close your eyes
 
[music, books]

rather interesting longish review of a new book on the velvet underground.

it juxtaposes the velvet underground with grateful dead. they both started at the same time with first releases in 1967, they were both from a coast (from fringes of the usa), both had a penchant for long improvisational pieces, both were into drugs (gd into lsd, vu into amphetamines and heroin), both had an art background (gd with kesey, vu with warhol) and they even shared the same name in the beginning, something i didn't know. they called themselves warlocks. and they were! but there was a third band already in existence with this name and they had to choose different ones.

grateful dead were the ultimate hippie band, velvet underground the ultimate rock'n' roll meets avantgarde group. whereas in the 60s the dead were clearly more influential, it changed later on (think punk). the dead were more about nature, about being on the road, the velvets more about being stuck inside your flat, more about the dark side of the city/the human nature. the dead (i relistened to live/dead) had this folky way of singing in inoffensive, high-pitch voice about fairy taleish subjects in a florid language. it always turned me off. and still does. prog is looming in there. the style i loved to death in my adolescence. but i can suddenly totally understand that the jamming was so attractive in the late 60s. and had this communal (i think i mean collective but i hate that word) appeal. if i had been there i would have been a deadhead myself, i guess. if only to meet neal cassady. even totally bummed out.


 
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[music, books]

The first line of Joni Mitchell's autobiography


I was the only black man at the party.

 
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[music, books]

Eric Tamm's Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound. The out of print 1989 classic on Eno online. Updated 1995. 208 page Word document.


 
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[music, books]

Can we believe him this time?


From the soon to be published first volume of Bob Dylan's memoir Chronicles :

I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of.

On Blood on the Tracks:

Eventually I would even record an entire album based on Chekhov short stories—critics thought it was autobiographical—that was fine.

From the talk with David Gates:

As Dylan sees it, his fame distorted not only his life but his art; he reacted to it with new music calculated to baffle expectations, and he ended up baffling himself. 'I didn't know what it was I was really doing. I was going on reputation. Which buys you a certain sum, but you're not in control. And until you gain control, you're never quite sure you're doing the right thing? In my case anyway? So I went for a long time precisely on that fame that we're talking about. But-it was like a bag of wind. I didn't realize it was slipping away until it had slipped away.' And how long did this go on? 'Artistically speaking, it would have to have begun sometime in Woodstock-not personally, but in a public way-till maybe when that 'Time Out of Mind' record came out.'

I ask myself the question who was first. The self-mystificator Dylan or the media product Dylan? Was inventing stories about himself his way of fleeing from the disadvantages of fame (gatecrashers, stalkers, paparazzi) or was it just a trick to even accelerate the hype? What he writes there sounds quite plausible but I can't believe that he just was a normal singer/songwriter who wanted to lead a tranquil family life whose life plan was destroyed by the evil media.


 
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[music, books]

Rhetorical question?


Do all men leave this life feeling they've seen nowhere near enough nude people, played with far too few private parts, made a pitifully inadequate contribution to the honeyed chorus of bottom-slapping, tit-sucking, cock-pumping, belly-bulging lust issuing from the planet, and generally not fulfilled their once extremely promising sexperimental destiny?
Brian Eno - A Year With Swollen Appendices: 20 February

 
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[music, books]

Continuum - 33 1/3 is an interesting new book series on acclaimed albums of the last 40 years. Each book covers 128 pages. I am not quite sure where to start. The following albums (authors in brackets) would probably make my top 100 list of all time:

  • The Smiths' Meat is Murder (Joe Pernice)
  • Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (John Cavanagh)
  • Neil Young's Harvest (Sam Inglis)
  • My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (David Keenan)
  • Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (Chris Ott)
  • Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico (Joe Harvard)
  • Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland (John Perry)

 
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[music, books]

Richard S. on Richard W.


[Wagner's] Siegfried was abominable. Not a trace of coherent melodies. It would kill a cat and would turn rocks into scrambled eggs from fear of these hideous discords. My ears buzzed from these abortions of chords, if one can still call them such. The opening of the third act made enough noise to split the ears. The whole crap could be reduced to 100 measures, for it is always the same thing, and always equally tedious.
--Richard Strauss in a letter to Ludwig Thuille, 1879
from Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time, by Nicolas Slonimsky (via rockcritics daily)

 
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[music, books]

On one of the greatest bands of all-time


Long interview with Simon Goddard, author of the new definite(?) Smiths book Songs That Saved Your Life (via largehearted boy):


 
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