Beyond The Stockade There Is Chaos And Nothingness
Thursday, July 31, 2003 Benthamometer: 9
Contintuing on the Smash Or Trash trail, which is maybe really boring, I don't know, but we have three vastly different genres and three monster talents in this episode. And we're getting to the end. Sort of.
Bill Frisell: The Intercontinentals
Courtesy Of: Robert H.
Smash. Another lukewarm Smash. See, I liked this record and all, but the word that kept going through my head as we were listening to these carefully crafted tracks was academic. He's assembled an international cast, each highly accomplished in their own right, and the blend of instrumentation and style makes for an undeniably unique sound. There are tracks that shine. But I have the same problem with this album as I did with The Magic Box by John Williams. I think John Williams is arguably the best classical guitar player today, and I love the fact that he did The Magic Box and there is stuff on there that blows me away. But it's a little too clean, a little too slick, and a little too, I don't know careful. Outside of some of his collaborations with John Zorn I'm not overly familiar with Bill Frisell, so I can't comment on how reflective The Intercontinentals is of his style. It doesn't deserve to be Trashed, but I also know that for me this is music for a certain mood.
Gillian Welch: Hell Among The Yearlings
Courtesy Of: Michelle & Sean
Smash! Gillian Welch got points right off for the title of this album. It's acoustic pop with a heavy mountain/folk flair, and Gillian's rich but clear-as-a-bell voice is compelling from the get-go. Her tunes are sweet and dark, and her laid-back, soothing delivery evokes dusty, rural summer afternoons. Again, this is an album for a particular mood, but it's a keeper.
Glen Gould: The Goldberg Variations (1955)
Courtesy Of: Leonard
Smash! OK, I've actually heard this before, but I didn't own it and I haven't heard it for a long time. I've also listened to some of the 1981 re-recording he did, and I can't really say which I like better. I know that come 1981 Gould wasn't nuts about his original recording and the difference that 26 years made in the approach he took to the work is about as stark as you can get. Gould had developed as a musician and in not so many words dismissed the first as shallow. I can't make that judgment. The 1955 recording is an amazing piece of work by a legend, and if he felt he improved on it that's great, but the original still stands as a classic.
As far as I know we have only three left, none of which are in our possession yet, so I'm going to have to start coming up with real entries again pretty soon. Alan Berks will hold that eventuality at bay for a little while, since he has written not one but TWO guest columns. And I'm on vacation starting next Wednesday. You would almost think I don't really need a vacation since I spend my days at work writing Smash Or Trash and movie reviews (oooh, I got some of those too) and fooling around on Live Journal, but I do. I really, really do.
Really. posted by [AOK] | 3:06 PM
Tuesday, July 29, 2003 Benthamometer: 11
Alan Berks, most excellent contest winner, is locked and loaded...
He seems to be a little confused, however, so it will go up when I hear back from him.
posted by [AOK] | 1:03 PM
Monday, July 28, 2003 Benthamometer: 11
For the second time, because naughty Blogger ate my post.
Ready for more Smash Or Trash? Let's get to it.
Mark Knopfler: Golden Heart
Courtesy Of: MG
Smash. I wish sometimes I allowed for a category between Smash and Trash, because this is one of those times I could really use it. There is no doubt that Mark Knopfler is a tremendously talented man. But I was never a Dire Straits fan, and his style tends to be a little more straightforward than I like. I can't quite Trash it, though. This 'travelling' album offers up a few gems and a variety of styles that allow me to hear the parts that interest me instead of letting it fade strictly into background noise. It might grow on me, and therefore is saved from the Trash heap.
Which is more than I can say for...
Spain: She Haunts My Dreams
Courtesy Of: Cole
Trash! I really didn't want to trash this album. Cole really didn't want me to trash this album. Cole, I'm sorry. If I were 15 and clinically depressed, this would be my favorite album. What I think sounds hypnotic to some sounds monotonous to me, and I can't get on board with Josh Haden's "oh miserable me" lyrics. I suppose it might get pulled from the stack now and again, but I dunno. I'm listening to it as I write this, and I've already heard it twice, and I still don't remember what the last song sounds like. That's never a positive quality for an album.
Oliver Mtukudzi: The Oliver Mtukudzi Collection (The Tuku Years):
Courtesy Of: Robert H.
Smash! Wow! This album is a compilation, but it is a collection of absolutely stunning musical accomplishment. Neria (featuring Steve Dyer, who has collaborated with Mtukudzi since 1998, on flute) is one of the most moving songs I have ever heard, and I don't even understand the lyrics. Infectious African rhythms, masterful songwriting and powerful energy and emotion leave no room for doubt as to why Oliver Mtukudzi is a legend in African music.
Interesting stuff. And, we've now officially run out of spaces for CDs on all of our various shelves with more on the way.
Can't complain. posted by [AOK] | 2:28 PM