Archive for the ‘Tool’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: GOBLIN COCK-Necronomidonkeykongimicon (2016).

Goblin Cock is the hilariously inappropriate name of a heavy metal side project from Rob Crow of the band Pinback.  The album sounds very literally like a heavy cousin to Pinback with a similar (just much heavier) songwriting style.

The band members are: Lord Phallus (Rob Crow)-guitar and vocals; Lick Myheart-guitar; Tinnitus Island-bass; Mylar Grinninstein-drums.  (Probably pseudonyms).

Necronomidonkeykongimicon was the band’s first album in almost ten years after two albums in the early 2000s.  And Joyful Noise records had this to say about it:

Goblin Cock is a band from beyond time, beyond space, beyond your naive concept of dimension in METAL. Since before your pathetic “god” had supposedly “created” you and your kind, Lord Phallus was hunkered in a cybertimeship/fun-dungeon skating the layers of what was considered “true metal” in all societies and in all generations. Eventually His Majesty realized that he really didn’t care and launched a full-scale war against bland metal with an emphasis on ACTUALLY HAVING A GOOD TIME!

The album has 13 songs in 36 minutes–this is not an epic recording or anything.  But despite their brevity, these aren’t blistering punk songs either.  Rather, the songs work primarily in some of the heaviest metal styles (Slayer comes to mind) but also add some really alt-metal sounds (like Tool) in the bridges and choruses.

The first song, “Something Haunted” starts with a classic doom sound.  A distorted, vibrating series of notes–old school metal, including a heavy chugging riff. When he starts singing he sound a bit like Ozzy, but more like an alt-rock Ozzy (with a better voice).  When the bridge comes in, it feels more like Tool than dark metal.  The chorus soars to unexpected alt rock highs and somehow segues tightly back to that opening heavy riffage.  The song is three and a half minutes and is one of the longest songs on the album.

The second song, “Montrossor” starts so quickly, I initially thought it was still part of the first song.  It opens with fast double bass drums and equally fast riffage.  The bridge is a super fast followed by a slower melody (complete with crashing cymbals) that ends abruptly after two and a half minutes.  It ends abruptly and shifts gears into “Stewpot’s Package” which has that same old school style heavy deep opening riffs.  But again, it’s followed by a shift to more Tool-like sound for the bridge.  The chorus shifts gears and sounds almost like an XTC chorus.

“Youth Pastoral” is an instrumental with a practically heavy jazz riff.  The middle grooves all over the place as it shifts gears and style but fits perfectly together.

“Flume” opens with a slow menacing riff and Crow’s clipped singing until the much heavier chorus.  But, really, the most amazing thing about this song is that at the 1 minute mark, he sings the word “hey” for a full twenty-six seconds. It’s astonishing how long he holds that note.  The rest of the song is sung much more quietly, which seems fitting.

“Bothered” is heavy grooving with some excellent back and forth on the guitar parts. A shouting chorus is followed by a kind of guitar solo (more like an instrumental break than a solo proper).  A slow, heavy Soundgarden-esque riff opens “Your Watch.”  The chorus stays in that style, which never sounds like a Soundgarden song (the vocals are very different), but would fit comfortably on their playlist.  It’s followed by “The Undeer” a fast heavy chugging song that’s over in 90 seconds but only after a kind of mocking “la la la” vocal in the middle.

“Struth” opens with a slow drum fill followed by a n old school Black Sabbath-y riff.  The quietest part of the record occurs near the end of this song with a cool-sounding guitar melody (and effects) as the song slows to a pretty end.  But “The Dorse” resumes the heaviness with some intense double bass drum and pummelling guitars. This is another instrumental, but much heavier with some relentless pounding guitar and bass and an almost victorious guitar melody on top.

“World is Moving” is a quiet song that almost doesn’t fit on this record.  It opens with a complex guitar melody and some off-kilter time signatures.  The vocals are quiet and hushed for most of the song until it starts building up by the end.

“Island, Island” returns to the heaviness with a an intense riff and loud crashing drums.  It’s li e classic metal song with lots of drums taking the fore. There’s a catchy melodic middle that is bookended by ferociously heavy chugging guitars.  The middle of the song is about as heavy as this album gets with the thumping guitars and drums all in double time.

“Buck” ends the disc with the longest song–almost four minutes.  It’s slow and grooving and has a feeling of an 80’s sci fi film as the end adds a swirling synth sound.

Despite the band’s name, which will certainly turn off some, this album isn’t silly or overly vulgar.  It’s just some great songwriting in a bunch of heavier styles.

[READ: October 20, 2020] “Life Without Children”

Here’s the third story about COVID that I’ve read.  I’m not going to continue keeping track, but I am marvelling at how many have been published already.

This one is from a different perspective than I’m used to.

In it, Alan, an Irish man in his sixties, is in England on business.  His wife back home in Dublin tells him about all of the quarantining going on in Ireland.

Social distancing is a phrase that everyone understands. It’s like gender fluidity and sustainable development.  They’re using the words as if they’d been translated from Irish, in the air since before the English invaded.

Where he is in Newcastle, it’s like nothing has happened.  He is very careful about what he touches.  He cleans everything.  He envisions the particles floating in the air between the drunk men in the Hawaii-Five-0 shirts.   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: TOOL-“Some Days It’s Dark” (2007).

I recently learned that Tool performed this cover of a song from The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy live.

In the movie Bruce McCullough’s character Grivo’s band Death Lurks plays this very heavy song (written by Craig Northey and performed by Odds).  Lyrically it’s amusingly Dark

Some days it’s dark
Some days I work
I work alone
I walk aloooooooone.

Tool is considered to be one of the most intense metal bands out there with fans taking them very Seriously.  So the fact that they covered this song (in Toronto) is fantastic.

The cover is great (of course).  They get the sound of the original right on, especially when the big heavy part kicks in.  The only problem I would say is Maynard’s delivery.  It’s a little too deadpan,  I’d like it to be a but more over the top.  But maybe that wouldn’t be Maynard’s way.

You can hear it (no video) here.

There’s no word on if they also played “Happiness Pie.”

[READ: January 27, 2020] Extra Credit

When a beloved (and award winning) series nears its end, it is time to put out early and special features collections.  Usually they come once the series has ended, but this one has come early.  Whereas Early Registration was a good collection of early material, this collection is a bit more haphazard.

It collects some Christmas specials and some early “comic strips” from Allison.  Given this seeming completest nature of this collection, I can’t imagine that there’s another volume planned.

The first story is called “What Would Have Happened if Esther, Daisy and Susan Hadn’t Become Friends (and it was Christmas).”  It’s the 2016 Holiday issue drawn by Lissa Treiman.

We zoom in on DAY-ZEE on “the edge of the boundless sweep of space” as she zooms in one the title question.  [It’s important to read Early Registration first as this story references that story].

Esther didn’t help Daisy move in on that first day.  Esther was immediately grabbed by the popular girls.  They are sitting under a tree playing music on their phones which wakes up Susan who curses them out. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PLACEBO-Running Up That Hill (2003).

Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” is a masterpiece of a song–weird and wonderful and surprisingly moving.

This Placebo cover is much darker, with the sleazy/sultry/hopeless/hopeful edge that Placebo is based around.  The video is a collection of fan-submitted headshots of people singing the song, which makes it all the more moving.

I will always love the original more, but this version is pretty great as well.

[READ: December 30, 2018] Barefoot BF [Posts 1-8]

I don’t normally write about blogs. Heck I don’t normally read many blogs (I’m a print guy).  I would also never be drawn to a blog about running.  But this blog is different. It is about running but it is about a lot more: music, redemption, friendship, relationships and running as a way of coping with the shit you’ve done in the past.  And the writing is great–suspenseful, passionate and honest.

This blog about running will have you riveted as he talks about how a run was a metaphor for dealing with the crazy family nonsense that he was coping with–and it is pretty crazy.  He writes about the races that he’s run, but he writes in such a way as to make the outcome ever in doubt–running with plantar fasciitis?  Running when your foot is swollen and the only conceivable relief is removing the shoe (hence the barefoot title)?  Running on Cape Cod in a Nor’easter while your girlfriend is miles behind you?

It’s some pretty intense stuff. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DJ PREMIERE & THE BADDER BAND-Tiny Desk Concert #644 (August 21, 2017).

This is a fascinating Tiny Desk Concert. DJ Premiere plays turntables–scratching records and hyping the audience.  But he is accompanied by a live band: a five string bass, a trumpeter, a trombonist and a drummer.

Who is Premiere?  Three-time Grammy winner DJ Premier, one of the definitive architects of New York hip-hop, brought a new type of life to NPR’s Tiny Desk: our first concert helmed by a DJ.

The set list rested on the undeniable footprint of Preemo’s classics, but this was more than just another DJ mix. His touring outfit, The Badder Band, overlaid Premier’s blends with an undulating electric bass courtesy of Brady Watt, a steady accent on the one from drummer Lenny “The Ox” Reece and boisterous horns from Mark Williams and Jonathan Powell.

I don’t know much about DJ Premiere, although I have learned that he was part of Gang Starr (which explains why there is so much Gang Starr represented here).  He medleys these songs together in a 24 minute mixtape

  • KRS-One – “KRS-One Attacks”
  • KRS-One – “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”
  • Das Efx – “Real Hip-Hop”
  • Nas – “Nas Is Like”
  • Jeru The Damaja – “Da Bichez”
  • Gang Starr – “Step In The Arena”
  • Gang Starr feat. M.O.P. – “1/2 & 1/2”
  • Royce Da 5’9 – “Boom”
  • Gang Starr – “Moment Of Truth”

So he spins the discs and includes some of the raps from the records.  Especially the ones where he himself is mentioned:

Clap your hands everybody, if you got what it takes
‘Cause I’m KRS and I’m on the mic, and Premier’s on The Breaks
(from “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”)

there’s also this line

If you don’t know me by now I doubt you’ll ever know me
I never won a Grammy, I won’t win a Tony
[Premiere points to himself and holds up three fingers at the Grammy line]

He gets the Tiny Desk crowd hyped with them repeating “Hell yeah, fuck yeah, the real hip hop.”

He does a lot of scratching and repeating with Das EFX

And he features some of these great lines:

Yo, you niggedy know that I’m back man
You’re wack man, I eat a rapper like I’m Pacman
I briggedy bring it, straight from the cella
Fo’ realla, packin more hits than Lou Pinella

It’s me the Nigga wit G’z
The B double O K-S
So say yes I’ll bust your caliber
When I pop shit and rock shit like Metallica

The original song is a simple slap bass line, but here the live band adds a cool funky bass line and live drums.  It’s really cool watching how he does all his turntable work

As it switches to Nas, the horns come in, playing a jazzy riff with some nifty bass underneath.  Premiere hypes everybody up Tiny Desk WHAT! Don’t be no motherfucking bitchez (from the Jeru the Damaja song).  There’s a ripping trumpet solo followed by an interesting trombone solo

Gang Starr gets a pretty lengthy rap from “Step in the Arena.”  There’s a pause and then the violins from “1/2 & 1/2” kick in.  Premiere air violins (poorly) before a shout out to M.O.P.  He raps the end line with the record.

He does a very long scratching intro to Royce Da 5’9’s “Boom” and the drummer spins his cymbal.  Premier adds some clicking sounds from another record.  He gets another name check in this song:

Me and Premier, we kind of the same in ways
We both speak with our hands in dangerous ways

He seems to be adding samples to Gang Starr’s final song.  He’s pressing buttons and making sounds but I don’t know if they are part of the original or not.

When the rapping is done, they jam for two minutes.  Premier plays some samples, the bass rumbles away, the drums keep a fast beat and the horns kick in to rock out to the end.

This is a really fun show and I could totally see how much fun a live DJ show like this would be if you knew the songs he was mixing.

[READ: June 25, 2017] “The Piano Teacher”

This is a short piece about a piano teacher, Miss Nightingale.

She was in her early fifties and was a quiet beauty.  Although single, she felt she was fortunate.  She might have married but is involved with a married man instead.

But mostly she is happy that she can make a living teaching students to play piano.

The boy with her now was a delightful student, eager and talented with a bit of cockiness.  Although he was always silent.  He seemed shy somehow–never prattling on and she couldn’t understand why he had been moved through several teachers already. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_01_14_13Mattotti.inddSOUNDTRACK: DEFTONES-Deftones (2003)

defTypically when a band has a self titled album in  the middle of their career a change is taking place–a re-imagining, perhaps or a return to roots.  Deftones is something of a return to roots.  Since I loved White Pony’s diversity so much that’s a little disappointing for me, and yet while there aren’t as many interesting sonic ideas, the songwriting is still top notch and there are some really catchy and clever ideas too.  The first song, “Hexagram” is a very heavy (and very screamy) song.  And although the guitars during the verse are bright and ringing (nods to alt rock) this song is all about being heavy (the vocals seems like Chino Moreno’s throat is literally shredding as he songs).  “Needles and Pins” has a cool complex drum patter (Abe Cunningham, fabulous) and the guitars (Stephen Carpenter, also fabulous) are staggered and interesting.  And when the bass really comes in on counterpoint (Chi Cheng, doing some amazing stuff on the bass), the song is far more complex than the screamed heavy chorus might indicate.

“Minerva” has all of the trappings of a hit–a big chorus in a major key, and great verses.  And yet, the song’s production is very claustrophobic (it kind of has a Tool feel).  That doesn’t detract from the song at all, but it’s interesting that they would take something that could have easily been huge and yet made it a little less user friendly.  “Good Morning Beautiful” has some really heavy guitars (especially in the chorus) but the vocals are kind of soaring here–more of that contrast adding up to something wonderful.

After the heavy onslaught of these songs, “Deathblow” slows things down.  The guitar and bass are slow and kind of stretched out(and sound great together).  They really let Chino’s voice show off.  “When Girls Telephone Boys” is a heavy blast from the start.  And like a lot of these songs the distortion might actually be a little too much–it kind of makes the song less pleasant than it might be–which is obviously intentional.  “Battle-axe” opens with a mellow guitar intro (not unlike Metallica’s “One”) but the verses immediately introduce the heavy guitars again.

And yet, just as this albums seems like it will be all heavy and relentless, the band throws in “Lucky You” a song with electronic trip hop drums and effects.  It is a creative song and quite interesting, it just seems so odd to throw this in almost all the way at the end of the disc.  It stays moody throughout with layers of vocals and guitars.  But “Bloody Cape” snaps you out of that with a pummeling guitar intro, although as with White Pony, the verses open up with some interesting guitar sounds making this song more than it seems at first.  But make no mistake, this is a punishing, pummeling song by the end.  “Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event” throws another curveball, though. It opens with a slow piano riff and stays as a slow ballad (complete with gentle percussion and washes of sound).

The disc ends with “Moana” probably the most conventional (which is not a bad thing) song on the record.  It doesn’t have the heavy downtuned riffs, just big guitars and Chino’s whispering voice.  So in some ways this album is a disappointment–especially coming after the experiments of White Pony.  And yet the album is not un-experimental it is simply experimenting within a much smaller genre pallete.  I’d read that it seemed like this album came before White Pony, and it does, as if they were stepping back from their crazier impulses.  But the quality of the songwriting is till strong.

[READ: February 28, 2013] “The Women”

I had started this story last month and then lost the magazine.  I thought that maybe I could pick up where I left off, but it turned out I only remembered the part about the two women, not the main character, so I had to start over again.

The story is about Cecilia Normanton who grew up in the 1908s with her father but didn’t know her mother.  Mr Normanton and his wife had a happy, laughter-filled marriage for two years and then she was gone (which in this case means she left–not that she died).  The first section of the story talks a lot about Cecilia in her daily life–she was very pretty for her age but also very naive and she was permitted a rather carefree life.

Until she was sent to boarding school.  Which she hated at first.  Then she grew to like it and her father was relieved about that.  The school is nice, she is well treated and she makes good friends   Although she hates being forced to go to the field hockey games–especially since her least favorite person is on the team (and the team never loses).

At one game, two older women are watching–Cecilia noticed them at one previous game as well.  She can’t figure out who they are–they’re not former students, they’re not for the other team, their presence is weird.  And at that game they almost interact when Cecilia drops her watch and the women narrowly avoid stepping on it, but really there is no connection.

Nevertheless, the narrative follows the women as they return from the game by train.  We learn about their lives and their history together–they used to work together and call each other by their last names.  (more…)

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Harpersmaerch13SOUNDTRACK: DEFTONES-White Pony (2000).

Iwhitepony had forgotten how much I loved this album when it came out.  It’s been a while since I listened to it but it still sounds great.  I remembered thinking Around the Fur was the album that blew me away but it proved to be White Pony.  I have the “limited edition” red cover for whatever that’s worth (not much really, although I did get a bonus song).  This album really explores their more alternative side, with quiet guitars and very non-metal sounding songs including some trip-hop drums on a track.  But there are three or four really heavy songs showing they’re not giving up their heavy roots by any means.  It’s a really accomplished and complex album and is definitely a high point in alt-rock.

The album starts with “Fieticeira” which has a cool alt guitar sound (Stephen Carpenter really displays an amazing range on this album) and some lurching verses.  The choruses get big and loud (in the way that the Foo Fighters do now), although there is a weird noisy section that keeps it from being a totally polished track.  “Digital Bath” is a dark creepy song where the guitars are nearly as menacing as Chino Moreno’s whispered voice.  The drums are actually the loudest instrument and you can hear how intricate the Deftones drumming can be.  I haven’t mentioned the other members in the other two write ups and shame on me.  Abe Cunningham’s drumming is great–far beyond most metal drummers.  But when the bridge kicks in the song lifts up and by the chorus it’s a big vocalled song.  “Elite” shows that the Deftones haven’t given up their heavy side–it’s a loud screaming distorted fast thrasher.  It never lets up and by the end the voice is distorted almost beyond human sounds.  “RX Bath” is one of my favorite songs on the disc.  It’s slow but with a cool slinky bass (Chi Cheng, always outstanding).  “Street Carp” is a short song–with loud guitars for the verses and a creepy slow chorus that I’ve always loved: “Here’s my new address…six six four oh I forget.”

“Teenager” is the biggest surprise  it has a slow acoustic guitars and a kind of trip hop drum beat with glitchy effects.  It’s followed by “Knife Party” a song that opens with flanged guitars until the big chords crash in.  It’s probably their most commercial sounding song yet, except when after the second chorus Rodleen Getsic starts singing a wild vocal solo (like a crazed version of Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky”), some of the notes she hits are inhuman.  “Korea” returns to the heavy dropped D sound with big noisy guitars and screams.  It’s one of their mist abrasive tracks.

“Passenger” is one of two songs that’s over 6 minutes long.  It’s a duet with Maynard from Tool–it’s unusual how their voices are so similar  They don’t sound alike but they have that same wavery tenor and vulnerability   It’s a perfect match.  “Change (In the House of Flies)” starts as a slow slinky song with a big chorus (and a great chorus of Ah ahs which somehow make the song seem even more claustrophobic.  It proves to be surprisingly catchy.  “Pink Maggit” ends the disc proper with a beautifully, agonizingly slow guitar and vocal intro–the guitars are buzzy and slow and sound almost out of tune (but aren’t).  Chino’s voice strains itself before the song proper starts.  I love songs like this when the chorus does one thing and the vocals play a slightly different melody (as if he;s singing a minor note and the guitars are playing a  major note), it’s very cool and a little spine tingly. At seven minutes this is a wonderfully claustrophobic alt rocker.   The album ends with what sounds like a heart beat (again, another Pink Floyd nod).

The red version has a bonus track called “The Boy’s Republic,” a big heavy song that encapsulates a lot of the album down into one track–the great vocal/guitar interplay, swelling chorus and interesting interplay of the instruments.  Even though it’s clearly a bonus song (you don’t have a song that ends with a slow heartbeat and not have it actually end your album), it fits in perfectly with the set and is a real treat.

Even though this album is 13 years old it still sounds fresh and amazing.  It really is a masterpiece.

[READ: February 25, 2013] “So Who Could I Tell the Story To”

According to Harper’s this is an excerpt from City of Angels: Or, the Overcoat of Dr. Freud.  It was translated by Damion Searls.

The excerpt begins in the middle of a question: “–the story that now needed to be told, even though it wasn’t a story at all?”  A very strange opening to be sure, and not as compelling as one might want.  And that was how I felt about this whole thing.  I wanted to be more excited by it but I never was.

There was something confusing about the whole setup.  The narrator is talking to Francesco.  But the narrator is talking about and apparently to “you.”  So there are lots of you’s floating around but we also know she’s talking to someone.  And while it’s all about clandestine behavior, the whole proceeding was confusing. (more…)

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[WATCHED October-November 2012] Metal Evolution

metal evolutionVH1 aired this series last year and I was intrigued by it but figured I had no time to watch an 11 hour series on the history of heavy metal.  Of course, this being VH1, they have since re-aired the series on an almost continual loop.  So, if you’re interested, you can always catch it.

This series was created by Sam Dunn, the documentary filmmaker who made the movie Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.  I had heard good things about the movie, but never saw it.  After watching the series, I’m definitely interested in the movie.  Dunn is a keener–A Canadian heavy metal fan who is really into his subject.  He knows his stuff and he knows what he likes (heavy metal) and what he doesn’t like (glam metal, nu metal).

The sheer number of people he interviews is impressive (as are the number of locations he travels to).  Part of me says “wow, I can’t believe he was able to interview X,” and then I remember, “X is really old and is nowhere near the level of fame that he once had.”  Given that, the few hold-outs seem surprising–did they not want to have anything to do with VH1?  Are they embarrassed at how uncool they are now?  Just watch the show guys, you can’t be as low as some.

The only mild criticism I have is that the show relies a lot on the same talking heads over and over.  Scott Ian from Anthrax, whom I love, is in every episode.  Indeed, he may be a paid VH1 spokesman at this point.  There are a few other dudes who show up a little more than they warrant, but hey, you use what you got, right?

What is impressive is the volume of music he includes with the show.  I assume that he couldn’t  get the rights to any studio recordings because every clip is live.  This is good for fans in that we get to see some cool unfamiliar live footage, but some of it is current live footage which often doesn’t compare to the heyday.  Having said that, there’s a lot of live footage from the early 80s–of bands that I never saw live anywhere.  And that’s pretty awesome.

With an 11-part documentary there’s the possibility of exhaustion and overkill, but Dunn is an excellent craftsman  he jumps around from old to new, talks about how the history impacts the current and, because of his own interests, he makes it personal rather than just informative. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PHOEBUS CARTEL-“Difficult,” “Asylum Energy,” “November”

If I had any idea how many bands were named after things in Gravity’s Rainbow, or were perhaps tangentially related to it, like this one, I would have never bothered mentioning bands that I actually know.

Phoebus Cartel is a heavy metal band based out of Denmark.  And…  well, that’s really all I know about them.  I found this image for them online which linked me to their site on bandbase (if you must, you can also get it in English–although there’s no extra information).

There are three songs here on the site.  They are all sung in English and all have heavy guitars.  The band is clearly heavy metal inspired, but they also classify themselves as “alternativ.”

“difficult” has elements of Marilyn Manson in the singing (and even the melody). It’s a very catchy interesting song and very heavy.  “asylum enemy” has some great heavy chugging guitars. I like the part in the middle where we just get two heavy notes and a pause.  It reminded me a lot of Tool.  “November” has the most normal sounding singing in the bunch–it’s also the least metal sounding–more like heavy alt rock.  Although the break in the middle with slow guitars is nicely atmospheric.

I really enjoyed all three songs.  I’d like to learn more about these guys but I literally can find nothing else about them anywhere.

[READ: Week of April 23] Gravity’s Rainbow 4.1-4.6

Section 4, the final section is here at last.  We are out of The Zone and into The Counterforce.  The epigram here is by Richard M. Nixon.  Hilariously it is simply, “What?”  Unfortunately, I found it to be way too apt for my own feelings while reading this pretty confusing section.  While some sections advanced the “plot,” there were a ton of new characters added and, even more confusingly, a bunch of scenes that were either hallucinations or fantasies  or both.  And none of these do much for you sense of what the hell is going on. (more…)

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