I could have held onto your Pärt

My Peeling has gone far better than I expected. This is terribly out of date now, as I’ve found the fields outside my comfort zone far more fertile than expected, but for what it’s worth—and for closure—here it is. Go out and buy music, people.

  • dragNet, by The Fall

    An early album, with a claustrophobic feel. Sinister undercurrents are hidden by a knockabout lyrical humour. It’s a psychogeographical album, trying to touch the modern version of ley lines; ley lines, I suppose. It over-reaches occasionally: The Dice Man is a nice enough song but as a book it was the sort of book read by people who don’t read books but go on a lot about The Dice Man. Still, we were all 22 once, and even at that age Mark E Smith showed a genius I’d kill for. They’ve made nearly eighty other albums, and part of me wants to buy them all.

  • Cell-Scape, by Melt Banana

    Notoriously difficult to listen to, Melt Banana have allegedly tried harder than usual to make recognisable songs on this album. I’m not sure if it shows. Some bits and pieces are catchy, though, and the relentlessness of crashing, racing drums shouted over by a Japanese chipmunk gives one a sort of high after a while, disconnecting the brain from the ears and at the same time the body. It’s more visceral in some ways than a lot of normal metal, which just seems dirty and smelly in comparison. Melt Banana: treating the brain as viscera. They can have that one if they want, for free.

  • Tabula Rasa, by Arvo Pärt

    I don’t really have the vocabulary to give classical music the treatment it deserves (some might say this is hardly restricted to classical music). With that in mind, I will plough on regardless. Tabula Rasa, along with Canto in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, Summa, Fratres and other bits on this compilation, are easily adoptable as classical-pop. They probably all feature in their fair share of adverts, but this apparent openness allows them to brood undetected. Pärt’s music burns slowly, building powerful melodies from very simple components: a beautiful note is often considered worth sustaining, at the apparent expense of the others waiting to follow it. On the whole it’s worth the mental gymnastics needed to strip it of its stripped-down sham, but if you’re not in the mood then this will all too easily become the background music it apes.

CRB once chastised me, reasonably so I suppose, when I felt withdrawal symptoms owing to having bought no recently released albums for months. Surfing the crest of the new wave, as rgl seems happy to do, I’ve always found a little stressful; being able to justify the acquisition of the above to my neophilic soul has felt terribly freeing. To take that deep breath and let go…. Goodbye, indie kid.

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