Tuesday, December 15, 2009

too late for track suits

Michael Nyman & David McAlmont - The Glare (listen) I just had a great interview with a composer whose work I compared to (among other things) Michael Nyman, best known for the elegant scores for Peter Greenaway movies (where did he go, by the way?) and then had the usual fear of making such comparisons: does the either side of the equations actually sound the way I think he of she sounds? In this case, yes, and it gave me a reason (like I needed one) to catch up on Michael Nyman. The Glare is Nyman's bustling horns-of-activity and his meta-Broadway string section swoonery concentrated to wrap around David McAlmont's lush falsetto like a honeysuckle vine does a garden sculpture. Breathless, sophisticated, soulful stuff. I love when art music people make pop music. They don't exactly make either when they do; they instead make that particular thing that was missing all along.

McAlmont fronted an arty pop combo Thieves in the mid 90's and collaborated with Bernard Butler of Suede, recordings of which I will seek out soon. But really, y'all, The Glare is lovely, lovely music. I tried to listen to Philip Glass' similar Songs from Liquid Days not too long ago and could not really get into it like I once did; the schism between the warm and the cold is too jarring. This is like Prince or Antony Hegarty kicking out the finest MFA recital jamz ever.

My Morning Jacket - Z (listen) Z is a great record, a triumph, but truthfully it is where My Morning jacket and I parted ways. I wanted them to continue to be the rock band that sprouted out of my thoughts instead of becoming the precursor of the Elton John/U2 blockbuster matchup that will eventually open the Harrah's on the moon colony. It was a piece on then in the 2003 Oxford American music issue (did I mention I have a piece in the cur- oh, I did? Sorry, its just that I - OK, I'll shut up) that made me want to write about music on the really real so I felt a little unfounded ownership of the band. I'm largely over all that now, though I can't quite bring myself to put on Evil Urges again. But I probably will since they are up in the high tier of the dizzying JazzFest lineup that just came out, and I'll finally get to see them.

Edited to add: Now that I've listened to it all the way through again, I am an idiot. Z is a masterpiece that holds up to and in some cases, surpasses anything else they've done. I don't know why it took until now for me to realize that.

Damn, "One Big Holiday" off It Still Moves (listen) is about as good as it get though, huh? It's like if turned out that Blue Öyster Cult was a real cult and one evening in the oppressive heat of a Southern August, the world was astounded to witness that indeed a spaceship did arrive to take the faithful on to a higher place. As it lumbered back into the sky, the aliens laughed at the left behind, "Too late for track suits and Kool-Aid now, fuckers!" from massive speakers, and we heard the diligent cult members high-fiving each other in the back ground, all thinking "Sure, they are probably going to probe us, suspend us in glass tanks, and/or throw our bodies from a sliver of a catwalk down one of those impossibly huge exhaust shafts that giant spaceships always have, but man, we were right!"

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