Beach Boys, echoes of outer space and the very best of Neutral Milk Hotel all twisted into one waffle cone. And the most beautiful liner notes since Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks.
After the first three movements of this monster have thrown you around, made you cry or run for cover and then left you for dead, Mahler graciously inserts this “little Adagio” as sort of palatte-cleansing respite… but don’t think you’ve reached dry land. The tempest takes on a different form – deeper, sadder and bigger than all the previous cacophony put together.
Cedar twigs smoulder in lavender oil as I listen to you whisper about losing consciousness in that peculiar, menacing tone of yours. You computerize the air I am trying to fill with souvenirs from the natural world. Frantic, hypnotic rhythms, sleep-slurred murmurs from the lost and miserable. Yes, our dislocated age. A painful shoulder, jarred free from the cuddly joint. Freedom is as much a blessing as a condemnation. Oh Thom. You are Nietzsche’s continuation, whether or not you know it or give a rat’s ass. Your intention or the absence thereof has nothing to do with such an electric philosophical kinship. But where Freidrich calls on the Overman, you call on each of us to draw something heroic from Nothingness. It is hard to hear.
…a grave, surging, soaring piece for double string orchestra in the Phrygian mode that premiered in the grandeur of Gloucester Cathedral… I can only imagine what that must have sounded like…
El Perro Del Mar makes poetic miniatures in pop music comparable to Chopin’s poetic miniatures in piano music – as lovely as tender as fragile…. I wonder if she’s short and ‘consumptive’ like poor Frederic was…. Asa Arnehead, the amazing Swedish artist who animated El Perro’s video for God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get) is a perfect visual accompaniment to this small, delicate musical universe. The drawings are brilliant but the animations are even more so… the tiniest movements can disarm. Magic….
Viola concerto? Really, viola? Really… by an English twentieth century composer … and it is sublime… a bit Bernstein, a bit cinematic-film-score, a bit poetry…. massive at the end… with extraordinary melodic lines that blur major and minor modes… one phrase actually sounds like a bereaved widow moaning… enjoy!
Oh. Oh oh oh. Be good to yourself and walk into this beautiful landscape…
“Life is Unbelievable”, “Eyes are the Flowers” and “River Rations” make me catch glimpses of gnomes, skip and click my heels in public parks, use my pink umbrella, fall in love with, toadstools, say prayers to raindrops and believe my house keys have magic powers…
I think John is Buster Keaton with a four-leaf clover in his pocket. If the world could drink of him once a day there would be no world wars. Forgive my hyperbole. This is my favourite record of this year, and I don’t foresee anything topping it.
OH. oh oh oh. Ohhhh.
…..one of the most unusual, beautiful voices I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. The closest approximation would be Lisa Simpson meets Melanie….. verse like fine scultpure – must have been a poetry major….. an American journalist called her part of the “New Weird America”…. Did I mention she performs on the harp….