Archive for the ‘Tortoise’ Category

  karlove5SOUNDTRACK: RAGA ROCKERS-“Slakt” [“Slaughter”] (1988), “Hun er Fri” [“She is Free”] (1988) and “Noen å hate” [“Someone to hate”] (1990).

ragaKarl Ove mentions many bands in his books.  Raga Rockers appeared twice in this one.  I can’t find a ton about them online, because they never really made it beyond Norway, but the Google translated version of their website says:

Raga Rockers is an ingenious rock ‘n roll band that has existed since 1982.

Today the band consists of: Michael Krohn (vocals, lyrics), Hugo Alvar Stein (keyboards / guitar), Eivind Staxrud (guitar), Arne Sæther (keys), Livio Aiello (bass) and Jan Kristiansen (drums).

The band came out of the punk community in the early eighties, but became such a “poppy” large parts of the Norwegian people have founded acquaintance with them.  Songs like “She is free” and “Someone to hate” is almost singalong classics! Their greatest triumph came perhaps in 1999 when they played for thousands of ecstatic Norwegians at the yellow stage at Roskilde Festival. (Reviews of the show by Dagbladet (which Karl Ove wrote for) and Dagsavisen–both are in English.

Despite their punk roots and the rather violent song titles, the songs are almost poppy–heavy guitars but simple chords and a singer who doesn’t sound angry at all.  In fact, if I didn’t read about their punk roots, I’d swear these songs are kinda goofy.

“Slakt” is a simple song, opening with a 4/4 drum and splashes of guitar.  The middle is a bluesy riff with a chorus of “ah ha ha”  The lead singer’s voice is mostly kind of deep–not quite what I expected from the heavy guitars.

“Hun Er Fri” is quite different from the others songs.  It’s only 90 seconds long and features a piano.  The chords are still simple the piano may be playing single notes in fact).  The lyrics are pretty much nonstop and kind of fast.  It seems like a silly pop trifle and I can see why it’s popular among their fans.  The first time I listened to it, I was surprised it ended when it did.  This bootleg live version is certainly fun.

rocknrollThese two songs came from their 1988 album Forbudte følelser [Prohibited feelings]

“Noen å hate” has a bit more of a metal sound, but is essentially the same kind of heavy rock with simple chord progressions.  There’s a good solo at the end.  A black metal band called Vreid has done a cover of this song (which really only sounds different because the Vreid singer is more growly).

This song comes from their 1990 album Rock n’ Roll Party.

And yes, they are still around.  They took a hiatus in the 2000s but came back with three albums 2007’s Übermensch, 2010’s Shit Happens and 2013’s Faktor X.

[READ: May 1, 2016] My Struggle Book Five

karlove 5ukI realized as I read this fifth book that I should have been keeping a vague sense of the timeline of these books.  Specifically, because he opens this book with this: “The fourteen years I lived in Bergen from 1988 to 2002 are long gone.”  So if he was born in 1968, this book covers roughly ages 19-33.

So my general outline for the other volumes:
Book Five: 1988-2002 (19-33)
Book Four: 1987 (18)
Book Three: 1968-1981  (1-13)
Book Two: 2008 (40) (with flashbacks to meeting his second wife in 2003 or so)
Book One: 2008 (40) (with flashbacks to his father’s death in 1998 or so)

What era could Book Six possibly be about?

We’ll find out next year in what is said to be the 1,200 page final volume.

So as I mentioned above, Karl Ove talks about the fourteen years he lived in Bergen.  And it made me laugh that he says:

The fourteen years I lived in Bergen, from 1988 to 2002, are long gone, no traces of them are left, other than as incidents a few people might remember, a flash of recollection here, a flash of recollection there, and of course whatever exists in my own memory of that time.  But there is surprisingly little.

And then he proceeds to write 600+ pages about that time. (more…)

Read Full Post »

harperSOUNDTRACK: BECK/RECORD CLUB-YANNI: Live from the Acropolis (2010).

yanniAlthough there was no official notice terminating the club, this release has proven to be the final installment of Beck’s Record Club (for now).  And what a weird place to end.  Cheesy new ager Yanni’s live blockbuster album.  My buddy Joe (a major metalhead) got me into this album when it came out (really).  And I have to admit it’s pretty awesome–the musicianship is nothing short of spectacular.

So I was very intrigued at the premise of these guys covering the album.

According to the Beck/Record Club website:

This installment of the Record Club takes on ‘Yanni Live At The Acropolis’. The original album featured Yanni with a full orchestra at the Athenian Acropolis. A TV special of the concert was played repeatedly on PBS through the mid 90′s. To flesh out the complex arrangements, several studio musicians were brought in to read a heavily doctored score with interpolations of everything from Stravinsky to Bobby Brown (and others). Beck and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth provided auxiliary music and noise, with Thurston improvising lyrics over the previously instrumental track ‘Santorini.’ Tortoise show up later on a few other tracks. Look for the complete rerecording of this musical monolith, originally captured at the bedrock of Western Culture, done here at Sunset Sound Studios on June 13th, 2010.

The big names for this release are Thurston Moore and Tortoise–who get to work together on two songs.  Thurston seems to be on most of them–playing noise and occasionally singing (I don’t think there are any words on the original).  I haven’t listened to the original album in ten years so I don’t really remember it very well.  I am quite certain it sounds nothing like this cover version. I’m actually looking forward to playing it again now that I’ve listened to this, mostly to see if there is any similarity at all between the songs.  But also to see if I still like it.  I’m also very interested in the unreadable score (for track 8)

Santorini (2:53) Thurston makes up lyrics.  The session musicians play a beautiful rendition.
Keys To Imagination (4:22).  Tortoise & Thurston play together and the noise and samples run wild.
Until The Last Moment (5:50).  This song is kind of muddy sounding with lots of cymbals and feedback.
The Rain Must Fall (2:55).  More vocals on this one.  With samples that sound like kids singing “rain must fall.”
Acroyali/Standing In Motion (5:46). This one has a cheesy synth tone.  I think the vocals are by Beck on this one.
One Man’s Dream (4:26).  Gentle piano and quiet feedback notes in this one.
Within Attraction (5:39)  Tortoise is back with more samples and sounds.  It also sounds like there are samples from the original Yanni disc.
Nostalgia (4:07) “Thurston and Beck team up again with a crew of heavyweight studio musicians to tackle an apparently unreadable score for another song from Yanni’s Live At The Acropolis, with Thurston adding lyrics.”  I don’t know what they’re playing then, but it sounds good.
Swept Away (4:11).  Gentle keys and “funk” interspersed with noise and effects.
Reflections Of Passion (8:21).  This song opens in a very Sonic Youth style (the slower version of SY).  It’s fairly delicate with vocals until about 3 minutes in when the big drums carry it through to the end.

I haven’t watched all of the videos in the Record Club because some of the earlier ones are “artsy” and just hard to watch.  But this one is great for seeing just what they did to make these sounds (and who is singing).  The INXS one was also good for this.

[READ: March 15, 2014] “The Mighty Shannon”

The mighty Shannon is of course the river in Dublin, even though it is barely mentioned in the story.  The story opens with a man in pain–a migratory pain that has moved from his lower back to his shoulders to his neck.  The doctors can’t find anything wrong with him and suspect it may have something to so with his personal life more than actual pain.  He is reluctant to admit that, but when we learn what is happening in his personal life, it is quite plausible.

The narrator is married, but he has been having an affair with his son’s Spanish teacher (shame on them both). They first met at a parent teacher conference (where his wife seemed unimpressed by her) and then they encountered each other at the park when they were each going for a run.  He offers her running advice for her upcoming marathon and the really seem to hit it off.  Soon they start sleeping together.  He feels badly about it but also believes that his wife, Sharon, (not Shannon) was having an affair first–based on a pocket dialed phone call. (more…)

Read Full Post »

ashSOUNDTRACK: UI-Sidelong (1996).

ui I mentioned this band in my review of The New Yorker because Sasha Frere-Jones writes the music column for the magazine and he’s also the main guy here.

This disc is challenging to describe but certainly not to listen to.  It is a gorgeous smooth/funky/instrumental set.  The band plays with sound effects and time changes, but they are grounded by a fantastic double bass-guitar rhythm.  In some ways they remind me of the bass style from Morphine (that fluid and ultra-cool sound).

There’s a couple of songs with words, although they’re not really anything special (mostly sort of chanting/free verse style).  Stick with the instrumentals which don’t get bogged down with concepts.

This album came out the same year as Tortoise’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die.  Tortoise seems to be a frame of reference for reviewers (like me), although they don’t sound anything alike.   I guess its the whole instrumentals-can-be-cool aesthetic.

If you like your music funky and bass heavy without being dance music (although you can certain groove to Ui) or straight up funk, this is a disc worth seeking out.

[READ: August 24, 2009] Army of Darkness: Ash Saves Obama (Issue 1)

I had a couple of reasons for reviewing this comic before the series was finished.  One, it’s Army of Darkness.  Two, Ash saves President Obama.   Three, It’s Army of Darkness!! And four it’s on a small press, so they can use the publicity.

You need to know some back story to understand just what the hell is going on here.  And if you haven’t seen any of the Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell films (Evil Dead/Army of Darkness) then this probably doesn’t mean much to you. (more…)

Read Full Post »