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Archive for the ‘Mountain Climbing’ Category

SOUNDTRACK BEN HOWARD-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #245 (August 9, 2021).

I don’t really know who Ben Howard is.  he is not one of “The Bens” (that was Ben Folds, Ben Kweller and Ben Lee).  For this Tiny Desk (Home) Concert it’s just him and his guitars.  But the blurb suggests the album these songs are from is quite different.

Having spent time with Collections from the Whiteout, Ben Howard’s sonically adventurous fourth album, I was curious to see how he would adapt these songs to the Tiny Desk (home) concert format. So when the opening shot shows Ben in a room alone, an acoustic guitar in hand, it was both an “oh yeah!” and an “uh-oh” moment. Gone were all those textures that he, Aaron Dessner, and a load of talented musicians had worked on, but front and center was that delicate, reflective voice that I love. It’s a voice that, in the recent past, was often swarming in effects and buried in reverb.

Ben plays four songs.  The first, “Follies Fixtures” is on acoustic guitar.

So as Ben Howard opens his Tiny Desk with the album’s opening track, I found myself zeroing in on the oblique and painterly images of “Follies Fixtures”: “Walk with me to the burning spire. / We can count the dеad on Ender’s pyre. / The dusty towns whеre the number’s found / Don’t quite match the missing.”

This song reminds me of Jose Gonzales in this format.

Howard then switches to electric guitar for the rest of the songs.  He adds drum machine for “Far Out.”

“Thanks for having me and allowing me to play the slight variations of songs that I’m forced to settle with at the moment,” Ben says, and with that he kicks on the drum machine …. Watch those fingers on the guitar and hear that tone. “Far Out,” indeed.

His guitar playing is really something in this song, with soft chords and lot so harmonics as well as great use of the low note riffage in between.

“I I Forget Where We Were” is a moody song–he creates soft chords that swell as he sings.

He later premieres a new tune, “Oldest Trick In The Book.”

He laughs saying he just spent the last ten minutes tuning his guitar so we’ll be happy to know he’s in tune.

This song is the slowest with some really deep resonating bass notes (and no drum machine).  It’s fun watching hi play a solo and low notes at the same time with his finger picking style.

[READ: July 15, 2021] “Bear Meat”

This very short story was translated from the Italian by Alessandra Bastagli.

It begins with the comment that spending evenings in a mountain hut after a four- five- or six hour climb is pretty wonderful. The people you find there don’t speak much.  But these clumbers should not be confused with the ones who do speak a lot–hot shot clumbers, extreme climbers.  The adventurers may be worthy but this story is not about them.

The narrator arrived and there were several men there–eating and drinking.  Once the wine began flowing (at that altitude and temperature it is a metabolic necessity) they began talking about their initiation into serious climbing. (more…)

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