After Ulver’s first CD, they jumped around in genres (their second was a kind of folk CD and their third CD was more black metal–I have not heard either one). Their 4th CD was the William Blake CD of crazed experimental music. And then they released this EP. And I can’t think of too many bands who keep their fans guessing as much as these guys do. This EP is full on electronica. Dark electronica, yes, but still, it’s all electronic.
There are four songs. The first one, “Of Wolves and Vibrancy” is like rocking dance song from the 90s (like The Prodigy). The drums are quite intense. While the second song, “Gnosis” is a slower, more ambient track. There are still loud drums, but the pace is slower and less manic. At around the 6 minutes mark vocals come in. They sound like some of Metallica’s chanting voices on later albums.
Track three, “Limbo Central (Theme from Perdition City)” is less than 4 minutes long. It’ s another dark electronic soundtrack with more great drums.
The final song, “Of Wolves and Withdrawal” is almost 9 minutes of very quiet noises that grow louder in pulses. It seems to be three sections of different pulsing sounds. The first time I listened to it, the opening was so quiet that I thought it was just all silence so I fast forwarded through the whole thing. But because the pulses are so mechanically timed it didn’t even register as noises while as fast forwarded. I finally had to turn it up pretty loud before I heard all of it.
I was tempted to say that going from that first Ulver album to this one is a massive change. But it seems that every Ulver record is a whiplash of stylistic changes. Nevertheless, this is about as far from black metal as you can get and still be dark and scary.
[READ: November 4, 2011] “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars”
This is one of Díaz’s short stories that does not appear in Drown (it came out about two years after Drown). It has been frequently anthologized, however, which makes it a pretty important story.
There’s a reason why I like to read author’s works in chronological order, and reading this story now confirms that for me. The story, written in 1998, is the fictionalization of the essay, “Homecoming with Turtle” that I reviewed a few weeks ago (the one that I said pertained to Oscar Wao because of the turtle). Well, there’s no turtle in this story, and there’s no dentists, but the rest of the story is pretty much the same as his nonfiction account.
After saying all of that though, what’s fun about reading this out of order is that since I know what the “truth” is about this situation, it’s fun to see what he has massaged into fiction.
So in this story, Yunior has been dating Magdalena for some time. Magda is a good girl: wouldn’t sleep with him until they had been dating awhile, took him to church, introduced him to her parents, the whole bit. And he really loves her. The problem is that they only see each other once a week.
So, when a hot girl starts working at his office and she tells him that her man doesn’t treat her well and Yunior confides that the sex with Magda isn’t very good, well, things happen. But they didn’t happen very often or for very long and Yunior tried to forget it. Until the girl sent Magda a letter. A very detailed letter.
So that should be it. But Yunior had charm and even though her family and friends hate him, they stay together. But now things are different. Just different. Finally Yunior springs the trip to the DR on her–a vacation! Sand, beaches, see his homeland! She reluctantly agrees.
And she hates the trip from the start. She hates his relatives, hates their hotels, only wants to stay at a resort. But he is too stubborn to accept that things are bad. And things go from bad to worse. He even gets mixed up with the Vice-President (we’re not sure of what but we know it can’t be good) when Magda goes dancing without him.
It’s a wonderful story of innocence spoiled, of ruining a good thing and of not being open to the truth. And it’s funny too. I just can’t tell you if you should read this before “Homecoming” or afterwards.
For ease of searching, I include: Diaz.