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harpers-magazine-march-2017-4 gucciSOUNDTRACK: GUCCI MANE-Tiny Desk Concert #585 (December 12, 2016).

Usually when someone is popular I have heard of him or her.  So I’m always surprised when someone gets a Tiny Desk Concert and I don’t know them (especially given his story).

Gucci Mane sounds kind of familiar, but I don’t think I’d ever heard of him before.  So what does the blurb say:

Gucci Mane’s smile makes you feel like there’s still some good in the world. He’s really earned it, and that thing is infectious. We asked him to come to NPR because we wanted to be a part of the victory tour he’s been on this year: In the past six months or so, Gucci Mane was released early from the federal penitentiary; he proposed to his girlfriend on the kiss cam at a Hawks game, and she said yes; he’s releasing a total of three albums, all over which he celebrates his newly committed sobriety; he and Courtney Love look like they get along; and he remade “Jingle Bells.”

In this Tiny Desk concert, Gucci Mane performed with just his longtime producer and friend, Zaytoven, on piano. Their version of stripped-down is a minimal backing track and plenty of church-groomed trills. They performed with the understanding that everyone in the room knew their songs — one from 2009 and two from this year — and knew that this performance would represent a surreal dip into a parallel universe where ingenuity is rewarded, snobbery is gone and love is real. Gucci Mane agreed to this unlikely set as a gesture to those people — for remembering his work while he was away, and for cheering on his resurgence, his health, his charm and his singular nature.

Gucci does the three songs, “First Day Out,” “Waybach,” and “Last Time,” all accompanied by Zaytoven, easily my favorite stage name and the absolute highlight of this show for me.

Gucci Mane’s flow is a kind of slow drawl.  It’s kind of charming and engaging.  I find it really strange that he’s rapping over himself (I guess).  But it’s so stripped down that it’s weird to hear his backing track so clearly.  But that live piano totally make the show fantastic–Zaytoven has some amazing chops.

[READ: February 21, 2017] “Sinking Ships and Sea Dramas”

The introduction to this story was pretty fascinating.  This piece is an except from a manuscript in progress inspired “in part by lines from the work of Ben Lerner, the poetry editor of Harper’s

This was translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole.

I’m not sure what Lerner wrote that inspired this, but this “cycle” consists of 6 ruminations on death and the sea. (more…)

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jf SOUNDTRACK: JOSEPH-Tiny Desk Concert #574 (October 28, 2016).

josephI have been hearing “White Flag” quite a bit on the radio. I had a hard time keeping track of who sang it (it doesn’t help that this trio of women is called Joseph).  But I have really grown to love the “ooh ooh” part and the screamed chorus.

So it’s interesting to see Bob Boilen’s blurb in which he says

My first experience seeing Joseph was in 2014 as an opening act in New York City. It was just the twins Meegan and Allison Closner and their older sister, Natalie Closner, and it was clear then they had something special. Over these two years, Joseph’s sound has grown beyond the Closners’ harmonies. Now, you’re likely to see them with a band or hear songs from their latest record, which is filled with sounds far beyond voice and acoustic guitar.  It’s been a treat to witness Joseph’s journey, but I was also fairly thrilled that for their Tiny Desk the sisters stripped it down to their original setup: three voices and one guitar.

They play “White Flag” first.  I was a bit disappointed at first because even though Bob loves the stripped down sound, I like the recorded version a lot.  But by the end I was loving how great their voices work together.  Plus I was able to hear the word a little better: “I’d rather be dead than live a lie…burn the white flag.”  Natalie sings lead on this one, while Meegan and Allison do the great oooh oohs.

When the song is over Natalie tells us why she wrote the song: a response to everything going on in the world and how it wants to push you back into your home and stop you from going out and living your life and deciding no thank you I’m going to do that anyway.

 Meegan introduces “I Don’t Mind” by saying it’s about sadness… and it was something she wanted someone to say to her about her sadness.  But she realized she had to say it to herself before she could receive it from anyone else.  She sings lead and it builds slowly with some harmonies coming in. I love how big it gets from such a small opening.  The final chorus reminds me a bit of Lucius–big bold singing in close harmony.

I was delighted by how different the three songs sounded.  “Canyon” sounds nothing like the other two–the chorus is powerful and hypnotic with the repeated sounds.  It also has an incredible moment in the middle of the song where the twins are singing backing vocals and Natalie is singing a lead line and the three of them all end on a really long note together.  It’s mesmerizing.

So even if I really like the album version, these versions are pretty spectacular.

[READ: February 27, 2017] “An Occurrence on the Beach of Varosha”

This is an excerpt from a novel called The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep and I’m glad I knew that going in because the story mentions some previous incidents and also ends rather dramatically but in an unfinished way.

Set in October 2012, Elias is on the beach at Varosha in Northern Cyprus, marveling at the size and number of the hotels that line the barbed wired fence on the beach.   Elias’s aunt and uncle currently live on the Greek Cypriot side of the Green Line, but they were among the first to build a hotel there.  However, there’s was just three  stories with twenty-four room.

Elias is there ostensibly to check out he property to see if it is still standing during the conflict.   He is capable of doing this because he is Canadian and has a foreign passport.  Thus, he can cross the Green Line without trouble. (more…)

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feb SOUNDTRACK: LITTLE SIMZ-Tiny Desk Concert #599 (February 21, 2017).

simzI had never heard of Little Simz until I saw this Tiny Desk Concert.  Then a few nights later I was in Union Transfer and saw that she would be playing there in a few weeks.  Serendipity.  Although I still wasn’t going to go see her.

Simbi Ajikawo, who records and performs as Little Simz, first gained widespread recognition with the release of her debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons back in 2015. The British lyricist has been compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill for her self-reflective wordplay that shies away from the often braggadocios nature of mainstream rap music.

While on her first album Simz opted to tell stories that spoke of her childhood experiences (and the insight gained from them), on her most recent release, Stillness in Wonderland, she expands this notion of self-exploration by creating a world that pays ode to the childhood classic Alice in Wonderland. Much like Alice, Simz’s newfound success has taken her on a journey that’s leading her to discover a whole new world.

Accompanied by three members from the Brooklyn-based R&B group known as Phony Ppl [Matt Byas (drums); Omar Grant (bass) and Aja Grant (keys)], Simz performed a set of three songs off of Stillness in Wonderland.

Simz has a very thick British accent while rapping.  On the first song, “Poison Ivy,” she plays guitars and has good flow.  But I felt that the sung chorus were kind of flat.

She says that “No More Wonderland” is about being involved in the business and how being on the road is not what she thought it would be like.  Usually t his is a bad sign for a song, but she does some interesting things lyrically, all staying near the Alice in Wonderland theme.  She tells us the hooks pretty easy so join in.  And it is easy but it’s once again, rather understated.  But I do really like the bass sound.

I didn’t realize that the band wasn’t her band (they do a great job of playing her songs).  Before the final song, “Picture Perfect,” she tells them all that she really likes their hoodies (which have her album cover on them).  They laugh and say they’re very nice, and surprisingly affordable.  She tells a little more about the concept of the album.  This song is when she’s having the most fun and “it’s lit.”  I love the moment where everything stops and they go “grrrrrrrroooo.”

The three songs are a bit slow for me, but by thee nd she did win me over.  I do wonder what her show is like when it’s not Tiny.

[READ: January 19, 2017] “Comeback City”

This is an excerpt from a novel by Mackey.  The excerpt is quite short, so I actually found the description of the novel to be somewhat more interesting.  This excerpt comes from Late Arcade, the fifth installment in From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, a novel that follows the activities of a jazz group.

So this excerpt covers their arrival into Detroit.  It was their first time in the City and the it covers their thoughts about the city itself.   But the narrator “quickly found our expectations to see and say something about Detroit tan irritant, any summing-up or desire to sum up an affront.”

He says things cry out for comment or ridicule (like the immutability of the General Motors Building in contrast to the auto industry’s recent troubles.

But he says, and the band agrees,  that the area by the Detroit Institute of Arts is beautiful. (more…)

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jan2017SOUNDTRACK: BRENT COBB-Tiny Desk Concert #591 (January 17, 2017).

brentI don’t like country music.  I’ve found I’ve grown less fond of it in the last few months because a lot of country artists are crossing over but still bringing that twang that is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  I initially bristled against Cobb because he’s got that country twang in spades.

But he proved to be such an engaging and likable fellow–a funny storyteller and genuinely nice guy–that I found that I enjoyed his songs a lot more than I expected.

“Solving Problems,” is a song about a Sunday-afternoon bull session.  It’s an uptempo song with some enjoyable lyrics–the lyrics are what won me over, especially in his delivery: “Conversation covers everything and in between, from Grandpa’s health to marrying good girls.”

When the song is over he notes: “Y’all been having a lot of Southerners on here lately, whats up with that?”

The second song “Down In The Gulley” is a funny song–but not, you know, comical or anything.  He introduces it with a story about his uncle and his daddy.  When they were kids they were putting down pipes from a stream to head towards the pump house.  A few years ago (as in decades later), the sheriff saw these pipes and thought that they were running moonshine.  Well, he says, his Uncle Bubba is a great guy but her can be a little orn’ry, especially if you wake him up first thing in the morning accusing him of having a moonshine still.  So for the song he imagined what it would have been like if it was a moonshine still.   I really like the guitar work ion this song–really interesting melodies.

When the song is over he says “you were really listening.  Listening crowds make me nervous–all as you want as an artist is for people to listen to you but when they do it freaks you out.”

The third song “Country Bound,” is one that he didn’t have anything to do with its creation.  His family members were writing this song when he was 5.  It reminds me a lot  of John Denver and it’s my favorite song that he plays.  It’s his my favorite of the set.  It features a bouncing solo from J Kott, whom Cobb jokingly calls “our bass player/lead guitarist.”  In addition to Cobb and Kott, there’s Steve Smith on the drums.

He was only planning to do three songs, but he says “we can do more or not.”  Someone says one more.  He smiles and says “it’s up to you [presumably whoever introduced him] if we have time.  I don’t even now who the guy [who said “one more”] is, he might not even work here.

The final song is the sobering “Shine On Rainy Day.”  It’s a slow ballad and a thoughtful one.  “While he weaves plenty of wit into his lyrics, Cobb can devastate just as easily: ‘Ain’t it funny how a little thunder make a man start to wonder, ‘Should I swim or just go under?'”

[READ: January 15, 2017] “The Sad Fact”

This is an excerpt from Cusk’s novel Transit.

This story begins in a very modern way: “an astrologer emailed me to say she had important news concerning events in my immediate future.”

The spam message went on to say that the information was causing her great excitement and for a small fee, she would share this with her. But “the sad fact was that in this era of science and unbelief we had lost the sense of our own significance.”  The narrator knows it is spam: “it seemed possible that the same computer algorithms that had generated this email had generated the astrologer herself:  she was too obviously based on a human type to be human herself.”  And yet…

A friend of hers has said that so much of our language has been culled by computers that faux humans often feel more substantial than the original. (more…)

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manualSOUNDTRACK: LUCY DACUS-Tiny Desk Concert #552 (July 29, 2016).

lucyI didn’t realize that I knew Dacus, but I’ve heard and loved her song “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” for months (I just never knew she sang it).

In this Tiny Desk Concert, the songs have a really gentle feel (she plays electric guitar without a pick, using her fingers to gently pick out the melodies.  Although on record, the songs are a bit sharper.  But it’s her that is so intriguing.  A lazy comparison is Sharon Van Etten, but she has that kind of tone and delivery.

“I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” has a super catchy vocal melody and simple steady rhythm.  But it’s the way the electric guitar swirls around and her voice sounds dry and disinterested (and yet it clearly isn’t).  She’s not posing as a cynical youth, she is full of regret.  The last line is “That funny girl doesn’t want to smile anymore.”  When the song is done she says, “I always tend to smile after that line.”

Before the second song she asks if anyone else’s biggest fear is having a runny nose on Tiny Desk?  She says she woke up with a runny nose, but its fine now.

I like the way “Direct Address” opens with her gentle strumming which gets really fast as she ramps up to a quick vocal delivery on each verse.   But even when she sings fast, her voice is almost like a deep intense whisper.  Once again, the last line is great: “I don’t believe in love at first sight / maybe I would if you looked at me right.”  The song ends with some cool swirling guitars.

Before the final song she tells everyone there that the NPR workers kind of have the coolest job ever and she envies them all–a little bit.

“Green Eyes, Red Face” is a slower song with an interesting, subtle melody.  Another great lyric: “I see the seat next to yours is unoccupied and I was wondering if you’d let me come and sit by your side.”  I love the way the guitar kind of bursts forth for the solo by Jacob Blizard.  This song is the most like SVE here, although you’d never mistake one for the other.  The middle of the song has some really great riffs juxtaposed with the bass.

I like how this lyric quite a bit: “With your green eyes on my red face” and I get a kick out of how she plays her last chord.  And as it rings out she rests her hands on top of her guitar patiently waiting for the song to fade out.

I’m really entranced by her voice.  But one of the most telling things is at the end of the show just as it fades out.  When talking about their show that night, she says “we’ll be a lot louder.”

I’d be interested to hear that.

[READ: November 21, 2016] A Manual for Sons

Back in 2014, I ordered all 16 books from Madras Press. Unfortunately, after publishing the 16 books they seem to have gone out of business (actually they are switching to non-fiction, it seems). They still have a web presence where you can buy remaining copies of books.  But what a great business idea this is/was

Madras Press publishes limited-edition short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of non-profit organizations chosen by our authors.  The format of our books provides readers with the opportunity to experience stories on their own, with no advertisements or miscellaneous stuff surrounding them.

The format is a 5″ x 5″ square books that easily fit into a pocket.

Proceeds from Barthelme’s book go to the The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Okay I’ll say it.

I don’t really get Donald Barthelme.  I know that’s sort of the point of his writing–it is all anti-writing, a reaction against the novel.  But I also don’t get things like this “story.”  (It turns out it is an excerpt from a larger novel, but that still doesn’t really help).

So this “manual” is designed for sons to learn all about the different kinds of fathers there are and how to deal with them.  It states that it was translated from the English by Peter Scatterpatter.

The manual lists the different kinds of fathers: Mad fathers, fathers as teachers, falling fathers, etc.

And it’s not really helpful and it’s not really funny, and I have to wonder what keeps things like this from just ending.  How does Barthelme know when his bizarre list of things is actually done?

Some examples:

Mad fathers stalk up and down the boulevard, shouting.  Avoid then or embrace them or tell them your deepest thought–it makes no difference.

Fine, that’s good.  But then he says to notice if their dress is  covered in sewn-in tin cans or if they are simply barking (no tin cans).  If they are barking

Go up to them and, stilling their wooden clappers by putting your left hand between the hinged parts, say you’re sorry.  If the barking ceases, this does not mean that they have heard you, it only means they are experiencing erotic thoughts of abominable lustre.

What the hell?

And what to make of this “some fathers are goats, some are milk, some teach Spanish in cloisters.”

Or this: “The best way to approach a father is from behind, thus is he chooses to hurl his javelin at you he will probably miss.”

There’s an alphabetical list of fathers names which all start with  A and end with Albert.  (And the list is pretty unexpected with names like: Aariel, Aban, Abiou, Aeon and Af.

The most successful section to me was the “Sample Voice” part.  It gave three examples of a crappy dad–abusive and unsympathetic and very masculine.

The “colors of fathers” was presumably modified from a book about horses as each color is a horse color.

There’s a disturbing section about incest and then about the penises of fathers.  And finally a discouragement to patricide.

I just don’t get it.

Rick Moody provides some answers in his Afterword.  He gives some context for this story and some of his favorite bit of this manual (which was originally published in a dark book called The Dead Father.  He says he really related to this story because one of the sections opens “If your father is named Hiram or Saul” (and his father had one of those names).

He puts Barthelme in context with Gaddis and describes this manual as hilarious.

Guess you had to be there.

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dfwreadSOUNDTRACK: CHRISTIAN SCOTT aTUNDE ADJUAH-Tiny Desk Concert #477 (October 9, 2015).

aacsChristian Scott aTunde Adjuah and his septet play what he calls stretch music: “the particular type of jazz fusion he’s up to: something more seamless than a simple collision of genre signifiers.”

They note that even his appearance stretches traditional jazz: “You may note that he showed up in a Joy Division sleeveless T-shirt and gold chain.” It’s sleek and clearly modern, awash in guitar riffs, but also bold and emotionally naked.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (not sure how to abbreviate that) is a trumpeter and he can hit some loud powerful and long –held notes.   It’s funny that when he bends over the trumpet grows quieter—those ic really are direction-based.

For the first song “TWIN” he does some impressive soloing over a simple and cool beat—piano and delicate guitar riffs (there’s also an upright bass and drummer).   After his lengthy solo there’s a flute solo that also works perfectly (if less dramatically) with the background music.  (Christian plays tambourine during her solo).  He says that this song is about being a twin.  His brother, Kyle Scott is a film director and for whom Christians scores the music.  Christian also explains that he comes from an African-American and Native-American background and that this song has rhythms as a sort of history of his family that touches on Mali, Senegal Gambia and The Ivory Coast and makes its way to the Caribbean, Cuba and into New Orleans.

He’s pleased to play the Tiny Desk Concert for an audience that appreciates “Music that has nutritional value.”

For the second song, “West of the West” he brings on a young alto-saxophonist who plays with his drummer in a different band. The song opens with a rocking electric guitar solo and then the jazzy band kicks in behind it.  The instrumental features a couple of solos by the saxophonist, the pianist and the bassist.

“K.K.P.D.” is a dramatic song for which he gives a lengthy back story.  Many years ago in his home of New Orleans, he was stopped by New Orleans police late at night for no reason other than to harass and intimidate him.  he was coming back from a gig.  He resisted and was in a serious situation and was seriously threatened—the story is long and very affecting, especially given how articulate (I know, terrible word, but true) and calm he is about retelling this horrifying story.  His pride almost made him do something ill-advised, but instead he channeled that pent-up frustration into a piece of music whose long-form title is “Ku Klux Police Department.”

He adds that we see things on TV about inner cities or the ninth ward and we believe them to be true.  Like that the neighborhood is happy that the police are clearing out the youth there.  We begin to think that the narrative is true, although the people who live there can tell you otherwise.  Despite the title and the origin, the is song is designed to reach a consensus to move forward –not to build derision or hate.  He says that we have to start working on that now, because if it doesn’t start now then our children will continue to inherit this situation.

It opens with a noisy guitar wash and fast drums.  It’s quite noisy and chaotic although it resolves very nicely into an almost sweet piano-based song with slow horns.  The middle of the song ramps up with some intense soloing from Christian.  I love how that segues into a very different section with an electronic drum and delicate piano.  Chritsian’s next solo is much more optimistic.  The final section is just wonderfully catchy.

When he introduces the band, he points out just how young some of his newest members are: Drummer Corey Fonville (another new member) used a djembe as a bass drum, and also brought a MIDI pad so he could emulate the sound of a drum machine; Lawrence Fields, piano; Kris Funn, bass; Dominic Minix , guitar (21 years old); Braxton Cook, saxophone (24 years-old) and Elena Pinderhughes, flute: 20 years old!

I don’t listen to a ton of jazz, but I really liked this Tiny Desk Concert a lot.

[READ: July-October 2016] The David Foster Wallace Reader

I’ve had this book since Sarah bought it for me for Christmas in 2014.  I haven’t been in a huge hurry to read it because I have read almost everything in it already.  And some of that I have even read recently.  But this summer I decided to read some of my bigger books, so this was a good time as any.

One of the fascinating things about reading this book is the excerpting in the fiction section.  I have never really read excerpts from DFWs longer books before.  And once you decontextualize the parts, you can really appreciate them for themselves rather than as a means to the end of the story.  This is especially true of the excerpts from Broom of the System and Infinite Jest.  But also just reading some of these sections as a short story makes for an interesting experience.

It was also very interesting to read the non-fiction all together like that.  These pieces come from difference anthologies, but they have thematic similarities  So, placing them together like that allows for really comparing the stories.

And of course, the selling point for most DFW fans is the teaching materials in the center of the book–an opportunity to look into the man’s mind at work shaping younger minds.

I have written about virtually everything in this book already (title links refer back to previous posts), so mostly these are thoughts about the pieces themselves and not a part of a whole. (more…)

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walrus marchSOUNDTRACK: GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR!-Yanqui U.X.O. [CST024] (2002).

GybeyanquiuxoYanqui UXO is a single CD/double vinyl release coming in at about 80 minutes.  The lineup stayed the same, but there were a few changes.  First the band’s exclamation point moved from the end to after the “You.”  And second, this album was produced by Steve Albini.  Albini seems like an odd choice given his stripped down style and often brutal recording sound.  The album still sounds a lot like GYBE, but they have stripped out all of the field recordings and interstitial parts making a much smoother album.

The recording was described by the band as “just raw, angry, dissonant, epic instrumental rock.”  It’s hard to argue with that.

There are four or five songs on the record depending on if you have the LP or CD.  The first two songs “09-15-00, Part 1” and “09-15-00, Part 2” are merged into one on the LP.  “Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls.”  And then “Motherfucker=Redeemer, Part 1” and “Motherfucker=Redeemer, Part 2” (the LP removes the “parts” from the title, and just has the song “continued” on side 4—it’s also 5 minutes longer on the LP, primarily from ambient sounds that begin the song.  The LP also contains a hidden track called  “George Bush Cut Up While Talking.”

“09-15-00, Part 1” is 16 minutes long.  It opens slowly with what sounds like a harpsichord playing a rhythm while an echoed guitar plays a slow melody.  More instruments are slowly added as the song grows more intense.  At around 4 and half minutes a new melody enters from the bass.  It is complex but doesn’t alter the general tone of the song.  The song goes almost entirely silent at 6 and a half minutes, but a new melody starts—soft one note strings start as guitars creep into the sound.  Then a violin begins a melody that the guitar soon echoes.  The full band plays along with this melody at around 9 minutes and it gets more intense as the drums pick up speed.  This all drops away once more except for a martial beat and a bass line.  A guitar plays a melody over this simple section and then it builds and builds until the last few violin notes squeak out.

“09-15-00, Part 2” is six minutes long and is probably the simplest and most beautiful piece they have recorded.  There’s no build up, no drama, it’s just a pretty song full of strings and guitars.

“Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls” opens with a simple three note guitar melody and violins playing over the top.  The strings get bigger and more prominent and the rest of the band starts filling in.  Around three and half minutes in, the song gets really raucous…until it settles down again.  The song builds again, with the violins taking prominence.  At about seven-minutes, the song changes drastically with a lengthy descending series of notes (on horns) leading to a spare drum beat which lasts over a minute before the horns come back in.  After a minute or so of solitary horn notes, some guitars start playing in the background.  By around 13 minutes ominous chords have developed, overshadowing nearly everything else—and that steady drumbeat certainly causes some tension.  By 16:30 the tension has been released and the chords are welcoming and bright.  The song seems like it ends around nineteen minutes in, but there’s a gentle string section coda tacked on at the end.

“Motherfucker=Redeemer, Part 1” opens with gentle ringing sounds like a child’s toy.  After about 2 minutes, guitars start coming in—one playing staccato notes another playing chords and a bass playing as simple pattern.  At 3 and a half minutes the main riff comes it.  It is played on the violin and has vaguely Jewish feel to it.  There aren’t a ton of changes in this song, which more or less just builds around the same riff.  By 7 minutes there’s a soaring violin solo which screams over the top of the song.  There are moments when the song gets louder and quieter but it definitely feels like all one song until about 10 minutes when it more or less slows to a halt.  There’s some slow violin sounds an a simple guitar.  This second part of the song is similar to the first in that it is a regular guitar riff playing as the rest of the band fills in around it.  At around 13 minutes, a bigger fuzzier guitar takes over the riff.  The song continues in various forms until the end, when it is just a bass line.

“Part 2” is only ten minutes long (15 on vinyl).  It opens with the strings providing washes of music.  A new, fairly complex bassline opens the song.  The band builds the track with fast drumming and louder and louder strings.  It shifts tone at around 4 minutes.  And for the next 3 minutes it gets more intense until it seems to fade out, introducing a new guitar riff that works almost like a coda to the whole thing.  The drums are insane for this ending part and the band seems like they are just going nuts as the song comes crashing to an end.  The extra five minutes on vinyl come at the beginning of the song.  It starts with voices singing some basic “ahhhs” and then a guitar playing a ringing note.  It does add to the tension that builds up before the music begins properly and really should be checked out if you’ve only heard the CD version.

“George Bush Cut Up While Talking” is 3 minutes of a George Bush address cut up (it sounds like it is a skipping CD) interspersed with clapping that sounds like static and a voice saying “it is the predominant question, why am I here and what can I do to make it better how can I do what is right.”  (There’s a disconcerting video of this here.)

I think this album is really fantastic.  And while I enjoy their found sounds, I prefer that they’re just playing music.

After making this album the band would go on hiatus for…ten years.  Here’s the line up for Yanqui.

  • Thierry Amar – bass guitar
  • David Bryant – electric guitar
  • Bruce Cawdron – drums
  • Aidan Girt – drums
  • Norsola Johnson – cello
  • Efrim Menuck – guitar
  • Mauro Pezzente – bass guitar
  • Roger Tellier-Craig – guitar [replaced Mike Moya]
  • Sophie Trudeau – violin

[READ: April 11, 2016] “”Where the Yazoo Cross the Yellow Dog””

This is an except from a story about Jimbo and Rob.  The opening details Jimbo’s (James) parents, which I rather enjoyed.  Particularly the details about his father–his daily “three and three-quarter minute boiled egg served in a brightly coloured egg cup” and this statement:

‘I view hot toast,’ he said in one of his rare communications, pointing to the solitary Hovie slice lodged cold in the silver toast rack, ‘as offensively American.’

I also loved the dogmatic qualities of his father

‘What?’ said the Major.  ‘What?”
Which was his usual response top any reply short of complete agreement or grovelling.

And

“Don’t say ‘haven’t got,'” said the Major.  “It is both redundant and ill-bred.  ‘Haven’t’ will suffice.”

But the story is really about Jimbo and his friend Rob Forde (that cannot be a coincidence).  Jimbo was a teenager affecting sophistication (he wanted a smoking jacket) and he and Rob looked through junk shops for cigarette cases and art books. (more…)

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