After the raucous wildness of Stetson’s Vol. 2, I wasn’t expecting the first song to be so gentle. Justin Vernon sings (with many layers of processing) the rather pretty opening track. When I first heard it I didn’t like it—I wanted Stetson to do Stetson and it seemed like the track was all voice (nad very different from Stetson). But Stetson is there, and he plays his normal unceasing melodies behind the voices. The track seems especially light since it is followed by the aggressive “Hunted” which prominently features Stetson’s “voice” (he has a microphone on his throat or something to pick up his grunts), making an almost growling noise as he plays. It’s worth repeating that Stetson does circular breathing, is able to play nonstop and can somehow to play different things at the same time (no overdubs) as well as vocalize in interesting ways. You can also hear him taking breaths while he platys—the breaths are part of the percussive nature of his playing. It’s pretty amazing. About four minutes in, the tone changes a bit, becoming a little sharper which seems to make the growl even more pronounced.
“High Above A Grey Green Sea” is a quieter song with more vocalizing, but this one feels mournful and lonely as opposed to intense and scary. “In Mirrors” opens with a deep breath as he plays a slow quiet 90 second song full of unexpected high notes.
“Brute” is appropriately named as it sounds like he is forcing the song out of his sax. He places mics on his sax so you can hear the clacking of the keys. And that is readily apparent on this song which is full of clacking and clicking and grunting all the way. After about a minute, a discordant melody comes in and establishes a tone that plays or a few bars until Justin Vernon returns, but this time with growled words. It’s a pretty intense and rather scary track—and nothing like Bon Iver at all.
“Among The Sef (Righteous II)” is a brighter song—higher notes played in a very fast style. There are some vocalized melodies as well. But the main song is a rolling series of high notes. “Who The Waves Are Roaring For (Hunted II)” opens with an interesting vocalized melody—he is really using that technique a lot on this record. It also featured Justin Vernon. “To See More Light” opens with slow echoed notes as he begins to build a melody out of a four note string. He starts adding more and more notes. The melody grows faster and faster until about five minutes when it starts to really slow down—dramatically so. Around 7 minutes in, the song slows to a crawl, almost drunkenly it seems. And the song feels like it has ended. But Stetson has more on his mind. The notes are held longer and shift more slowly. Then the song starts to build up again with a different 4-note pattern that adds some squeaky feedback notes and then a catchy melody. All 15 minute of this song done nonstop, pretty impressive.
“What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?” begins with voices from Vernon (in a softer voice than we’ve come to expect) as he sings a verse before the sax comes in. “Bed” features some loud key clacking a great rhythmic pattern and some quiet notes from both the sax and his voice.
The final song is “Part Of Me Apart From You.” It really emphasize his “singing” the melody in his throat while playing the repeating lines on the sax. The song seems to emphasize the lower notes in this song even as he “sings” higher notes.
[READ:October 20, 2016] The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo
The title of this book implies that it is a series, and I rather hope it is. I loved the premise of this book. Most of the characters were interesting and the mystery behind Margo herself was really cool.
I didn’t love Weing’s drawing style, though. It really never resonated with me at all, and at times I found it off-putting. Which is a shame since the story is so fun.
Charles is moving to Echo City and he hates it. His mom tries to convince him that big cities are fun. Plus, his dad is fixing up a big old hotel and they get to live there for free (suspension of disbelief there). There are already some people living there, too.
Charles’ dad is hip and cool (he is seen with Dead Kennedys and Black Flag logo tattoos). All of the things that Charles finds creepy about the place, his dad calls “character.” Like the giant chandelier that was in a closet. Whatever his dad says, Charles’s comment is simply, “This place is definitely haunted.”
Charles has a whole bunch of stuff–books and collectibles which his dad seems to think he should give up–minimalism–“we are not what we own.” (Ie. Hipsters). Charles also has a blog and fancies himself a journalist. he is currently documenting for his fans the horrors of moving to this city.
That night, while he is sleeping a yellow eye looks out from the closet and a giant monster tries to scare him away.
The next morning, Charles meets Kevin, a boy who also lives in the hotel. He knows everything about the neighborhood (and is also trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for doing something–anything). He tells Charles about the monsters in the building and says if he’s bothered by any of them to call Margo Maloo Monster Mediator. And don’t share that info with any grown ups!
He calls Margo and she shows up that night wearing a long coat (that looks not unlike a cape) and with a vaguely vampirish appearance. She is all business and wants no help from Charles. Within minute she has fond the monster’s secret entrance and they head to the lost kitchen of the hotel where she says it is definitely a troll .
And there is the monster with the yellow eyes. It threatens them “Who dares enter my lair?” And while the troll is getting fierce, Margo says “How’s it going, Marcus, its been a while.”
Then we find out that the chandelier was Marcus’ and that as far as he is concerned, Charles’ dad stole it. So Charles makes a trade–turns out the troll likes to collect things too. It’s a satisfying conclusion to that “episode.”
Chapter 2 sees Charles exploring a bit more. Margo is on to him though and she knows he’s not ready to deal with monsters. They hear of a kid trapped in an old building and Charles insists that he come along. Turns out that this time the monster is a ghost. But we learn that ghosts can’t really do anything–they’re just mist. Charles even proves to be a little useful on this trip. But once things are over, Margo has vanished as quickly as she showed up.
The final chapter is about ogres. Charles is captured by some scary looking ogres who accuse him of kidnapping their child. The kidnapper was described as a human who looks just like Charles (although we know it wasn’t him). This chapter is fun because we get to see a lot of the interesting monsters under Echo City. Although I don’t really like the look of the book, I did enjoy the various monsters.
How is Charles going to clear his name (before they eat him)? And can he possibly coexist with these monsters?
The end of the book has what looks like actual case files and–strangely enough–the drawings in this section are fantastic–so much more enjoyable than in the book itself. There are four entries which talk about the various monsters we met in the book: ghosts, goblins (which strangely, look like foxes), Ogres who are cute and fuzzy, and Trolls which are mostly cartilage.
This book ended with a positive scene, but i do hope that there are more case files to come, as that was nowhere near enough.