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Archive for the ‘H.G. Wells’ Category

815SOUNDTRACK: BORIS -Smile (2008).

Boris followed Pink with a couple of limited edition albums of drone music, collaborations, seven inch singles, live albums and other things.  And then they released Smile.

As Wikipedia explians:

Shortly after [the Japanese] release, the album was released by American label Southern Lord with a slightly different track listing, different artwork (by Stephen O’Malley), and an almost entirely different sound.   The different versions of Smile contain different mixes: the English version was mixed by Souichiro Nakamura, while the Japanese version was handled by You Ishihara.

I have the Southern Lord CD, but I’ve put the listing for the Japanese release (and cover) below

“Flower Sun Rain” (with Michio Kurihara).  This is a cover of the song by Pyg.  There’s quiet guitar and singing with wailing solos.  The song is quite faithful to the catchy original, except that around 6 and a half minutes in Wata puts in a wailing guitar solo as the band gets even heavier.  The American version ends abruptly mid-solo, but is two minutes longer than the Japanese release.

“Buzz-In” opens with static an a baby crying/talking before the song turns into a big pile of catchy heavy metal–pounding drums, chanted lyrics and lots of heavy guitars.  “Laser Beam” (“Hanate!” on Japanese version) opens with wailing guitars and bass solos before the heavy thrash follows.  There’s even a catchy chorus.  There’s a noisy section of feedback in the end.  As the song fades out there a series of cymbal smashes which slowly fade out while a quiet acoustic guitar plays for about a minute.  Just as he starts to sing, the song is cut off by the raw power of  “Statement” (“Messeeji” on Japanese version).

“Statement” is the first song (and video) I’d heard by Boris.  I heard it and was hooked.  It opens with a simple riff, two cowbells and a scorching guitar solo.  The verses and chorus are really catchy (whoo-hoos).  The Japanese version sounds completely different and is about twice as long.  It eschews the guitars almost entirely, leaving just a distorted bass drum as the main musical component. The guitar solos are relegated to the background.  But the vocals are pretty much the same.

“My Neighbor Satan” (with Michio Kurihara) (“Tonari no Sataan” on Japanese version) changes the tempo completely.  The song is quiet and kind of pretty.  There’s some really distant looped clacking drums, but the song is a quiet guitar melody and gentle vocals.  There’s a quiet (but very distorted) guitar solo in one ear.  And then after 2 and half minutes really heavy guitars and drums come in and overpower the melody for about a minute before dropping out again.  The quiet part resumes until the big snare drum fill which leads to a moment of silence before the really heavy rocking one-minute ending.

“Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sa Ki—No Ones Grieve” (“Kare Hateta Saki” on Japanese version) opens with loud droning chords.  After about a minute, it takes off with a wailing solo and power from the whole band.  When the vocals come in, the heayy rocking band kind of fades but is still audible over the slow and fairly quiet vocals–it’s a dramatic juxtaposition until the whole song is taken over by the guitar solo.  There’s some whispering in each ear as well (no idea what they’re saying).

“You Were Holding an Umbrella” (with Michio Kurihara) (“Kimi wa Kasa o Sashiteita” on Japanese version).  This is a pretty song, quiet and understated.  It sounds like a fairly traditional melody. There’s a quiet click track and a pretty guitar with whispered vocals.  It lasts for about four minutes before the squealing guitar solo introduces the rest of the band as they crash into the song.  This makes the song heavier but no less pretty.

“[untitled]” (with Stephen O’Malley).   This is a full on epic.  And like a good epic it begins with backwards guitar swirling around and forward guitars playing a simple melody.  At 4 minutes a noisy guitar solo fades in and fades out for about thirty seconds before the quiet vocals begin.  Around 7 minutes in the loud guitars come in with a vengeance.  They play with the melody which makes the whole thing feel much bigger.   The last four minutes or so just play with the droning guitars as they work on harmonies with what sounds like an e-bow, harmonies coming in an out.  The Japanese version is 4 minutes longer.

I’ve been listening to the Japanese mix online and I can’t get over how different it sounds.  Sometimes whole chunks of sound are removed while other sounds come to the forefront.

Diwphalanx CD

  1. “Messeeji” (“メッセージ”, “Message”) 7:06
  2. “Buzz-In” 2:34
  3. “Hanate!” (“放て!”, “Shoot!” (“Laser Beam” on English version)) 5:02
  4. “Hana, Taiyou, Ame” (“花・太陽・雨”, “Flower, Sun, Rain”; cover of the song by Pyg) 5:35
  5. “Tonari No Sataan” (“となりのサターン”, “Next Saturn” (“My Neighbor Satan” on English version)) 5:20
  6. “Kare Hateta Saki” (“枯れ果てた先”, “Dead Destination” (“Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sa Ki -No Ones Grieve-” on English version)) 7:26
  7. “Kimi wa Kasa o Sashiteita” (“君は傘をさしていた”, “You Were Holding an Umbrella”) 9:19
  8. “untitled” 19 20

[READ: July 21, 2015] “Morlocks and Eloi”

This was the 2015 New Yorker fiction issue.  It featured several stories and several one-page essays from writers I like.  The subject this time was “Time Travel.”

I enjoyed the way Curtis started this essay with the amusing (but maybe not) “some months ago I briefly became pregnant with the child of a PhD in quantum physics and for a  few seconds I understood the nature of time.”

She says that time is a like a tennis ball full of rubber bands.  Each strand is a line of time–linear while you are on it but so easy to cross from one to the next with so many places touching. (more…)

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augSOUNDTRACK: HOLLY MACVE-“Sycamore Tree” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 16, 2016).

macveHolly Macve (pronounced Mac-vee) is a 20-year-old songwriter from County Galway. At the time of SXSW she only had some demos available.

For this Lullaby, it’s just her and her acoustic guitar.  Her low notes seem surprisingly low somehow (I ‘m guessing she plays very cleanly so her notes stand out).

But the thing that stands out most is her voice.  The song’s melody is pretty standard, but she often jumps octaves and nearly creaks her voice while getting there–it’s unsettling and charming at the same time.  She sounds very old school country to me.

Also notable is the length of this song.  It seems like a simple folk song with a pretty standard verse structure.  In good Irish tradition, it also tells a story.  But the slow pace seems to really stretch out the music.  The chorus seems a few lines longer than one might expect (I do love the past and future mixed together in the lyrics).  When she gets to a third part, which takes the song in a rather unexpected direction with very high notes, it’s unclear how long this song might just wind up being.

Macve has a lovely sound, and I enjoyed this song as a lullaby, but I think she’s too far into the country realm for my liking.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “Notes on Some Twentieth-Century Writers”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I have enjoyed Rivka Galchen’s works.  Indeed, I have tried to write about everything she’s written.  One of the things I especially like about her is that she always defies expectations.  So, in this Forum, while everyone else is writing about being a parent, Galchen writes about writers who were or were not parents.

She lists dozens of writers and states their parental status.  I will not go through them all because it would be exhausting (and would basically just duplicate what she wrote). (more…)

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