Friday, May 18, 2007

sun warmed synapses opened

So since the last time I updated (over a month ago, I know) I've started writing for Foxy Digitalis, an online webzine for weird music. I just had my first review published there, on The Stumps, a New Zealand band, so click that link there if you want to read it.

I probably would have been updating more had the sun not been making a regular appearance over the skies of Detroit. You have to realize that when you live through a winter as ugly as there is here, those first few days of warm sunshine feel like some sort of blissful opium fueled hallucination. You're not quite sure if it's real or not but you don't really care either, I'll usually take a false sense of security over reality any day. In conjunction with this warm weather I've found my new favorite CD to listen to while staring up at a tattered American flag waving atop a skyscraper. "Person Pitch", the new solo effort by Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox) of Animal Collective. I have a hard time coming up with words to describe something this pure and good that sounds like it comes from Utopia so I probably won't write all that much about except to tell you to go buy it. It's full of lots of warm reverb laced vocals and softly throbbing drum machine loops that will have your heart beating in some kind of sympathetic rhythm to it (like when you put two clocks next to each other and their second hands fuse, ya know?) I've found the closing track "Ponytail" to be especially hypnotic while watching the weatherworn stripes of the flag on top of the Guardian Building in a slow motion wave set against the muted blue sky. That flag is some sort of admittance of our flaws and it somehow made me feel better about being from here. We're far from perfect but at least there's enough of us to own up to it.

I also really like the new album by The North Sea called "Exquisite Idols". It's a meditation that reaches the realization that Ravi Shankar is to India what the Louvin Brothers are to America. At least that's what I got out of it. There's no need to further classify. OK, maybe raga-billy, or What Happens When Sitars and Banjos meet. But anyway, it's really just a celebration of life and diversity, many spokes emanating from the same hub. If more people took that to heart we might not be doomed. "Take It From Me Brother Moses" is a raucous hillbilly gospel stomp but then followed immediately by a debate devoid of structure between a digital tongue and its analog mouth in "Cover Me With Knives".

Thee OhSees
is a band you should really be paying attention to as well. They have a new record called "Sucks Blood" that's equal parts dilated pupil psych swagger and a soft pillow to lay your fried mind on for the come down. Same thing goes for Gowns, not that they sound like Thee OhSees, just that you should probably be listening to them. There's a tune on their new album "Red State" that really got under my skin. It's called "White Like Heaven". It's a fever dream of a huge black humming monolith in a desert that you're floating towards, drawn by its energy, and once you reach it you just bask in its aura, suspended in its amniotic droning, oblivious to anything else going on in your fucked up little head. Listen to it here but so help me god don't you dare open your eyes and acknowledge the body you're imprisoned in and ruin it.

I don't mean to be so abstract but give me a break. I've been watching the films in the new Alejandro Jodorowsky box set. They've FINALLY been given a proper release. Jodorowsky has the rare combination of an unflinching artistic vision coupled with a complete lack of ego. These sort of movies would seem contrived and pretentious in less skilled hands. This is what William Blake would have been doing had film been his medium rather than ink and paper. I first saw El Topo about 8 years ago on a terrible VHS tape that seemed to be about a 6th generation dub, and it was in English no less. But now I've got that, Holy Mountain, Fando Y Lis, and an early short film called La Cravate about a girl that sells heads. To sweeten the deal, the soundtrack CDs for El Topo and Holy Mountain are included. I plan on writing a bit more on them once I've watched them a few more times. Until then, be good.

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