četvrtak, 28. veljače 2013.

Nadia Sirota - Baroque (2013) + yMusic - Beautiful Mechanical

Sirota nije skladatelj nego na violi izvodi tuđe stvari. To je zapravo super život, surađuješ s talentiranim prijateljima (Nico Muhly, Daníel Bjarnason, Paul Corley, Judd Greenstein, Missy Mazzoli, Shara Worden...) i onda naručiš od njih po skladbu za vlastiti album.
Sirota je i članica indie-klasičarskog seksteta yMusic. 
Uređuje i radio emisiju u kojoj predstavlja atonalnu muziku.


There is no Bach on Baroque; no Handel, Telemann or Vivaldi. This is the music of the 21st Century, not the 17th, and the composers are violist Nadia Sirota’s friends—who just happen to include some of the most respected musicians of our own moment.
The six pieces on Baroque were written with Sirota’s distinctive sound in mind and recorded (by her longtime collaborators at Bedroom Community) to exaggerate the idiosyncracies of her tone. Fellow labelmates Nico Muhly, Daníel Bjarnason and Paul Corley provide three pieces, while composers Judd Greenstein, Shara Worden and Missy Mazzoli provide the other three.
Baroque , as the title of the album, references a number of things; the concerto form - balancing a soloist against ensemble accompaniment - is an invention of the Baroque era, so while there are concerti here, of a sort, they’re concerti of a decidedly more portable variety. Both Judd Greenstein’s “In Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves”, whose intimate ensemble accompaniment opens the album with a different paradigm of “solo” versus “tutti” than more famous efforts in the form, and the self-aware symphonics of Daníel Bjarnason’s
“Sleep Variations”, which closes the disc, build Sirota’s virtual backup band from the overdubbed sound of her own playing. There’s also something very Baroque about the style of pieces like “From the Invisible to the Visible”, by Shara Worden (Clogs, My Brightest Diamond), and “Tooth and Nail” by Missy Mazzoli, two radically different pieces that are both about the elaborate ornamentation of slowly moving harmonies.
Sirota’s approach to the instrument owes something to recent trends in Baroque playing. She can keep her bow-hand light and her left hand still, for a gin-dry sound. It’s a sound prized by, among others, Nico Muhly who thinks of Sirota as his most trusted interpreter—another reason being the sort of rhythmic precision his “Étude 3” demands, with an almost wicked glee. Paul Corley creates a piece to which timbre is so central that the voice of Sirota’s instrument seems as much a part of the composition as the notes she plays. His “Tristan da Cunha”—dark, extreme, and alarmingly detailed—is “Baroque” in the sense of “Brueghel-esque.”
Which leads us to the one thing all of these pieces have in common: that level of detail. Words like “complex,” applied to music, too often suggest a level of intricacy designed to confound, whereas each of the works Sirota brings together here offers an audible clarity of purpose. So let’s instead say that these works—to whatever extent they may recall the Baroque—are instead exquisitely baroque, each concerto, miniature or soundscape realized with extravagant intricacy.

1. "In Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves" - composed by Judd Greenstein
2. "From the Invisible to the Visible" - composed by Shara Worden
3. "Tooth and Nail" - composed by Missy Mazzoli
4. "Étude 3" - composed by Nico Muhly
5. "Tristan da Cunha" - composed by Paul Corley
6. "Sleep Variations" - composed by Daníel Bjarnason - http://bedroomcommunity.bandcamp.com/album/baroque

Though the title of Nadia Sirota's sophomore album, Baroque, might suggest that it's a collection of early classical works by the likes of Telemann, Vivaldi, and Purcell, the album is instead a collection of six new compositions by contemporary composers. If there's one thing that ties the title to baroque music, it's the intricate nature of the album's pieces, which find Sirota playing the role of soloist but also functioning as a multi-tracked mini-ensemble (seven violas in one piece and eleven in another). It's a contemporary project in another key sense, too, in that, her viola often appears within arrangements featuring synthesizers and electronic programming.
Produced by Sirota, Valgeir Sigurðsson, and Paul Evans, the album is jointly released by New Amsterdam Records, which issued her debut album First Things First in 2009, and Bedroom Community. In the spirit of that partnership, the composers featured on the album are associated with both labels: Judd Greenstein and Missy Mazzoli to New Amsterdam, for example, and Nico Muhly, Daníel Bjarnason, and Paul Corley to Bedroom Community.
A bravura, ten-minute performance that finds Sirota performing seven separate viola parts with impassioned zeal, Greenstein's “In Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves” offers an ideal entry point to the album in enabling the Juilliard graduate and yMusic member to display her considerable technical gifts as well as showcase the affecting emotional quality she brings to her playing. A markedly different timbral character emerges in Shara Worden's “From The Invisible To The Visible” when Westminster Abbey assistant organist James McVinnie accompanies Sirota. A dream-like mood is generated, due both to the softly gleaming tones of the organ and the viola's supplicating expressions. In similar manner, Sirota's agile lines are heard against a backdrop of keyboard chords and patterns in Muhly's “Étude 3,” a five-minute setting whose lyrical character suggests some tangential connection to the classical-baroque style.
Urgency and tension permeate Missy Mazzoli's “Tooth and Nail” in the electronic rhythm patterns that patter insistently in the background, even if passages surface where the rhythms recede to let the viola's sinuous flow dominate. An overt electronic character infuses “Tristan Da Cunha” by Corley (whose recent album Disquiet was a 2012 standout) to such a degree that the piece assumes the character of an ethereal, minimalistic meditation over which Sirota layers rapid patterns so aggressive they verge on violent. Baroque is capped by Bjarnason's “Sleep Variations,” a fourteen-minute viola concerto that sees Sirota weaving eleven different viola lines into a wondrous display of viola technique and emotional expression. Piano and percussion appear also, but the piece is largely a dramatic Sirota showcase of wide-ranging moods and alternating solo and ensemble passages. Of all of the album's compositions, it's the one that would likely be the most natural pick for an in-concert classical performance.
Sirota's profile is sure to be raised by this exceptional release but also through her associations with not one but now two labels. Having recently appeared on Muhly's Drones and Sigurðsson's Architecture Of Loss, she has become a Bedroom Community fixture of sorts, which means we probably will be the lucky beneficiaries of more of Sirota's artistry in the future. - www.textura.org/

First Things First (2009)  streaming

Violist Nadia Sirota, one of the leading lights of New York’s “indie-classical” scene, takes center stage with her debut recording, first things first, issued by New Amsterdam Records on May 19. Hailed by Time Out New York as one of New York’s “brightest, busiest players,” Nadia has earned praise for her “command and eloquence” (Boston Globe), as well as her “energy, fluidity, [and] ear for electronic coloration” (New York Times). The twenty-something musician has commissioned and premiered works by some of the most talented composers of her generation, particularly the three whose music appears on first things first: Marcos Balter, Judd Greenstein, and Nico Muhly. The disc comprises five solo tracks plus Muhly’s “Duet No. 1″ (with cellist Clarice Jensen) and Greenstein’s ”The Night Gatherers”, featuring Sirota and The Chiara String Quartet.
The music on first things first ranges from Balter’s experiments in color and texture in “Ut” and ”Live Water” to Muhly’s idiosyncratic takes on Minimalism (“Duet No. 1″, ”Etudes I and IA”) to Greenstein’s tense, insistent Escape and lush, elegiac The Night Gatherers. Says Nadia, “For me this album is a kind of summation of projects and friendships that started in my early twenties. Nico I met at school, and Judd and Marcos were both Fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center with me… All of these personal connections make this record really special for me, but more importantly, all three of these guys have really strong, individual voices. Their music is innovative, and yet feels timely and inevitable. I am so pleased to interpret their work, and I am thrilled to release this first record.”
first things first has been praised as a “collection of vital, imaginative recent scores” and Sirota’s playing “vigorous” by The New York Times, who also called the compelling performance of Greenstein’s “The Night Gatherers” “rich” and “haunting.” The album has also been cited as an “excellent debut … that’s imaginative and often thrilling” (Time Out Chicago) by the viola’s brilliant and quirky new champion” (eMusic). - www.newamsterdamrecords.com/

Who: I'm Nadia Sirota, and I play the viola. I live in New York and have spent a lot of time recently recording in Iceland; I've got a big nasty crush on that country. I grew up along the east coast of the US as the kid of musician academic itinerants and moved to New York when I was seventeen to go to Juilliard for six years and acquire two degrees. I've lived in NYC since, though I'm moving progressively further south and east.

What: I don't write music at all, just interpret other people's ideas, which I think is the way that I am most useful. I am super-selfish in that I only play pieces that were written for me explicitly. I am very lucky to have friends who write brilliant music, and I love sharing that stuff with other people. I just made a new record called Baroque that is predominantly for multi-tracked viola and electronic textures and includes music by Judd Greenstein, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Paul Corley, and Daníel Bjarnason, who are all wonderful. I got to collaborate on the production with Paul Evans and Valgeir Sigurdsson, who make everything sound all jewelry-like and 3D.

When: I'm going on a little US tour with Valgeir Sigurdsson and Shahzad Ismaily, and we'll be playing stuff from the record as well as all of Valgeir's CD The Architecture of Loss. There's info about the tour at bedroomcommunity.net.

Currently: My album Baroque comes out this month on Bedroom Community and New Amsterdam. I also play in yMusic, which is a sextet that works both in concert music and with songwriters. We've released a record called Beautiful Mechanical.

Musical philosophy: I love live shows and mistakes and emotions and electronics that sound human.

Influences and inspirations: I grew up in a hyper-modern-leaning New Classical Music household and got buckets of like Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and George Perle from a very young age (I think that made me super into intervals?) I love nasty, wide-vibrato romantic recordings from like the ‘30s and ‘40s, and I am obsessed with the violist Kim Kashkashian. I didn't really hear any non-classical stuff, and in fact feared synthesizers (I wasn't able to get through Neverending Story until last year) until late middle school, when I fell hard for Nine Inch Nails. In college I found Glass's Einstein on the Beach, and I went twice when it was at BAM this year. I love Meredith Monk, Moondog, and Thomas Ades, and Britten! Britten is so good. - www.textura.org/

If you haven’t yet bought a record from New Amsterdam, start here. This is the most modern comp thing I’ve heard from the label, and I hope it signals more of the same.
What makes it work so well? By choosing pieces (for solo or almost-solo viola) by just three composers, each occupying similar stylistic territories, the disc gains strength from consistency. But that’s not it. The pieces themselves are pretty: light, rhythmic, tuneful, full of feeling. But that’s not it, either. In fact, that could be the recipe for a much duller, much more grey album than this.
No, what really makes it work are the chinks, the tiny bright points like distant city lights in the January dawn. The shape of Nico Muhly’s Duet no.1 ‘Chorale Pointing Downwards’, a strange spiral form that seems to get lighter as it drags itself earthwards would be one. The almost-not-thereness, as though retreating over and over behind a screen, of Marcos Balter’s Live Water would be another. The emotional trajectories of these pieces – which on the surface are simple trinkets – are really something. It isn’t all perfect: Muhly has an obviously excellent technique but I wish he would take more risks and not stick so close to his influences, and Judd Greenstein’s The Night Gatherers drops focus and starts sounding like other people (here Adams, here Vaughan Williams). Which is a shame, because the fully Greensteiny bits (as on Escape) I like.
And Sirota’s playing is faultless. It’s not easy to pull off a full CD of music like this. There aren’t many virtuoso passages to hide behind, it’s all exposed, all raw. Even more impressive is her willingness to follow the music’s lead and hide a little of herself. Her playing gains in strength from this anti-diva mode.
Greenstein and, of course, Muhly (who was at the Roundhouse this week), have plaudits enough to be known on this side of the Atlantic, but Balter’s music was the surprise for me: beautiful, full of tiny surprises, little bits of grit amongst the comfortable and expected. It’s a perfect encapsulation of everything that is best about this CD. You can get your copy (and free sample tracks) here.

Update: Sirota’s new radio show, ‘Hope Springs Atonal’, launches on Monday 1st February on New York’s WQXR (streamed online at http://www.wqxr.org/Q2):

Each weekday at 1pm/1am ET, Sirota, a classically trained violinist, will present a daily excursion into the high octane world of post-tonal music. From Xenakis to Stockhausen, Messiaen to Mackey, Sirota will provide an accessible entrée into atonal music, serving as a guide and fellow traveler through a still-largely uncharted musical terrain, ripe for exploration


yMusic, Beautiful Mechanical (2011) streaming


[Music by Ryan Lott, Annie Clark, Shara Worden, Sarah Snider, Judd Greenstein, and Gabriel Kahane]

If you're an indie rocker in need of chamber instruments, odds are you'll end up hiring a member of yMusic. The quietly ubiquitous sextet has spent its three-year existence amassing cross-genre collaborations like so many passport stamps: you've heard them, wittingly or not, playing with Bon Iver, Björk, Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, the National, Vampire Weekend-- you get the idea. But they also perform as a more traditional contemporary-classical ensemble, and on Beautiful Mechanical, their first proper full-length, they mix up the two worlds, slotting compositions from St. Vincent's Annie Clark and Son Lux alongside new works from young composer colleagues. The album's existence is a feat of networking savvy and determination-- it was funded via Kickstarter page-- but the music itself is sadly hit-or-miss, underlining a melancholy truth about bridging genre divides: It results in empty press-release fodder as often as it produces luminous, surprising new music.
Son Lux's titular work, "Beautiful Mechanical", lands somewhere blankly in the middle. Son Lux is no dabbler: He studied composition at Indiana University. But his work is somehow both antic and utterly frozen-- its gestures twitter away in different corners of the compositional space without engaging thematically. The work, which does some sly things with missing beats and rhythmic emphases, is technically assured, but it feels like the sort of forgettable, frictionless, minimalist sketch you can currently hear too many of at downtown-NYC new-music concerts.
Annie Clark fares significantly better. In fact, her piece, "Proven Badlands", might be the most beguiling and multi-layered composition on the album. On the basis of it alone, Clark could easily slip outside of her indie rock clubhouse entirely for an album's worth of chamber-music miniatures. "Badlands" begins with a swan-necked glide of a bassoon line, a thrice-digested memory of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue". Cello and flute hop lightly into the frame. Then, the instruments clear out a space for an unexpected finger-picked acoustic guitar. Interesting things keep happening: A muted trumpet calls out a yearning tritone, the sharp, ear-troubling interval found at the heart of West Side Story. Bugling horns erupt into a locked-in pattern, an arch almost-quote from some lost big-band record. The work is a lively jumble of jazzy-French flavors, strongly suggesting that Clark's education in the classical canon made a little extra time for Debussy, Milhaud, and other jazz-age cosmopolitans.
Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond also shows up to hand yMusic two sketches-- one vaguely Eastern, one vaguely African. Both are spry bundles of tiny noises. Worden's rich singing voice, which lit last year's Penelope, isn't here, but her pieces are imbued with the same lamplight glow. They are minor, but lively. Sarah Kirkland Snider, the composer of Penelope, revisits its agitated sound world with "Daughter of the Waves", a nine-minute swirl of muted anxiety. Judd Greenstein's "Clearing, Dawn, Dance" starts with a loping figure in the woodwinds and sends it rippling expertly outward through the ensemble, like small bobbing boats in a wake-- tracking its movement and hearing how Greenstein obscures it proves absorbing listening all on its own.
yMusic are part of a resourceful, engaged cluster of young classical musicians who are furiously networking a full-blown scene into existence. Collectively, they represent the movement's best qualities: broad-minded, ambitious, eagerly collaborative. However, Beautiful Mechanical also hints at some of the still-growing scene's nagging limitations: As exciting as all this activity is to behold, the marketing heat it generates carries over into its music only about half of the time. There are delightful moments scattered throughout, but the overall impression is of a small box of baubles, modest and lovely but inessential.- Jayson Greene

 “yMusic—named for the polyglot generation from which its six hip virtuosi hail—turned out an arresting debut album on New Amsterdam, Beautiful Mechanical. The seven pieces combine in the perfect proportion of weighty to catchy, inspiring obsessive repeat listenings.” - Amanda MacBlane, Time Out New York
As “Beautiful Mechanical” shows, yMusic’s own sound is built on more than its members’ technical prowess. It’s full of whimsy, motion and percussion even though nary a drum is present. The sextet demonstrates its affection for the rhythmic requirements of rock and pop even when it’s in the guise of new music, a genre that has been dubbed “indie classical” or, as Ms. Sirota put it, “chamber music with a band aesthetic.”- Jim Fusilli, Wall Street Journal
“The working methods of yMusic quietly repudiate one of the more stultifying aspects of classical tradition: the obsession with fidelity to the written score, in which the performer lives to serve the composer. With yMusic the performers act as co-conspirators in the compositional process, interacting with the music as a living document, not an abstract ideal. The flexibility of the yMusic players puts them at the forefront of a rapidly changing performance culture… The group has set the bar high.” - William Robin, New York Times
“These young, classically-trained dropouts have all the prestige and virtuosity of classical music degrees with all the attitude and energy of an indie rock band, and yMusic is no different. These guys can sound as pleasant as a cuddly pop song at times and then without a flinch guide you into swirls of tumultuous avant-garde. That is both in compliment to the ensemble’s committed musicianship and to the composers/musicians who wrote tracks on Beautiful Mechanical. The centerpiece of the album, “Clearing, Dawn, Dance,” is where yMusic really soars though. The prolific Brooklyn-based composer Judd Greenstein really gives yMusic something to shine with. The 10-minute piece takes the ensemble in a number of directions, but yMusic always seems to one step ahead of the pages and pages of notes that fly by.” -Luke Larsen, Paste Magazine
“Even if you don’t typically explore instrumental or chamber music, you will want to discover Beautiful Mechanical. This is the sound that defines a good portion of what is indie music in the 21st Century, and that’s a “beautiful” thing. Embrace the music of yMusic…” - Noisevox
“The record exhibits a blend of instrumental voices that coalesce in a tightly knit, luminous synchrony that is exceedingly rare at such a stage, and in fact is difficult to achieve for even some well-seasoned companies. It’s as if each of the six players not only can anticipate what the others are thinking and thus expressing, but is perfectly situated to complement and amplify those sentiments. yMusic thus weaves these seven instrumental pieces with a grace and deftness that is utterly remarkable for its youth, indicating the musical expertise of its players and their adept understanding of the group aesthetic.” - Peter Zimmerman, Glide Magazine
“Sterling performances throughout from yMusic make a persuasive case for the ensemble’s abilities and provide articulate advocacy for the music.” - Michael Quinn, The Classical Review
“yMusic members elevate the seven compositions on Beautiful Mechanical with exquisite ensemble playing. While the album features newly composed music, the compositions are accessible but not cloying, and interesting too is the fact that yMusic eschews electronics for a wholly acoustic sound…[The album’s title] isn’t randomly chosen, as the seeming ease with which the musicians meet the high-wire challenges of the material is rendered all the more impressive given the composition’s intricate makeup… Despite being the products of six composers, the album’s pieces hold together as a unified set, an effect that obviously can be attributed to the consistent group persona yMusic presents throughout the recording.” -  Textura
“All Things Will Unwind” is her third album with My Brightest Diamond, the indie-rock-meets-chamber- folk group built around her singing, songwriting and orchestration…Her chief musical partners on the album are the members of yMusic, a New York chamber ensemble at the heart of the current indie-classical overlap. And the writing is far from ornamental. Each pinprick or flutter or flourish in Ms. Worden’s arrangements manages to feel integral, supporting the songs as well as the singing.” - Nate Chinen, New York Times

 Skin & Bones cover art

yMusic, Skin & Bones

Julia Kent - Character (2013)

Introvertni violončelo Julie Kent (članice bendova Rasputina, Antony and the Johnsons...) u ratu je s okolnim ekstrovertnim silama.


Opportunities for introspection have come few and far between for Canadian-born, New York City-based cellist Julia Kent. After coming to prominence as a member of the cello-driven group Rasputina in the ‘90s, she went on to arrange and play on numerous recordings and tour extensively as a member of Antony and the Johnsons, among other projects.
The opportunity to explore her own emotional and creative world came with her solo LPs, Delay (2007) and Green and Grey (2011), and it is something she appropriates fully on her captivating debut for The Leaf Label, Character.
Recorded alone in her home studio, Character develops the layering techniques Kent brought to the fore on her previous solo material, the flow of intertwining cello motifs working as an external representation of competing internal meditations. “I ended up thinking about the process of life,” explains Kent. “How sometimes a narrative in fiction is meant to mirror the chronology of human life, and how our lives, in a way, can resemble works of fiction, but without the possibility of controlling the outcome the way an author can.” Thus, she called the album Character, a reference to the notion of humans being characters in their own narrative.
In the past the cellist has adopted field recordings to accompany her playing; Delay saw recordings taken from various airports as Kent became fascinated by their ambience, whilst samples were taken from nature as she explored boundaries between electronic and organic sounds on Green and Grey. In Character, their somewhat hidden nature is just as important, reflecting the need for introspection that drives the album.
“Incorporated sounds are important,” Kent explains. “They contrast and complement the cello, my primary instrument, and also evoke the concept of a voice without being, literally, a voice. So I used a lot of found and processed sounds to try to achieve that: from matches being struck, to wineglasses, to the sound of pen on paper, to an ancient autoharp that, over time, ended up being detuned in a way that created an amazing sonority.”
Underpinning it all is the Canadian’s love and attention to detail for recording and looping; she’s an artist who derives pleasure from the familiarity of recurring patterns, yet also sees each revolution as a chance to adjust and alter, and so subtly moving a soundscape onto a different plane altogether. A loop, too, means that no mistake is truly an error, more a facet that can be expanded upon when the next cycle comes round. “I love that events within a loop can become integral through repetition,” she enthuses, “So you learn to embrace the accident, or the serendipitous sound that takes the music in an unexpected direction.”
If her first two albums saw Kent developing her individuality, Character is perhaps the first time she’s had the courage to take what she’s learnt and deliver an album of such depth and contemplative beauty. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to enter other people’s musical worlds and discover how they communicate their ideas,” she insists, “But I love the autonomy of creating and performing entirely alone.” It’s all too easy to forget that, in a world of unprecedented access to information, advice, opinion and influence, the most important voice to anyone is their own. It’s something Julia Kent knows, though, and has sought to hear over the din of her surroundings, in doing so producing her most confident solo statement yet.
- www.theleaflabel.com/

The somewhat Art Deco-styled cover illustration on Julia Kent's Character is a dramatic contrast to the photo-based images gracing her previous albums, 2007's Delay and 2011's Green and Grey. But while that difference in visual design might suggest a corresponding change in sonic approach, Character doesn't so much signal a change in stylistic direction for the Canadian-born and New York City-based cellist so much as it represents a further refinement of her artistry. The ten settings composing her debut for The Leaf Label prove to be as captivating as those that came before, and Kent, who also has established herself through associations with Parellel41, Antony and the Johnsons, and others, shows herself once again to be a solo artist of exceptional caliber.
And a solo project it most assuredly is, as Kent recorded Character alone in her home studio, methodically crafting each of the album's mini-narratives into compelling form. Obviously choosing her titles with care, she is sensitive to the associations that develop between a title such as “Only Child” and the loneliness conjured by its emotional instrumental terrain. Dashes of dulcimer-like sounds and percussive taps added to the cello's flowing lines imbue the similarly evocative “Flicker” with an aura of intrigue that suggests the mystery of an espionage thriller set in some exotic foreign land, while rapidly plucked patterns form a spidery backbone for multi-layered bowing in “Transportation,” whose lulling waltz figures generate a dream-like effect that's powerfully seductive.
Utilizing the full array of cello-related techniques, Kent creates immersive sound worlds that impress as fully formed in spite of their extreme concision (none of the ten pieces exceeds five minutes). She exploits layering to the fullest degree possible, with a given track sounding as if it's being performed by a tenet of cellists as opposed to one (albeit one well-armed with looping and layering technologies). The album's cello-based sound world extends subtly into other realms via Kent's inclusion of found and processed sounds (apparently struck matches, an ancient autoharp, and wine glasses filter their way into the album), as well as field recordings, which are threaded subliminally into the material. The bright percussive patterns (originating presumably from the wine glasses) in “Salute,” for example, provide a bold timbral counterpoint to the luscious string textures, and ranges of mood and tempo are plentiful, from the funereal mournfulness of “Fall” to the stern majesty of “Kingdom,” a portentous set-piece that darkens to a point of nightmarishness. As a final reminder of Kent's talents as both performer and composer, the closing elegy, “Nina and Oscar,” makes for a beautiful exit to an altogether remarkable collection. - www.textura.org/

This is the album that turns a corner for cellist Julia Kent. This may be the last time we remind people she once played in Rasputina and Antony and the Johnsons. Those facts really doesn’t matter anymore. Following two previous albums and an EP, this sublime performer has found her true voice. The new album, in deference to its title, demonstrates not only the aforementioned character, but definition and verve. The water sounds are gone (a hindrance in Last Day in July), the flow is tempered and the confidence levels through the roof. Perhaps the shift to Leaf has had a part, as this album displays an unprecedented command of emotion and flow; it’s the album fans have been waiting to hear for years. Kent has the power to sadden, soothe or motivate, all of which are apparent within the first few tracks. ”Ebb” is the solemn acknowledgement of suffering, the friend at the bedside, the soldier come to break the bad news. Sullen and deep, the track mines the area of the heart often kept secret, the locked-in, lonely crevasse. ”Transportation” is the pulse, the balm, the bandage. Here the cello is used not only as melody and harmony, but percussion: the tapping that intimates life. Bow strings are balanced by plucks; the spirit rebounds. In “Flicker”, a swift 32-note motif is augmented by light drums; spring arrives, the windows are thrown open.
These themes alternate throughout the album, often unfolding in the course of a single song. The strongest individual motif dominates the end of preview track “Tourbillon”, a fiery draw of bow across string that heats like a winter blaze. The only rough spot arrives in the album’s center, as “Kingdom” draws connection to Kent’s experimental past. The track is dark, dreary, and nearly discordant, sounding more Miasmah than Leaf. Thankfully, Character‘s second half makes a quick recovery, slower and more restrained, reflective by proximity. By the end, listeners have gained a sense of Kent’s character: ambitious, resolute, not content to rest on laurels. These traits serve her well, inspiring the possibility that every subsequent album will be her greatest. - Richard Allen

The life of Julia Kent’s cello could be the life of another, with the various interludes of love, loss, hope, tragedy and inspiration encountered along the way; being on board cloud nine destined for dreamland, only to lead to a catastrophe years down the line, and vice versa. Such is life. There are many twists and turns during its course, meandering like the texturally thick melodies flowing through the music’s arteries in a continuous circulation. Life is an experience that curves throughout the increasing years like the arcing lifeline traced over the palm of every hand. The options along the way are plentiful, and the course we should decide to set can tell us a lot about ourselves, as well as teaching us essential lessons on how to become a better person, a better human being. Each new year contains another, higher level of realisation and inner growth, another kind of ascension that leads to a better understanding of ourselves. As we develop, our gained wisdom and increased positive influence can seep into the world, and this positivity that one channels can help to change and heal difficult situations, the course of the future and ultimately change the course of a life. One may find it a struggle to choose the right direction, but it’s always there, and always has been – it’s what your soul sings, beating as true as a heartbeat. This song is unique to everyone, and Julia Kent has certainly found hers – it’s what Character sounds like. Her true voice speaks through her music.
I often wonder if those difficult times are presented to us as a challenge of sorts; if we are able to rise above and through it, we usually find out a lot of useful information about ourselves in the process. Of course, nothing ever worth having is ever easy to attain. You have to really search – diamonds aren’t found in the upper areas of displaced earth. They’re formed deep down, almost as deep as Character’s music, and it takes effort to find. Effort isn’t just a physical act; it can also be heard in the air. Julia Kent’s music is so well thought-out, densely layered and introspective that it becomes evocative of the heart – her heart – and the result is music that reaches those advanced levels only attainable to those who understand the way to get there – the way to their song, and to what she has to say. She plays with crystal clarity the song inside her, and this helps to produce highly focused music with a deep heart – her effort becomes personified.
Musical instruments are their own characters, too, and come in a wide array of appearances; each one shines a unique aura of colour, expresses themselves as a different personality and sings a different tone, yet all are beautiful. Have you ever stopped to notice how beautiful instruments really are? It isn’t a coincidence that the beauty of music pours from such wonderful designs, temples for the worship of tone embraced by an amazing musical architecture of silky curves and loving craftsmanship. Inside, they look to take on an almost holy, reverential light amid an innocent space, touched only by music’s vibrations.
All instruments feature shapes and sizes different to each other, but all of them possess the potential for stunning music. It might be a sad fault that we as a species seem to rely primarily upon appearances to an almost psychotic level of obsession (the phrase ‘love at first sight’ springs to mind), but this is the result of evolution more than anything. In a perfect world, it’s what’s inside – the notes, the music, the personality and the character – that should really count. Unfortunately, this is the minority mantra in Western culture. Everyone wants the prettiest instrument – myself included – even though looks don’t actually produce the notes required for there to be music (although it’s been proposed that specific colours and shapes of the body affect and influence the resulting tone, and with an open mind I’m leaning towards this belief). Preference is always a personal choice (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), and appearances affect our thoughts; easy on the eye looks are often favoured, unless they’re intentionally abandoned for the ugly duckling, and some instruments are just blessed with natural good looks. Music teaches us many things, in fact I dare say that it teaches us more than the school classrooms of our youth, and in this instance, the primary focus on looks is an indictment of our skin-deep society. People are different, physically and in personality. Instruments are no different.
Every instrument is both aurally and visually different. If we wanted to blur the lines between human personality and the personality of music even further, we could represent instruments as different personality types. Let’s start with the guitar. The bad boy electrical reputation can’t conceal a genuinely beautiful, thoughtful air, where intricate melodies can burst forth all at once, but this personality is split, tinted with a distortion-esque rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and capable of screaming the place down with a voice turned up to 11.Violins eek out delicate melodies with an unmatched sensitivity; she’s a sensitive soul. The piano offers soothing tones of smooth, flowing lines that contrast coolly with that of a violin. Finally, the cello is brooding and deep; a meditative person that’s always reflecting on life. As with people, we see that instruments shine with different personalities, yet music links them all as one. It is Julia Kent’s cello who speaks as if human, with music and not with verbal words, and in so doing enacts a narrative featuring many figures, all with a different life story waiting to be revealed. Character reveals itself slowly, from shy beginnings to a finale displaying who they really are to the world, free of care.
In Character, Julia Kent explores the notion of humans being characters in their own narrative. Are we in control of the journey? Or is the thought of control, and the safety the thought brings, just an illusion? Do we write this narrative as the years turn like pages? Like a story, there’s only a limited number of pages until we reach the end. Heroes and villains enact their own dramatic stories over the space of unpredictable chapters (the only predictable thing is the standard of musicianship, which is exceptional). Her highly-detailed passages reflect multiple ways of life; the lives of passing strangers on rainy streets, faces we see every day but never talk to save for a smile and the inviting smiles of friendship that can’t be blunted by another’s emotional jealousy. We are all unique, as are the instruments we play. Don’t slip to demand, or what others may expect of you; if you stay true to yourself, and to the music inside you, the song that flows ever outwards will be heart-felt and beautiful. Julia Kent has done exactly this, and this is why Character is a well-rounded individual. Her music is born in her soul. It’s a feeling in the air; like a finely tuned radio signal, her soulful, dedicated playing is an inviting frequency to tune into. Yet, usually this signal is incredibly hard to sustain without any kind of interference, in the form of weaker pieces that dilute attention and decrease the effect of the music as a whole. Character doesn’t have any of this interference – it’s strong music all the way through, full-bodied in sound, as if the music is mirroring the wide, curved body of the instrument it so recently departed.
‘Ebb’ is quite a foreboding entry, like an unapproachable character lit in the dim fog of a dimmer evening light. Yet, when the cello swells, it is with a beautiful chord transition that reveals just why they act the way they do. Still, her music intertwines comfortably, like hair that’s beautifully and naturally tangled. Character is all about finding who you really are, accepting it and sharing it with the world, through music. What was at first shy now blossoms into a personality unique to the composition. Julia Kent shows us physical people in a musical world, all leading lives that are invisible to the naked eye. There are signs of a human presence in her restricted use of field recordings, but they are only crackles and hints, like footprints left behind on sand, in a world where the unseen is so much more powerful than the visual image. All of the images are left to our own imagination. Her use of field recordings are tapered down to the point of necessity rather than indulgence, which helps to give the record a clearer purpose and a clearer story to her narrative.
‘Transportation’ shivers downwards in a percussive spiral, rhythmic stabs piercing the air as a melody comes to the fore and then retreats in a continuous, looping circle. Thoughtfully constructed, her pieces are able to breathe deeply while remaining intricate and highly detailed, like a hive of a mind buzzing with the activity of thousands of thoughts. Leave your worries behind and dance your cares away, because Julia Kent’s playing is free of any anxiety and stress that thoughts can leave in the mind. Melancholic ‘Fail’ is all the more beautiful for its sadness, as we look on a downcast head, bowed and covered so as to hide the tears from onlookers. No kind of comfort is available to this individual; winds pick up speed and blow against the mournful sanctity of her cello. Cello, as mother, soothes amongst the cold emotions.
‘Only Child’ is perhaps the quietest of all the characters we’ve been fortunate enough to encounter. A solitary melody rises gently above a bass-line shrouded in a reverb that sounds like the pitter-patter of tiny feet, yet inside the curtained room there falls only a couple; the rest of the expansive room is silent and empty, with no one else to play with. This piece has time to sit and think, and as a result it feels more introspective than melancholy (although the sadness, perfectly suited to the cello, can still be found inside the piece, if you allow it to enter). Closing the record, we are introduced to ‘Nina And Oscar’, two cellos that dance closely together in complete freedom. The rising optimism and happiness inside the cello is due to their release into the world. Unafraid of the consequences, it’s a piece that enjoys the realisation that they can be who they truly are.
Character is a thoughtful record, one full of personalities. The use of cello entertains approaching shadows with her deep, darker tone, but the people and the stories inside the notes, and inside the music, aren’t always as cold or deceptive as they may appear. Just as in life, appearances can deceive, and Kent’s detailed pieces allow us to see them for who they really are, and in the process get to know (and, more importantly, understand) their stories. Our personalities and actions define us; they are the manifestations of the soul. How will you be remembered by others?
Her music is as a personality, one that breathes even with no kind of physical presence or bodily appearance. Character is special, and a sizeable part of this is down to Julia Kent just being herself. Maybe, out of all of the personalities on display, hers is the one that stands out from the crowd – and inside the music, you’ll find her character to be incredibly soulful, approachable and deeply touching. Character is also heart-warmingly introverted in a world that all too often screams and shouts for attention. Julia is saying it’s alright to be yourself. Don’t bow to peer pressure, and how others want us all to behave.
You can be yourself. - James Catchpole for Fluid Radio

Julia Kent has recorded and toured with Antony And The Johnsons (with whom she continues to work) , Stars Of The Lid and Michael Gira's Angels Of Light. Her work should appeal to fans of Nils Frahm, Low, The Dirty Three, Hildur Gudnadóttir, Colleen, Hauschka, Rachel’s, Olafur Arnalds etc* "Character is New York-based cellist and arranger Julia Kent’s third solo album, and first for The Leaf Label. Her richly layered cello and environmental recordings coalesce into a gorgeous, cinematic whole – an instrumental oasis in a cluttered musical world. Accurately described as “elegant and intense” and “deeply personal”, her work possesses an emotional resonance that sets it apart from many of her peers, Vancouver-born Kent first rose to prominence in the mid ‘90s in the original line-up of all cello trio Rasputina. Since then she has worked with numerous groups and musicians, both as a cellist and arranger. Her previous solo albums, Delay (2007) and Green and Grey (2011) were released by Important Records" - boomkat


 Green and Grey (2011)  streaming

The solo work of cellist Julia Kent deals in different ways with concepts of borders and of spaces which are neither one thing nor the other. Her first solo record, Delay, was based on that most modern (and Eno-esque) of limbos, the airport. Having crossed the globe in a number of different ensembles, most famously as a member of Antony and the Johnsons, but also with a range of more leftfield acts such as Rasputina, Burnt Sugar, Angels Of Light and Stars Of The Lid, she found she was spending rather a lot of time trapped in those places, and elected to use them to her advantage. She made recordings in airports, and used them as the foundation for Delay, naming the resulting tracks after the airports in which they were recorded. The title of her second album for Important suggests she has found the way out, but only to another place betwixt and between: the place where the grey of the city meets the green of the countryside. And exactly how much of an escape that turns out to be is open to question.

Green And Grey opens and closes with cicadas, stridulating in the evening air, with Kent’s looped cello building upon the samples to create the compositions. In between, there are tracks named after trees (“Ailanthus”), water (“Acquario”), landscape features (“Overlook”) and constellations (“Pleiades”), but also in one case, a building (“Spire”). It seems at first listen that Kent is outside, recording the sounds of the natural world, in order to inspire her work. The natural rhythms of those insects, the gurgle of water, the patter of raindrops, all find a musical echo in the tracks which follow them. So in a number of ways, the modus operandi hasn’t changed from Delay, it is just the location (or rather the locations) which is different. What is most telling here, however, is just how unobtrusive the recordings are. They are but brief snatches of very quiet sounds, the merest hints of the ambience of the outside world.
Leaving aside Eno (whether she draws from him intentionally or not), you have an album which takes similar cues as the likes of Johann Johannsson and Max Richter, or perhaps Hildur Gudnadottir with her more diaphonous cello work Without Sinking: modern, melancholic, minimalist, classical. However, in a sense trying to pigeonhole her records goes against their very essence: they seem to be born of a desire to break out, to escape. The short, churning rhythmic loops which underpin so many of these pieces act like an anchor, these ostinati counteracting the melody line’s desire to take the piece into different landscapes.
The more you listen, the more it begins to feel like, despite first impressions, this is less a record about the physical border between the city and the country, and more one about a mental border. The sound of echoing footsteps in “Ailanthus” suggest we haven’t even left the building, while the water heard in “Acquario” may even be the sound of a fishtank, rather than a stream. The cicadas are just as likely to be heard through an open window; let’s face it, you aren’t going to be plugging in a looping pedal in the park. As the surge of those song-like melodies is once more halted in its tracks, you feel that on Green And Grey Kent is as trapped in the city as she ever was in the airport. With the urge to escape to nature being defeated time and time again by more mundane concerns, sometimes all a city dweller can do is dream of leaving. - www.theliminal.co.uk/

Last Day in July (2010)  streaming


Delay (2007) streaming

Julia Kent has lent her considerable talents as a cellist to the likes of Antony & The Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Devendra Banhart, Angels Of Light, Larsen and Mi & Lau to name but a few. Delay is Kent's beautiful debut of multitracked cello music. It's baffling to think that there's only one person working on this record, it sounds every bit as if a full ensemble were at work. Kent's solo work is characterised by a clear knowledge of modern classical music and a very lyrical, often cinematic set of composition principles. The opening chords of 'Gardermoen' confirm that Kent has a particular knack for a kind of aching romanticism, full of rich melodicism and detailed arrangements. Interspersing the cello pieces are an assortment of interloping vignettes made up of found sounds. These tend to take the form of recordings from busy public spaces, and give some valuable contrast to Kent's incredibly emotive, up-close and personal cello performances. It's great to hear someone who's been previously relegated to supporting roles making such a complex and satisfying body of recordings for her debut solo album. Recommended. - boomkat
Julia Kent left Rasputina in 1999, after releasing two albums on Columbia Records, and shortly thereafter became a member of Antony and the Johnsons. She played on and contributed string arrangements to the group’s Mercury Prize-winning record I Am a Bird Now, and, as a Johnson, has toured Europe, North America, and Australia; played at Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall; and appeared on numerous television shows. In addition to her ongoing participation in Antony and the Johnsons, she also has performed and/or recorded with many other artists and ensembles, including the Angels of Light, Burnt Sugar, Larsen, Angela McCluskey, Leona Naess, Teddy Thompson, Devendra Banhart, Mi and L’au, and Rufus Wainwright.

Her debut solo effort, Delay, is a cd of multitracked cello and found sounds. It was inspired by airports, by transitoriness, and by the private emotional worlds that we create amid the disorientations and disjunctions of travel. Delay was recorded over the course of a year (or so) at home in between touring and traveling. After so many years of playing with other people Julia felt that it was time to do something entirely on her own. As a result she is the sole composer/performer on all tracks. The title refers to both the effect, to traveling and to the fact that it took so long to record. It is also an homage to Arthur Russell''s World Of Echo – a masterpiece of (among other things) externalizing the intimate. - importantrecords.com/

srijeda, 27. veljače 2013.

Fritz Lang - Die Nibelungen (1924)

Nema potrebe išta pričati o Fritzu Langu, ovo je samo podsjetnik da na YouTubeu možete vidjeti cijelu Sagu o Nibelunzima. Kao i Tisuću očiju Dr. Mabusea itd.

Calling Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen, a stupendous two-part film adaptation (Part 1 – Siegfried and Part 2 – Kriemhild's Revenge) of the epic poem Nibelungenlied, a heroic fantasy saga would be something of a misnomer. By definition these are crafted around the heroes, their persona and deeds. The other players are more in the vein of interactive filler, supportive or obstructive, or perhaps a stand-in for the audience, marveling at the hero's feats. But Die Nibelungen goes the other way. Siegfried the hero is merely a catalyst that triggers the reactions and actions of the surrounding characters. Appropriately enough he is portrayed in uni-dimension, all valor and naivete.

The beginning of the first installment deals with Siegfried's meteoric rise to legend – on his way to claim the legendary beauty Kriemhild, he handily slays the dragon Fafnir, and by bathing in its blood becomes “nearly” invincible (more on that later). Just as easily he later defeats the Nibelung dwarf Alberich and becomes master of his treasure. These scenes are visually sumptuous, with some fantastic production design to depict the Nibelung forest and Alberich's mysterious cave dwelling, and demonstrate Lang's masterful directorial chops, but dramatically they do not register since Siegfried is almost never shown to be in mortal peril. Text inter-titles inform us that Siegfried then goes on to make twelve other kings his vassals.
On reaching the palace of the Burgundy royals, of whom king Gunther is Kriemhild's brother, he asks for the maiden's hand, only to be told by the warrior Hagen Tronje that he must first win for Gunther the hand of the fiesty warrior-queen Brunhild. Using the magic cloak he got after defeating Alberich, Siegfried helps the far-less-able king to defeat Brunhild in competition and claim her. He uses the cloak again on a later occasion, impersonating Gunther to break Brunhild's spirit with a hearty dose of machismo to smooth out Gunther's way in marriage. Alas, these are actions that will have dark consequences. At this point, Die Nibelungen sheds its heroic fantasy trappings and effectively becomes a courtroom intrigue. Tronje seeks to get rid of Siegfried considering him a rival to Gunther and the Burgundy line, while Brunhild wishes to take revenge on him for having tricked her into marrying a physical inferior. The misunderstandings and conspiracies pile up and, after tricking the innocent Kriemhild into revealing Siegfried's Achilles' heel (it's not a heel here), Tronje and Brunhild, with reluctant connivance from Gunther, do the bloody deed. So by the end of the first part, Siegfried is dead.
For me Siegfried really picks up when it goes into conspiracy mode. What works is that the so-called villains do not perform their deeds for villainy's sake. Tronje is a loyal of the Burgundy clan and his actions are directed to safeguarding their rule. Brunhild is a proud warrior and her rage at having been spited by Siegfried's trickery into marrying the wishy-washy Gunther is understandable. In fact her soul is so consumed by the thought of revenge that after Siegfried's death she kills herself because she has nothing else to live for. This is the stuff of great drama. The end of the first film also sees the bereaved Kriemhild rising from wallflower status into a source of greater substance.
So much so for the heroic fantasy, what next? Of course, revenge...

In the second installment Kriemhild, who is furious at the treachery that has murdered her husband, accepts a proposal of marriage from the savage king of the Huns, Etzel aka Attila. Unbeknownst to her family and people, her condition for marriage is that the murder of Siegfried shall be avenged. She bears Attila a son and goads him into inviting her family for the Summer Solstice feast. In the midst of the feasting, she contrives for the Huns to attack their guests, which eventually leads to a bloody siege where the Burgundy royals and their warriors are holed up in Attila's palace while the murderous Huns launch multiple attacks from outside. Kriemheld repeatedly asks her brothers to give up Tronje and save themselves, but they reward his loyalty by standing steadfast even in the face of death when she ruthlessly orders for the palace to be razed.
The second part of Die Nibelungen works even better than its predecessor. Freed of the trappings of the conventional fantasy adventure story, this one dives deep into the darkness of the human heart. What Kriemhild does here for revenge is no better than (and very likely a lot worse than) what Tronje and Brunild earlier contrive. In fact towards the end, the treacherous villains of the first part are shown as the courageous and loyal victims of her conspiracy. You cannot imagine how such a story arc can have a happy ending and the film-makers do not try to shoe one in either.
Through the course of both segments, the genius eye of Fritz Lang provides us with a sumptuous visual smorgasbord with fantastic use of locations and sets. The scale of the film is massive and detailing is exquisite with wonderful use of striking patterns and motifs. Siegfried had its share of excellent thrill sequences (given the restrictions of film technology of the day), and Kriemhild's Revenge is no slouch either. The last hour or so dedicated to the siege is a precursor to the battle in Peter Jackson's The Two Towers and a certain Akira Kurosawa could have well been inspired by the scene of the razing of Attila's palace for a similar sequence in his masterpiece Ran. The score by Gottfried Huppertz resurrected and played out for the restored version of the film is an iconic and inseparable aural match for the dramatic spectacle. I think it speaks for the entertainment value of the film that my initial intent to space out my viewing of the two installments over multiple days gave out and apart from the time necessary for sleep, I watched them pretty much back to back. - unkvltsite.blogspot.com/      

Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960) 

  Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse  

Renaldo & the Loaf Play Struvé & Sneff (1979 Original) / Bali Hai 2012 - 1980 (2013)

U Hrvatskoj su ponajprije poznati kao izvor za nekoliko džinglova Radija 101. U svijetu - kao britanska verzija The Residents. Sad su aktualni zbog reizdanja njihova klasičnog, prvog albuma. (Imali su samo jedan živi nastup, u Bali Haiju, i njegova je snimka pridodana ovom izdanju.)
Legende svega uvrnutog; svaka pjesma je otkačeni, burleskni, nadrealni, kolažni skeč. Feel-Harpo-pneumonia Philharmonic Jerkestra.

streaming albuma


The Elbow is Taboo (1987)

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1.) A Street Called Straight
2.) Boule!
3.) The Elbow is Taboo
4.) Hambu Hodo
5.) Dance for Somnambulists
6.) Here's To The Oblong Boys
7.) The Bread Song
8.) Critical Dance
9.) Extracting the Re-Re

(Original LP) Side 1: tracks 1-4; Side 2: tracks 5-9

Renaldo's CD Liner Notes:
You know how it is sometimes when you're looking for inspiration -- maybe, every once in a while you catch a snippet of conversation or read a choice phrase that kick-starts an idea for a song title or lyric and suddenly it's playtime.
Now, these instances can be few and far between; that's how it was for some of this, Renaldo and the Loaf's final album, which took over 3 years to put together despite the advantage of 8 track recording and early digital effects to help us on our way.
We were fired up by intriguing phrases like 'The Elbow is Taboo', 'Here's To the Oblong Boys' and 'A Street Called Straight'. In the instance of 'Hambu Hodo' that was seen on the side of a distressed fast-food wagon where some of the letters from 'Hamburgers/Hotdogs' had fallen off; so, naturally, the lyrics had to be equally distressed. 'Boule!' was recorded for a project by the French band Ptose, who invited us to produce a cover version of their song about an itinerant dog. Similarly, 'Extracting the Re-re' was prepared for a touch tapes (UK) project on ritual.
Each song attempts to tell its own story, be it a child's desire to control (A Street Called Straight), the ridiculous purdah of an innocent part of the body (The Elbow is Taboo), a call for help in times of angst (Here's To the Oblong Boys), the rigours of a bread fetish (The Bread Song), the anger of a dance teacher to the terminally inept (Critical/Dance) or a ritual call to prayer, somewhere (Extracting the Re-re).
Personally important is that each song is also a distinct memory of a time, place or observation; a diary of the odd scenarios and obtuse thoughts that, back then, went buzzing through our heads.- Brian 1993
Loafy Things to Say:
There were a group of us sitting in a pub one Saturday night talking and somehow the phrase the elbow is taboo came into the conversation, either I or Brian actually said it and we looked at one another and said, ‘that would make a good song title.’ It was only later that we decided to make that the name for the album as well.
Did You Know About...?
The Elbow Is Taboo Desperation Issue

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Waldo said: "Bite the Wax Tadpole".
Dave: I was reading a copy of Readers Digest at coffee break one day and came across this amusing piece of information. When Coca-Cola first went on sale in China the marketing department looked for some Chinese characters that sounded phonetically like Coca-Cola. When they translated these characters into English they discovered that they meant ‘bite the wax tadpole’ – it’s like Frass; not a lot of people know that.

 Hambu Hodo 12'' (1987)

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Side 1
1.) Hambu Hodo
Side 2
2.) The Elbow Is Taboo
3.) Writing Postcards From Italy
This version of Hambu Hodo is an expanded and reorganised version to that which appears on the LP. At the time of constructing the 12" version of Hambu Hodo, Some Bizarre asked for a 7" (radio friendly!!!!) edit - this was made but never released.

Renaldo and the Loaf Play Struvé and Sneff (1984)

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1.) Meaning of W.E.I.R.D.
2.) 16 Going on 17
3.) Absence
4.) 120 Before Zero
5.) Of Bad Teeth
6.) My Favorite Things
7.) Metro Stomp
8.) Scottish Shuffle
9.) Fluorescent Showboat to Tangier
10.) Brittle People
11.) Dying Inside
12.) Kimbolton Gnome Song
13.) The Bathroom Song

The Loaf Tells Us About Some Specific Tracks:
1.) Meaning of W.E.I.R.D.
Ralph Records was running a competition for the best suggestion for what the acronym WEIRD meant. Rather than send a written entry we wrote a song. The lyrics were generated by randomly picking words out of a dictionary, with a bit of selection to keep the strangest or, to us, the funniest sounding ones. Walk energetically in rubber dungarees does conjure up an image, doesn’t it?
4.) 120 Before ZeroThe lyrics were generated randomly from a music paper, NME or something. The title refers to rewinding the backing tape to a certain point, which was 120 before zero, i.e. –0880 on the tape counter.
5.) Of Bad TeethWell, ‘Of Bad Teeth’ was a setting of a Bertolt Brecht poem, with a Madness influence, the group Madness that is.
7.) Metro Stomp
‘Metro Stomp’ is the only piece from the ‘Swinging Larvae’ era. Metro Stomp is an anagram of Post Mortem and the basic track is the slowed down backing track to ‘A Medical Man’ copied out of phase with itself with some improvised guitar and clarinet overdubs – shades of a Henry Cow influence here.
9.) Fluorescent Showboat to Tangier
This is a song about the pub we used to drink in after a hard day in the surgery. The title comes from the fact that the pub was called The Tangier and in the lounge bar was a tank of tropical fish. In the fish tank was a sunken paddle steamer or showboat, painted in rather lurid colours. So I think you can put the title together from that. As for the lyrics, each line is an observation about the pub, which I read out to Brian, backwards. He then had to translate it back to ‘English’. So, Frosted glass in the ladies door becomes Throsted glas in ledis dor. Fancy carpet on the floor becomes Fanky farket ol te flor, or something like that – you get the picture.
The vocals on 'Showboat' are interesting in that we used 'prepared voice' to modify the sound of Brian's singing. As I recall Brian put an elastic band around his head so that it went around his mouth a bit like a horses bridle. This pulled his mouth out of shape and altered the sound of his voice.
12.) The Kimbolton Gnome SongThe room that was now ‘Sneff’s Surgery’ over looked the gardens of Kimbolton Road in Portsmouth. One of these had a large number of garden gnomes and the song is just a fantasy about the owner’s obsessive care for his gnomes.

Olleh Olleh Rotcod (1985)

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1.) Critical/Dance
2.) Like Some Kous-Kous Western
3.) Brittle People
4.) The Elbow is Taboo
5.) Bearded Cats
6.) She Wears Black
7.) Gone To Gwondana
8.) Medical Man
9.) Fluorescent Showboat to Tangier
10.) Is Guava a Donut?
11.) Leery Looks (from Father's Books)
12.) Then At Iona Lanthem

Title in Limbo [with the Residents] (1983)

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1.) Intro: Version
2.) The Shoe Salesman
3.) Crashing
4.) Monkey & Bunny
5.) Mahogany Wood
6.) Sitting on the Sand
7.) Africa Tree
8.) Woman's Weapon
9.) Horizontal Logic
10.) The Sailor Song
11.) Extra: Version

(Original LP) Side 1: tracks 1-5; Side 2: tracks 6-11