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Archive for the ‘Jeanette Winterson’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: ZAKI IBRAHIM-Live at Massey Hall (March 27, 2015).

I had never heard of Zaki Ibrahim before this and from the pictures, I rather thought she would be kind of an opera singer.  She is pretty much everything but.

Born in British Columbia to a father from South Africa and a mother from the United Kingdom, Ibrahim spent her childhood as what she describes as a “citizen of the world”, living at different times in Canada.

This show starts out differently than the others–no interview just her getting her make up done and warming up with her backing singers.

Then she comes out to the theater and sings…in French!  I believe it is the song “Lost in You” (for some reason they don’t show the names of the songs for her).  It’s moody and quite lovely.  After some vocals scatting big drums propel the song half way through to really rock out.

She talks about feeling vulnerable on stage and how important that is for the energy exchange between fans and artist.

The next song is on piano with quiet drums, the singers repeat “I Just Need You Here.”

After this song, the band plays around with some sounds, manipulating it with gadgets and slides and whatnot and there are some vocals by Waleed Abdulhamid.  While that is going on, she comes out in  new outfit and as “Something in the Water” starts she is playing the theremin! and an electronic drum pad.  They seem to be singing “We Fly Home.”

It’s great that these Massey Hall shows have picked so many good artists to showcase.

[READ: June 2, 2018] “Anyone Can Milk a Rubber Glove”

This issue of the New Yorker had a section entitled “Parenting.”  Five authors tell a story about their own parents.  Since each author had a very different upbringing the comparison and contrasting of the stories is really interesting.

Jeanette Winterson describes milking a rubber glove: fill it with warm water, put your index finger and thumb two inches above the teat. The other three fingers squeeze the udder firmly but placidly–it’s like playing the recorder.

Why would anyone do this?  Well she did it for training how to milk a goat.  She was nine or ten when they got the goat.  The goat was named Gracie Fields (after a war-time music hall star).  The war had been over for twenty-five years but her parents still talked about it.

Her mother was deeply religious and read the Bible front to back and started over again.  S also liked singing and believed the goat milked better is you sang to her.  The songs had to be the right kind of downer hymns because goats don’t like to be too cheerful. Unlike sheep, goats are thinkers, but goats are going to Hell while sheep are going with Jesus.

Jeanette’s first time milking Gracie didn’t go very well.  Even with her mother singing “Have You Any Room for Jesus?”

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landSOUNDTRACK: SONG OF THE SILENT LAND [CST2 COMP] (2004).

silentlandThis is a great compilation of Constellation artists from 2004 and earlier.  What makes it so good is that 13 of the 14 songs are released here for the first time.  So it works not only as a sampler of the labels artists, it also works as a great rarities collection.

ELIZABETH ANKA VAJAGIC-“The Sky Lay Still” [stripped down version of album song].  This song starts with slow echoing guitars and Elizabeth’s voice which sounds a bit like Carla Bozulich (but cleaner).  Two minutes in, it shifts tones to an awesomely catchy section with great vocals.

DO MAKE SAY THINK-“Winter Hymn Winter Hymn Winter Hymn”   This is the entire Winter Hymn … album remixed into a 5 minute track.  I’ve often complained that I dislike remixes but this one is great.  It includes some big guitar chords, some quiet drums, some notes and maybe gives you a feel of the album, but maybe not.  The end of the track plays some very fast heavy chords and then gets sped up out of existence.

EXHAUST-“Wool Fever Dub” [from their self-released cassette]  This song has a big thumping beat and some cool echoed harmonics on the guitar. This basic song structure runs through a 3 minute instrumental with a different “chorus” and some intense drumming at the end.

HANGEDUP-“(Re)View From The Ground (remix)”  This is a very catchy, fun remix.  Noisy clattering drums and all kinds of feedback squalls keep this propulsive track moving—this is my kind of dance remix.

BLACK OX ORKESTAR-“Toyte Goyes In Shineln”  This track comes from their album Ver Tanzt? And is one of my favorite of their songs from this disc.  An Acoustic guitar and bass play a simple melody over what I assume is quiet Hebrew singing.

SACKVILLE-“This Machine”  This is an unreleased track from the band.  It is a simple downbeat folk song with a really catchy chorus.  I like Sackville a lot but haven’t mentioned their full length yet–coming soon.

SILVER MT. ZION-“Iron Bridge To Thunder Bay” This is an unreleased track from the Rusted Satellites session, it begins with squealing feedback that slowly changes pitch until the thudding drums and bass come in.  They play a rumbling rhythm underneath the otherwise noisy sounds.  After 6 minutes, the song ends in squalls of feedback until the last minute just echoes until the end.

SOFA-“String Of Lights” [from the self released cassette].  I really like Sofa and wish they’d released more music.  This song actually sounds a bit like the Black Ox Orkestar song above-a- slow broody acoustic piece, but I love the way the chorus brightens the song.

POLMO POLPO-“Dreaming (…Again)”  This track is described as “constructed of materials from the Like Hearts Swelling sessions”  It’s a pretty, upbeat song with some slide guitars and a groovy rhythm.

RE: “Slippage” [unreleased track from the Mnant sessions]  This song has clanging percussion and oscillating keyboards which make this soundscape interesting and compelling.

FLY PAN AM-“Tres Tres ‘Avant'” is an improvisation with Tim Hecker and Christof Migone.  There’s a funky bass and drums with some groovy keyboards.

1-SPEED BIKE-“Fair Warning” [ remix of “New Blue Monday” from their album].  The track starts with a person saying “Okay we’ll call this one Fair Warning.”  You can hear the music (primarily the guitar echoed) and the riff from New Order’s “Blue Monday” and then he starts reciting passages in a great Canadian accent: “heroin crop in Afghanistan is 3 times higher this year than last year because the Taliban got taken out and replaced with the Americans.”  “We don’t want funerals because people like to party too much, Capice?”  The second half of the song is a lot of swirling statics and noise with repeated notes.

FRANKIE SPARO-“See My Film” [working mix of an unreleased song].  This song has a sprinkling of guitar notes and Sparo’s mellow but rough voice singing a cool melody.  The addition of a violin melody really elevates the song.  The end is even better as he adds another vocal line and some da das making it even catchier.

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR-“Outro” This is a live performance of a concert finale recorded in France on 14 May 2003.  This slow song opens with glockenspiel and strings–a slow, pretty melody that evolves over 7 minutes to add a bigger string section.  The last 2 minutes include a very nice violin solo that plays over the top of the rest of the band.  GYBE has never officially released a live album, so this is a good opportunity to hear what they can do live.

[READ: August 20, 2016] Land

This is a book about Anthony Gormley’s five statues on Landmark Trust Property.

The five statues in this book are life-sized cast iron sculptures installed in five Landmark Trust sites across the British Isles from May 2015 to May 2016.  Saddell Bay, Mull of Kintyre; South West Point, Lundy; Clavell Tower, Kimmeridge Bay; Martello Tower, Aldeburgh, and Lengthsman’s Cottage, Lowsonford.

The sculptures are by Antony Gormley, the photos of the sculptures are by Clare Richardson and the text is by Jeanette Winterson.  Winterson is the only person I’d heard of in this book but as soon as I flipped through the pages, I was instantly struck by the sculptures.

Gormley works with the human form in very heavy sculptural designs.  There’s another book about his work called Human that shows even more of his sculptures. (more…)

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LoveLettersSMSOUNDTRACK: SONIC YOUTH-SYR 7: J’accuse Ted Hughes/Agnès B Musique (2008).

syr7The first side of the disc (for it was only released on vinyl) is a ballsy blast of music.  Ballsy because it was the opening track of their live set at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in 2000.  And who opens up their set at a festival that features bands like Super Furry Animals, Sigur Rós, and Stereolab (basically a who’s who in awesome Brit-rock) with this 22 minute shriek of noise?

The set was so derisively received that the cover of the NME (hilariously reproduced on the cover of the LP) stated “Goodbye 20th Century, Goodbye Talent.”

The noise is palpable: squeals and squalls and all manner of feedback.  Kim even gets a strange little spoken word section in the middle.  I would think fans might have enjoyed it for 5, maybe even 10 minutes, but by 23 it’s pretty numbing.  The rest of the set included instrumentals from the not yet released NYC Ghosts and Flowers.  It almost seems like the set was payback for the invitation.

The B-side is an 18 minute “soundtrack” of sorts.  Agnes B. is a French clothing designer and yet somehow the music feels like it could be for some scary kids’ movie.  It has a number of creepy elements to it.  I kept picturing people sneaking around a little cottage.

The liner notes are written in Arpitan, a steadily-declining-in-use language spoken mostly in Italy and Switzerland.

Not for the faint of heart (or the vinylphobic).

[READ: August 31, 2009] Four Letter Word

I read about this book in The Walrus and then I ordered it from Amazon.ca as it doesn’t seem to be available in the US.

The book is a collection of “love letters.”  What is so very interesting about the collection is the varied nature of the letters themselves.  It’s not just: “I love you XOXO” (of course).   There are letters to mothers, stepmothers, mountains, and the Earth itself.  There are letters of love, lust, anger and respect.

I was most attracted to the book by the great list of authors, some of whom I read religiously and many others whom I just really like (and of course a bunch who I’ve never heard of).

It’s hard to review a collection of short stories that is as varied as this, especially when the pieces are this short (as most of them are).  And, I guess technically, they aren’t even short stories.  They are just letters. I would never base my opinion of these authors from this work.  Although some of the authors that I know well definitely retain their signature style.  There were only one or two letters that I didn’t enjoy, but for the most part the entire collection is very good.  And if you like any of these authors, it’s worth checking out.

I’m going to list all of the authors, mention who the letter is to, and any other salient features (without trying to give anything away–several letters have a surprise in them)! (more…)

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orange.jpgSOUNDTRACK: CHAVEZ-Better Days Will Haunt You (2006).

chavezz.jpgI first fell in love with Chavez when I saw a video for their song “Break Up Your Band.” I loved the video, and loved the music. And, I basically became of fan of them because of this video, which I think I must have seen on 120 Minutes, way back when. Turns out that my memory of this video is the equivalent of my memory of Good Omens (cf. Good Omens). The video is on the DVD that comes with this collection, and wow, I don’t recall the video looking like that at all! Huh, clearly I am an unreliable narrator.

Chavez is such a great noisy dissonant band. Squealy guitars, weird tempos, and noise, noise, noise. Fun! But what’s really fun is their cover of “Little Twelvetoes,” a song from the School House Rock oeuvre. This song is SO bizarre, and that’s even before Chavez gets their hands on it. The premise is that people from other planets with six fingers and toes and each hand and foot could count to twelve as easily as we count to ten. And, they made up two new numbers that would fill in the gap between nine and ten so that their twelve could be our number 10. Therefore, they could just add a zero when multiplying by 12. Or something.

(more…)

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