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Archive for the ‘Emily Dickinson’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JOHN DOE AND EXENE CERVENKA at KEXP December 31, 2010 (2010).

X toured the Los Angeles album back in 2010–the 30th anniversary of the album.  John Doe and Exene Cervenka came to KEXP to do an acoustic set and to talk…a lot.  The DJ tells them of when he saw them at age 16.  He had his camera and wanted to be a rock photographer.  He was getting pushed around in the pit and Exene pulled him onstage (he got great photos which I’d love to see).  Surprisingly, Exene does not seem as moved as one might expect by that story.

This is a simple, acoustic set–John with his guitar and he and Exene singing.  They play a few songs from across their career: “Because I Do,” “In This House That I Call Home” (a personal favorite), “True Love” (another favorite) and “See How We Are.”  John still sounds great, although Exene’s voice sounds a little worn on “Because I Do” and is actually hard to listen to on “True Love.”

There’s some really long interviews–talking about drugs and The Germs and the heyday and how Exene can’t wait for 2011 to start.

[READ: August 27, 2012] The Emily Dickinson Reader

This book is “an English-to-English translation of Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems.”  What?  Well, basically Paul Legualt has taken all of the “poetry” out of Dickinson’s poems and has left us with what the poems might mean to contemporary readers.  But he also reduced them to basically one line summaries as well–or as McSweeney’s says: “ingenious and madcap one-line renderings.”

So you get “translations” like: #314

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity, It asked a crumb – of me.

Which Legault translates as: “Hope is kind of like birds. In that I don’t have any.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RICHARD THOMPSON-Grizzly Man Soundtrack (2005).

This is a largely instrumental soundtrack by Richard Thompson.  It features some wonderful guitar work (no surprise there).  There are several slow acoustic numbers (“Tim & the Bears,” “Foxes”–which is in the style of his old traditional folk ballads) there’s also the slow impassioned electric guitar solo (set over a simple beat) of “Main Title.”  “Ghosts in the Maze ” is a dark piece, the exact opposite of “Glencoe” a traditional-sounding song, both of these are under two minutes long.  “Parents” adds a cello, which means a sombre song.  “Twilight Cowboy” is one of the longer pieces, and it really conveys an openness of nature.

“Treadwell No More” is a slow six-minute dirge type song.  “That’s My Story” has spoken dialogue by Treadwell, over a simple unobtrusive guitar.  But as the title of the record says, Music composed and performed by Richard Thompson.  Which means there are other musicians on the soundtrack too.  “Small Racket” is where things start to get noisy and a little uncomfortable.  There’s some squeaks and slashes of sound, but it’s mostly a tense guitar feel.  Then comes the darker, scarier stuff.  “Bear Fight,” is a series of cello noises and swipes.  “Big Racket” is indeed that, with guitar from Henry Kaiser and noises from Jim O’Rourke.  “Corona for Mr Chocolate” is all Jim O’Rourke, it’s also odd noises and moods.  None of these three songs are terribly off-putting but they reflect a very different tone.

The album ends with “Main Title Revisited,” which is what it says and “Coyotes” by Don Edwards which has some coyote yodels.

It’s a good soundtrack, really conveying what the movie is about, and while not essential Richard Thompson, it is still some great guitar work

[READ: July 23, 2012] Magic Hours

I thought that I had never heard of Tom Bissell, but I see that I have read three of these articles already (I guess I don’t always pay attention to the author’s name).

This collection of essays comes from the last eleven years (2000-2011).  The articles have appeared in The Believer & The New Yorker (these are the ones I have read) and Boston Review, Harper’s, New York Times Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, New York Times Book Review and Outside (which I am starting to think I should really check out more).

Primarily they are articles about writing–he looks at fiction, non-fiction, film or a combination of them.  Bissell is a strong writer and he does not hold back when he sees something he likes or dislikes.  I found his articles (all of which are quite long–about 30 pages each) to be engaging, funny and very persuasive.  I’m really glad I read the book (and was even glad to re-read the articles that i had read before). (more…)

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