All posts by citizenobjects

Mark Van Hoen? Yes, we insist.

OVER THE PAST MONTH WE’VE SPENT QUITE A FEW HOURS GOING BACK AND LISTENING TO THE WORK OF MARK VAN HOEN AND (AGAIN) WONDERING WHY SUCH CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED WORK HAS ELUDED MASSES OF LISTENERS.

WHO IS MARK WAN HOEN YOU MIGHT ASK?  A VERY BRIEF ANSWER: BRITISH-BORN (NOW U.S. RESIDING) ELECTRONIC ARTIST THAT HAS RELEASED ALBUMS SINCE THE NINETIES UNDER THE MONIKER LOCUST AS WELL AS HIS OWN NAMEHE IS ALSO A PRODUCER (NEIL HALSTEAD/MOJAVE 3, SING SING amongst others), EARLY MEMBER OF SEEFEEL & MEMBER/PRODUCER OF SCALA (who deserve & will receive their own write-up at some point).

AN EQUALLY BRIEF SUMMATION – VAN HOEN HAS CREATED HIS OWN UNIQUE VOICE AMIDST HIS PEERS IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC,  OFTEN UTILIZING A HEAVILY-LAYERED AND MANIPULATED COMBINATION OF HARSH TEXTURES & RHYTHMS SET AGAINST BEAUTIFUL, OFTEN AMBIENT, MELODIC ELEMENTS.  ONE MIGHT STRAIN TO MAKE COMPARISONS TO THE DRIFTY SIDE OF APHEX TWIN OR A LESS GLITCH-BASED APPROACH OF AUTECHRE, BUT WE FEEL M.V.H. HAS DEVELOPED HIS OWN SIGNATURE-STYLE IN WRITING DENSE AND LUSH WORKS.  A TRUE SIGN OF CRAFT, HIS ALBUMS RETAIN CERTAIN STYLISTIC THREADS (or production techniques) WHILE DEVELOPING & EXPLORING NEW SONIC TERRITORIES, INCORPORATING GUEST SINGERS ON ALBUMS THAT BECOME, AT TIMES, MORE VOCALLY CENTERED INSTEAD OF LARGELY INSTRUMENTAL [although MVH himself sings beautifully on the album Where Is The Truth?, which begs the question “why has this voice not been used more?!”].  THE APPROACH CONCERNING FORM ALSO VARIES GREATLY, RANGING FROM THE OPENNESS OF AMBIENT DRIFTS TO HIGHLY STRUCTURED & ORCHESTRATED POP SONGS (especially on albums like MORNING LIGHT under the Locust name).

WE CAN HAPPILY RECOMMEND A NUMBER OF ALBUMS TO START WITH FOR THE UNINITIATED; PLAYING WITH TIME OR THE LAST FLOWERS FROM THE DARKNESS  (as M.V.H.), OR NATURAL COMPOSITE, WEATHERED WELL OR TRUTH IS BORN OF ARGUMENTS (as Locust).   WE’RE CONVINCED THAT HIS WORK IS GENERALLY SOPHISTICATED, FAIRLY BRILLIANT, WORTHY OF A MUCH LARGER AUDIENCE & AS IMPORTANT AS ANY OTHER “RECOGNIZED” ELECTRONIC COMPOSER OF THE PAST FEW DECADES.

WE’RE ALSO HAPPY TO REPORT THAT MARK VAN HOEN IS STILL GOING STRONG, HIS MOST RECENT (and quite good) ALBUM, THE REVENANT DIARY, WAS RELEASED JUST THIS YEAR.

BUT DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT, CHECK IT OUT:

http://markvanhoen.com/

Advertisements

the Pink Dots…..’Legendary’ for a reason

TODAY WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS.  WHY PROBLEM YOU MIGHT ASK?  WELL, WRITING ABOUT A BAND THAT SOUNDS LIKE NO OTHER, HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE 1980, HAS RELEASED 32 ‘PROPER’ STUDIO ALBUMS AND HAS A DEVOTED CULT FOLLOWING YET NEVER ENJOYED MAINSTREAM SUCCESS CAN BE A BIT DAUNTING….BUT WE’LL TRY……

 PLAYERS HAVE COME AND GONE FROM THE BAND OVER THE YEARS, BUT THERE IS A CORE FEW TO L.P.D. THAT LEND A COHESION TO THE WIDE BERTH OF MUSICAL TERRAIN COVERED: PHIL KNIGHT ON SYNTHS, NILS VAN HOORN ON SAXES AND FRONTING THE ENSEMBLE IS EDWARD KA-SPEL AND HIS PARTICULAR VOCAL STYLINGS (WHICH WILL IMMEDIATELY MAKE SOME NEW LISTENERS RUN FOR THE HILLS, BUT WE FIND IT CHARMING, LOVELY AND UNIQUE).

WE FIND IT EASIEST TO UNDERSTAND THE L.P.D. CATALOG IF WE VIEW IT IN TERMS OF DECADES, WITH ALBUMS WITHIN A DECADE UTILIZING CERTAIN SOUNDS AND APPROACHES THAT ARE DISTINCTIVE FOR THAT TIME.  WE ARE BIG FANS OF ALMOST ALL THEIR ALBUMS (THEIR FIRST, CURSE, IS A FINE PLACE TO BEGIN AN INVESTIGATION) BUT TEND TO RETURN MOST OFTEN TO THE RECORDS FROM THE NINETIES.  WITHIN THE NINETIES,  WE CONSIDER HIGHLIGHTS TO BE THE ALBUMS CRUSHED VELVET APOCALYPSE, NINE LIVES TO WONDER AND THE MARIA DIMENSION.  IF PRESSED FOR A ‘FAVORITE’ ALBUM, WE MIGHT ADMIT TO THE MARIA DIMENSION FOR ITS’ PSYCHEDELIC AND ‘ETHNIC’ QUALITIES, STRONG SONGWRITING AND OVER-THE-TOP PRODUCTION.

WE REALIZE THAT IF YOU AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH L.P.D., WE HAVEN’T GIVEN YOU MUCH INDICATION OF WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SOUND LIKE.  TRUE.  HERE WE ADMIT DEFEAT, THAT OUR DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE HAS FAILED US. THOUGH, PERHAPS IT IS A TESTAMENT TO THE VIRTUES OF THE MUSIC THAT IT CANNOT BE EASILY FILED, CATEGORIZED OR PIGEON-HOLED.

ALL WE CAN PROFFER IS THE IDEA THAT THIS MUSIC IS IMPORTANT, DESERVES RECOGNITION AND SHOULD BE LISTENED TO ON A MUCH MORE WIDE-SPREAD LEVEL. 

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Maria+Dimension/601916

 


Q & A – Dog Faced Hermans

 

BAND?  DOG FACED HERMANS

ALBUM?  MENTAL BLOCKS FOR ALL AGES

YEAR?  1991

GENRE?  HMMMM…..YOU COULD SAY PUNK, BUT WITHOUT MOST OF ITS’ ANNOYING QUALITIES.  WE SUPPOSE “NO WAVE” OR “ART ROCK” AS WELL, BUT WITHOUT THE PRETENTIOUS BITS

WOULD YOU COMPARE THEM TO ANYONE?   SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LIVE SKULL, THE EX AND LONG FIN KILLIE

FOOTWEAR?  CRUSTY TRAINERS, COMBAT BOOTS OR DOC’S

DRUGS?  CAFFEINE, LAGER OR HASHISH

WHO WERE THEY?  SCOTTISH BAND FORMED IN 1986, LATER RELOCATING TO HOLLAND. CALLED IT QUITS IN 1995 AFTER RELEASING EIGHT ALBUMS.  ALL THEIR RECORDS ARE PRETTY GOOD, WE’RE PARTICULARLY FOND OF MENTAL BLOCKS.  MEMBERS WERE MARION COUTTS (VOX, TRUMPET), COLIN MCLEAN (BASS, GUITAR), ANDY MOOR (GUITAR, VIOLA), WILF PLUM (DRUMS)

WHY SHOULD I LISTEN/CARE?  BECAUSE IT ROCKS, AND WITH AN HONEST INTELLIGENCE.  THERE IS A LOT OF CRAP PUNK MUSIC OUT THERE – THESE GUYS DO IT REALLY WELL, AND IN A NON-CONVENTIONAL FORM.  THEY OFTEN MAINTAIN A DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN BLISTERING, LUNATIC TEMPOS AND SLOWER, MELODIC TUNES.  SPACE IS EITHER SATURATED OR WIDE OPEN.  EVEN IF YOU DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH THEM AT FIRST WE SUGGEST MULTIPLE LISTENS.  EVENTUALLY, IT BECOMES INFECTIOUS.

 

‘Span’ning the decades – Steeleye Span

THERE IS A RE-OCCURRING (PERHAPS GENERATIONAL?) CYCLE OF INTEREST IN “FOLK” MUSIC, ITS’ POPULARITY RISING AND FALLING RHYTHMICALLY OVER THE DECADESFOLK REVIVALS ARE LIKE FASHIONS, AND, LIKE NOW, WHAT’S OLD BECOMES NEW AGAIN AND PEOPLE DIG THEIR DULCIMERS, BANJOS, AUTOHARPS AND MANDOLINS OUT OF THE CLOSET AND SYSTEMATICALLY REPEAT THE CYCLE…..AND THIS GOES ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON……

  NOT THAT THERE IS A SINGULAR ‘TYPE’ OF FOLK MUSIC.  THERE ARE MANY ORIGINS, SCHOOLS AND TRADITIONS THAT HAVE DEVELOPED OVER THE AGES, BUT THEIR HIPNESS IN POPULAR CULTURE HAS RISEN AND FALLEN BEFORE AND CERTAINLY WILL AGAIN.

ONE OF THE PERIODS OF ‘FOLK REVIVAL’ THAT ALWAYS HAS INTERESTED US IS THE FOLK RENAISSANCE IN THE U.K. DURING THE 1960’S AND 70’S.  IT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A PERIOD THAT HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY POPULAR IN RECENT YEARS, WITH NOT ONE BUT TWO NEW BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT BEING PUBLISHED IN 2011 (ELECTRIC EDEN AND SEASONS THEY CHANGE).  THIS WAVE OF ARTISTS, LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS IN THE U.S., WERE DRAWING ON THE INSPIRATION FROM THEIR NATIVE COUNTRIES’ TRADITIONS WHILE FURTHERING THE STYLISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE FORM, EACH WITH THEIR OWN UNIQUE VOICES AND APPROACHES.  SOME OF THE USUAL SUSPECTS YOU’LL NOW USUALLY SEE MENTIONED (either as folk or electric folk) ARE DONOVAN, FAIRPORT CONVENTION, NICK DRAKE, PENTANGLE/BERT JANSCH, INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, VASHTI BUNYAN, COMUS AND STEELEYE SPAN.

SO, DO WE THINK STEELEYE SPAN ARE THE ‘BEST’ OF THIS LIST?  NO.  WE COULD (AND MIGHT) WRITE ABOUT A NUMBER OF THESE ACTS AND THE CONTRIBUTIONS THEY ALL MADE TO THAT TIME AND PLACE IN MUSIC; BUT TODAY WE’VE CHOSEN THE 1972 ALBUM BELOW THE SALT SIMPLY BECAUSE WE LIKE IT, AND SEEM TO KEEP RETURNING TO IT OVER THE YEARS.

UNLIKE A NUMBER OF THEIR CONTEMPORARIES, STEELEYE SPAN WERE MOSTLY A ‘COVER BAND’, ALTHOUGH INSTEAD OF PLAYING THE LATEST BOB DYLAN HIT THEY WERE UPDATING/REARRANGING TRADITIONAL ENGLISH FOLK SONGS; SOMETIMES KEEPING WITH TRADITIONAL INSTRUMENTS BUT OFTEN COMBINING A ‘ROCK’ AUGMENTATION WITH DRUMS AND ELECTRIC GUITAR.  NOT THAT THIS WAS ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL……. OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH STEELEYE SPAN IS THE INCONSISTENCY OF THEIR ALBUMS; PARTLY DUE TO THE LINE-UP OF THE BAND CHANGING QUITE A BIT THROUGH THEIR CAREER BUT MOSTLY BECAUSE STEELEYE SPAN STARTED WRITING THEIR OWN MATERIAL AND BECOMING MORE ROCK AND LESS FOLK.   THANKFULLY THOUGH, THE VOCAL PROWESS OF MADDY PRIOR REMAINS CONSISTENTLY PRESENT, AND CHARMING, FOR YEARS.

THEIR FOURTH ALBUM, BELOW THE SALT, SEEMS TO US TO BE THE STEELEYE SPAN RECORD TO HAVE, DUE LARGELY TO THE WINNING MARRIAGE OF GOOD SONGS, ARRANGEMENTS, SOUND AND PERFORMANCES.  {WE’RE PARTICULARLY KEEN ON THE TUNES SAUCY SAILOR AND GAUDETE.}  THE FIRST THREE ALBUMS HAVE MOMENTS OF PROMISE AND SOME NICELY ARRANGED TUNES AS WELL, BUT BELOW THE SALT SEEMS TO TIE ALL OF THE ELEMENTS TOGETHER.

IF YOU’RE A NEW LISTENER TO THIS GENRE, WE ADVISE YOU TO CHECK OUT ALL OF THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED ARTISTS AND BELOW THE SALT AS ONE RECOMMENDATION INTO THE PAST.

Kraftwerk according to….. Seu Jorge!

WE ARE LIFELONG FANS OF THE ICONIC & LEGENDARY GERMAN ELECTRONIC BAND KRAFTWERK, ALTHOUGH THEIR CULT STATUS AND THE AMOUNT OF PRE-EXISTING PRESS ON THEM PRECLUDES OUR NEED TO WRITE MUCH ON THE SUBJECT . WHAT COULD WE ADD TO THE MASS OF WORDS DIRECTED TOWARD THEM OVER THE DECADES?

NOT MUCH ON KRAFTWERK THEMSELVES, BUT COVER VERSIONS OF THEIR SONGS ARE A DIFFERENT MATTER.  WE MUST SAY THOUGH THAT IT IS ALWAYS WITH CURIOSITY (and perhaps a healthy dose of skepticism) THAT WE APPROACH COVER VERSIONS OF KRAFTWERK’S SONGS.  WHO HAS THE BALLS TO ATTEMPT TO DO A VERSION OF A SONG THAT HAS BEEN DILIGENTLY CRAFTED (no pun intended) BY THE VERY PICTURE OF GERMAN MELODIC EFFICASY, RHYTHMIC PRECISION AND STUDIO FASTIDIOUSNESS?  WELL….. SEU JORGE IT TURNS OUT.

THE BRASILIAN SINGER IS PROBABLY KNOWN TO MOST AS THE DUDE IN WES ANDERSON’S 2004 FILM THE LIFE AQUATIC THAT SINGS DAVID BOWIE SONGS IN PORTUGUESE, ALTHOUGH BEFORE THAT HE WAS A WELL-KNOWN SINGER IN HIS NATIVE COUNTRY AND HAD PLAYED ‘KNOCKOUT NED’ IN THE 2002 FILM CITY OF GOD.  THIS TIME JORGE, AND HIS BAND ALMAZ, TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO ‘DAS MODEL’ OFF OF KRAFTWERK’S 1978 ALBUM DIE MENSCH-MASCHINE…… AND WITH SURPRISING RESULTS;  THE COVER IS ACTUALLY QUITE GOOD.  JORGE & BAND HAVE DECIDED TO DO A ‘STRAIGHT’ COVER HERE BY NOT MONKEYING WITH THE SONG STRUCTURE AT ALL.  IT’S JUST AS KRAFTWERK WROTE IT, THOUGH THERE ISN’T A SYNTHESIZER TO BE HEARD.  THIS VERSION OF ‘THE MODEL’ IS DONE IN A LAID-BACK SURF STYLE, WITH REVERB-SOAKED GUITAR TAKING CARE OF THE MELODY LINES ORIGINALLY VOICED WITH KEYBOARDS.  IT SOUNDS PLEASINGLY “LIVE” AND WORKS REMARKABLY WELL BY ADDING A UNIQUE PRESENTATION TO A FAIRLY WELL KNOWN PIECE WHILE MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF THE ORIGINAL.  JORGE’S NICCOTINE-STAINED VOICE IS PERHAPS ANTITHETICAL TO RALF HUTTER’S, YET SOMEHOW IT’S SEXY IN A WAY THAT WE’RE SURE KRAFTWERK NEVER IMAGINED. 

WE’LL NOT COMMENT ON THE REST OF THE 2010 ALBUM, NOR THEIR COVER OF MICHAEL JACKSON’S “ROCK WITH YOU” RIGHT NOW.


EVEN IF YOU CAN’T ABIDE BY SEU JORGE & ALMAZ’S AMBITION IN COVERING KRAFTWERK, YOU HAVE TO ADMIRE THEIR APPROACH:

soapbox #1 – Aural Pollution

“THE THINGS OTHER PEOPLE HAVE PUT INTO MY HEAD, AT ANY RATE, DO NOT FIT TOGETHER NICELY, ARE OFTEN USELESS AND UGLY, ARE OUT OF PROPORTION WITH ONE ANOTHER, ARE OUT OF PROPORTION WITH LIFE AS IT REALLY IS OUTSIDE MY HEAD.”

– KURT VONNEGUT,  BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

TODAY WE’RE NOT GOING TO REVIEW ANY RECORDS, BUT INSTEAD DISCUSS A FRIGHTENING YET ALL-TOO-COMMON ILL IN OUR MODERN, OVER-MEDIATED WORLD: AURAL POLLUTION.  WHAT IS AURAL POLLUTION YOU MIGHT ASK?  THE PHENOM THAT TAKES UP OH SO MUCH OF YOUR VALUABLE BRAIN SPACE; THE UNWANTED SONGS, JINGLES, ETC. THAT HAVE BEEN DEPOSITED IN YOUR MEMORY WITHOUT ASKING.  ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW THE WORDS TO “ROCKET MAN” IF YOU’VE NEVER PUT ON AN ELTON JOHN RECORD, OR WHY YOU CAN HUM “LUCKY STAR” BY MADONNA IF YOU’RE NOT A MADONNA FAN:      AURAL POLLUTION.

THINK OF IT AS BRAIN WASHING, SOUND TERRORISM, COMMERCIAL INFLUENCE OR EAR-RAPE.

REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU NAME IT, MOST OF US IN WESTERN SOCIETIES ARE CONSTANTLY INUNDATED BY A RISING LEVEL OF MEDIA.  NO LONGER CAN YOU ONLY HEAR “CELEBRATION” BY KOOL & THE GANG IN THE SUPERMARKET ISLES, NOW IT IS FOLLOWING US INTO PUBLIC REST ROOM STALLS, GAS STATION PUMPS OR ANYWHERE ELSE SOMEONE IS ATTEMPTING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING OR RECOGNIZES THAT YOU MIGHT BE VULNERABLE TO INFLUENCE.   IT ALSO COMES IN THE FORM OF LICENSED SONGS USED IN TELEVISION COMMERCIALS THAT ARE NOW SHOWN IN UNITED STATES POST OFFICES (in New Orleans at least) OR COUNTLESS BARS AND RESTAURANTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IN MARKETING SPEAK, THIS IS REFERRED TO AS TARGETING A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE.

WE’RE CONVINCED THAT FOR SOME FOLKS THIS IS ALRIGHT, AND THAT THEY MIGHT FIND IT CHARMING TO SING ALONG TO “WHEN I’M 64” WHILE THEY SELECT WHAT TYPE OF BREAD TO BUY.  FOR US IT IS A FUCKING PLAGUE.  ENTERING THE WORLD OF COMMERCE CAN BE A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE ONTO ITSELF WITHOUT HAVING A SOUNDTRACK PROVIDED BY ‘MARKETING CONSULTANTS’.  WE WON’T EVEN DIGRESS INTO A FURTHER DIATRIBE ABOUT THE APPROPRIATION OF MUSIC IN ADVERTISING, BUT LEAVE OUR RANT FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE AT HAND.

SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE?

1.  WE COULD WALK AROUND WEARING EARPLUGS OR HEADPHONES, BUT THIS CAN BE ANNOYING AND SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS.  NOT TO MENTION SUBSEQUENTLY SHUTTING OUT OTHER PEOPLE AND SOUND PHENOMENA THAT CAN BE INTERESTING AND ENRICHING TO OUR LIFE HERE ON EARTH.

2.  WE COULD COLLECTIVELY PLEA WITH STORE MANAGERS TO SHUT OFF, OR AT LEAST TURN DOWN, MUSIC THAT WE’RE BEING FORCED TO HEAR WHILE WE ATTEMPT TO DO BUSINESS.

3.  WE COULD START A MASSIVE CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST MEDIA CORPORATIONS FOR THE LOSS OF BRAIN-SPACE AND THE MENTAL ANGUISH RESULTING FROM A LIFETIME OF BEING UNWILLINGLY EXPOSED TO THEIR ‘PRODUCT’.  PERHAPS A SEVERE LOSS OF MONEY WOULD CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDES ABOUT THEIR CAPTIVE AUDIENCE.

WE VOTE FOR #3.  NOTHING AGAINST SIR ELTON PERSONALLY OR THOSE WHO BUY HIS RECORDS, BUT WE NEVER WANTED ‘TINY DANCER’ IN OUR HEADS AND WE’RE DEMANDING DAMAGES.  

Disco Inferno…..finally!!!

WE WRITE THE AURAL DUSTBIN BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT OF RECORDS- MANY MANY OF WHICH WE FEEL NEVER GOT THEIR DUE RESPECT OR DESERVED SUCCESS.   THIS DOES NOT MAKE THIS MUSIC “PRECIOUS”, NOR DOES IT MAKE US “COOL” BECAUSE WE LISTEN TO ‘UNDERGROUND’ MUSIC.  THE TRUTH IS, WE’RE CONTINUALLY SICKENED THAT COMMERCE USUALLY COMES BEFORE CREATIVITY TIME AND TIME AGAIN.  WE’RE SADDENED THAT INNOVATORS IN MUSIC (‘POP’ MUSIC OR OTHERWISE) ARE CRUSHED BENEATH THE WEIGHT OF OBSCURITY AND COMMERCIAL OBLIVION, FAILING TO SELL MILLIONS (or even thousands) OF COPIES OF WORK THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS IN THEIR TIME.  OUR LIST OF DISCS TO CHAMPION HERE FAR EXCEEDS THE TIME OR ENERGY WE HAVE RIGHT NOW TO DEVOTE TO WRITING ABOUT ALL OF THEM.

SO, IMAGINE OUR SURPRISE AND DELIGHT  TO HAVE SEEN NOT ONE BUT TWO ARTICLES RECENTLY ON DISCO INFERNO: ONE OF THE MORE INNOVATIVE, DISTURBING, BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL BANDS TO HAVE SUFFERED A CRUEL FATE TRYING TO SUCCEED IN BRITIAN IN THE 1990’S.  A NEW COMPILATION, THE 5 E.P.s, HAS BEEN RELEASED BY ONE LITTLE INDIAN RECORDS, HOPEFULLY BRINGING WITH IT A NEW GENERATION OF FANS.  WE’RE SUGGESTING BEGINNING WITH A LISTEN TO IN DEBT, A COLLECTION OF THEIR EARLY SINGLES, BEFORE VENTURING ON TO THE TRULY MIND/EAR-BENDING ALBUMS TECHNICOLOUR AND DI GO POP.

CALL US LAZY, BUT WE FEEL THERE’S NO NEED TO BE REDUNDANT WHEN YOU CAN READ MUCH MORE IN DEPTH ABOUT D.I. IN THE AFOREMENTIONED ARTICLES, WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE:

http://thequietus.com/articles/07144-disco-inferno-interview

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15814-the-5-eps/

Wall of Voodoo…..more than ‘mexican radio’

YEAH, YEAH, WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING, “MEXICAN RADIO”.

CERTAINLY THAT BIZZARE HIT SONG OFF OF THE 1982 ALBUM CALL OF THE WEST  PUT THE NAME WALL OF VOODOO INTO QUITE A FEW EARS, BUT IT ALSO SEEMS TO HAVE PERHAPS RELEGATED THE BAND INTO THE “QUIRKY ONE-HIT-WONDER” OBLIVION SHARED BY THE LIKES OF RIGHT SAID FRED, THE VAPORS, FALCO OR DEE-LITE.

IT IS NO SURPRISE THAT IRS RELEASED ‘MEXICAN RADIO’ AS A SINGLE, AS IT IS PERHAPS THE SAFEST AND MOST GENERALLY ACCESSIBLE SONG ON AN OTHERWISE STRANGE, UNIQUE AND DARK RECORD.  FILLED WITH DYSTOPIAN NARRATIVES AND POP-HOOKS WE CAN ONLY VAGUELY DESCRIBE AS ‘POST-PUNK SPAGHETTI WESTERN’,  CALL OF THE WEST IS A STRIKING AND BRILLIANT ALBUM……

BUT SO ARE THEIR FIRST EP, WALL OF VOODOO, AND THEIR FIRST ALBUM DARK CONTINENT.  IT SEEMS AS THOUGH THE BAND FOUND ITS SOUND EARLY ON (the 1st track on the ep ‘Longarm’ actually) AND ONLY STREAMLINED IT OVER THEIR (SCANT FEW) RECORDS; DRUM MACHINES COUPLED WITH LIVE PERCUSSION, CATCHY POP CHORUSES PITTED AGAINST ANGULAR DISCORDANT GUITAR, KEYBOARD MELODIES SAILING OVER SOMETIMES LUNATIC SINGING. SOME HAVE COMPARED THEM WITH DEVO, BUT WE FIND THE COMPARISONS SLIGHT AT BEST.  WALL OF VOODOO CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE THEIR SUSTAINING ORIGINALITY AND THE REFINEMENT OF THEIR SOUND BY THE TIME CALL OF THE WEST WAS RELEASED.  PERHAPS LESS ANGRY (but no less strange) IN SOUND THAN DARK CONTINENT, CALL OF THE WEST FINDS THE BAND WITH A SLIGHTLY MORE POLISHED SOUND AND A HONED SENSE OF SONG CRAFT.  SADLY THE LAST FULL-LENGTH ALBUM OF THE “CLASSIC” WALL OF VOODOO LINE-UP,  NOTHING ELSE LIKE IT HAS EMERGED IN THE 29 YEARS SINCE ITS RELEASE (save perhaps a few echos heard in the Pixies in moments).

VOCALIST STAN RIDGEWAY HAD A SUCCESSFUL SOLO CAREER AFTER LEAVING THE BAND AND GUITARIST MARK MORELAND (RIP) & CO. CONTINUED ON AS “WALL OF VOODOO” FOR A FEW MORE YEARS, BUT NEITHER (in our humble opinions) EVER CAME CLOSE TO MATCHING THE UNSETTLING CHEMISTRY THAT OCCURRED ON THE FIRST EP, DARK CONTINENT OR CALL OF THE WEST.

HENCE THE REASON WE’RE SUBMITTING IT FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION…..

 


http://www.myspace.com/wallofvoodoo

http://grooveshark.com/#/artist/Wall+Of+Voodoo/404064

beyond the pigeonhole – De Kift

SOME PEOPLE INSTINCTIVELY FEEL A NEED TO TAME THE CHAOS THAT IS OUR WORLD (like our garden-fascist neighbors for instance who apparantly hate nature).  THEY TRY TO CLASSIFY, LABEL, ORGANIZE, PIGEONHOLE, COMPARE, AND REDUCE ANY IDEA OR OBJECT INTO A TIDY GENRE OF UNDERSTANDING.  THUS IT IS EASY FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS TO OPERATE IN AN ACCEPTED FASHION, KNOWING THAT WHAT THEY DO OR PRODUCE FILLS AN ALREADY ESTABLISH NICHE IN THE UNIVERSE.  CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL; SAFETY, COMFORT, PREDICTABLE, CONFORMITY, EASY OR BORING.

THEN THERE ARE THE ELEMENTS OF DISORDER [enter Pan stage left], THE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS THAT CANNOT BE CLASSIFIED, LABELED, COMPARED WITH OR GENRE-BOUND.  THIS HAPPENS IN EVERY ASPECT OF OUR EXISTENCE, ESPECIALLY IN OUR ARTS.  OCCASIONALLY THERE ARE THOSE THAT SHATTER PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS, THAT ALTER OUR PERCEPTIONS OF WHAT IT IS WE KNOW, OR EXPECT, OF ART.  THINK OF ROTHKO, JOYCE, ARAGON, DUNCAN, LLOYD-WRIGHT,….

WHICH BRINGS US TO DE KIFT.  A MUSICAL GROUP FROM THE NETHERLANDS THAT HAS DEFIED CLASSIFICATION SINCE ITS CONCEPTION IN 1988.  THEIR TEN ALBUMS IN THE PAST TWENTY-THREE YEARS HAVE CREATED A SOUND THAT IS BEYOND THE CONVENIENCE OF GENRE LABELS.  THEY SOUND LIKE…..DE KIFT.   SOME HAVE USED THE PHRASE “FANFARE WITH PUNK & ROCK ELEMENTS”, BUT THAT’S STILL A MURKY DESCRIPTIVE SEA (although more than we’ll try here!).  YOU COULD ATTEMPT TO REDUCE THEIR MUSIC BY ITS INSTRUMENTATION, BUT THAT IS STILL NOT SUFFICIENT.    TRUE, THEY USE HORNS, GUITARS AND DRUMS.  YES, THE VOCALS ARE SOMETIMES SUNG, BUT OFTEN THEY ARE RAPID-FIRE, HIGHLY POETIC SPOKEN NARRATIVES (in Dutch). AT TIMES THE SONGS APPROACH TOUCHING POP BALLADS, OFTEN THOUGH THEY ADHERE TO THEIR OWN FORM AND STYLE.  ONE MUST SIMPLY LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND IT, WHICH IS WHAT WE RECOMMEND YOU DO.

THERE IS NO PARTICULAR ALBUM WE SUGGEST YOU HEAR FIRST….. START AT THE BEGINNING IF YOU’D LIKE, OR JUMP IN ANYWHERE IN THE CATALOG AS THEY ARE ALL UNIQUELY BEAUTIFUL RECORDS.  WE’VE INCLUDED A PHOTO OF THEIR SECOND ALBUM, 1993’S KRANKENHAUS, AS IT HAPPENS TO BE ON OUR TURNTABLE THIS MORNING, WE LIKE IT A LOT AND BECAUSE THERE IS A NEW DOMESTIC PRESSING (including english and german lyric translations) AVAILABLE COURTESY OF THE DOMINO SOUND LABEL (OF NEW ORLEANS, LA).  ORDER IT ONLINE THROUGH FORCED EXPOSURE OR CONTACT DOMINO SOUND RECORD SHACK @ 504.309.0871.

REALLY, YOU SHOULD.

a very very short word on Killing Joke

    1983.

      killing joke.

        fire dances.

          one of the best albums they ever did (next to Revelations perhaps?).

            perhaps we’re too sheltered at times, but we never hear anyone listening to or mentioning this album.  which is unfortunate.

              quite a champion post-punk-pop record.  give it a spin sometime.