Archive for the ‘John Uri Lloyd’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KATE BUSH-The Red Shoes (1993).

The Red Shoes is something of a disappointment. While I enjoyed The Sensual World, it was definitely moving in a more adult contemporary vein.  The Red Shoes proceeds even further in this direction.  Since Kate is getting older, it makes sense that her music would change as well.

But there are some really fun tracks on here as well.  And Kate’s initial experiments with world music (the Bulgarian Choir) has really expanded into a more global palette (the island feel of “Eat the Music,” for instance).

The first four songs of the disc are really great.  They show an amazing diversity.  The first single “Rubberband Girl” is quite fun and bouncey.  It has a rather silly middle section where she makes rubberband-like sounds.   “And So is Love” sounds like classic Kate, with some wonderful vocals.  “Eat the Music” is a crazy, up beat horn fueled island track (with wonderfully suggestive lyrics).  And  “Moments of Pleasure” is a delightfully romantic song.

However, beginning with “Song of Salomon” with its awkward chorus of “don’t want no bullshit, just want your sexuality” the album trails off a little bit.  The rest of the songs feel kind of hurried and unspecific; there’s nothing really grabby about them.  They’re not bad, but they’re not all that memorable.  In fact, “Constellation of the Heart” is one of those rare aspects of a Kate disc: a song that sounds really dated.

The one exception to this decline is “Top of the City,” a really nice ballad that features some classic Kate vocals.

Of the remainder, “Big Stripey Lie” has some cool sound effects and lots of weirdness floating around it (and I do quite like it) although it’s really not as substantial as her previous experimental pieces.

Probably the most controversial song on the disc is “Why Should I Love You?” a duet with Prince.  While the main chorus is pretty cool (and uncannily Prince-like) the rest of the track sounds (again) very dated.  The track also features the great comedian Lenny Henry on vocals.  However, since Henry is responsible for what may be the worst sitcom theme song ever in the history of music (it may actually make you want to not watch the rather funny Chef, it is so awful) his inclusion isn’t really all that wonderful.  The disc ends with “You’re the One” a weird (in a good way) track that features The Bulgarian Chorus again.  They seem to do a great job of keeping Kate’s songs focused, so the disc ends on a high note.

This disc is pretty soundly dismissed by even diehard Kate fans.  And it is definitely her least satisfying overall. But if you look deeper into the disc, there are some unfairly overlooked gems.

[READ: November 20, 2009] Symzonia

After reading Etidorhpa, I started looking around at other Hollow Earth books.  And thankfully, someone has done most of the work already. So, for an absurdly long list of Hollow Earth books, check out this link.  I was delighted to see that so many of them are quite short!

When I saw this book, and realized that it was about the world mentioned in “Symmes Hole” (from McSweeney‘s) and that it was very likely written by Symmes himself (there is still debate, but it is convincing that he wrote it) I decided to check it out.

Sadly, this book was considerably duller than Etidorhpa.  It was 250 pages and the first 100 were details of his journey to the South Pole.  Which would be fine except that since the author is a sailor he gives excruciating details about not only sailing, but even shipbuilding (including how smart he was for making the ship as strong as he did,) and the directions of the wind and speculation about longitude and all that great seafaring stuff.  That’s not my thing, so I found it rather tedious. (more…)

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uriSOUNDTRACK: TINDERSTICKS-Waiting for the Moon (2003).

moonThis Tindersticks disc shows a bit of a departure for them.  Two of the first three songs are not sung by Stuart Staples (which is nice for diversity, but it is shocking to hear the first sung words on a Tindersticks disc be in the relatively high register of Dickon).  Not to mention, the song opens with lines about killing someone (!), which is a bit more drastic than most of their lovelorn lyrics.

The fourth song “4.48 Psychosis” is the most guitar heavy/rocking song in the band’s catalog, I think.  And the rest of the disc falls into a fairly traditional Tindersticks camp.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of this disc that describe it as a grower.  It’s entirely possible that I haven’t allowed this disc to grow on me enough, but I’m not as enamored of this one as I am with the rest.  The problem for me is that the first batch of discs are so magical that it just feels like this one is simply not as exciting.  Of course, any Tindersticks record is a good one, this one just isn’t quite as good as the rest.

Mayhaps I need to go back and try it a few more times?

[READ: October 31, 2009] Etidorhpa

I found out about this story when a patron requested it.  I’d never heard of it, and when I looked for it, it was very hard to find in our library system.  But when I Googled it, it was available as a Google Book.  They had scanned the entire thing and (since it was old and out of copyright) it was available free online!  Awesome.

I printed out the whole thing (double sided) and figured I would read it fairly quickly.  [Oh, and just to ruin my cool story about Google books, I see now that it is available in paperback for about $10 from Amazon.  Doh!]

Of course, I’m not just going to read something because it’s available as a Google Book.  The patron said that it was like Jule’s Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.  I had just read “Symmes Hole” in McSweeney’s #4, so Hollow Earthers were already floating around my mind.  It all seemed to work out quite well.

By the time I started reading it, I had forgotten about the Hollow Earth ideas.  Which is fine, since the first 100 pages or so are given up solely to the ideas of occult sciences.  But, let me back up a bit first.

First there is a Preface.  Lloyd claims to have found this manuscript which was hidden by Llewellyn Drury.  Before he gets to the manuscript, though, he gives a little background about himself.   He also relates a lengthy story about the value of libraries and shared knowledge.  He concludes with speculation about Drury, and the revelation that although he is unwilling to specify how he came into possession of the manuscript, he has had it for seven years (as of 1894) and is finally convinced that it’s time to get it published.

My edition also contains a Preface about Daniel Vaughn. Vaughn is mentioned as a character in the story (but he was a real person as well).  In the story, Drury sought Vaughn’s assistance with some scientific matters.  So there’s a brief biography about the man.

AND THEN, there is a section called “A Valuable and Unique Library” which is another preface about the value of libraries.  I’m not even clear about who wrote it, if it’s supposed to be a plug for this book itself or if it’s just an ad for something.

Finally, the story proper begins.  But not without a preface by Drury himself, giving his own life story (his full name is Johannes Llewellyn Llongollyn Drury) but he decided to remove those two ugly names. (more…)

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