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Archive for the ‘Madagascar’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BORIS: Boris at last -Feedbacker- (2003).

Boris’ sixth album is pretty iconic, what with the bloodied head of Wata on the cover and all.

The album contains one song–43 minutes of “Feedbacker.”  But it is broken into five surprisingly discernable parts.

Part 1 (9:38) opens with low feedback and slowly played chords that ring out.  Then single notes pick out a melody that recurs throughout.  Low bass notes and low harmonic frequencies play out through the bulk of the track until it segues into Part 2 (14:54).  That’s when the drum is added.  It’s a slow beat at first with the low feedbacking tones.  Then the guitars start playing a slow chord progression.  Eventually there’s some quiet lead guitar noodling added.  After about 8 minutes, Wata start one of her big slow solos.  Then around 12 minutes, Takeshi starts sings softly.  But after a minute and a half of this, the song shifts gears and gets much louder–big chords, crashing drums and louder vocals.

Part 3 (5:52) opens with serious crashing of cymbals which turns into noisy chaos.  There’s some high-pitched feedback and and then a seriously heavy riff starts up.  The rocking part of the song takes over with heavy distorted guitars and rumbling bass and drums.  A really noisy guitar solo is followed by a buzzy riff after which things slow down for quiet vocals once again.  The drums are still heavy but the guitars are quietly echoing.  The end gets louder again with roaring and chanted vocals.  (I have no idea what they are saying but it’s easy to sing along to).

Part 4 (9:52) is basically a wall of noise and feedback with echoing distorted cymbals and crackling sounds.  Near the end, noisy piercing feedback soars through until it segues into Part 5 (3:34).  As the feedback fades, the song resumes part 2, with soft drums and slow guitar chords and a quiet feedback floating over everything.

It’s a pretty monumental record.  Not as abrasive as the cover would suggest, but with enough heavy parts so that it’s not just a pretty drone record.

[READ: April 30, 2021] “The Rivals”

I feel like I tend to read stories that are written in a convoluted way.  Either with multiple time lines, or multiple threads that eventually come together.  So it was nice to get a story that was pretty straightforward.

Sure, it started in the middle, but it flashed back, got to the opening scene, and continued along in a pretty straight line.  And it was very enjoyable.

The story is set in Madagascar.  Floristella, a plump Italian man, sees his former friend Pianon, a skinny Italian man, and jumps out at him, hitting him with a walking stick.  It takes a bunch of servants to pull these older men apart.

The narrator then fills us in on what’s going on.  Pianon and Floristella were at one time very good friends.  Pianon is from Verona.  He is a widower who always dresses nicely. He is the bookkeeper and rental manager at the Red House.  Floristella is from Sicily. He comes from a small fortune and acts like it, even if his money is mostly gone now. His house is next to the Red House.

Floristella’s wife was bored of Madagascar, so she returned home, allowing Floristella to enjoy the beach and all of its perks. Like Noelline.  She was his secretary and then his mistress.  She was no longer young, but she was voluptuous and stylish.  She also flouted all conventions on the island.

Each morning she came to his place, did work for him, had sex with him and then went home.

Most of the women on the island hated her. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER-Tiny Desk Concert #844 (April 24, 2019).

This Tiny Desk Concert marks another one of those rare occasions where I’ve seen a band live BEFORE their Tiny Desk.

I saw BOCC on April 2.   I assume that this Tiny Desk was recorded around that time (bands usually play DC right before or after Philly), but it takes a week or so to get online.

I really enjoyed the BOCC concert, which rocked more than I thought it would.

But I enjoyed this Tiny Desk even more than that because Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers are having so much fun with this show.  Truth be told they had a lot of fun at our show too, but they experiment more here.  They also have lots of experience at the Tiny Desk.

When this fabulous new duo arrived for their Tiny Desk, it felt like old friends coming home. Both Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers are Tiny Desk alum. Conor’s first Tiny Desk Concert came in 2014. Phoebe has come by twice in the past few years, first as a solo artist in 2017 and then as part of another creative and collaborative endeavor with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker as boygenius in 2018. So, unlike the bundle of nerves that often come with an appearance at the NPR offices, this one was fun and, at times, silly, like when Conor Oberst sang into a fake rubber microphone on the other end of a chopstick that was sitting on my desk. But there was nothing trivial about the songs or the collaboration.

The first song starts off fairly seriously.  They play their (only?) hit, “Dylan Thomas” with Conor on electric guitar and Phoebe and backing guitarist Christian Lee Hutson on acoustic.  It sounds great–possibly even better than the record.

when their voices intertwine, there’s a radiance that often feels joyful even while singing words like the ones on their opening number, “Dylan Thomas.”

“I’m getting used to these dizzy spells
I’m taking a shower at the Bates Motel
I’m getting greedy with this private hell
I’ll go it alone, but that’s just as well”

For the second song, “Exception to the Rule,” Conor and Phoebe put down their guitars and simply sing (Conor into that fake microphone).  Christian plays guitar and Emily Retsas plays an omnichord.  As Emily sets up the “toy” Phoebe says, we’re going to set it to avoid choreography.”  Their voices really do sound great together, even with this ultra-minimal backing music.  The chorus is catchy, too!

For the final song, “My City” Bob Boilen himself comes out swinging a plastic whistling tube.

So I was whipping a corrugated, ribbed plastic hose over my head, creating a high pitched siren sound, trying to blend in with Christian’s electronics on “My City.” It was my Tiny Desk performance debut, and I was thrilled to be part of this magical act.

Conor and Phoebe pick up acoustic guitars and Christian plays a pocket piano (I gather).  This song feels the most like a folk song and again, they mostly sing together.  But Phoebe gets a solo verse near the end and that little change make a big difference in the overall flow of the song.

For the most part this is a quiet song, but the buildup for the end is pretty great.

[READ: April 20, 2019] “Brothers and Sisters Around the World”

This story is set in Madagascar.  Michel is a French-Italian white man who is married to the narrator–an African American woman.  They live in Cannes where it is always sunny.  But on vacation they travel the world to get hotter and wilder.  Islands are what Michel prefers.  “Any place where the people are the color of different grades of coffee.”

She says he loves her for all the wrong reasons.  He thinks she has some of that island wildness inside of her, but she grew up in Massachusetts and has a “steely Protestant core.”  Her parents never thought it would last.  But they have been together for eight years and they have a child.

As the story opens, he is telling her about how he drove “those two little whores” on the Zodiac.  “You should have seen their titties bounce!”

She admits:

It’s no surprise to me when Michel tries to share the ribald thoughts that run though the labyrinth of his Roman Catholic mind.  He doubtless thought that I would get a kick out of hearing about his boat ride with a pair of African sluts.

(more…)

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