix in an abrasive fashion. But despite this head-trip of noise, "Birthstone" proves to be the most interesting and, dare I say, most beautiful song on the EP. It's a welcome departure from the previous outings, as it is more subdued and drawn-out.When I first listened to Cold Hands, I was actually dismissive and a bit annoyed. But with subsequent listens, each arcane noise turned into its own unique instrument, and the need to identify their origins became dross. Whether Black Dice creates the sounds with guitars, flutes, or banjoes, the fact remains that it's something they can definitely call their own, remaining consistent and insistent throughout its 22-minutes of rarely chartered territory.


I think I'll try this one...

Watch Black Dice exclusive BBC Collective Show around their studio...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nico "The Marble Index" (Elektra, 1968)

Artist: Nico
Album: "The Marble Index"
Label: Elektra
Release Date: 1968
Genre: Experimental, Drone, Avant-Garde, Minimalism, Neo-Classical
Mood: Cold, Somber, Detached, Ethereal
Reminds Of: John Cale, The Velvet Underground, LaMonte Young
What people think: AllMusicGuide, EveningOfLight, LastFM
Definitely Worth Buying: CdUniverse, Amazon

1. Prelude
2. Lawns Of Dawn
3. No One Is There
4. Ari's Song
5. Facing The Wind
6. Julius Caesar (Memento Hodie)
7. Frozen Warnings
8. Evening Of Light
9. Roses In The Snow
10. Nibelungen

The Marble Index is the name of a gothic-folk album with neoclassical and avant-garde elements, recorded and released by Nico in 1968.The album featured long-term associate John Cale, an experimental musician who had worked briefly with Nico during her stint in The Velvet Underground. Cale had an extensive background in various avant-garde settings, working with minimalist composer LaMonte Young, among others. Cale and Nico created an album that radically deviated from traditional rock music song structures. Cale said it was the first rock album to do so. He also said that The Marble Index had made a seminal contribution to the body of modern classical music.Nico wrote all her own songs on this album and accompanied herself on the harmonium, which has also been referred to as an "Indian pump organ". The arrangements are abstract and, musically speaking, "cold". The effect is kindred to the psychological sound experimentation of electronic and serial composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen. The Marble Index has been described as a "nightmare in sound". It has influenced a wide array of genres in contemporary independent music. Artists such as Coil, Jocelyn Pook and Dead Can Dance, as well as numerous contemporary goth bands have all cited Nico as a seminal influence.


I wanna spend the rest of my days listening to this one...

Watch Nico performing "Frozen Warnings"...
Watch John Cale covering Nico's "Frozen Warnings"...

Further Reading

The most untalented bores that ever came up, just look at them physically. It's a joke! The kids are being hyped!

"Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously & continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically configured world has forced us to move from the bait of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block by block, step by step, because instant communication ensures that all factors of the environment and of experience coexist in a state of active interplay. We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of 'art'"