Monday, April 14, 2008

Music is a drug

At least, the endorphin receptors in my head are still buzzing madly almost an hour after the encore ended. I kind of lost touch with Oysterband back in the early nineties, when they decided no one was listening to their lyrics anyway so they might as well just have fun and do covers of I Fought the Law. Except I was damn well listening to their lyrics, and their music, and I always thought I Fought the Law blew goats. So I went away.

But evidently that was just a phase, because I just saw them and it was the best fucking concert I've been to in years. The mix and the acoustics were as clean as a studio recording, except they were right there, live, in front of our table. The new tunes were great, the old ones lovingly rendered, and even the cover they did sneak in — the ancient traditional John Barleycorn — was an electric revelation in close harmony with massive percussion.

I tell you, the UK grows the best groups...

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Rakiah said...

Have you tried The Mars Volta, especially "De-Loused in the Comatorium" and "Frances the Mute"

I think it would kinda gel with your Jethro Tull, BOC tendencies...

Don't expect to understand what the fuck Cedric is singing about though...I don't even think he knows.

Actually, when I was plowing through Blindsight and the Rifters Trilogy, mostly during my Tel Aviv to Jerusalem work commute, I was also in a The Mars Volta kick, and I thought there was a great atmospheric symbiosis between the music and texts.

Definitely think about them doing the musical score for Blindsight, the movie...

And how about your fellow Canadian David Cronenberg as Director?

April 14, 2008 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger Michael Grosberg said...

rakiah:
It's a nice surprise to see A fellow Watts fan - who is also a fellow Mars Volta fan - and is also from Israel. What are the odds?

April 14, 2008 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger HannuB said...

Hey Peter, nice to know I'm not the only Oysterband fan still in existence. Saw them live couple of times in the early 90's and they kicked ass. Even met Ian Telfer and John Jones couple of times as well (drank beer with them in a pub in Helsinki. I remember them being slightly hangoverish at the time).

And yes, they still make cool music, their new album "Meet You There" is definitely worth checking out.

-Hannu

April 14, 2008 at 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We used to produce good bands in UK but now all we seem to be able to release is tepid guitar music with fauz regional accent vocals. sickening.

but thinking about music for science fiction:

my personal choices for the rifters triology were originally "endless summer" and "venice" by christian fennesz. These are both excellent pop-drone electronica records with the former being slightly harsher and the latter very lush and have a very celebratory apocalyptic feel to them. like sitting through a social collapse being able to hear those final radio signals and electronic chatter fading into history and not being at all worried about it (i cant remember the author, but the endless summer record is the perfect soundtrack to the apoclypse beach short that is linked to through this site.) The track cicassian from venice is the perfect partner to the final moments in the CSIRA building after Desjardins death. A reccent re-reading of the triology accompanied by the newly released Fuck Buttons album Street Horrrrrsing was also suitably atmospheric (the "okay lets talk about magic" track easily substitutes for the above mentionned circassion track).

for blindsight there is nothing better than "avec laudenum", "the ballested orchestra" or in particular "per aspera ad astra" by stars of the lid. all are very minimal and sparse but very capable of convey emotion. From the fist raisingly triumphant "music from twin peaks episode #30" (possibly one to skip when reading watts) to utter bleakness found on the majority of the per aspera record. Which always accompanies theseus lonely burn into the void or siri's unpowered fall back in system very well.

as the above suggests, peter is right music is a drug and i'm like the broken heorin addict you see on the street corner mugging you for my next fix. as an aside to post docing i run a small record label, promotions collective and play in band, but i have nothing to do with any of the musicians i am whoring above so this aint commision work! they are just good records and i will happyily provide any one interested with copies! shame that the production of vinyl is proptionally one of the most polluting industries on the planet!

im having to post this anon. as for some reason i cant log in. im gene ive posted here occasionally. not that it matters!

April 14, 2008 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Mac said...

Have you kept up with R.E.M.? (I recall that you're a "Fables of the Reconstruction" fan.)

Their brand-new one, "Accelerate," is pretty damned good.

April 14, 2008 at 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Cliff Burns said...

A rare night out for me in the first week of May--this notorious recluse is going in to Saskatoon with a pal to see Queens of the Stone Age. So far, this guy and I have yet to see a bad concert together: Tool, the Pixies, Pearl Jam, Buddy Guy...Christ we've had good luck. I'm hoping the Queens won't let us down. Rather small venue so my head should be ringing like a fucking bell by the time the concert's over.

For those about to rock, we salute you...

April 14, 2008 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Derryl Murphy said...

Even though "I Fought the Law" is not what they should be doing, my friend Randy Reichardt performed that song with them on stage some years ago (among others). The day rocked, let me assure you.

Interesting to know that you and I didn't know we were each fans of the band. Your fault for living so far away.

D

April 14, 2008 at 7:03 PM  
OpenID tredecimal said...

cosign on Anon.Gene's recommendations of Fennesz and Stars of the Lid. I have indeed listened to both while reading a Rifters book. Anything else is way too busy. I can't imagine rock music with that stuff. In the same vein, Gas, as in Wolfgang Voigt on Mille Plateaux, was good while reading Blindsight. His "konigsforst" and self titled album are colder and emptier than wherever the First and Second Waves are now.

April 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM  
Anonymous rakiah said...

Had a listen to some "Stars of the Lid". Interesting stuff as background music, mood or meditative. Be good for the stark deep space scenes. But if I am going to listen to something of that sort, I would maybe go with Autechre or something...maybe that is just because of my ADHD tendencies...I need chaos and sensory overload in order to feel calm...

@ Michael Grosberg: "... also from Israel. What are the odds?"

K'nireh, its because, being in Israel, we already live in a post apocalyptic surveillance-happy dystopia run by a class of military/corporate hacks using our neighbors and their land as testing ground guinea pigs (and shop floor promotion) for our latest military techno-gadgetry.

We feel at home in Peter's worlds.

April 16, 2008 at 3:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

listen to stars of the lid LOUD on headphones. utterly numbing.

i really want to get the new autechre album some really good stuff comng out of warp at the moment. i.e the new clark album

April 16, 2008 at 5:51 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Rakiah said...

Have you tried The Mars Volta, especially "De-Loused in the Comatorium" and "Frances the Mute" I think it would kinda gel with your Jethro Tull, BOC tendencies...

Never heard of these guys. But I'll head right over to B/i/t/T/o/r/r/e/n/t my legally-sanctioned purveyor of commercial entertainment media.

And how about your fellow Canadian David Cronenberg as Director?

I could do a lot worse. Cronenberg's done some fine stuff in his day. Although I worry he might make my characters a bit too weird...

Michael Grosberg said...

rakiah: It's a nice surprise to see A fellow Watts fan - who is also a fellow Mars Volta fan - and is also from Israel. What are the odds?

Hey, I've got an odds question for both of you: what are the odds that one of you two was the blogger in Israel who described me, a few years back, as a refugee from an eighties boy band on account of my haircut? Rakiah? Mike? Anyone?

(Granted, that classification lumped me in with Neil Gaiman, so the company wasn't bad...) wasn't all bad.

HannuB said...

Hey Peter, nice to know I'm not the only Oysterband fan still in existence. Saw them live couple of times in the early 90's and they kicked ass. Even met Ian Telfer and John Jones couple of times as well (drank beer with them in a pub in Helsinki. I remember them being slightly hangoverish at the time).

They brought their instruments down off the stage and serenaded the lady at the head of our table for an acoustic number or two. You don't want to know what the spikey bit at the end of the cello ended up braced against.

And yes, they still make cool music, their new album "Meet You There" is definitely worth checking out.

I bought it on sight — and you know, while it is a fine album, their live performaces of the same tracks rocked a lot harder. What this tour needs is a bootleg CD.

Gene (aka Anonymous) said...

my personal choices for the rifters triology were originally "endless summer" and "venice" by christian fennesz...

OK, you had me scared for a second there. Over on this side of the Atlantic, when you say "Endless Summer" the brain thinks "Beach Boys" And, most emphatically, no. But this stuff you describe sounds pretty cool. Might even work as background noise while I'm writing. I'll have to check them out too. (Incidentally, the tune I always saw as the Starfish theme song was Sarah MacLachlan's "Obsession".)

A reccent re-reading of the triology accompanied by the newly released Fuck Buttons album Street Horrrrrsing was also suitably atmospheric ...

If not for Google, I would have simply assumed you were making that name up.

shame that the production of vinyl is proptionally one of the most polluting industries on the planet!

Hey, try the publishing industry. No friend of trees is gonna be happy with the ubiquitous rip-and-return policy on which the whole fucking thing is based...

Mac said...

Have you kept up with R.E.M.? (I recall that you're a "Fables of the Reconstruction" fan.)

Kind of lost touch with them after "Reveal", which had a disturbingly Burt-Bacharach-like track on it. Saw them perform on Colbert recently, though. They seem to have their groove back.

BTW, this latest Oysterband album has a couple of pretty REMmian tracks.

April 16, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Rakiah said...

@Peter: But I'll head right over to B/i/t/T/o/r/r/e/n/t my legally-sanctioned purveyor of commercial entertainment media.

How would you feel if people just went to a website and downloaded and read your books without paying...??!!!

Oh yah....wait...oops...nevermind... ;-)

By the way, I forgot to mention The Mars Volta album "Amputechture," which is also quite good. Actually, their only album I didn't find so up to par (and it is good, but not as...) is their latest "The Bedlam in Goliath," which could be that it os just because it is new and needs some time, but I am not sure...

as to: a refugee from an eighties boy band

No, wished I had said it, but it wasn't me. I am the one who wrote you an email begging you to find a way that I could pay you for what you were giving away for free...

April 16, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
OpenID tredecimal said...

Peter, the Fennesz record being named "endless summer" is no coincidence. He also did 'covers' of "don't talk/put your head on my shoulder" by the Beach Boys and "paint it black" by the Stones. Of course, 'cover' in this sense is used in the loosest sense of the word. It's more like he takes the last seconds of decaying chords and then processes the living shit out of them with Supercollider or something similar.

Rakiah- big Autechre fan here myself. Just saw them in Seattle last Monday. I can't read stuff while listening to them, except maybe the beatless tracks on Tri Repetae or the new one on Quaristice (which sounds a bit like Coil to these ears).

Now that I think of it, "bnc castl"
would be good Rorschach-exploring music...

April 16, 2008 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger TonyC said...

If you like British bands with leftie sympathies then may I suggest "The Men They Couldn't Hang"?

April 16, 2008 at 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hah
now all i can imagine when i think about blindsight is the crew of theseus exploring the rorschach listenning to good vibrations.
although that could be really eerie actually. the track ghosting in and out under interferance from the ship. Distorted and thinned out by suit comms. I dont know what i'm more afraid of rorschach or the beach boys. tough call.

April 18, 2008 at 6:05 AM  
OpenID tredecimal said...

Dunno if anyone reads these so long after expectoration date, but anyways, I took a whack at soundtracking a recce into Rorschach, or maybe just the aftermath of such a session. You can hear it here.
Give it a second, it changes, like Rorschach. And Peter, if you think it sucks, hey, next time around I'll get a flautist.

May 10, 2008 at 7:10 PM  

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