Thursday, September 04, 2008

heavy rotation

what i'm most listening to and enjoying lately (and not on my iPod, god forbid -- right now it's either the sansa 4GB mp3 player and headphones or the computer speakers hooked up to my laptop...)

Self-Luminous -- Mark O'Leary (gtr), Mat Maneri (vln), Randy Peterson (dr)
wonderfully muted chattering amplified string and percussion interplay showing free improvisation need not be all furious bluster to be consistently engaging.

Savane - Ali Farka Toure
the malian master's final album, released posthumously a few months after his death from bone cancer in march 2006. did i realize this or just forget? why do i not yet have any of his other recordings? was it that the ry cooder thing made him too "popular"? glad i at least got to see/hear him at the 2003 smithsonian folklife festival.

Wire - 1980s releases (The Ideal Copy, A Bell is a Cup Until it is Struck, It's Beginning to and Back Again)
largely maligned when they came out -- too poppy, too synthy, not edgy enough -- these have in fact aged quite well i think. and naturally, their newest release, object 47, seems to be getting a similar rap. perhaps it was hearing a BBC live-in-the-studio performance and interview from just the other day, conducted in obvious promotion of the new release, and an especially nice performance of "boiling boy" from A Bell that made me head back to these records. even "second-rate" wire from 20 years ago sounds better than 90% of today's new music. and i'm also quite certain that colin newman's lyrics impacted my nascent poetics sensibility.
him work here all day
him got his tonsils sprained
him got no time for utensils
or words to that effect

(colin newman, "i've waited ages")

not mind we jolly jack tars i'm in disgrace
the cat sat on the carpet i just lay here like a lump

(colin newman, "life on deck")

drag my canal
you saucy old salt
pale in belief
i'm not without fault
(wire, "free-falling divisions")

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