Shimura Curves

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Some Records What I Bought

Signs that you are getting old, number one:

You go a hip, cool, indie record shop (OK, Rough Trade in Covent Garden) and you get so confused by the classification system (what genre is it? I don't know! Post Rock? Shoegazing? Tweelectronica? Avant-Finnish Experimentalism? I've not a clue! I don't know what label they're on! On what country they're from! I know the name of the band because I heard them at some club, and THAT IS ALL) that you run straight for the nearest HMV. I know they're evil, but you know what? Black Mountain were just under "B" where you would expect them to be.

Anyway, I was in a Bad Mood yesterday when I took them home to listen to them. So these thoughts may change.

Clearlake - Amber. Well, it's very dark, this one. Clearlake were always about miserablism fighting with hope, and the hope breaking through like cloudbursts in a sunset. Now the miserablism seems to have won. But I'm sure it will grow on me, as all Clearlake albums have grown on me.

Black Mountain - S/T. It took me about 3 songs before I just had to take it off again. I was expecting dark slabs of sheer sound. I got wibbling stoner dross that provides the best argument yet against the legalisation of cannabis.

The Knife - Silent Shout. I like The Knife, but this just grated and I had to take it off. The slowed down boy and sped up girl vocals just annoyed me. I shall listen to it again when I'm in a more silly bouncy mood. The 6 minute track about 4 songs in showed potential, but I was in too bad a mood to appreciate it.

Kate Bush - The Hounds of Love. Now I've had a long relationship with Kate Bush. I've HATED her for about 20 years. First off - I irrationally hate anyone with the same name as me. (See also that Moss twit.) Second - god, those annoying FACES she used to pull in her videos, that slightly stoned, one too many cups of chamomille tea expression with the over-wide eyes and the puffed out pouty lips. That annoying FISH HEAD DANCE she still does. (OK, when Kristin Hersch does the Fish Head Dance, it's cool. When Kate Bush does it, it's punchable.) Third - ARGH, ARGH, THAT GODDAMN HORRIBLE 80S LINNDRUM PROGRAMMING, ARGH, MAKE IT STOP, MAKE IT STOP!!!

However, in the mood I was in, this album was perfect. I was actually cooking for the first three songs so I couldn't really hear them over the hood fan, but once you get past the annoying, overplayed HITZ, this album descends into totally bonkers prog-folk-fairytale nonsense. It's GRATE!!! There's snatches of Celtic harmonies, choirs, is-that-the-cat noises, weird synths and haunted English country house tales of kelpies trapped under the ice and sailor-swallowing tempests and the sort of EVIL proper fairy tale (and I don't mean Disnified fairy tale) creatures that only exist in Arthur Rackham paintings.

I'm sorry. This review is 20 years late, but better late than never. Now my only problem is not to listen to it too *much* to the point where it starts to influence me or my work. That would be bad.

Engineers - S/T. Not what I was expecting, either. I saw them last year at Sonic Cathedrals and they absolutely flattenned us, a howling gale of guitar so dense that you could barely stand up straight in the onslaught. The album is quieter, for a start. Without the volume, you can actually hear the layering, the psychedelic texture and harmony. Thick and gooey like treacle pudding with custard, or mid period Pink Floyd. And I mean that in the best possible way.

I also bought:

Cocteau Twins - Lullabies to Violane, Volume 1. Because I missed the box set. And also, you don't really need the rubbish second disc, do you?

Right, that's my blogging done. I'm off to buy some PAISLEY SOCKS. Oh yes. My life will not be complete until I own a pair of PAISLEY SOCKS.


At 5:01 PM GMT, Blogger Catty said...

"Under Ice" actually scares me. I can't listen to it. That bit at the end when it all winds down and the sound of her voice trails away... eep.

"Hello Earth" reminds me of driving back from Glastonbury 98 crunched in the back of the car with Kris and Jane and Steve and watching the sun rise over Salisbury Plain. sigh.

I would love to cover "jig of life" as well but, well, um...

At 6:37 PM GMT, Blogger melanie said...

i too have a long relationship with kate bush. 20 years of love. she and elizabeth fraser have two of the most other-worldly beautiful haunting female voices i've ever heard. it makes me get all covered with chills and weep to hear her sing, she's so gorgeous.
i love kate partly because she's so strange, so many of her lyrics putting herself in totally unusual situations or other people's positions. the dreaming is actually my favorite record. a couple songs on there really lyrically hit home when i heard them in my teens and still strike a chord. i can't listen to "this women's work" without crying.

At 7:38 PM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

I don't know. I'm kind of glad in a way that I didn't come to appreciate her until now. I would have been unbearable as a teenage Kate Bush fan. :-P

At 3:34 PM GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh I had exactly the same Rough Trade experience when I was in London early March.

"The Dreaming" is my favourite KB album too.

At 3:34 PM GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Signed, OleM


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