Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Beginning

There are a number of reasons why I wanted to start a blog. Most of all I want to have somewhere where I can just write whatever I feel like writing, whether it's personal thoughts and feelings, things I'm interested in, promotional diatribe or anything that takes my fancy. I want to have somewhere where I can post music I like, and also music that I make myself, links and comments on art or philosophy, random musings, poetry or prose, photographs etc.

Sometimes documenting experiences somehow makes them seem more real.

This week has culminated in me feeling quite glum and contemplative.

These are two of the photos I took the other day:

Last night on the bus home in the early hours of the morning, after going to a rave, and while listening to the great Canadian super-group Swan Lake on my i-pod, I couldn't help but thinking about the absurd. All of a sudden everything seemed so awe-inspiring and yet fickle.

Why I love Swan Lake: Three great song-writers/musicians (Dan Bejar, also of The New Pornographers and Destroyer, Spencer Krug, also of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, and Carey Mercer, of Frog Eyes) come together to create some beautifully haunting and powerful songs. Their first album, Beast Moans, is incredible, and personally I think it's very underrated. I find the title very appropriate, the noise they create sounds like the beastly moans of the urban mixed with some ghostly fantasy from the past. Their new (sophomore) album, Enemy Mine, is just as good, if not better. On Beast Moans they sounded like a new, unique, band, whereas Enemy Mine seems to focus more on retaining each individual songwriter's established personality more, and while at first I thought this was odd, it really works. At times their voices interweave and battle each other like monoliths, and I can't even describe the joy it brings me when listening to it. I love all three talents, and the other bands that they're involved with, but I have to say that I'm particularly enthralled by Carey Mercer on this album, and now I eagerly await the next Frog Eyes record, especially to hear a studio recorded version of Paul's Tomb, a song that blew me away each time I saw them live.

Swan Lake - Warlock Psychologist

Today was the first time I really listened to Bon Iver properly, and I have to say For Emma Forever Ago is an amazing album. I think I couldn't have heard it at a more fitting time. The final song, "re: Stacks," brought me close to tears. It's not a particularly strong song on its own, but within the context of the whole album it works very well and I was captivated by it. I love part of the opening lyric "Everything that happens is from now on/This is pouring rain/This is paralyzed" and the final lines "This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization/It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away/Your love will be safe with me."

Bon Iver - re:Stacks

It perfectly highlights the cathartic quality of music and art, for the audience and the artist/author, and I think this song is both an excavation of self and a kind of burial at the same time. It's about facing something in order to move on, it's not about forgetting but about accepting and cherishing. I am now listening to the album for the third time in a row.

I have a paper to complete for one of my film classes on Hitchcock's
The Birds. I want to just finish by saying how much I admire this film. In my opinion it's still terrifying today, and I'm still amazed at how some of the special effects were completed. In my paper I argue that the competitive and deceptive behaviour of the characters represents, as a microcosm, the tension that was occurring at the time between Nations involved in the Cold War, and that Hitchcock subtly explores how corrupt human behaviour can lead to chaos and the breakdown of social order. The diner scene in which the characters engage in a debate over the perceived level of threat regarding the attacks is highly satirical of the state of paranoia and propaganda regarding the fear of Communist invasion. I read the birds themselves as physical manifestations of, and reactions to, the tension between the characters. They simultaneously hurt each other, and inflict pain upon themselves, through their actions. I have also discussed the existential undertones, such as the angst reflected by the lack of narrative closure and the apocalyptic atmosphere. The fact that there is no conventional score, just the diegetic sounds including the ominous and startling sound of the birds, is brilliant. That final shot of the survivors driving away from the house through the sea of birds is surely one of the most iconic moments in the history of cinema, and one that certainly sticks with me.

Here we go into the unknown...

1 comment:

  1. You are quite correct in positing your reasons for blogging. These are really the only reasons to blog. You lead such an interesting life you will not want for material. I look forward to being a follower. My best Count Sneaky