Shadow People

I was about to go to bed after a very average day. I say average because, all things considered, it wasn’t such a bad day. But there was nothing very big happening all day long, and I dislike days like these. I fear days like these, and I’d like to give you an example of why do I don’t like these days.

I spent a large part of my day working. Then to relax, I thought I should take off of my mind these sounds I had in my head for the whole day – perhaps even manage to compose something. And usually, since I’m not such a good songwriter, I invariably fail at the presumably simple task of making things sound as you’ve imagined them, with the tools at hand. I just can’t shake down all the ideas, put them together in a nicely fitting way, get the tools to do just what I want to do and then look at the work done and say ‘yes, this is coming together just as it should’, and go to the next step. I’m guessing the next step is just to add layers to the composition.
So first reason for being unhappy about this day is beacuse I reached Stage 2 of frustration.

Later, after listening again and again to the tunes that inspired me today, I came across this track from Dr. Dog, which blowed my mind with its nicely evolving pattern, slowly reaching a climax with a question mark in the end. I also read a short bio of this band, saying the band had earned ‘positive reviews from outlets’, but that was before more success came with new material (see website). I could only be hurt by this line, first because this band deserve much more (and I know they’ll be getting all the attention they deserve at Bonnaroo and other places where they tour in 2014), but also because it shows, in my opinion, how swift and pre-processed judgements are made by some critics nowadays(note: this bio was written by Stewart Mason, Rovi). Ugh. Factual, this review flies though the band history at a sickening speed, to the point where aseptic comments are all over the place. I hate the people making money out of content distribution instead of content originality, it’s as simple as this. And this is where entertainment in general needs elaboration. Advertisements should be as entertaining as the content you’re reviewing or promoting. I love the music world for keeping on expanding itself to new shores, with new bands happily emerging out of nowhere forever and for better, even when the bulk of the music industry is pulling backwards.

How many times have I thought ‘well, this band really makes good music, but they’re not really super famous yet’, or, ‘the single track sounds very good, looking forward to listen to the album and see them live!’ ? I don’t blame people for doing merchandising. I just regret that, because the process of getting recognized as an artist goes through all kinds of media exposure testing, there are good songs and fabulous live acts that would probably never come together.

Colours To Life

Colours To Life, by the Temples.

I need to sleep. This I feel clearly now, and man it calls me, that bed calls me. All these things I’ve drawn these past few days for the sake of this new contract I got… Ugh, unbelievable. It’s incredible how I need this work to be done. In fact, I need these drawings to be done as much as I need to sleep. But I guess it all makes sense, running after this money is worth a good sleep.

From all the pieces I’ve been keeping, this guy got me working on what I found to be the most silly piece of work I’ve done for about two years. Since I got in this city, I haven’t had the opportunity to do paid work and now that it pops up, I’ve got to stick out of the themes I like. Really, drawing comic style faces is not what will let my juices flow. Ah, speaking of juice, I’ve got to find some now.

(and he walks down to the closest liquor store. Then back to his work)

Here’s what I got on the back of my mind when I work. I think about the old celebrated artists of the past centuries, known for their creativity ‘under the influence’. I personally find this round glass of whisky warming and comforting me, and perhaps this is how it felt to them too. To be true, it’s more the feel it gives to my nightly work sessions. I feel the pens and brushes speeding up on the canvases and the pieces of paper, and for long moments the idea stays in mind, very clear. Or as clear as it can be. From time to time, I change the side of the record, or I just take a new one, spend some watching it spinning, with very faint speckles of dust getting kicked out the edge of the disk. You can see them because there’s this tiny light in front of where the needle is. It flashes the small particles of dust when the record turns at full speed, and the random paths they take can distract my mind for long moments, before I get back to work. Less sober now. More purple here and there. That’ll do all right. If I was one of the old and celebrated sketchers of the past century, I’d probably be sad to be paid for such crap. As sad as it gets. But there it is, the job is done, ready to be sent to the judgement and taste of some stupid publisher who won’t even bend his long nose over the sheets of my work. He’ll just make it fit with the text I guess. And I’ll get my pay, and I would have more spare time to do the drawings I like, with more colours.

Monstrous

Here it is.

Love Letters, the new album from Metronomy is out. And it’s brilliant. There’s only a slight chance that I make a review of this one as you can listen to it yourself and make your own opinion. You don’t need my stupid word to get your ears around this record I think. So I’m just posting this as if I was reblogging it from somewhere else. But let me be very clear though. I think it is a tremendously good band, and a very, very good record. If I had only one comment to make against it, I would just say that it misses something to make it a great album. But the track Love Letters itself drives me crazy, and the others tracks on the album are almost all as good. There’s no particular need to go through the album from one end to another to get idea behind it: it says things about the state of mind in which you are when you’re well, not falling, but being in love. That is a difficult task if you don’t want to end in the sickly-sweet caricature of a pop album. And yet it is very successful at taking the full length of each song to set very different moods, even if the editorial line is pretty clear. I would say (but that’s very personal) that because the composition is not the key element, but more the arrangements around, it is much easier to bring it to the level of bitterness or ecstasy expected with this exercice. So yeah, post-prod takes a large part in making it a very good album, but that’s for the best of things, and if you can concentrate enough on the composition to look for the composed part only, without being biased by how the final product sounds, I hope (in fact I believe) that you would agree, the post-prod just makes the whole record richer.

So this track – Monstrous – is the one just behind Love Letters in the tracklist. I couldn’t find the album version of Love Letters (track) on the web yet, the album got out just today… but anyway, this one is monstrous, though it’s short. Listen to it, go see them live, purchase the album (and/or the previous ones) to get your mind set on this piece of 2014.

Sur La Planche

The short spams of a sick throat. It’s sore because it’s been smoking. It’s itchy because it’s late and cold. The throat walks back, home apparently, from another dive uptown where the smoke and the noise concentrate. There with the others, one of a kind, it roared, squeaked, and as this self-inflicted unhealthy practice felt casual to the throat, it went deeper in the streets. The wind out, it mattered not. The pain within it only left. Blowing from a stream to another, the gory hole gasped clouds of smoke and socialized there a few feet below the ground, in the city caverns. For a moment it was left alone, facing the mirror of strangers’ eyes, blank and looking for sensations. The moment went short, it wouldn’t be possible to rest this time. A cheer here, a gaze there, a faint smile and another cheer elsewhere. The wrecked body, covered with spangles the colour of luxury material, holds the throat up high as it spins in the thick air of the club. Long pauses of trance in the shades of the dark dancing room blasted by strobes help recovering in some way.

Walk On By

I wanted to make this post about The Stranglers with another song, but I picked this one as it describes even better how I feel about this band.

Now that I’ve documented myself on them enough to write this, I can say that in the future I will always remember them as the best band to make me angry. Their relentless grooves pruned from The Doors’ appetite for catharsis, their imaginative lyrics and suggestive themes have driven me nuts. When I listen to them, it’s as if I was sixteen again. I’m down on the beach, watching all the innocent greasy skins, the tanning lovecats. Half conscious, the fully conspicuous lure gets on my nerves as I get out starving for some sun, and as I get home stranded or just bruised by the excess of all of it. The frustration of strolling along carries on years after when the contact is established. Waking up with a taste of ashtray in mouth, not remembering clearly what was your last drink, but clearly recovering images of yourself and the clinched advocate of your own obsession. Your world is flat already for you’ve lost all ability to move upwards before two in the afternoon, but it gets shallower still, as you know you’ll get back to it the week after, or the day after. And the hunger goes on. All these fine pieces of covetousness, all the candies in the store, all the cars on the racing track, they all boil down to one big disappointment, inherent to your human nature, no matter how fast they go, how sugary they taste or how good they look. And you walk on by.

Artist: The Stranglers – Composed by The Stranglers, adapted from a composition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Dionne Warwick – Album: Black And White – Film by Hugh Cornwell on Super8.