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Archive for the ‘Dick Hyman’ Category

nola2SOUNDTRACK: BECK-Odelay! (1996)

220px-OdelayAfter the success of Mellow Gold (and those other releases) we didn’t hear from Beck for a while (there’s a joke about the title of this record referring to the delays in production).

Beck quickly went from one hit wonder to wunderkind with this release which had 5 singles and is generally considered a masterpiece of the 1990s.

I haven’t listened to it in a long time, and I was surprised to hear that “Where’s It’s At” is not the lead track (it’s actually #8).  Rather it’s “Devil’s Haircut” that opens the disc.  And it still sounds fresh and fun (and, it must be said, rather weird–the guitar solo and that screaming at the end are not typical “single” material.  “Hotwax” returns Beck to his folkier roots.  Although it is folk done Beck-style, with funk keyboards and rapped lyrics.  There’s a ton of interesting styles of music in the background (old timey pianos, distorted guitars, even a weird little trippy ending).  While not trying to ape “Loser” at all, there are even lyrics in Spanish.  It’s a simple song that might have been a hit if there weren’t so many other hit-worthy songs on the disc.  “Lord Only Knows” is a fairly conventional song, catchy and simple.

“The New Pollution” was another single.  It’s also pretty unusual for a single–the opening samples (it must be a sample, even though I don’t see credits for it) an old sounding do do, do do do vocal line, (the listed sample is the sax solo from Joe Thomas’ “Venus.”  It’s so hard to know what’s original and what’s sampled with Beck.  “Derelict” is a slow, unusual song which I quite like, although I can see it being the first song on the disc that people didn’t love.  The backing music sounds like it’s played on an old music box.

“Novacane” is a funky rap-style track.  It’s noisy but fun and has some great samples.  “Jack-Ass” was another single.  I especially like this song.  It’s a slow and fairly conventional song with s simple melody and Beck’s mellow vocals–it cuts through the clutter of Beck’s usual cacophony and shows that he can do simple as well (and hints at Mutations).  Even if he does throw in the donkey sounds at the end.  And then there’s 2 turntables and a microphone.

“Minus” has a big noisy bass and guitar–a punk song, if you will.  “Sissyneck” has a great whistling opening which comes from “The Moog and Me” by Dick Hyman.  I really enjoy this country-infused number (it’s strange that I enjoy the less weird songs more, given that the other singles were so much bigger) .  “Readymade” is a slow meandering song with some interesting elements, although it’s probably my least favorite song on the disc.  Especially since it’s followed by the raucous “High 5 (Rock the Catskills), which has some great samples (including Shubert), a noisy chorus (“rocking the plastic like a man from a casket”) and (apparently) a recreation of some old rap (I love the “Ooh, La La Sassoon” and “Sergio Valenti” call outs).

The disc ends with “Ramshackle” a simple folk song that feel slightly out of tune.  It’s a mellow end to this all over the place disc (well, aside from the obligatory “bonus” track which is less than a minute of repeated noise).  Although it is well-known for its sampling and pop creations, it also shows the real diversity of Beck’s songwriting.

Check out the Moog and Me, which has Dick Hyman playing the Moog synthesizer and whistling along.

[READ: March 9, 2014] Nolas’ Worlds #2

Nola’s World is a three-part graphic novel series.  I just noticed in this book that it was originally (in French) called Alta Donna.  This book was translated very naturally by Erica Olson Jeffrey and Carol Klio Burrell.

The book picks up right where book one left off.  Nola is wondering why, after the crazy events at the end book one (which involve a roller coaster and aliens) Damiano hasn’t called or texted her and Pumpkin can’t remember anything that happened.

I felt like the beginning of the book was a little too pre-teen angsty for me, but it quickly snapped out of it and moved on the to fun and weirdness that this series presents in spades. We basically learn that Damiano and Inez are avoiding Nola because she can’t know their secret.  We also learn (and I guess we knew this already but I missed it) that the man controlling the aliens at the end of book one is Nola’s father. –WHAT??! (more…)

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