SOUNDTRACK: DARK WAS THE NIGHT: This Disc (2009).
This compilation was released to benefit the Red Hot organization, who raises money to fight AIDS. I’ve gotten about a half dozen or so of their compilations over the years (and was surprised to see that they have released about 2o of them!).
This collection is a two disc set of contemporary cutting edge indie rock bands. And, when it came out it was definitely billed as a who’s who of cool. The first disc is more or less an acoustic/folky collection of songs. While that’s not entirely true, the discs are more or less broken down that way. The artists include David Byrne & The Dirty Projectors, Jose Gonzales, Feist (on two tracks), Bon Iver, The National (a band I don’t know but whose song I love) and Iron & Wine.
Probably the coolest song of the disc (although not my favorite) is Kronos Quartet’s take on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark was the Night.” For years, Kronos has been interpreting rock and other genre songs to fit into their string quartet style. And this song sounds amazing. I’ve no idea what they’re doing, but they turn their standard quartet instruments: violin, cello, etc into really cool blues sounding strings (even a slide guitar at one point). It’s really amazing. As I said it’s not my favorite track, but it sounds great.
The Decembersists contribute a 7 minute song (that I believe is new as I don’t recognize it). It’s very good, but it seems like the kind of song that normally would have had a lot of effects/orchestration on it. And this is an acoustic rendition, so it sounds more sparse than I would think. It’s still very good though.
Finally, the disc ends with the weirdest track, an 11 minute freak out by Sufjan Stevens. Every time you think it’s going to end, it morphs into a new instrument which continues the track. It works well as a soundscape, although it’s a bit tedious in comparison to the rest of the disc which is largely concise acoustic gems.
Disc one is a great collection of tracks, and the overall style works well together. It’s a very worthy collection of songs and it’s for a good cause.
[READ: December 18, 2009] Love as a Foreign Language 1
This graphic novel is the kind of great romance story that I’ve come to expect from Oni. It is clever, it is funny, it plays games with pop culture and, of course, the writing and art are fantastic.
Joel is a Canadian living in Korea teaching English to native Koreans. The book opens with the 4 H’s of culture shock: The honeymoon (you love the place), the horror (you hate the place), the humor (you accept the place and its flaws) and the home (you see yourself living there). Joel is clearly in the horror stage. He hates everything about Korea, especially the food. Joel has a few months left on his contract but he wants to get out of it and just go home. (more…)