Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cynan Jones’ Category

SOUNDTRACK:

[READ: December 19, 2022] “Reindeer”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

Like we always do at this time: the Short Story Advent Calendar is back for 2022. We had such a great time last year working with our first-ever guest editor, the one and only Alberto Manguel. This year, however, we’re bringing things back to basics. No overarching theme or format, just 25 top-class short stories, selected in-house, by some of the best writers in North America and beyond. It’s December 17. Cynan Jones, author of Cove, hears those sleigh bells jingling.

This is the second story I’ve read by Cynan Jones and I seemed to have the same reaction. I didn’t expect to like it, but then really did and wanted it to be longer.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: GRUFF RHYS-Yr Atal Genhedlaeth (2005).

In honor of the author being from Wales and of me recently seeing Gruff Rhys in concert, this is a post about his debut solo album, Yr Atal Genhedlaeth.  The title is in Welsh, as id everything else.

If you don’t understand Welsh, as I don’t, Wikipedia gives us a guide line for the album which I’m going to trust.  There are 11 songs in just under a half an hour

  • Yr Atal Genhedlaeth [‘The Stuttering Generation’, but ‘atalgenhedlu’ is Welsh for a contraceptive] is 8 seconds of stuttering voices.  I feared the disc was broken when I put it on.
  • Gwn Mi Wn [‘I Know [that] I Know’, could also mean ‘a gun I know’, a reference to the battle in the song].  Gruff played this song live with two members on drums.  It’s a cacthy near-a capella song with just the drums and his voice.  He loops his voice here (and live) to make more and more harmonies of himself.
  • Epynt [named after a mountain in Mid Wales, but about money, with the ‘E’ standing for the Euro, and ‘pynt’ sounding similar to the Welsh word for Pound].  This song has a DIY punk feel–two chords, loud drums and chanted chorus Eh-pint, eh-pint.
  • Rhagluniaeth Ysgafn  [‘Light programming’, but ‘lluniaeth ysgafn’ means a light snack].  This song has an electronic drums and simple guitar chords.  Once again, it’s Gruff’s voice that carries the melody.  As with most of these songs, he makes a big song with very few elements.
  • Pwdin Ŵy 1 & 2 [literally ‘egg pudding’, means ‘”egg custard’, two love songs]  The first part is under 2 minutes with a slinky guitar and bass.  It’s fleshed out with all kinds of weird sound effects.  The second part (all of 3 minutes) is quieter, with just his guitar and voice and some quiet percussion.  The solo is either a melodica or harmonica, I can’t quite tell.
  • Y Gwybodusion [‘The Experts’] is a simple garage rocker.
  • Caerffosiaeth [literally ‘sewage fortress’. ‘Caer’ is a common part of Welsh place-names (for example, Caergybi), used to indicate that there was originally a castle or fortress in the town/city]  This is the strangest song on the disc–full of all manner of weird sound effects.  These effects accompany the simple (cowbell and drumbeat) electronic percussion that sets the tone for Rhys’ overlapping vocals.  This song sound the most like one you might try to insert English words into the Welsh that he is singing like maybe: “Blue-eyed fork, blue-eyed fork, I love your bag and your power torch.”
  • Ambell Waith [‘Sometimes’] opens with a pretty acoustic guitar melody as all manner of quiet sound effects skitter around in the background.
  • Ni Yw Y Byd – [‘We Are The World’] is not a cover of the charity song, it is an incredibly catchy folk song with a flute (piccolo?) solo.
  • Chwarae’n Troi’n Chwerw [‘When Play Turns Bitter’, from a Welsh proverb. A Welsh language standard originally written and sung by Caryl Parry-Jones].  This six-minute song starts quietly with just an acoustic guitar,  It starts to build and go a little faster when the drums come in. By four minutes, there’s cymbals and what feels like a full accompaniment.  The last minute or so is Gruff playing the banjo.

It’s a pretty album with pretty melodies and a splash of Gruff’s wackiness strewn about.

I don’t think you’ll learn any Welsh from this records but it is neat to think you can sing along with it without knowing what any of it means.

[READ: January 4, 2017] “The Edge of the Shoal”

I thought that this was going to be yet another story about a guy fishing–and how he and his father had bonded over fishing.  Because that is how it started.

He didn’t tell his wife where he was going–just left a note to make salad.  He assumed he would catch a fish, but his real reason for going out in the kayak was to disperse his father’s ashes into the water.  (I’m not exactly sure where this is set, but I assumed Europe–okay Cynan Jones is Welsh).

The narrator was still hearing his father’s voice as he cast out for the fish.  Frankly I was worried that this story was far too long if that’s all it was going to be about.

But then things take a very different turn. (more…)

Read Full Post »