The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Tuesday, July 30, 2002
"Whence comes solace? Not from seeing,
What is doing, suffering, being;
Not from noting Life’s conditions,
Not from heeding Time’s monitions;
But in cleaving to the Dream
And in gazing at the Gleam."
(On a Fine Morning by Thomas Hardy)

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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Jeanette Winterson's programme on Orlando (the Woolf novel, not the Romo meisters) in BBC's Art That Shook The World series was exceptional. A display of unalloyed passion, physically and spiritually expressed, surpassed on television this year only by Robert Hughes on Goya. She crucially ENTERED Woolf, embraced her feelings, and behold! fiction usurps history and thus reality.


Dave Tompkins' review of DJ Shadow's Private Press in this month's Wire is exceptional. Exactly what great writing should do - provoke, make you re-evaluate commonly held beliefs (even if the commonality is in the self), make you go and spend £13.99 on the work of art in question. My thoughts are forthcoming.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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"The Bottle" by the Tyrrel Corporation (1992)

A weirdly celebratory ode to hangovers, alcoholism and loneliness, sung by a voice halfway between Roland Gift and Edwin Starr against a backdrop of so-elemental-it's-absurd pop house. Note the "Killer" musical quote directly after he sings "Acid raining in my stomach." But it builds, even with Wellerish guitar, even with the dreaded harmonica, even when you realise that this is the NME doing house, even when you realise that the rest of the album from which it comes ("North East of Eden") is drearily worthy in a Kane Gang goes house style, it somehow works. And when the major piano chords enter towards the end against his anguished wailing, and crucially the unchanged minor key bassline continues, it is a miracle.

Should have been a number one.

Tomorrow: "Snobbery and Decay" by Act (1987).

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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"Separation penetrates the disappearing person like a pigment and steeps him in gentle radiance" (Walter Benjamin).

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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When the river breaks (but NOT "When The Levee Breaks") and avant becomes apparent. Some examples:

"New Rose" by the Damned - Rat Scabies' drumming was memorably described by Richard Williams as "the guy from the Stooges meets Sunny Murray" and indeed here it is cymbal dominant and virtually arrhythmical, particularly at the end climax where the odd lightness of his multi-activity plays against the treble of the other members. Nick Lowe produced, so he must have known exactly what to do. Compare the lumpen and overly slow drumming which spoils "Anarchy in the UK."

"Song for Che" by Robert Wyatt, which gets in here on account of Mark Sinker calling it "the greatest tune which never charted." The tune is plaintively stated by the band (George Khan and Gary Windo on saxes, Wyatt on piano, Bill MacCormick on bass) but what makes it bleed is Laurie Allan's phenomenal free drumming, which expresses the rage under the apparent passivity, hammers against the manners.

"Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen - OK, howl of rage misinterpreted as my country 'tis of thee, and the "Boss" is not entirely not to blame for this, but Max Weinberg's drumming explodes at the climax, going out of tempo, screaming blue murder. Even when back in tempo for the fade-out he blasts against the boundaries.

"Stella Maria" by Working Week - the only thing worth keeping off that wretched first album of theirs (and even this was a bonus 12"), performed largely by jazzers/avantists, but Julie Tippetts' most pop-like vocal since her work on Carla Bley's Tropic Appetites. The Linn Drum track is constantly undermined and finally overwhelmed by Louis Moholo's ferocious but always relevant percussion.

More examples to follow if I can think of any.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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