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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

For Election Day

Inside a barn
Of a sleeping town
There laid a sleeping man
He wore a frown
A stranger woke him
He looked around
Then he spoke
I wrote it down:
He said, “My climbing rope is broken
And I cannot stay awake
Better fix it son; no joking
For the Omega Day is come.”

–Bill Fay, “Omega Day”, from the album Time of the Last Persecution

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Music video by The Who performing Eminence Front. (C) 1982 Polydor Ltd. (UK) 

[From a gchat exchange on Monday, August 23, between editors; refer here for context; more after the jump:]

 me:  holy shit
i have an IMPORTANT QUESTION
how have i never heard eminence front before
 Sent at 7:57 PM on Monday
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By the time of 1989’s release of the album Cloudland, Pere Ubu had been a band for roughly 14 years.  Cloudland was the second album the band had released on the Fontana label, an era that the band’s Ubu Projex* website classifies as its own period.  Cloudland was “an epic journey”, the followup to the less “successful” “clattery heap” of 1988’s The Tenement Year.

The first track on the album is “Breath”.  Here, watch this:

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Critics of our postmodern age love to point out that the invention of the popular, portable, personal music systems in the late 1970s contributed to an increasingly fragmented and walled-off social formation.  In a typical “get off my lawn” moment, they neglect the fact that the development of mass transit in the 1800s already underscored this urban fragmentation that had been in full effect for, oh, thousands of years.  All the invention of the iPod and similar devices did was extend the variety that was available to each commuter.  The question is how to put this variety to the service of full sensory effect.  Hence the following Authoritative Running Downhill Guide to Early Morning Elevated or Subway or Surface Train Commute Music:

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There was a time in my life when music from the 1980s, by and large, was something to be avoided.  Put aside the torn jeans, the hair, the bangles/Bangles, and the fluorescent colors for the moment.  It was the sound itself.  The synth bleeps and blips, the electronic drums, the chorused out guitars, all of this sound heavily processed…I couldn’t stand any of this stuff.  It made no matter if it was Steve Winwood’s Arc of a Diver, Guns n’ Roses, Madonna, or Prince.  I simply didn’t want to hear it.

Something shifted, though.  Whereas before the production on most music of my early years (1981-88 or ’89) felt sterile and boring, over the past few years, those same records have all started to take on aspects which (I hesitate to use the word “nostalgia”) remove me from my immediate/imminent life.  I cannot tell if this is due to the distance I have from the ubiquity of that sound, or due to changes in my own psyche and ears, but either way, there is no denying it.  My relationship with music from the eighties has blossomed from one based on indifference and vague loathing to one based on emotional attachment.

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A four part dispatch from guest contributor CT Terry.

Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” took the better part of two decades to record and release. It’s a dense, bewildering album that can’t be judged as a whole because there is so much going on, a lot of which is brilliant, but plenty of which is schlock. In an effort to figure out what is going on in this record, and to decide if I like it, I went through it, cataloging and responding to every part of every song. –CT Terry

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A four part dispatch from guest contributor CT Terry.

Part Three: Classic G’n’R Tropes

Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” took the better part of two decades to record and release. It’s a dense, bewildering album that can’t be judged as a whole because there is so much going on, a lot of which is brilliant, but plenty of which is schlock. In an effort to figure out what is going on in this record, and to decide if I like it, I went through it, cataloging and responding to every part of every song. –CT Terry


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