Archive for the ‘Infinite Zombies’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: INFINITE JEST-“Determinism, But I Mean It When I Say It” and more (2012).

I admit I didn’t know this band existed until I Googled Infinite Jest music about five minutes ago, because, yes, I wanted to put a thematic song here.  Imagine my surprise that there’s a band called Infinite Jest (and that they are based in Boston).

Infinite Jest are an electronic duo (their site says they specialize in live shows with mind-bending visuals).  All of their songs are available for download on their site.  I picked this one because I liked the title (I was honestly hoping for a song title or two that referenced the book, but alas).

All of the music is electronic, but it’s not bass-heavy dance style–it’s more spacey electronic (the kind that I like).  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the genre, but i like it from time to time and most of this stuff is pretty cool. I rather prefer the instrumentals, although some of the songs with processed and autotuned vocals are okay.  The track “Fuck” uses a sample of a scream which I would have guessed was Trent Reznor, but I assume anyone can scream like that.  They’ve even made a video for their song “Cuddling.”  Like Infinite Boston it shows scenes from around Boston, only set to music.  You can hear and see it all at their website .

[VIEWED: July 2012] Infinite Boston

For fans of Infinite Jest, William Beutler has created a very exciting project: Infinite Boston.

Infinite Jest is set in the Boston Area, specifically in Enfield, a fictional town that is located around Allston and Brighton, MA.  Many people have taken photos of interesting locations (fictional and otherwise) in the Brighton area, but none have approached this task with the steely-eyed determination of Beutler. (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: Week of September 6] Ulysses

This week I almost finished Episode 15.  I’ve just finished where Bella turns into Bello and things get really weird.  And I have to say that this Episode, for all of its craziness, is masterfully handled by Donal Donnelly.  I’ve already raved about his vocal stylings in the earlier chapters, dealing with so many different men.  But in this chapter he proves to be very dextrous at male and female voices, with a very delicate voice for some and an incredibly masculine woman’s voice for Bello (very well done indeed).  He has also proven himself to be a treat with sound effects (of which there are many here).  I won’t say for certain that it makes this insane Episode a lot clearer, but it certainly makes it easier to follow.

Back to Episode 13. The Gertie section is written in a style that is supposed to be romantic, very quick and flowy.  And Donal really nails it.   After the business of Episode 12, the lightness of 13 is wonderful, and it really brings to life the scene, especially when the rockets go off.

One thing I picked up this time is that Bloom assumes that he knows exactly when Blazes and Molly consummated their affair.  Even re-reading it now, it wasn’t quite as clear as the way he read it aloud:

Funny my watch stopped at half past four. Dust. Shark liver oil they use to clean could do it myself. Save. Was that just when he, she?
O, he did. Into her. She did. Done.

So, yes I suppose it’s obvious, but sometimes reading along you just don’t pick things up.  And it took the way he read it for me to realize just what those short sentences meant. (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: Week of August 30, 2010] Ulysses

While I was reading Ulysses for the group read at Infinite Zombies, I thought it would be (more) enjoyable to listen to the book.  So much of the book is, if not musical, at least euphonious [since I’m talking Ulysses, I’m throwing in big words, eh?].

Nevertheless, when you receive the Ulysses box from another library and you see that it is FORTY discs, and the running time is over 40 hours, it’s a bit daunting.   When you start reading a book you have a vague sense of how long it will take you, but you never see it written so starkly: 40 hours.  Jaysus wept.

I’m almost 20 hours into the book now, so I’m going to mention things up to Episode 12. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SINÉAD O’CONNOR-The Lion and the Cobra (1987).

I was tempted to say that this album came before all of the controversy.  But then, she’s always had controversy around her.  Just the fact that she had her head shaved was enough to incite some people to alarm (not to mention, we never received this more fierce looking album cover).

But before all of the success of “Nothing Compared 2 U,” she released this amazing, empassioned debut album.

I’ve no idea what the first track is about, but there’s something about her voice on the “oh’s” in particular that still gives me chills.  “Mandinka” has a great guitar sound (seemingly destined for hit radio) that seems very out of place on this disc (again, I’m lost on the lyrics here, too).

The album comes into its own with the really odd but delightful “Jerusalem.”  Musically it’s got a sort of funk base which resolves itself into a very winning chorus.  And, once again, her voice sounds otherworldly.  It’s followed by the largely acoustic “Just Like U Said it Would B” (Prince fan much?).  It’s a  fairly simple song (with interesting arrangement–I like the flute) that builds to a strong climax.

“Never Get Old” opens with some spoken Irish (and features future star Enya), but it’s “Troy” that is the absolute breakthrough on this disc.  From the occasionall string swells, to the eerie silences to the incredible heights that she reaches (and the notes that she can hold) it’s really tremendous.

“I Want Your Hands on Me” seems like another grab for a single.  The single version featured a bizarre little rap from MC Lyte.  In the pantheon of silly rap lyrics, I’ve alwys kept this near the top: “I’m not the kind of girl to put on a show coz when I say no, yo I mean no.”  Sentiment and good intentions aside, it’s very clumsy.   Not my favoite track.

The final two, “Drink Before the War” and “Just Call Me Joe” are interesting denouements after the pop of “Hands.”  “Drink is a slow paced, somewhat quiet track, until the chorus really blasts off.  And “Joe” sounds like a demo: a raw electric guitar, cranked way up (but mixed quietly) accompanying Sinéad’s instructions to just call her Joe.

In some ways this album is less subtle, and by that reckoning, less sophisticated, than the bajillion-selling follow up, but I find the naked passion on this disc to be even more amazing.

[READ: Week of August 30, 2010] Ulysses: Episodes 18

The final chapter of Ulysses is all about Molly.  It enters her head and doesn’t leave.  It doesn’t even pause for punctuation (there’s none in the entire chapter except for the final period).  There are paragraph breaks, which means that there are eight sentences in total.

The Episode is crass and sexual, beautiful and moving, personal and insightful and it seems incredibly forward thinking coming from a male writer.  And although it gets a lot more press as a stream of consciouness piece, it’s not that far removed from Stephen’s or Bloom’s pieces, [except that she doesn’t actually intearct with anyone to interrupt her thoughts].

The Epsiode reflects upon what we’ve learned in the day.  It inadvenrtanetly corrects some misperceptions (regarding Molly’s past infidelities–she didn’t have any–), but it also shows some pretty poor judgments on Molly’s part (mostly regarding Stephen).  And there’s just so much going on in the episode that it’s hard to catalog it all.   But it is certainly full of a lot of sexual thoughts. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: A HOUSE-I am the Greatest (1991).

A House were a Dublin band that released a number of great songs and a few good albums from the mid 1980’s until the late 1990s.  I loved A House (but never knew whether to file them under A or H).  They were a smart, often sarcastic, occasionally poppy college rock band who played dissonant songs more often than not and wrote lyrics which could be off-putting more often than not, but which, in the right mind frame, were simply, as the album says, the greatest.

It opens with a nice jangly guitar which is quickly interrupted by a strange feedback sound and Dave Couse’s somewhat unsettling voice.  And he gives a litany of things about which he does not care, but mostly because nobody else does.  It’s followed by the sweet tender ballad “Too Young.”  The next track was the single, of all things.  “Endless Art” a simple riff which name checks dozens of dead artists that bridges with Beethoven’s Fifth.  It gets tedious after about 200 listens, but since I haven’t heard it in a while, I found myself really grooving to it again.

In keeping with the “let ’em guess” attitude of the disc, the next song is a plaintive moan of longing called “When I First Saw You.”  I’m fairly certain he’s singing out of tune for the whole track.

“Take It Easy on Me” opens with a great wah-wah’d guitar sound that should have been a left-field hit like The Flaming Lips had.  But it’s their simple acoustic songs that pack the most punch like “I am Afraid.”  It’s followed by what sounds like a Tindersticks song, until Couse’s voice kicks in, and we get a great questioning song about religion called “Blind Faith”.

He seems back to his old tricks on “I Lied” (“When I said that I loved you, I lied.”) Then the full band kicks in (with great harmonies) “When I said, when I vowed, I don’t love you anymore, I lied.  I adore you!”

The rest of the songs play with this formula: off kilter yet poppy, harmonies on top of dissonant leads.  The pace never slackens, and the albums stays strong through the brilliant final track, “I am the Greatest” (a spoken word folk track that is all smackdown which devolves into a bunch of blokes shouting “I am!”).

Check out the fantastic stop motion video for “Endless Art” on YouTube, and let me know if you can find a version that’s better than this one.

[READ: Week of August 23, 2010] Ulysses: Episodes 16-17

Nearing the end of the book, still recuperating from the insanity of the Circe episode, we get two episodes that are considerably mellower.  I enjoyed the beginning of Episode 16, but felt a little at sea when it was hijacked by the sailor.  Episode 17 on the other hand is definitely my favorite.  Even though I love the surrealism of Circe, there’s something about the catechism of Episode 17, with its question and answer format–its own sort of surrealism–that I find fascinating, funny and surprisingly informative.  It fills in a ton of details that were left out of the beginning (or that were hidden) and yet still retains a bizarre stream of consciousness. It also offers incredible insight into the man who is Leopold Bloom. (more…)

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The Young Dubliners are not really a trad Irish band.  They play a sort of folk rock in the vein of The Waterboys (anthemic rock that soars and soars).

I believe I bought this on the basis of their awesome cover of “Rocky Road to Dublin” which is somewhat traditional in the beginning but which bursts into a rollicking, punky good time.

The rest of the tracks are okay.  None of them are all that memorable, but neither are they terrible.  Although I’m just reading that “Last House on the Street” was a radio hit.  They’ve toured with Collective Soul, which should tell you a lot about their sound.

They’ve released a number of albums since this ep, including one in 2009, but I pretty much still only like “Rocky Road to Dublin.”  I’ll bet they are fun live, though.

[READ: Week of August 9, 2010] Ulysses: Episodes 13-14

Only two episodes this week, but man, that second one killed me.  Pages and pages unbroken by paragraphs.  Paragraphs and paragraphs about heaven knows what.  Holy cow! Sure and begorrah!

Episode 13, however, was a treat.  It was sweet and tender and beautiful and vivacious and lascivious and sexy and dirty and and and ahhhhh. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BLACK 47-ep (1992).

The name Black 47 comes from the Irish famine (and it’s mentioned in Episode 12 of Ulysses.  I saw Black 47 on tour in Boston just before this EP came out.  They played a fantastic live set and had a ton of energy.  I was really excited to ge the EP.  And I liked it very much.

Then I got a new roommate who was from Ireland, staying in the US for school.  And man did he hate Black 47.  He hated the “fiddle dee diddle dee” and the “Bridie!” and oh so much about the band.   And now when I listen to it I hear all of his complaints and I like the disc a bit less.

It’s true, the single “Funky Ceili” is pretty over the top with the Irishyness, and having a chorus of fiddle dee diddle dee didley dee is kind of obnoxious.  But the song still stands pretty strong.

I am much more taken with “James Connolly” a rousing rocker with historical awareness.  I can do without the over-earnest bit about “Lily” but the rest is pretty great.

Overall the disc has a bit too much in the wailing saxophone department.  I don’t dislike the saxophone in general, but there’s a bit too much of it on here.  Larry Kirwan’s voice tends to veer into some weird whiny territory (once or twice I thought he sounded like Robert Smith), but his main singing voice is just fine, especially when he’s rocking out.

The band is still playing today and in fact released an album this year, although I haven’t listened to them much since the 90s.

[READ: Week of August 2, 2010] Ulysses: Episodes 10-12

Much like last week’s reading I really didn’t enjoy this week’s very much on the first read through.  On my second skim through the chapters, I got a lot more out of it.  It feels like there’s a lot of “noise” in the chapters–he’s including little bits of everything–but if you can cut through the chatter, you can find the meat.

Episode 10, which was from many different perspectives, was a nice break in the stream of consciousness.  But Episode 11 was a dry slog about music and Episode 12, while often kind of funny was (I assume deliberately) long-winded with many man lists and all kinds of esoterica about Ireland. (more…)

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