Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I fought the radar! I fought the radar!

Frog Eyes - Ego Scriptor and The Golden River
Damn I love Frog Eyes for no other reason then their flaming contempt for all of boorish stupid humanity. I popped into the dog park yesterday and the gaggle of assholes standing around with their oversized horrible dogs. They all stood in mock/stupid grins in sunglasses in a very look-I'm-in-sunglasses white people way. I was urged to smash them!

The guy from Frog Eyes is a mess, sounding like some ill-advised J. Mascis/David Bowie hybrid on a treadmill, out of breath and desperate to get off (in all connotations) and I love him for it. The music of Frog Eyes is loosely bound by bloody sinews and they sing endlessly, obtusely about boats; in their wretchedness punching holes in the wood and squealing as the black cold water overcomes them. It's what I imagine its like witnessing Rimbaud and Verlaine wreck your living room in a fight and then lovingly make up. You should see Total Eclipse if you have a taste for crazy French poets; It's not a magnificent movie, but Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Rimbaud justifies his existence in this world.

The are the kind of band that inspired overwrought art student videos like this for "Masticated Outboard Motors"

"One and Six Children Will Flee in Boats" is my jam. The acoustic version on Ego Scriptor is personal and whispered in your ear, while the full mirror-ball version on The Golden River played from the crackling PA at the prom of the zombies.

John Fahey - Requia and Other Compositions for Guitar Solo
This is one of the few in his catalog that slipped by me, but its becoming one of my favorites, maybe right after America. Shimmering scintillation with Fahey at the height of his finger-picking powers, mixed with "psychedelic" tape additions, like orchestras tuning up and tapes slowing down to a lava flow on "When the Catfish is in Bloom," tv and movies and Hitler speeches colliding with "California Dreamin'" and some Derek Bailey-grade abstraction in "Requiem for Molly" - easily among the heaviest and most rewarding of his records.

Derek Bailey - Carpal Tunnel
Speaking of Derek Bailey and heavy records, this is among his last. He documented the degradation of his highly idiosyncratic playing style due to carpal tunnel syndrome in tracks with blunt titles like "After 7 Weeks."

"You might find the playing a bit desultory and inaccurate, but I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand, and I can't use a plectrum, so I'm using my thumb, and I'm working on it....see?" he explains dryly in the introduction while be plunks and planks away. "Not using a plectrum has become quite interesting to me. They say I should have an operation, but I think I should try to find a way around it. But as you will hear, I am only partially successful."

"The whole thing is.... clumsy"

I've known about this record but never wanted to listen to it, fearing it would be akin to the final self-portraits of Ivan Albright, best known as the painter of the painting central to the 1945 film adaption of The Picture of Dorian Gray, as stroke took his faculties. (I can't find them anywhere on this goddamn Internet)

The ever-inventive Bailey is found lingering on tones and overtones more as the weeks progress, relying less on his frenetic fingerwork and more on the gentle integration of positive and negative space. If you are not in tune with Baliey's wavelength, you might think he can't play guitar at all but this album if nothing else, exposes the processes behind his methods.

No comments:

Post a Comment