Archive for the ‘E.M. Forster’ Category

SOUNDTRACKMOGWAI-No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew) (1998).

This is a 3 song EP. The opener “Xmas Stripes” is one of my favorite early Mogwai songs.  The opening melody is really great, with a cool interesting bass and a nice guitar over the top.  At about 3:30 the song grows from a silent track to a menacing, growing beast until the drums start and the song and the main riff begins.  By 5 minutes it’s all out rock noise.  By 6 minutes the song is scaled back for the violin solo.  The remaining 7 (!) minutes are a denouement for the song.  Even though I love the track, I mostly love the first 8 or 9 minutes.  The ending tends to drag a bit.

But for all of their noise, Mogwai’s early releases were really quieter instrumentals, meditative songs that were really quite pretty.  “Rollerball” is a beautiful, sad three-minute track.

The last song “Small Children in the Background” continues in this quieter vein.  At nearly 7 minutes, it allows for a noisy middle section.  This noisy section is indeed mostly noise.  And yet the pretty melody of the rest of the track is just as loud throughout the mix, making for a very cool and very brief explosion mid-song.

Not all EPs are essential, but this one is pretty fantastic.  And I have Lar to thank for getting it for me.

[READ: March 10, 2011] Changing My Mind

It’s funny to me when that when I get into an author, I seem to wind up not reading the books that people most talk about until much later.  Take Zadie Smith.  Her debut, White Teeth, is something of a touchstone for many readers.  I missed it when it came out, but I loved On Beauty and figured I’d go back and read it.  That was almost a year ago.  And in that time I have read lots of little things by her and now this collection of essays.

Regardless, this collection of essays is a wonderful look in to the nonfiction world of a writer whom I admire.  And it was quite a treat.  Zadie is an intellectual, and that comes across in all of these paces.  Whether it’s the subjects she’s writing about, the footnotes she uses or just the acknowledgment that she likes art films and not blockbusters, we know where she’s speaking from.  And, of course, I’m right there with her.  The funny thing about this book then is how few of the subjects I know.

The book is broken down into five sections: Reading, Being, Seeing, Feeling and Remembering.  The Reading section is basically book reviews.  The Being section is about her experiences.  The Seeing section is about films.  The Feeling section is about her father and the Remembering section is about David Foster Wallace. (more…)

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onbeauty.jpgSOUNDTRACK: DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE-Something About Airplanes (1999) & We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes (2000) & The Photo Album(2001) & Transatlanticism (2003) & Plans (2005).

I first heard about Death Cab for Cutie on a Believer Magazine’s free CD. The song was “Title and Registration” from Transatlanticism. At the time, I was enjoying thetrans.jpg collection, but not really planning on delving into any of the artists. And yet, this song just kept coming back to haunt me. The lyrics were great. And the melody was superb. There’s a part where the voices all sing “colli-i-i-ide” that is really just sublime. So, I bought the record and immediately fell in love with it. There’s really not a bad song on it. From the beautiful opening of “The New Year” to the ba-bah’s of “The Sound of Settling,” to the vivid description of teenagers skipping their classes and seeing how their bodies work. The whole thing made me go back and get the rest of their records. And I wasn’t disappointed.


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onbeauty.jpgSOUNDTRACK: STEELY DAN-Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972) & Countdown to Ecstasy (1973) & Pretzel Logic (1974) & Katy Lied (1975) & The Royal Scam (1976) & Aja (1977) & Gaucho (1980).

cantbuy.jpgMy theory about Steely Dan is that they are the definition of Adult music. No one under the age of 25 should listen to them. I hated Steely Dan all through high school and college, and then sometime around the age of 30, I suddenly liked them. So, it’s something about the style, and the sound, and Donald Fagan’s voice, and Walter Becker’s whatever, that should be utterly anathema to anyone under 25. (more…)

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