Jul 10, 2007 Jamendo
Although I was able to read most of it in a sad sort of halting way and my friend James helped me out with some clarifications, I got my cousin Alix to do a real translation of the French review of Orchard Days that I mentioned having been posted on Jamendo. Here it is, for those of you who are curious:
Jul 10, 2007 Uncategorized
Recently I’ve been really getting into Deerhoof’s latest album, “Friend Opportunity.” In fact, I’ve been doing that thing where it’s all I listen to for several days after I get it and I listen to it all the time.
After great consideration and some time spent with the album, I’ve tempered my opinion of it slightly. I think, like most Led Zeppelin albums, it would have made an unbelievable EP. The first four songs are solid (+81, the second track, is maybe the weakest of the four but is still a quality song). The Perfect Me is a brilliant opening track, full of punch, vivacity and the controlled chaos in the percussion that characterizes the best fo the album. Believe E.S.P. has this fantastic funky groove. The Galaxist is pure brilliance with some truly evocative imagery. The next couple are sort of borderline and the rest of the album is skip-town. My friend Dave Ronnebaum said it truly when he commented: “It’s like half way through they turned the ‘fun’ knob way down and turned the ‘just jacking around’ knob way up.”
Ultimately, however, I knew when I left the house this morning that this was going to be my last rotation through the best tracks before putting it into the regular shuffle play alongside everything else, and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about it. While songs containing several structural changes and crazy whirlwind percussion that still somehow manages to find the groove are not necessarily new ideas, I’d been kind of steeped in this certain ethic that’s not necessarily common to a huge chunk of my collection for a while, and when that happens I’m always a little uncertain about how I’ll adjust when I return — how it will colour the listening experience. And then there’s just the separation anxiety factor; would I be able to really enjoy the other songs while I was feeling that withdrawal from the addiction I’d been so heedlessly sating?
It turns out that I shouldn’t have worried. I gave it a couple of spins through the first four tracks of Friend Opportunity and then I knew it was time and I flipped back into “Shuffle Songs” mode. It opened with Depeche Mode’s “Never Let me Down Again,” the simple but rapid build up and then that huge space yawning out below you as he opens up the filter. Sublime. Then there’s the hint of brass that teases you, glints of majesty, lightning in the distance until the clouds gather fast near the final act and the brass comes in full and beautiful, massive and roiling, yet with a strange mutedness. You can just picture Dave Gahan, ego flapping in the wind, legs pegged together, face up to the sky, eyes spread out dramatically, standing on a wide and cracked plain stretching red to the horizons as the storm front just opens up above and cascades down upon him.
Right on its heels was This Mortal Coil’s “A Single Wish.” Such a perfect piece in so many ways. The muted playfulness of the first section, carefree joys heard through the walls or from the next room, and then Gordon Sharp, vocal performance of year for sure, starting in with that hurt, that too-wise-for-my-own-good rueful hurt, and then that little bit of grit, you’ll destroy yourself and you deserve it, I loved you and you’re burning that love to the ground now and I won’t ever regret it, I’ll laugh when this mistake runs into the ground in a fiery explosive mess, and yet, that amazing tender sadness right at the end. So much said in just a few words (most of which I can’t even kind of decipher) — not even in the words but just in the tone.
After that came Sigur Ros’ “Ba Ba,” which feels to me more than anything else like a timid and frightened young child, that wonderful mixture of loved things and simple beauties but always with the dark shadows. And then the slow growth of familiarity and comfort, not pushing the shadows away but getting to know some beloved things, toys, places that are safe. Some challenges not conquered, never that kind of brash triumph, but ventured tentatively and found to not be malicious, maybe first steps between two close objects. And finally the warmth, maybe a loved one, just enveloping and surrounding and welcome and not afraid.
And just when I felt like I was going to fail at keeping myself from tears on the bus, Cornelius’ “Free Fall,” which is just plain fun, the auditory response to the rock and roll mock-slogan, “Giv’er!”
I should never have worried. It’s good to be home.
Jul 7, 2007 Jamendo
Orchard Days received a review on Jamendo!
You can read it here. It’s in French.
What I can get from it is basically that the person likes the EP but thinks that it was a little too short and that in some places I went a little too nutty on the choice of sounds — they feel that there’s a lot of potential there if I work on drawing out my compositions and using more natural sounds.
I could just about explode with excitement. (Although, to be fair, so far Fountains is much nuttier in terms of sound. We’ll see how that goes, though.)
The exciting part of this is that although I know many people have downloaded my tracks, from here, from Jamendo and from the site where I was previously hosting everything, this is the first feedback that I’ve received from someone I didn’t know personally. Also, this is in a public venue where other people can read it.
I definitely have to get my butt in gear to get more material up both here and on Jamendo where people can see it.
If you’re here from elsewhere — from Jamendo, from google, from anywhere else — please drop me a line to let me know that you’re listening (and reading). It really encourages me to keep at it. (I’d do it no matter what, but I think without that encouragement it goes at a much slower pace.)