Many years back I knew a gay Buddhist who lived in the East Village. He was the first person to play Antony & The Johnsons for me, and at the time I had no way to process it. I wasn’t familiar with the whole faux cabaret tradition, the post-Klaus Nomi camp theatrics and all that stuff. But something he said stuck with me, after I had finished listening to “Cripple and the Starfish” in his bedroom.
“Antony”, he said, with this strange gleam in his eyes, “is a true superstar in every sense of the word. He’s a superstar.”
I get what he means by that now. Continue reading
I see that look upon your face. The one that says “Why not review a perfect snowflake? Why not review your first love?”
Because, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Smarty Pants, snowflakes melt and my first love was a painfully earnest exercise in learning how not to be a complete shit all of the time, and mostly failing at that.
Hence I See A Darkness.
People like to rip on the haystackers* both because they’re the big name in Indietown and because they generally write like smuggy ding-dongs who need a wedgie so badly that the universe cries out for vengeance against their butt cracks, but they’re not wrong about this being one of the best albums of the 1990s. It absolutely is.
Low key, low-fi, and no low end. Quiet, desperate times at 3 a.m.; maudlin with good reason.
* (Ha ha, get it?)
While this hasn’t actually been released yet, the internet is full of things, such as these words:
I’ve never been up in Tim Hecker‘s urethra before but this particular work is hot to death. Drone upon drone upon drone, but done in short bursts. An epic drone for people who had tried drones before but just couldn’t put in the time required to get their slow lean on. Take a pattern, repeat it, shift it, and build a song from the spaces between. “Paragon Point” and its slow-motion arena rock guitar solo is my personal high point, but things bounce forward quickly enough so that each song is a bit of a larger moment.
The mood is tranquil; the water is warm; the valium was cheap. Go enjoy your bath.
I shall go to the store and buy this on March 10. As a compact disc. Or I might get it on bleep.com. Regardless, money shall be paid.
In the meantime I hope these words of praise suffice.
A small part of the problem is a design flaw – the stock earbuds that come with any player are going to be shitty. They never fit anyone’s ears properly, so there’s always going to be leakage.
The larger issue is that people desire a cocoon. It’s a bit like the bass car issue, but in the opposite direction. The bass car is meant to attract attention, to say “I live with my mom and am probably a rapist.” A poem written in shitty music by shitty people.
The loud earbud issue is about isolation. If I cannot hear the world, it ceases to exist, at least until it’s time to get off the train. Whether this is a desire for a contemplative space in a hurried, secular world or simply wanting to drown out the hundreds of people who are also pretending that no one else is on the train…well, that is for each seeker to decide on their own. What it does mean is that you end up hearing a lot of cymbals. It’s also a bit of a blow against ethnic stereotyping, as (what sounds to be) cock rock is beloved by people of all races. When did that happen? Why did that happen? Continue reading
My first two reviews are now up over at White Heat – check out these words about The Threshold Houseboys Choir and a more formal offering on Fennesz‘s Black Sea.
Also worth noting is the chronicle of curious disappointment in the latest offering of the oddly-named Kiss the Anus of Black Cat.