Dienstag, 24. November 2009

Life... But How To Live It?

Actually, this silly blog only exists to present one very special record. Well, I certainly took my time...

Let's pretend that it's possible to decide on the merits of a certain musical production in purely material aesthetic or rather thermodynamic terms, let's leave questions of historical momentum and relevance aside for the moment and we find
there is an easy way to discern if the rockular music/song/band in front of us is any good: we just have to apply a criterion called "energy".
Does the Rock give off energy or does it draw energy from you, the listener?

When a song can' t stand on it's own four legs and the players have to lend support to keep it upright while it's only desire seems to be just to sink back into murky entropy or when they constantly have to shovel more coal in the engine to keep up the appearance of some sort of forward motion the song will be sucking energy not only from the musicians, but also from you - you lent an ear so it's your responsibility as well to keep the song alive, but obviously all the good will invested by you is in vain, all the efforts are doomed from the start cause the song never had the spark of life in it, it's just a monster of futile labour that never had any spirit breathed into it.
When a song falls flat like that there can be a number of reasons for this to happen:
The timidity of players that either lack confidence on their instruments or that happen to be in a stadium where they haven't yet attuned themselves to one another, may be the most important one, but oftentimes also a fatal misconception seems to prevail amongst the participants, that in order to create music it's enough to play alongside one another instead of together.
Sadly what you get with this approach isn't music at all it's just cold indifferent sequences side by side that add up to... nothing.
(I find it obvious that pre-recorded drum/sample tracks and the predominant trust in sequencing machinery doesn't help the state of affairs here - no, in order to have MUSIC, the live band model is still your best bet)

But let us take a look at the other case, the winning scenario:
When it clicks,
when the rhythms interlock and the players push themselves off of each other, when they work - no, not work - play with the stuff the others pass at them, running with it, adding themselves, playing it back without so much as aiming - no need for consideration here, they know where and when to let go -, to let the impulse be assimilated and transformed by the others, a simultaneous giving and receiving... (Oh, blimey, feeling a bit fuzzy today?)
and all the while the song seems to move by and through itself and anything the players do really becomes an extra that is now able to elevate and lift the Rock to a new level...
Then the magic happens and
the whole becomes more than the sum of it's parts.

(Do I really have to name names? For starters take these: AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Jesus Lizard, Hüsker Dü and that wedding band up in the Sparrows Hills of Moscow)

I better stop now as all this starts to sound rather esoteric, my intention being of course pure hard social science.


This ship is not a machine, it's a living loving breathing organism, thrashing and rolling about in the skies, throwing it's weight around effortlessly, touching ground in resounding heartbeats, a fourbodied unity with quicksilver moves,
at it's center Katjas voice - one of the instruments and so much more - breathing fire and chill, reaching out and leading the way boldly and determined then bringing you in again with a sure hand.
I guess what I want to say is, this album is good. Very good.
It's Life But How To Live It?'s third and final LP and it shows the band at it's apex. With The MiniLP the year before the band became airborne but Ugly with it's 11 songs burning with a passion that never lets up, brimming with the precious energy (I know only of one other case that gives off such a rush - the first two Minor Threat ep's (If you get the two-in-one disc it's one case) ), is a miracle.
It shows what in the early nineties still could be done with the tired old corpse of the Jacobine scenester rock called Hardcore.

Finally, on to the Downloads:
If you don't know the band, have a taste before downloading the whole set:
>>>Life But How To Live It? - Come Back

I only ever had the tape version of the album so my mp3s come from there but I think they sound quite alright - bouncy and lively .
VBR -2 compression and the scans containing the lyrics are included!
>>>Life But How To Live It? - Ugly

Mittwoch, 4. November 2009

War Machine - Unknown Soldier

Girls always get all the attention and here at the brotherhood we are in no way swerving from this pattern. I probably wouldn't have picked up this record with it's post-nuclear watercolour cover art that spelled "We are 2nd rate backyard Thrashers from Birmingham" hadn't my eyes fallen on the name of the singer: "Bernadette".
Turns out they're not from Birmingham at all, they were from Newcastle and this debut album collecting songs from three previous years is a pretty energetic one with some nice ideas . The band stands at the crossings of NWOBHM, Thrash and the stuff that's mouldering in the "Wave" category of dank subterranean 2nd hand record shops. Unfortunately, the thing that makes the music really stand out and memorable - Bernadette Mooney's vocals - makes it also hard to listen to over the whole distance - there just isn't enough variation when she seems to end up every time with the same high pitched nasal whine.

She wails like a banshee closing in for the kill.

I'd really recommend to take it in in small doses - then it becomes a rather enjoyable ride.
Test-ride the first number on Side A:
>>>Sacred Hold
Then get the whole set, ripped from vinyl in VBR-Lame, here:
>>>War Machine - Unknown Soldier (1986)