Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Sofa’ Category

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…)

Read Full Post »

boothSOUNDTRACK: SOFA-New Era Building 7″ [CST001] (1997).

sofaSofa was a band that is notabkle for being the first band released on Constellation Records.  They had some releases before that but then guitarist Ian Ilavsky started Constealltion where they released their final 7″ and CD before disbanding.

This 7″ has two songs, “Canyon (Fade)” and “With It” which do not appear on their CD Grey.  if you know the band, these songs fit in perfectly with thie sound–low throbbing bass, noisy buzzy guitars and spoken/sung deep vocals.

“Canyon (Fade)” opens with tribal drum beats and a low rumbling bass (which reminds me a bit of early Cure and other goth bands), but with a bit of a heaver edge.  The singer has a deep speaking style of singing. I’m not really sure what he’s singing, but it adds a great tone to the song.  About midway through the song the guitar (which has been mostly scratchy and noisy) breaks out with some harsh feedback squalls that kind of overpower the song. But then the bass fights back.

Of the two songs, I prefer “With It.” The bass rumble is super cool, low and wicked sounding. And the drums a are bit more spare. The guitar is playing some occasional notes while the singer mumbles his way through whatever he’s talking about. It’s a totally atmospheric piece—you can just picture where this noir thing is happening.

Just before the chorus comes in, his voice gets louder, the guitars start squalling and feedbacking and a rather high pitched “withit” punctuates the noise, after which the deep voice seems to moan.  It’s pretty cool.

I really enjoyed how the bass doesn’t really change for the whole song except in a couple of places where it places a similar yet distinct bass line. It’s neat and changes the tone of the song briefly.  At 2 and a half minutes the song stops abruptly and then the guitar notes resume to get the song started again.  Groovy noise.

Shame the band disbanded.

[READ: February 6, 2015] Booth

Here’s another First Second book for February #10yearsof01.  And what better day to post a book about John Wilkes Booth?

I really didn’t know much about John Wilkes Booth except for the obvious–he shot Abraham Lincoln and shouted sic semper tyrannus.

Well, this book take a relatively sympathetic look at the life of the world’s most famous assassin.  This is not to say that the book endorses what Booth did or anything like that–no hate letters please.  It just looks at Booth as a human who had opinions and acted on them.

Thankfully, Colbert does not show Booth’s life in a vacuum so we get proper context for what he did and we also hear the opinions of the people who were also opposed to him.   But it is fascinating to see the things he believed and what forced him to act on his beliefs. (more…)

Read Full Post »

polinaSOUNDTRACK: SOFA-Grey [CST002] (1997).

greyIt’s not nice to compare bands to other bands, because it seems like they are copying the original. But since I just mentioned Slint the other day, I thought it worthwhile to mention Sofa today. They have similar sensibilities—noisy guitars, spoken/screamed vocals and a decidedly quiet feel.

I love the way this disc opens with the song “On/Off”—it has a simple bass with syncopated drums. And then the buizziest buzz saw guitar thrown in counterpoint notes. And then the singer comes in, sounding like Joy Division never went away.  The song builds into a cool noise and then backs off again. But song two, “CH. 2 Chi.” changes everything—a blistering punk song with super fast chaotic drums and fast vocals. The guitars are again punctuating rather than keeping melody. And when it plays the two high chords it adds incredible tension. “Monotone” begins a simple song of two notes (and some great noisy guitars). The vocals are less Joy Divison and more spoken punk. But each verse adds something new to the music, which gets more complex. “Current” has a more conventional post-rock sound—buzzy guitars and quiet vocals. It’s a good calming moment.

“80 000” has a slow menacing vibe. It builds a few times into some really noisy chaotic sections, where the guitars are willfully out of tune—and all the while the spoken word lyrics are quiet enough to make you lean in closer. “Red Lake” is another slow number (they could maybe have used a faster one by this point), but I really like the riff and the way the guitars play off of it. And there’s an actual hummable chorus too.

The fast noise comes back on “Comma” with a frenetic guitar line and pummeling bass. Even the stop/start of the chorus are frenetic. And when the song occasionally slows down, the guitars still punctuate with astonishing noise. “The Fence” opens with a cool bass riff and simple but interesting drums. “Travel” is a slow song that opens with just guitar notes and spoken/sung lyrics. I don’t care for these more atmospheric songs (especially when they push 6 minutes) but the band does it well. “Stress” follows this. This is the shortest song on the disc just under 3 minutes of furious mayhem. “Medicine Hat” ends the disc with another slower song, but this one has a lot of interesting components, like the bass and guitar line that interweaves throughout the song.

This was Constellation Records second release (Ian, who plays guitar, co-founded Constellation).  Sofa broke up around the time of this release, which is a shame as it was a good one. I’d like to hear more from them (they have some earlier records with unknown availability).

[READ: April 5, 2014] Polina

This was a simple and enjoyable graphic novel about a young ballerina who grows up in the world of ballet.  (I admit I was attracted to the title because I thought it might be about Olympic figure skater Polina Edmunds who I remembered primarily because the name Polina which was unusual to me–it is not about her).

It is a bout a fictional ballet dancer.  When we first meet young Polina, she looks so tiny in the back seat of the car as she is driven to class.  And her teacher, Mr Bojinsky looks like such a large man next to her–with his full beard and large hands.  He is an intimidating figure and all of the girls are afraid of him.  And yet, it is an honor to be even considered by him.

So when Polina unexpectedly gets chosen for his class, she is elated and fearful at the same time.  At first Bojinsky seems really mean and the way his hand more or less covers her whole chest as he gets her into place portended all kinds of things.  But rest assured, and perhaps this is a spoiler, but if is, it is one that I would like to know–nothing bad like that happens to Polina.  Phew. She is not molested, or raped or left dying in an alley. It’s not that kind of story.  Rather, it is the story of a young girl trying to make it as a dancer. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: SONG OF THE SILENT LAND (2004).

This is a compilation from Constellation Records.  It features mostly unreleased tracks and turns out to be a great sampler for both the fan of the label and the novice.

Since the label never had any “hits” per se, they couldn’t really release a “greatest hits” collection.  But they went the extra mile by selecting rare tracks rather than just a songs from their albums,.

It also belies the idea (put forth by me as well as many others) that Constellation had “a sound.”  While they have branched further afield since this collection was released, even prior to this you can see a lot of diversity.  From the epic instrumentals of Godspeed You Black Emperor, to the noise structures of Exhaust, to the sort of spoken word of 1-Speed Bike to the viola/bass duet of HangedUp.  This compilation contains one track from pretty much every artist on their roster from the (then) new artist Elizabeth Anka Vajagic to early bands Sofa.

The Do Make Say Think track, “Winter Hymn Winter Hymn Winter Hymn” is described as a condensation of the album of that name into 5 minutes, and I believe it is).  Many of the other artists’ tracks are remixed.  But the remixes aren’t dance remixes or dub versions, they are just remixed, usually by Efrim or one of the other Hotel2Tango individuals.

If you’re a fan of the label, hunt down this disc.  If you’re not familiar with the artists, this is a great place to start.  The bands’ tracks, even the remixes are representative of the bands.  So, you get a good sense of Exhaust, 1-Speed Bike, Fly Pan Am and HangedUp.  Although the real selling point is the live track by Godspeed You Black Emperor.  It’s not one of their “real” songs per se (as it is just an outro) but it’s a nice indicator of their live show (which was one of the best live shows I’ve seen).

[READ: December 18, 2009] Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro

I’m not sure how this book ended up in my house.  I was looking at a pile of graphic novels and there was this one.  I hadn’t really noticed it before and Sarah didn’t know anything about it, so…who knows.  Anyhow, I decided to just go ahead and read it.  It turned out to be my very first manga (awwww).  And it took me a few pages to understand the style at all.

Manga primer: First off it’s written right to left (so at first I wasn’t even sure where to start the book, as this one starts without a real “start”).  Then I realized that the 4-panel style means you read all four columns down on the right and then all four columns down on the left.  And, just to complete the culture shock, you read the speech balloons on the right of the panel before the ones on the left.  After about twenty or so pages it grew easier, and by the end it wasn’t an issue anymore.  But wow!

Oh, and for a little more confusion, there are occasional full color pages thrown in, but they aren’t chapter breaks or any special pages, they just seem to be in color.

So, anyhow, on to the story. (more…)

Read Full Post »