5/28/11

Gil Scott-Heron and the Miracle of Music

 Gil Scott-Heron 1949-2011
Earlier today I was saddened by the news that Gil Scott-Heron had passed away. He played in Copenhagen in january but we didn't go. I regret it now. Oh well. Let's remember the good things.

Gil Scott-Heron was a big influence on hip hop. His most famous track is the proto-rap of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". He also recorded soul, blues & jazz influenced stuff and had a comeback as late as last year with the album I'm New Here and the Jamie XX collaboration/reworking We're New Here.

One of his 70's tracks is called "Lady Day and John Coltrane". Lady Day was the nickname of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday and John Coltrane is obviously the legendary jazz sax man.

A simple, beautiful and groovy song about the miracle of music and what it can do to people:

Ever feel kinda down and out, you don't know just what to do
Livin' all of your days in darkness let the sun shine through
Ever feel that somehow, somewhere you lost your way
And if you don't get a help quick you won't make it through the day
Could you call on Lady Day, could you call on John Coltrane
Now 'cause they'll, they'll wash your troubles, your troubles away

Plastic people with plastic minds are on their way to plastic homes
No beginning there ain't no ending just on and on and on and on and on, 

It's all because they're so afraid to say that they're alone
Until our hero rides in on his saxophone
Could you call on Lady Day, could you call on John Coltrane
Now cause they'll, they'll wash your troubles, your troubles away



5/26/11

How does it feel? (thoughts on music #8 - Craig Werner)

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”Dylan’s ’Like A Rolling Stone’ responds to the blues on levels that have nothing to do with liberal politics or nostalgic authenticity. The song returns obsessively to the most fundamental blues question: ’how does it feel?’ It isn’t about the consolations of philosophy or the dodge of ideology. It’s about how it feels to be existentially adrift, a broken piece in a fallen world. Muddy [Waters] knew the feeling well, and about all he had to say in words was ’oh well’. But his guitar, and the way he bent the syllables around words that never quite told the whole story, expressed with killing precision how the world felt to a black man who was about to head up Highway 61 toward a Chicago that he knew damn well wasn’t the promised land.”
-Craig Werner, A Change Is Gonna Come

5/25/11

Dylan Mixtape

Bob Dylan's 70th birthday was yesterday. For the occasion I did a mixtape of Dylan songs that was featured on Faroese youth portal Röddin.fo. Here's what I wrote in Faroese translated to English:

Bob Dylan turns 70 today. Since Bob is my biggest musical influence in the whole world I got this urge to do something to mark the occasion. This "something" resulted in this mixtape which hereby is shared with you, dear Röddin.fo reader/listener.

In addition to the 70th birthday this year Bob also celebrates 50 years as a recording artist. All in all he has released 34 studio albums, 58 singles, 13 live albums, 9 bootleg series releases, and 14 compilations. And he's still going strong. Crazy!

I decided that the mixtape should be about 1 hour. Thus the 15 songs included are only the tip of the iceberg. I chose to use only "album tracks", which means no outtakes, rarities, b-sides, soundtracks or live recordings. These are all songs from albums. Good songs. From good albums.

It's impossible to do a fully representable mixtape while keeping it relatively short and listenable at the same time. But I've tried to select some fitting songs for the purpose.

Known and unknown, obvious and idiosyncratic, calm and excited, new and old, acoustic and electric, bright and dark, happy and sad. In chronological order. When "play" is pressed a journey begins through 50 years of music history. 50 years together with Bob.

Happy birthday Bob!

Have a good listen.
 
“SONG” RECORD (YEAR)

1. “Song To Woody” Bob Dylan (1962)
2. “Blowin’ In The Wind” The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
3. “Like A Rolling Stone” Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
4. “Visions of Johanna” Blonde on Blonde (1966)
5. “All Along The Watchtower” John Wesley Harding (1967)
6. “The Man In Me” New Morning (1970)
7. “Meet Me In The Morning” Blood On The Tracks (1975)
8. “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” Street Legal (1978)
9. “Gotta Serve Somebody” Slow Train Coming (1979)
10. “Saved” Saved (1980)
11. “Every Grain Of Sand” Shot Of Love (1981)
12. “Everything Is Broken” Oh Mercy (1989)
13. “Love Sick” Time Out Of Mind (1997)
14. “High Water (for Charley Patton)” “Love and Theft” (2001)
15. “When The Deal Goes Down” Modern Times (2006)

5/22/11

"Hann, ið óttast deyðan, kann ikki njóta lív sítt"

 Í gjár legði eg merki til, at debutplátan hjá íslendsku Dead Skeletons fær 6 út av 6 stjørnum í danska blaðnum Gaffa. Plátan nevnist Dead Magick, og talgilda útgávan kom eisini út í gjár, 21 mai, eitt dato, ið summi hildu vera dómadag. Fysiska plátan (2xLP og CD) kemur út í juli.

Orsøkin til at eg ansaði hesum ummælinum, var bæði fulla stigatalið og tann sannroynd, at eg havi vitað av hesum bólkinum í nøkur ár eftirhondini. Oddamaðurin í bólkinum er íslendski klædnasniðgevin, tónleikarin og multi-listamaðurin Nonni Dead.

Tá Clickhaze vóru í Íslandi í 2002, og eg var við sum journalistur/kórsangari/roadie, var Nonni ein av persónunum vit hittu á túrinum. Hann filmaði onkra konsert, og gjørdi eisini uppskot til onkra t-skjúrtu í samráð við Jens L. Thomsen.

Longu tá hevði Nonni gjørt vart við seg við sínum eyðkenda DEAD klædnamerki. Logo'ið á klæðunum var eitt deydningahøvd. Árið eftir var Nonni í Føroyum við sínum DEAD klæðum, ið hann seldi á G! Festivalinum og á Ólavsøku.

Tá eg vitjaði aftur í Íslandi í 2005, 2006 og 2007 kundi eg bert staðfesta at DEAD klæðini vóru komin fyri at vera. Eyðkendu svørtu t-skjúrturnar við deydningahøvdinum og áskriftini "He who fears death cannot enjoy life" vóru ikki til at taka feil av. Hetta eru somu t-skjúrtur, ið Sirkus hevur havt til sølu niðri í Vágsbotni.

Somuleiðis gjørdist eg varhugur við at Nonni var farin í holt við at gera tónleik. Hann var m.a. við á einum feitum og myrkum lagi/video hjá Brian Jonestown Massacre, har Anton Newcombe er oddamaður. Fyrsta staklagið hjá Dead Skeletons var eisini útgivið á plátufelagnum hjá Newcombe.

Síðani havi eg sæð einstakar video'ir her og der, og lagt merki til at ymisk fólk hava umrøtt og peppast um Dead Skeletons.

Nú er debutplátan á gáttini, og hon er verd at skriva heim um. Útgávan er long, einar 72 minuttir, og løgini taka sær tíð. Tónleikurin er dronandi og hugvekjandi. Larmandi shoegaze gittarar og repetitivar kraut rútmur. Ymisk mantra vera sungin og endurtikin, m.a. verður áðurnevnda "He who fears death cannot enjoy life" - "Hann, ið óttast deyðan, kann ikki njóta lív sítt" - messað og endurtikið sum eitt mantra í byrjunarlagnum "Dead Mantra".

Vektin aftanfyri orðini, er sannroyndin at Nonni Dead í 1994 fekk staðfest HIV, og at orðini komu til hansara aftaná hetta. Síðani hevur alt virkið hjá honum verið skilmarkað av hesum grundfestinum.

Nonni Dead er ein hugtakandi listamaður, og saman við Henrik Bjornsson (eisini kendur frá Singapore Sling), Ryan Carlson Van Kriedt og øðrum, hevur hann latið eina mýstiska, sýraða og spennandi plátu úr hondum. Gleði meg at lurta meir eftir henni.

Fá meir at vita um Dead Skeletons her
Fá meir at vita um Dead her
keyp talgildu útgávuna her

5/16/11

Ring The(m) Bells


Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
’Cross the valleys and streams
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride

Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know
Oh it’s rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow


Ring them bells Sweet Martha
For the poor man’s son
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep


Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf
Ring them bells for all of us who are left
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through
Ring them bells, for the time that flies
For the child that cries
When innocence dies


Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they’re breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong




The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

5/8/11

Liturgy

 Roger Waters The Wall Live in Parken last night was absolutely mindblowing! But I feel it's too early to go into depths about the show so if there is to be any extensive writing on it, it will appear here on a later date.

Right now I want to direct your attention towards rather brilliant Brooklyn "transcendental black metal" (!) band Liturgy! "Transcendental" they call it. "Conceptual black metal" might also work. "Abstractionist black metal"? "Intellectual black metal"? Or maybe "Brooklyn hipster black metal"? :)

Whatever. Great band. Kind of reminds me of Wolves In The Throne Room. Similarities: both bands are from the US, both bands play their own interpretation of black metal, neither band uses corpsepaint or black metal outfits, both bands appear in casual clothing and both bands hint at a possible future for black metal beyond the good ol' Satan worshippin' bleakness of yore. Hence the transcendental bit. Oh, and both bands have this kind of deep ambient hypnotic vibe going on that you just want to throw yourself in. But still, you know, two totally different bands.

This is Liturgy and their new album Aesthethica is out this tuesday. Check out this cool disorienting video for "Returner" (but do beware if you don't respond well to fast blinking images), which will be on the new album:

LITURGY // RETURNER from Panorama Programming on Vimeo.

Here's a live recording of "Pagan Dawn" which appeared on their previous album Renihilation (2009):

Interview:

5/6/11

Tear Down The Wall



cold as a razorblade
tight as a tourniquet
dry as a funeral drum

We're seeing Roger Waters The Wall Live tomorrow night at Parken, the stadion here in Copenhagen.

Initially I had some reservations about going to this show. I wasn't sure I wanted to see it but decided for it in the end. Bought tickets from a guy in Valby via Den Blå Avis. I have to see and hear what Waters and co. make of The Wall anno 2011.

My girlfriend and I have been listening to The Wall these last couple of days. I first began listening to the album when I was in high school. It's an amazing piece of work with so many layers and it's great fun to revisit the album while preparing for the show tomorrow.

I keep reminding myself though, that wer'e not going to see The Wall by Pink Floyd but The Wall by Roger Waters. I don't know if I'm being pedantic about it but I feel I have to make that very conscious distinction, or I'm just going to be disappointed by the show.

There's no doubt that The Wall was mainly Roger Waters' brainchild, vision and concept. At the time of the album he had more or less taken control of the band and it's well known that The Final Cut, the follow-up album to The Wall, was actually more a Waters solo album than a Pink Floyd album.

But I still think that the The Wall album bears some very distinct touches of David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Waters wrote the bulk of the music on the album but three tracks were co-written by Gilmour, the most well-known of these being "Comfortably Numb"; a key track on the album.

The story of Pink Floyd is really fascinating when you think about it. Not only is their music grand, epic and "symphonic" in scope but their bio also has some almost mythical flourishes. Their founder Syd Barrett went mad and their later work was in many ways driven by the interplay between opposite poles Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

Such circumstances are great for creative output but take their toll on a more personal, human level. Which is one of the reasons why the current tour is a Waters solo tour.

Now, Waters is an amazing and visionary musician, there's no doubt about that. He's always struck me as very "driven" in some sense. He's got that special edge, while the other members always appeared more "mellow".

But since the other three won't be joining us tomorrow I'm hoping for some kind of re-interpretation or deconstruction or maybe just a fitting update that does justice to the original work. Let's just say I hope Roger Waters and co. tear down The Wall tomorrow!

This interview bit from CBSNews.com sounds promising in that regard:

"Thirty years ago when I was kind of an angry and not very young lad, I found myself driven into defensive positions because I was scared of stuff, and I've come to realize that in that personal story, maybe somewhere hidden in there exists an allegory for more general and universal themes, political and social themes," he said. "It's really for that reason that I decided that I'd try and create a new performance of this piece using a lot of the same things that we did all those years ago." -Roger Waters

Waters has said that Gilmour will be joining him onstage on an as of yet unspecified date on the tour. Fingers crossed that Gilmour is into sunny Copenhagen in May!

I'll leave you with the Waters-Gilmour-Wright-Mason incarnation of Pink Floyd in what turned out to be their last performance ever since Richard Wright passed away in 2008 (R.I.P.).
I like the fact that Waters and Gilmour laid aside their disagreements for a little while and that the four them were joined onstage for a greater cause. I remember how moving it was to see this live on TV. From the Live 8 broadcast in 2005: