Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Letter from Antoin Artaud

To Génica Athansiou

November 24, 1940

My very dear Génica,

You must find heroin at all costs and you must risk death to get it to me here. This is where matters stand. The Initiates have real instruments of torture, as I have already told you, and they use them from a distance to mutilate me while I sleep, each night a little more. If it is difficult to procure heroin or opium, it is solely because of me and because they know that it is the one thing that would restore my strength and make me fit to struggle against Evil. But the most serious aspect of the affair is that all my friends, including you, have rebelled, have taken up arms in Paris, have used force to get heroin for me, and that they extracted it from all of you by magic, and that they then caused you to lose consciousness of your rebellion and that they have weighed down your shoulders your heads and the backs of your necks with leaden spells in order to enslave you, for it is thus that the common people are avenged and it is the common people who are now in power and who feed on my suffering here. Search your memory and you will see that some part of the use you have made of your time eludes you. Génica, we must leave this world, but first the Kingdom of the Other World must come, and we need armed troops in great numbers. So that the Bohemians can enter this world in number as one disembarks from a ship I must have heroin so that I can open all the hidden doors and destroy the spells of Satan which are keeping them out and keeping me prisoner here.

I count on you and I embrace you.

Antonin Artaud

Two nights ago you thought you had a dream that brought you to Marseilles, boulevard Perrier, but in reality you were having a vision from Paris of a real scene which was taking place in Marseilles, in which one of the gods of Evil went forth with his armies. These armies were cut to pieces by the Bohemians who reappear at night but some of their soldiers were loitering in Saumur, in Toulon, and in Paris in the vicinity of the Vieux-Colombier.

Polyrock - Romantic Me

Monday, October 24, 2011

Biff Bang Pow! - The Acid House Album (1989)

As a genre, indie pop has always been pretty domesticated. So much in fact that its kind of an indie pop tradition for newer generations to pay tribute to older bands by adopting song/lyrical references as band names with Alan McGee’s Biff Bang Pow! Being one of the first bands I’m aware of to so, giving a nod to 60s rock/pop group The Creation. Their mod tendencies are no doubt a throwback as well, but it’s more than mere emulation, and what they lack in innovation they make up for with vitality. This particular release, The Acid House Album, is the first of four of the band’s Creation compilations. As signified by their exclamatory onomatopoetic pep, it opens with two hard hitters, “I’m Still Waiting for my Time” and “Love and Hate.” “She Haunts” and “She Never Understood” are exercises in pop perfection (the latter of which would later see a cover by Comet Gain on their Realistes LP). “She Paints” just kills me. Everything else is solid, making for a great compilation and a good introduction to a very important group.

Rating: 9.5/10


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Peter Davison - Glide (1981)

An album of spoken word poetry set to music and two 'light' ambient albums in a row. Am I going soft or what? Not to mention this album especially is going to take some defending. So here goes. This dude scores yoga and meditation DVDs, but put cheeky new-age associations aside for a second and listen to what I have to say. Technically speaking, as far as ambient records are concerned, this baby is the crème de la crème. It does have a zen feel to it, but it's not too detrimental or overdone. This kind of music gets a bad rep, but its drowsy, narcotic synth tones meander, drift, and will transport you away for body momentarily, if you allow it in. The layers and texturing are exquisite and if that -still- doesn't convince you, I heard about this guy from modern musical magician, John Maus. I promise I'm not one to splooge over something for no reason, so take it from someone more reputable than me.

Also, the flute solos are out of this world (totally serious)

Rating: 8.5/10


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd - After the Night Falls (2007)

A few years back, I was living in LA and I had a girlfriend who was really into dreamy, atmospheric stuff. We got into a few arguments over what to listen to because my moods varied and she always wanted to hear Cocteau Twins or Stars of the Lid. I blame the large amount of pharmaceutical opioids she was taking, but that's neither here nor there. This album is as dreamy as they come so Dana, if you're reading this, this one's for you.

Also, in case anyone might wonder why I'm choosing to post this instead of The Moon and the Melodies, the answer is simple: After the Night Falls is just as good, despite not having Liz Fraser's angelic voice involved and being shat on by critics with the most general complaint being it's too uneventful. I feel like I'm stating the obvious, but it's like that for a reason. It's the kind of thing you put on when you want to ponder the infinitude of the night sky (or if you insist, take a midday nap). Strangely enough, I also happened to be one of the few who liked Milk & Kisses and that was universally lauded as a complete failure. Eh, whatever. Pristine piano melodies over lingering reverb and drone effects, with names as big as these, you know what to expect.

Rating: 7.5/10


Anne Clark & Martyn Bates - Just After Sunset - The Poetry Of Rainer Maria Rilke (1998)

I'll be honest here, I have something of a 'mood' fetish. Two of my all-time favorite musicians are, admittedly, video game composers: Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda, simply because they are masters at capturing and creating mood. Ever since I was old enough to remember, I have always been fascinated with the states of consciousness which have evaded the clumsy confinements of language. These powerful, yet untellable feelings which go beyond ephemeral "creaturely" sensations are the closest thing I've ever gotten to spirituality (roughly 'property of breath' in latin). Many artists have dedicated their entire lives trying to translate this strange and complex feeling into words, but few have been as successful as Rainer Maria Rilke.

I first stumbled upon Rilke's work when I was 16. For some reason or another I arbitrarily assumed he was in fact a she. Maybe, it was the 'Maria' in his name, but for whatever reason I unintentionally assigned a feminine quality to his his poems which may or may not have been real or imagined. Because of this, Anne Clark's sober, maternal voice sounds so natural to me in this context.

Wind chimes. Rainfall. Candlelight. Old photographs. Autumn. All of these things have a commonality: solemnity. Rilke's poetry and Bate's music also encompass this property. Combine the two together and you get a haunting and dense internal landscape shimmering with beauty and expressiveness. The ruminative, reposeful instrumentation is appropriately well-suited for Rilkean lyrics. Think less Eyeless in Gaza and more acoustic In Embrace. My one advisory: some may find this a bit too cloying, but I dig it.

Rating: 8.5/10


Friday, October 21, 2011

Julian Cope - World Shut Your Mouth

After The Teardrop Explodes imploded in '83, Julian Cope wasted no time pursuing his own projects and exercising his newly available creative freedom. Because I am a collector, I have most, if not all of his solo output. Unfortunately, I rarely listen to these albums because although they embrace a lot of important ideas about music that are good in theory, the end results are often boring or executed poorly. Taking risks is admirable, but it does not always produce good work. This album came out around the same time as Captain Sensible's The Power of Love, and it would not be hard to make obvious comparisons between the two records. As far as eighties power pop, it just does not get much better than "Elegant Chaos"

Rating: 8.5/10


Nick Garrie - The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanislas (1969)

A sublimely orchestrated baroque psych-pop masterpiece. From BBC:

Billed as the last "lost" album of the 60s, The Nightmare of J.B. Stanilas was recorded for French label DiscAZ whose owner committed suicide just as the album was released. In the resulting chaos, it sold about 17 copies, if that. Welcome to the nightmare of Nick Garrie.

It had all looked peachy beforehand. Garrie’s wanderings through Saint-Tropez’s trendy demimonde got himself a record deal; but in the studio, producer Eddie Vartan enlisted a 56-piece orchestra against his wishes. In Garrie’s hands, the album might have resembled Clifford T Ward. But it’s now part of the era’s folk-baroque canon, and infinitely more desirable.

But let’s not go overboard. It can’t, as the press release hints, be classified alongside Love’s Forever Changes or even The Zombies’ Odyssey and Oracle. Even if the album has that paler English singer-songwriter sensibility that connects to Bill Fay and Nick Drake, there’s a bit too much vintage pop MOR to compete with those two doomed voices. Vocally and personality-wise, Garrie appears a sweet-natured, uncomplicated chap rather than inspired casualty. For example, a strummy Little Bird goes "I sing for you my little bird / the sweetest song you’ve ever heard," and Bungles Tours is as cute as its title. The spell is broken most by Queen of Queens, comedic country-rock with a fake American accent. Will the real J.B. Stanislas please stand up?

Fortunately, there’s much more wistfully drifting orch-pop than sun-stroked whimsy; the self-explanatory Deeper Tones of Blue, the bittersweet fairground ride of Wheel of Fortune and the dreamy idyll Can I Stay With You, which uncannily predates the mood of John Cale’s Paris 1919. But nothing beats the album’s bookends. The opening title-track has a jaunty pedal steel but wraps it in dark wraiths of strings, stronger reverbed vocals and a haunting melody and beguiling lyric. On the two-minute finale Evening, the spare orchestration is set to ‘twilight’ behind a narrative where "the cinema is dark and empty… the projectionist is drunk somewhere" and a couple "touch each other silently in a lover’s double bed." It sounds like Stanislas is penniless and bereft, as if Garrie was predicting his own record’s demise.

He did record again, most recently on 2009’s 49 Arlington Gardens with the help of a Teenage Fan Clubber and a BMX Bandit. These days, Garrie is a wandering French teacher. But Stanislas has returned to haunt him, though this time in a good way.

Rating 9.5/10


Brian - Understand (1992)

Before I came across Understand I was desperately digging around the web looking for a good twee album like a junkie needing his fix. I probably went through 50 or so very unremarkable records before I stumbled upon a not-so-well-known man by the name of Ken Sweeney who makes music under the modest moniker Brian. It’s always a rare treat when and album surprises you, when you’re listening to it for the first time and then you’re vibing with every song early on and then you get to the second half expecting filler, only to find it’s is even better than the first. Such is the case with Understand. As much as I hate to admit it, I must recognize the possibility that this may very well be the last truly perfect ‘lost’ album I will ever come across. It is very reminiscent of Blueboy in both tone and style. It is gentle, sensitive, yet very sophisticated. It is worth your time.

You can read an interview with Brian (Ken Sweeney) HERE

Rating: 10/10


The Power of Music

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Julia Holter - Try To Make Yourself A Work Of Art

Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani - Amer (2009)

Almost entirely reliant on approach, attentiveness, and style, this film, if nothing else, looks and sounds exquisite. It doesn't hurt that newcomer Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud is downright one of the most swoon-worthy women I've ever seen. Unfortunately, the things that I really enjoyed about this were the very same things that felt overused and superficial at times. The middle segment was definitely my favorite:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Was looking into ASMR trigger videos and came across this. Have fun.