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Archive for the ‘Timber Timbre’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: TIMBER TIMBRE-Live at Massey Hall (July 8, 2014).

I’ve known about Timber Timbre for years but I seem to always get them mixed up with someone else .  I think of them as a dark synthy pop band, which is entirely false.  Their sound has been described as having “an aesthetic rooted in swampy, ragged blues” and “beautifully restrained blues from an alternate universe.”

Their music is cinematic and kind of spooky and their’s is the first of the Massey hall videos in which the stage is very dark.  It seems barely lit at all.

Taylor Kirk seems to be the main voice of the band (he sings as well).  He says he used to take the train to Massey Hall.  And says there is something that affords a big audience and intimacy at the same time.  He wonders what the band could possibly do after this.  He thinks it’s impossible that they sold it out.

“Grand Canyon” comes alive with washes of guitars and synths (Mathieu Charbonneau) and thumping drums (Olivier Fairfield) before Kirk speaks the lyrics:

From the Phoenix liftoff
Somewhere over Blackfoot reserve
High above Drumheller
Sky hostess starts to serve
Cloud shadows on the mountain
And our shadow on the mountainside
After Salt Lake City
I have time to close my eyes

The music is a soundscape with washes of atmosphere and some noisy feedbacking guitar from Simon Trotter.

Kirk says, “Welcome to the most exciting night of my entire life.”  He asks “Are you ready for this shit?” as the woozy echoing guitar chords open “Hot Dreams,” with the peculiar lyrics

I wanna dance, I wanna dance
I wanna dance with a black woman
It’s peculiar because it never returns to that idea in any way throughout the song
I wanna still, I wanna still
I wanna still my mind
And I wanna chance, I wanna chance
I want another chance
To distill
To distill that time
And I wanna write, I wanna write
I wanna write to someone so true
I wanna wake, I wanna wake
I wanna wake from hot dreams
Hot dreams of you
Oh hot dreams

There s a kind of Nick Cave vibe in his storytelling singing style the song stays pretty quiet until the guitar solo rings out.

“Bad Ritual” opens with moody guitars, a simple drum beat and noir piano and echoing guitars.  I love the way he sing/speaks the lyrics and the single piano note that echoes throughout the end of the song.

“Creep On Creepin’ On” sounds like an old 50 songs the way it starts, but with a more sinister keyboard spiking moments.  The lyrics are suitably disarming:

Oh, I buried my head in my hands
I buried my heart there in the sand
I was cocked, blocked, cured and charmed
I was ferociously put upon until it was clear
I should not keep on, I’ll just creep on creepin’ on

“Trouble Comes Knocking” ends the show with a slow, menacing riff with echoing synths sitting on top.  That jittery vibrating synth is there through all of the splashes of noise and menace that the echoing guitars provide.

It’s a pretty great set.  The band is really transportive live.

[READ: March 1, 2018] Otherworld

Segel and Miller’s first trilogy, Nightmares!, was terrific.  It was funny and exciting.  Frightening and yet safe enough for kids.  I absolutely loved the audiobook of it (and my daughter listens to it all the time).

I had forgotten that they were writing a new series and then I saw this book at the library.  I was curious if there was an audio book version, but I was so intrigued to read it that I didn’t even bother to look for one.  I also feel that I have Segel’s voice in my head pretty well at this point (and yet I still want to hear what he does with this collection–maybe I’ll listen to this book when the next book comes out).

In an interview with Segel and Miller they said that the biggest difference between writing a kids book and a YA book was that they didn’t have to censor themselves as much. That’s true here.  The language isn’t over the top, but there are a few four letter words thrown in.  The biggest difference is that since the main characters are teenagers, they talk about sex (a little) and the violence they experience is a bit more gruesome.  But otherwise it reads a lot like Nightmares did–a great combination of fast plotting and intriguing ideas mixed with some (dark) humor. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_05_12_14Chast.inddSOUNDTRACK: TIMBER TIMBRE-Tiny Desk Concert #355 (May 10, 2014).

timberI wanted to like this band because I think their name is very clever. But I just don’t enjoy this kind of slow song.  Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even given this a chance, but since I have embraced the Tindertsicks, I have a lot more patience from this kind of music, but I just can’t get into this—it’s way too slow and meandering for me.  They play three songs, “Hot Dreams,” “Run From Me,” and “Grand Canyon.”  The second song “Run For Your Life” has a mellow Elvis vibe (I don’t like Elvis either), and when they break into the staccato guitar chords it sounds like Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared” (Nope, don’t like Orbison either).  I do like the way it builds but it’s not enough to sell the song for me.  And when you get to the lyrics, I’ll just say that the world did not need another song in which the singer calmly says “Run from me, darlin’, you better run for your life.”

[READ: June 4, 2014] “The Fugitive”

I really loved this story by Ulitskaya (which was translated from the Russian by Bela Shayevich).  What I liked about it was that there wasn’t a lot of plot exactly, because it centered on the mind of the “fugitive” who is an artist in Communist Russia and is persecuted for his drawings.

As the story opens, the police have come to his house and question his wife.  They are there for Boris Ivanovich (yes, there is a problem for me with compound Russian names, but I found this was pretty easy to get through after a few pages) because he has made some drawings that put Communism in a bad light (letters made of bologna that spelled out “Glory to the Communist Party” with a price tag of 2 rub. 20 kop.

Once the police leave (he presents a document that gives him temporary safety), he flees Moscow to the distant village of Danilovy Gorki–a tiny settlement of five houses.  He stays with his friend and fellow artist Nikolai.  The country life is a novelty as he does all of the things that country folk do.  And he feels largely safe because he is far enough away from prying eyes.  He doesn’t even write to his wife for fear of giving himself away.  This also means that he can have wild sex with a woman who is visiting for the holidays–Anastasia (“She’s so educated.  But such a slut!”).  Eventually he tells his friend that he loves this life because it is so anti-Soviet, but the friend replies that it is not anti-Soviet, simply a-Soviet.  (more…)

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