His onyx eyes either sparkle with laughter or can shut out the world faster than smoke-black windows on a passing limo. On their American tour, the Master Musicians consisted of just ten members.
In Jajouka, at the height of its power the band numbered fifty musicians. The Attar brothers, now in their mid forties, are the youngest members and driving force of the djellaba clad ensemble. Part of the dilemma they face is that the musicians must be from the village of Jajouka. Now the children grow up and go off to school. But we are thinking of building a school in the future for the kids so they can learn this music.
The possibility of an all-star gala seemed like a great idea until suddenly Attar became annoyed. I think some people, it makes them scared. You can feel the reeds vibrating in your body. That is why the music is called Bou Jeloudia. Bou Jeloud has got his mojo workin. According to legend, if he whips a woman with the leafy switches he carries in each hand, they will become pregnant and give birth within the following year.
Doctors cannot help them. There is little doubt the cleansing fire pouring from the bell of the ghaita could drive the evil from the most demonic of us human beings. If Brion Gysin opened the door for Brian Jones, then Jones threw the open the gates of Jajouka to the rest of the world when he recorded the maniacal melodies of Pan.
I was five years old. I remember they had this big reel-to-reel tape recorder and Brian was dancing with the headphones on. It was incredible. In celebration of the man with the strange clothes and big blonde hair, a goat was slaughtered and a feast was soon prepared. Bachir repeats the story again, that is quickly becoming a chapter in mythology of the modern world. Until Brian Jones came along field recordings had an academic air about them. The idea of manipulating Mississippi field hollers or Javanese gamelan orchestra recordings was not only unheard of, but would have been deemed sacrilegious at the time by the few purveyors of world music recordings, such as Nonesuch and Smithsonian.
Heretic or not, Jones added his special sauce of phase and reverb to the wailing ghaitas and rhythmic drums so the rest of the world might experience the wild sound as he heard it dancing in his head during his brief visit to the Rif Mountains.
But was Jones tampering with tradition when he messed with the mix? And because it was Brian's idea. Attar himself plays ghaita, gimbri 4 string lute and lira wood flute as well as banjo and guitar and a bit of harmonica. Jajouka was at One Thousand One Nights playing.
Paul Bowles, he loved Jajouka music very much. He bring his equipment to record Jajouka. This is mine! Then he went and recorded all the Moroccan music he could find.
And Brion Gysin, he was very jealous! But still they loved each other. He thought he was the greatest painter. Painter, author, editor, musical anthropologist, inventor, philosopher, mystic and restaurateur, Gysin wore each of those hats As an artist, Gysin painted otherworldly figures that evoked cryptic Arabic and Japanese calligraphy. He was embraced and then quickly expelled for vague reasons by the Surrealists.
Most folks find it difficult to comprehend how one person could create such a tremendously diverse body of work. As a life-long fan of Gysin, I interviewed Steve Lacy, the master of the soprano saxophone shortly before his passing inabout his collaboration with Brion on an album they made for the HatHut label called Songs.
We were working on similar things in different areas. Brion came to a party one time and we met and started talking. It was astonishing, absolutely like a dream. It was a wonderful, very unusual collaboration. It was a lot of fun to just wing it. We were between words and music really. So his words were the spark for the music.
Every time he read, it was different. I listened to his voice a lot and talked with him and set his lyrics to music. The melodies were taken from the sound of his voice, the way he read. Brion was a great reader and a great performer. He really knew what to do with a microphone. He had a great voice and could improvise like a jazz musician. Were there any particular performances or pieces that still stand out in your mind? Through the years we worked together a lot and produced nineteen songs, stage works and performed together in Amsterdam, Paris and Italy, at poetry festivals and museums.
It was performed in Italy and France but we never took it anywhere else. It was wild! It was a really far-out show. We did a lot of theatrical things although we never could bring them to America. Wow, what a shame! Brion was involved in so many things. Brion had many, many lives, in different parts of the world with all kinds of The Bell Untolled Did Sing - Inward Escape - Madness: The Fifth Season (CD professions, from heavy labor to Broadway productions.
He had connections to so many different circles of people. Lots of important people in my life I met through Brion. Many other people also had the same experience. He was a catalyst! Brion had certain powers. He was a uniquely charged, charmed person. I mean, to me, he was a genius, The Bell Untolled Did Sing - Inward Escape - Madness: The Fifth Season (CD.
He was a multi-faceted genius. In the mid seventies he did a photomontage. He took a camera, a Leica, which he focused on the Pompadeu Museum, which was being built at that time. He took an apartment right across the street from it and took a series of still photographs, creating permutations of the view. Brion had a show at a little obscure gallery in Paris, Gallerie Raph, I think it was. When you walked in and saw all these crazy colors, in a series like that, it just hit you right in the eye.
The show was a knockout and not one piece was sold! The gallery was completely empty. His work was ignored. Well, at least your music was better appreciated in Paris! But you could get wasted anywhere. You could starve to death in Paris and hit the skids here in NYC!
Did Brion ever take you to Jajouka, to play with the Master Musicians? Brion had a I thought Brion was a musical genius! I gave him back music in a way but he already had it from Morocco.
That kind of music he could deal with. He had been very frustrated. They were the lyrics for an un-produced Broadway show based on the life of Uncle Tom. He had talked with composers and producers but nothing came of it. Brion showed me the lyrics and I flipped. That was the beginning of our collaboration. That album is absolutely brilliant!
Years ago I had a radio show on a college station in Milwaukee and played the living hell out of it. He put so much love and work in that. Brion was there in the studio, listening to us in ecstasy while we performed his songs… The thing that impressed me most about Brion was his taste and discretion and his humor and of course his erudition.
This cat had educated himself — he knew literature, painting and music and theatre and dance. His taste in music was pretty good. Brion appreciated and worked with Don Cherry. At the same time he also had a cheap, trashy side where he liked low-class junk music. How did Brion manage to completely slip through the cracks? Do you think he purposely dodged fame? No, Brion craved attention and he deserved attention but he took it from unlikely sources.
There is so much jealousy, deception, intrigue and shenanigans going on in Paris, and that surrealist group was full of those things. That was a trauma that really hurt Brion terribly. He was pretty young at the time because it was back around I have a couple of his drawings from Morocco that are just beautiful. Burroughs said Brion was the only man he respected and trusted. Burroughs really loved Brion and vice versa. We were very tight. We were dear, dear friends. I loved the guy. It was a collaboration that clicked from the start.
Ornette also felt a deep connection with the musicians as well. Not five minutes after mentioning his name during my interview with Bachir, Coleman was on the phone, as if by magic, calling to welcome him back to New York. After their brief conversation Attar returned to the sofa, lit another cigarette and began to talk about his old friend Bob Palmer who he felt understood the music on a profound level. Palmer so dearly loved the music of Jajouka that after his untimely death, he was cremated wearing a Moroccan djellaba with his ghaita clutched firmly in his hands.
John Kruth: Bob Palmer seemed to have his finger on the pulse of all the best music happening when he was alive, no matter what the style, whether it was blues, free jazz, world beat or punk.
Oh, he was guided by the light. He had so much love for what he believed. John Kruth: How long did you stay in Jajouka? Ornette Coleman: I was there for three weeks to a month.
At the time Bachir was very young. I knew his father. The music was magic, from another dimension that people, I think, will understand in the future.
Over the years, western musicians, painters and poets have all fallen under the spell of the lusty, trance-inducing music of Jajouka. You fall in line and dance until you pay the piper. Jajouka, the Masters, he explained, were facing tough times. Indeed the musicians are getting older. Many need health and dental care. On top of that, most of the young people grow up and head for the cities, having little or no interest in living in the village or playing the music.
Bachir was hoping Ornette might help arrange and play at a benefit for the musicians. Ornette Coleman: There are many forms of non-tempered music like Jajouka, whether Chinese or Spanish music, but what makes Jajouka stand out it is the ancient story behind its creation. The tempered structure, which was created in Europe has served music for hundreds of years and in itself has not been free of grammar as non-tempered music.
It was a very beautiful experience. One can have a spiritual experience anywhere and can experience it equal in relationship to their concept of what God is. It mostly comes to any person that is not trying to stylize a feeling.
Bachir Attar: The musicians love the music, of course, but I would like more people to understand Jajouka. It scares some people. But they need to hear this music and open their hearts. Ornette, he understood it completely and put it on his album [Dancing In Your Head].
John Kruth: Jajouka is ultimately spirit music, born in nature and always seems a bit out of place when performed indoors, in a concert hall. Bachir Attar: To hear the music of Jajouka played live in caves and mountains is the best! It is classical music especially for the Kings of Morocco. It puts people in a deep trance and we cannot be responsible what happens to them when we play it.
It is old music, from over one hundred years ago. It was learned and kept by my father. Now we have our own label [Jajouka Records] and we still play it. It is the real thing. The quality of it may be hampered because of people not understanding how to express it. The life of Jajouka cannot die. It is immortal. Bachir Attar: Ornette was inspired to write a lot of music after he played with my father in Jajouka.
We feel him very much! Ornette Coleman: Music is a dimension of life, the art of life and human beings are the creators of this life. It is one life and we are all sharing it. All we have to do is make it better, which we can do, as long as we are standing on our feet Album) not our knees. The sound has a pristine, almost bell jar like quality. No matter how it is mixed, or adorned Jajouka is spirit music that was born in nature.
The music has always seemed out of place indoors, be it a studio or a concert hall. Pulling another ace out of his sleeve, Bachir revealed another dimension of Jajouka I knew nothing about. It is called It puts people in a deep trance and we cannot be responsible for what happens to them. I will play it for you if you come to Morocco. I have tapes from my father. There are fifty-five scales inside the music. Ornette, he completely understood it. The wonderfully strange pandrogynous Genesis POrridge looks like Alice just back from the rabbit hole.
As we talked I had the distinct feeling I was looking at a mirage. Perhaps the very same djinn magickal spirit a French woman wrote of in her diary as her family tragically died of thirst in the Sahara. In her last moments, just before expiring, the distraught woman wrote in her diary of having a vision.
She hallucinated the appearance of a hermaphroditic genie with a blinding smile. Several of his books were published in England as cheap paperbacks because they were seen as pornography because they had sex bits in them. My father, bless him, used to pick up anything by Burroughs or Kerouac when he was traveling. The basic theory is when two artists collaborate, they would both write stuff, chop it up and then re-assemble it, the re-assembled piece of work was no longer by William Burroughs or Brion Gysin.
Nor is it really by them as it includes the process of random chance. So they would assign the being which created that work, they would call it the Third Mind - the mind created by the other two collaborators.
Lady Jaye and I have been collaborating too. As you can see when we got married we switched roles, and began playing with expectations and identity. Genesis hands me a photograph of their wedding. Lady Jaye is dressed macho in black leather while P-Orridge is all in white wearing a wedding gown.
All through my life, from the sixties until now I have been investigating identity and the unfolding of DNA as a program and different ways to confound it. DNA is the As Brion used to say in a pre-recorded universe who made the first recording? You can argue very convincingly that the planet earth is a recording device. How do we know about history? Because traces of it are recorded in fossils and so on. Nearly every age of human beings that have lived so far are still happening simultaneously.
Some are still living in the middle ages. You have men in the Sahara still living in a prehistoric mode and then there are people in present day Tokyo. So Lady Jaye and I have taken what is the next inevitable step, which is to include the human body. For the first time in history, that we know of, we have the ability to cut up, rewind, collage, assemble and disassemble DNA, which is the ultimate recording of the species. That recording was once helpful for human beings to survive. It was good for human beings to be aggressive, to maintain and possess territory and breed and replicate by the strongest having the right to make babies.
All of that was a series of prehistoric imperatives that are in our DNA, our genetic code, which are the reasons that as a species we have survived and flourished through ice ages and everything.
However the environment has now changed. It seems that the most critical purpose for thinkers in our time is to find ways to short circuit DNA codes. We now have genetic engineering, cosmetic surgery and computers - all this amazing technology which we could apply to make the species evolve so that it was actually modern.
So we feel that we want to use our bodies, because we use our bodies as our art, and our lives to at least represent and suggest a new alternative way of evolving because we believe it is actually a matter of survival as a species. We can either continue to pretend that something will miraculously change our innate behavior and save us all at the very last minute or we can finally take responsibility for own evolution.
The two different lineage of human species - male and female, for lack of better terms, were fine when we just needed to replicate and build up the population. Yes, but I have committed my body and mind and my life, as well as my life experience to this issue that needs to be addressed.
It may seem extreme. Ultimately Lady Jaye and I are halves of something new that can be created by our species. It happens before birth if you think about it. They start to write them out before They choose a name for you that was either the name of a grandparent or a pop star.
But with that name they pick they impose a narrative, their idea of what your identity should be before you even appear. What will they be when they grow up? Where will they go to school? As a child, your family and people in the immediate social group continue to interfere with and control your narrative. The first thing I did to liberate myself from other people being the author of my narrative was to claim back authorship of my own story and that was to change my name, legally to Genesis P-Orridge in Wipe it clean and decide who and what I want to be.
In a way, the rest of my life and art has been the documentation of that struggle to become truly the author of my own story and become the being that I wish to be. I kept some aspects that I inherited, behavior or philosophy, but I want everything that I am to be by choice, not unconsciously imposed. Did I want to be this shape? Genesis said with a big gold tooth smile. By the early seventies, kids started wearing mascara and blurring the distinction between male and female in their dress, following the fashion from pop stars like T.
Rex, David Bowie and Lou Reed. There was a playfulness to it that was incredibly liberating. But with you it goes much further. What do you consider yourself? Or transgender? Lady Jaye and I will tell you that we just feel trapped in a body. There are dozens and dozens of transgender people murdered every year because some guy was afraid of himself. When I go out I have to make a choice. And then what do you do when you go shopping for clothes? Which dressing room do you use? There are lot of difficult daily situations which occur.
I love the human species and I despair of its stupidity and cruelty. But not enough people are willing to speak up about how disillusioned they are about those who control culture. In the liner notes you wrote about meeting your hero Brian Jones as a teenager. It was as if thee particles that were intended to give him substance and represent thee physical body known as Brian Jones were dancing a little too freely.
He was more apparition than person. Neither male or female. My friends and I would go to the park on a Sunday afternoon and smoke some hard-to-find hash in in Birmingham. The more cut up they were, the better they were spoken as poetry. In fact the big breakthrough I had with Burroughs was reading him out loud and realizing how musical it was! The musical rhythm within the words was very significant. I had an epiphany about the nature of the words themselves.
Everyone who has ever said that word has invested it with their story and anyone who hears that word puts the context of their life around that word. So each word is a memory box and a prophecy box simultaneously. But it was very much through listening to more exciting, less linear writers like Burroughs and Gysin that led me into believing in poetry and spoken word as important activities.
Another pattern or theme throughout my life has been the storyteller as healer. Society comes and downloads its neurosis and its bigoted mundane behavior and we try to make sense of it and turn it into poetry. When I say poetry what I mean is something that retains beauty despite itself. The guys who try to own it find it slipping through their fingers every time.
I always try to have some little reminder or slap-down so that people are actually thinking instead of just listening. I want it to be an act of comprehension. You still do a fine job of provoking thought. While people were always afraid they were in some kind of End Times or Apocalypse there is a difference now.
We have the ability to obliterate everything over and over again. Unless we change behavior nothing else will change! And to change behavior, as we all know is one of the hardest things to do!
Look, we all know how it works. There are certain people, through a combination of bloodlines and inherited power that control various parts of the world and they maintain their power by creating fear and they do so by using media and propaganda to make their society afraid of something outside of itself.
There are probably about a thousand people running the planet. Why did people collude and fall for giving him power? Once you meet those other people and you start to have this network and reaction, some of it being reinforcing and positive, then you then become aware of the responsibility of being more aware and serious and understanding that what you say has an impact on the lives of others.
People accept for whatever reason that you articulate with words, music and images that which they find difficult to articulate. So they then give you their proxy to speak for them and if you have any integrity at all, you must have ethics about it.
Unlike some people in the government! The job description for prophets and saints states they must get up and speak the truth no matter what the crowd yells or throws at them. I get some amazing letters from people who feel less isolated, and feel that their way of seeing the world is vindicated by knowing that I exist and by what I do.
And they allow me to place words and messages on top of that, so they have to really trust my heart and what comes out of me is worthy of their music. The last time we played together was in Paris, the last week of September. Friday the night before the gig Edly set up a couple of loops triggered on his drum pads and asked me if I could work with them.
I listened to each one for no more than thirty seconds and picked three and said I could definitely do something with those. I wrote the set list ten minutes before we went on. The music is very fresh. I grew up listening to jazz as a kid. My father was a drummer in a dance band before the war, so I grew up drumming along with him to that music and went to see people like Duke Ellington and Count Basie.
Then it was the Stones and the Velvet Underground. I also collected records by John Cage and Berio and all kinds of early amazing electronic music.
Stockhausen was a big influence on me. I always listened from the perspective of the drummer. Then at school I joined the choir and used to sing plain chants and medieval music. I used to sing Descante and was interested in more unusual harmonies. So that combined with listening to how jazz melodies are improvised and extended was a big influence. Most people never ask me about it, no more than six people in the last thirty-odd years have asked if I ever had musical training.
I also play the piano. At times I hear elements of modal, choral-like singing your performance. You never lose it even while all the sounds and textures are melding into one another and rhythms are bumping and colliding.
What holds it all together is not just you as a performer, visually, but your delivery as a singer as well. I used to listen to a lot of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. When he was young and had a really pure voice, he was fantastic! Because I was a drummer I have a very good sense of rhythm and can always find my way back, no matter how far I seem to have slid away. Perhaps at this point we should talk about your physical appearance.
You mean this? What did they look at me like that for? Yeah, pretty striking! In my left arm got smashed in a fire in LA. I can really see the difference!
I first met you in with Bachir Attar and was amazed at the scars on your arm. Oh, it was just out of the cast then. The wrist was broken. Eventually I won a court case and got the insurance to pay up for the hospital bills plus the pain and suffering. I always, always wanted to have metal teeth ever since I saw the movie Belle de Jour. Pierre Clementi plays a gangster with this nice long leather coat and metal teeth.
I saw it when I was on acid and was thoroughly besotted with the idea of those metal teeth. By then I already had four gold teeth. I was working on it bit by bit. It was play money, really. Something I never expected to get so I treated myself to something completely frivolous. Lady Jaye found this dentist who would do it, because he had to destroy completely healthy teeth, which most dentists thought was sacrilege.
He the dentist also made jewelry as a hobby, so each tooth was a replica of the one that was destroyed. They were drilled into a pointy stubs and the nerves were taken out. It took about eighteen months in all. There were times when it got really painful. Were you awake for all of this? Yeah, they gave me a local anesthetic and I was in agony. It was just one long delirious memory of pain and dental smells. I just stuck it out and I wound up with my gold teeth.
Your sexual expression seems to be equally as important as your art and the music that you and the band create. The same was true in dada or surrealism. The lives of 20th century artists, no matter what their medium, was an essential aspect or ingredient of what made their work effective.
I grew up in a very informed, modern generation, in the sixties. In old, early cultures art was a devotional expression and integrated with the cycles of life. Somewhere along the line it And then it became decorative in the service of the rich and powerful. And then it became a commodity, produced and sold by record companies.
Your performance seems more like an offering than bludgeoning people with your music and attitudes and philosophy. Your physical presence alone gets people to re-think their very identity as a man or woman or something in between. Well, thank you. I find your physical, sexual expression to be totemic. Oh definitely! Way back in I had a long conversation with Burroughs about this. His strategy was to wear suits and be invisible and blend in.
He did that so that he was able to go to the CIA offices, which he did once and give a talk on his theory of Control and language etc. He could go to a variety of functions and not put people off straight away. It allowed him the opportunity to say the ideas that he wanted without people being distracted by the way he looked, or him being dismissed by the way he looked. With his ideas it would have been too easy for people to write him off, if he was a weird guy with long hair.
Completely the opposite of Allen Ginsberg. And they disagreed about it too! I committed myself to more of the Ginsberg approach. But if you come off very visual in your presentation, you almost become transparent. You can become like a cartoon.
But actually I sat down and strategized and designed it as a concept. I grew up believing that art and life were very much the same thing. I truly have committed my life and art to being absolutely inseparable. And that includes my physical body too. Whatever I am on stage is me representing what I believe in and what I think people should be able to be like.
Joy and communing with other people is radical. Radio playing DJ selections music is the only thing which reaches him. Bright light shining down casts white table top with typewriter whisky bottle paper and jugs of water in blinding circle of light spotlights his existence amidst the shadows of the room.
Wall of large Coloroll flowers creeping up to the ceiling. Steel gas fire, budgie chatter from a cage in a corner. Behind him a window out on the world. Misty day cloud and sea horizons mix indistinguishable depths. Cards from distant friends. Glittering chopped tree seems so new and bright to minds of his children.
A toy train that goes round and round, minds trapped by its circular movement adult minds trapped by their relationships. Distant faraway scene in his mind the Christmas ritual reinforces. Budgie chattering away berserk thoughts in its pea head trapped by its reflection in the mirror.
Clear cold air to carry his thoughts. Pebbles have turned to sand at his feet he sinks slightly leaving depressions filled with cleansing sea water, his tracks obliterated by the mother. Behind him he senses his pursuer, turns but sees only the shoreline melting into the mist. The stranger introduces himself, bringing a new life into the room exciting the red flowers interminably creeping up their black background.
The depression blocking thoughts feeling lifts. He faces the stranger across his typewriter where the stranger has seated himself in an armchair in the shadows, leaving his depression in the faded upholstery the only sign of his presence. With a thud the budgie dies in its cage. Silence from the next room as his offspring finish choking on this that. The gas fire dies in its frame. Across the city his cousin and wife who are travelling to visit him crash. The stranger radiates a smile which encroaches into the pool of light above the table and fills him with warmth, bearing the Christmas gifts.
The smile reaches him where lie is standing watching the depressions in the sand approach. The hard granite dill face presses into his back last thing he remembers. Shoreline dissolving into mist. He has lain awake like this once before, drifting unawares out of a deep something, in time to see the form of the stranger disappearing against the white wall of his bedroom.
He remembers the strong feeling he had that the stranger had manipulated his mind in his sleep, or wherever it was that he had been taken.
As he awoke more fully the fading form frightened him and he ducked under the bedclothes. Then when he peeped out the white shroud with featureless face and arms crossed below the cloth had gone. Instead the early dawn sky was pulsing with a strange red light trapped behind a broken horizon of houses and trees through the glass pane. Music rides in from the next room proclaiming brief human desires its harmonies cutting right across time from primeval existence to life to come.
He has been singled out again. He remembers that lie had walked for hours through the early morning deserted streets and traced the source of the red light to a disused church in the countryside, when the light had promptly ceased.
He doubted whether it had been visible to anyone else. He wonders about the significance of a second visitation whether one reinforces the other. He puts on his coat and gloves and packs a small lunch in the kitchen, leaving the Christmas decorations the bodies of his family and the dying tree the trapped bird.
To his surprise the world outside the house has changed dramatically. Cars crushed and jammed together along the roadside as if ploughed aside by a giant hand. Silence except for the eerie sound of wind slicing through wires through gaps in the brickwork. His house door faces the avenue of glinting junked metal and blood, a huge gouge in the earth stretching as far as his eye and inner geographical awareness can see through building hill and lake.
He realises intuitively that the road has been carved exclusively for his benefit, for his car, and he feels uncomfortable. Powerless climbs into his car and drives between the gate-posts across the ripped urban landscape. Then she rises into her housecoat and collects the standing child tiny fists clenched whitely gripping at the cot sides. She climbs unsteadily downstairs greeted by the Christmas disarray of toys a sinkful of pots a tabletop of stale meal. Their daughter drops her chocolate angel stolen from the Christmas tree clamours round her feet for attention.
Daddy has gone. Not again she sighs, worried now how she is going to cope with her night job if the kids are unminded if she should phone his psychiatrist inform social services or… the door bell rings insane burst of chattering rattles the budgie's cage on its stand.
Child in arm she opens the door greets her boy-friend from the night club with a scowl of bad temperedness. Ahead of him the misty coastline where the huge gouge that rents the land breaks through the lonely cliff line ends submerged in the sea. He drives his car into the spray cast off by the hissing breakers crushing shoals of silver fish on to the beach.
Moves along the deserted shoreline, wheels crunching over the gleaming pebbles spinning on clumps of slippery brown seaweed strained off from the waves. Coasts slowly until he can go no further halted by the stratified cliff face layers of humanity in the time-worn granite. He climbs out and slams the car door walks insignificant man to the foot of the towering cliff roar of the mighty sea spray slashing up its face soaking his clothes stings his eyes and throat. Incessant roaring of the white-crested combers dashed to foam and sucking backward across the pebbles hissing sound.
Long time ago remembers standing here as a young boy holiday with the family. Past present and future separated by biological existence. It is the stranger, who walks past him touches his being with a cold breath goes a lot deeper into his bones than the hazy swirling forms about him. The man turns and sees that the stranger has manifested himself once more, tall white shroud arms akimbo featureless face shimmering dully against the dark brown rock. A pathway from the sky cuts through the grey mist focusing a slanting pillar of light against the rock by the side of the apparition.
As the man looks he sees a white crucifix made of the same shimmering substance materialise flickering weakly then more strongly as it persists under the pillar of light. Few cries from injured shoppers his sightless eyes body slumped across the bonnet beneath an Mankind is suffering. As he reaches the cross bathed in its glory and brilliance shape etched on his being stoops to kiss it instantaneous awareness of humanity living in trees living in caves in wooden shacks in igloos in skyscrapers in underground laboratories in space stations in prisons in interplanetary bases in starships in far flung worlds throughout the galaxies the universe, feels the power of their thoughts lifting him upward into the grey sky his intense compassion flooding out into empty space bathing all beings lifting lifting… A new Christ.
Think of Bowie without Mick Ronson in the earlier part of his career. Decidedly avant-garde, his music nonetheless is entirely accessible. A listen to his solo performances is to enter into an improvisational universe full of varied influences, genres, and delightful musical discoveries. The untold story, or at least the story not known by most of the general public, is that Garson is a musician par excellence in his own right.
I hardly see it as an entire career to look back on. I saw this psychic a few years ago and she said when you turn 61, your career will only then start to take off. Here, it has to be framed more. Utter bullshit, of course. Cheap thrills for short attention spans. Why do you think attention from the media has taken so long? Or even like John Lennon had. She and her mother thought I was playing great then and they thought I was going to strike it rich that year.
So technically, it could have happened to me anytime between when I was 18 and now. It would have been a wasted effort. The Beatles did it in. They paid for piano lessons and I had two great teachers in New York. It enforced discipline.
Just to be able to financially survive and take care of my family. They keep repeating and time moves on and their not fresh anymore. Anyone who becomes great is somehow doing a discipline. They might know less about chords, rhythm and harmony than a trained musician, but if their focus is very deep no matter what they work in — computer music sounds or programming drums — that becomes their practicing discipline. Even a DJ can fall into that — you have fake ones and you have ones that really go for it.
Not everybody has to learn how to read music or be equal to what the classical conservatories say they should be. But then of course you get thousands upon thousands of people who just wanna be a rock star, look handsome. Your persistence is proven, as well as your patience.
And a discipline to die for — certainly a discipline many rock musicians could learn a thing or two from. I was in the US Army band in the s, playing glockenspiel and piano for the generals.
I could make a lot of extra money on the weekends, schlepping home every. I said to him that he had a great way of making a living by playing viola in the orchestra. I just thought you could show me a couple of licks and tricks I could do. I did that for the last 15 years! It took me a long time to really work that out. The windows that they make for themselves or the way they close themselves off are actually pretty pathetic.
That kind of shocked me. Have you ever considered getting an album out via a major? I guess I would, if I could see eye to eye with those guys. I never play them but the one time. But if it gets hooked up with the right singer or the right piece, then you know….
Bowie just knew how to frame it. Visionary artists for the most part are usually consigned to smaller labels. I think the atmosphere, though, is changing. I look forward to seeing how it changes and how my career goes. It might not be in the cards from a certain level, in the traditional sense, because I might just be one of these underground guys… only known to those who care.
In terms of my age I feel. But I do like the idea of having a great distribution. All too often in professional music you have musicians fixating on genres.
You can apply yourself to a certain discipline, but why be confined by it? Do you. The arrangements on that album was intensive.
Mick Ronson was responsible for those, right? Without these people he never would have gained the success he has. It still does it for me. Funny, because I was initially only hired for eight weeks in It was a special moment. It was favorable for David. I was flattered to contribute. I played the solo similar on David Live and no one has ever mentioned it. Well, maybe two people. So, it was something about the space, the time, with David, whatever.
So I owe a lot to him from that viewpoint. But I. The magic seems to occur when you get out of the way, and are in a more surrender David could do it better! In we went into a bar somewhere in Philadelphia or Cleveland, after a gig. A real Sinatra type! His talent is so big. I did suggest we do standards twenty years ago but got no response out of him. A lot of people have been waiting for a Bowie album with just him and you, voice and acoustic piano. But, you just never know.
We could end up doing an opera down the road. I do hope that it occurs, though. Someone will just probably have to compile live recordings of us with piano and voice — I think there are five recordings floating around somewhere.
It will probably end up as a bootleg. I have a lot of respect for him for that. He seems like he has impeccable taste. Oh yeah! There seems to be a strong spiritual element to a lot of your compositions. How important do you feel that is to your music? Not with some guy on a ladder in the sky. Finding the right times and moments to tap into. An opera? Is this in the works?
Everyone seems to be reviving their old albums in Broadway or West End shows these days, like Queen, and Lou Reed taking Berlin on the road. Maybe an opera, a Broadway show…that we write together, and then bring in other There are many people who can do all of that, but no one reacts to it.
Or anyone else who gets me other than the few thousand as opposed to the hordes of millions out there. I think that something else or the spiritual as you call it, is an intention to reach and communicate and inspire people. The word inspiration comes from in spirit. If you use the word information the word form is in there. That deals with the physical universe and details, form, data, information and that kind of shit, but inspiration comes from another plane. One of my goals is to be in that space all the time.
The music is a byproduct of that. You should talk to Peter Greenaway and see if he needs music. So I miss out on a lot of things. People on the other side of the fence usually know more about those sorts of things, and they tune me into it.
For some reason, our conversation has spontaneously focussed on ways to fill the long hours of hanging about while waiting for gigs to start. There is The Bell Untolled Did Sing - Inward Escape - Madness: The Fifth Season (CD lot of excitement swirling around the Tara Clerkin Trio right now. Even though he was at uni down the road in Bath, he often travelled to Bristol, and together with his brother found himself right in the middle of things.
Coming from where we came from, we were only really exposed to dubstep, house and disco, so Howling Owl really opened us to whole range of different things. In the decade since first meeting, the three have dabbled in a range of musical projects. Their debut seven-track LP, recently released on Laura Lies In, finds naturalistic psych-rock replaced with coolly executed electronics and evocative soundscapes. This new direction could loosely be defined as jazz, but it actually manages to cover a wide range of sonic touchpoints; from soulful acid jazz and blissful pop.
For Clerkin, the shift is style is simply the result of the band trying to make a break with old habits. While we like acid jazz and things like that, we definitely stumbled into that genre. I was much more interested in doing something more minimal. There was a short period a few years ago where it felt like every song was going down its own little rabbit hole. When we went to loop the clarinet, we realised we had their clangs on the track, so the idea grew from there.
Listening through the LP sometimes feels like cracking a window and listening to the sounds of the street. When I put this to the band, Clerkin nods approvingly. I wanted to do less storytelling and try and take snapshots of those little moments. I know this is coming across as pretentious, but this is more of an honest reflection of where we are right now.
Before, I think we were slightly guilty of forcing things. We tended to make music that we were slightly embarrassed about; it always felt weird when you had to stand by it.
I ask if this is just the start for the Tara Clerkin Trio, or as before will the group be moving on to explore new sonic pastures. The following Angles and Comedown Machine sold 3 copies between them but still we loved The Strokes. When a band member releases a solo project, we wish it was a new Strokes album instead.
What Albert Hammond Jr meant in that NME interview was that The Strokes were going to do whatever the fuck they like from now on, which, in part, translated to them playing slower and longer. Unfortunately, the song itself is somehow completely horrible and a total non-event, plagued by a distracting electronic whipping sound and the laziest of back and forths between Valensi and Hammond Jr.
Finally, The Strokes stopped being too cool do what they really want, which is this case was to build a song as ridiculous and as fun as this around a two-finger synth hook and the odd Pet Shop Boys blast. The New Abnormal will become your fifth favourite Strokes album there really is little going on on Angles. For a lifetime. Half Waif — The Caretaker anti- Running has long been a useful symbol for songwriters who want to provoke a direct physical response as they describe abstract emotions.
We can run in circles, run away with our lover, run up that hill to make a deal with god. Or, we can just run, towards nothing in particular. Her melodies and production are both taut and winding, dodging easy categorisation. Drum machines and sour keyboards meet piano, flute, and clarinet as these individual songs grow. Her words initially read as cold across the album, until their subtleties shine through, revealing deep empathy and introspection.
By the end of The Caretaker you might better understand where you fit in to the world, and how the world should fit to suit you.
With her third album under the moniker C. Crossing Prior Street, whose title is an homage to the London street that was the first place the Franco-Canadian producer has ever called home, is a ten-track journey through a healing process; an experiment in leftfield pop that explores the scarcity and loneliness of life in a metropolis.
This is a record on which the rhythm of a big city enters the personal story of a teenager looking for herself, and becomes a part of her. The fantastical creation narrative plays out like. Albums surrealist folklore; magical accounts of humanity are tenderly cast with an even more guttural, well-travelled sing-shout.
These mantras teeter towards the confessional but pull back by dint of her delivery, which rages with the power of conviction and a lack of self-pity.
Three lads, three chords, one very striking mullet. But of course, it takes a hell of a lot of intelligence to make music this dumb. As hook writers and storytellers, The Chats are masters of economy — frontman Eamon Sandwith may be singing about the full fat pleasures of life, but the medium is as sparse as you like. With no funny business, sixteen songs manage to collectively limbo under the half an hour backdrop. Stick it on at 5pm on a Friday. I dare you. Yves Tumor — Heaven to a Tortured Mind warp After this fourth album and second for Warp, we are still none the wiser about exactly who or what Yves Tumor is.
Could this be, we ask ourselves, a sign of a more straightforward RnB record? We are firmly back in the deregulated zone where confusion is king. This is the pattern of Heaven to a Tortured Mind; a give and take between challenge and payoff.
It is an irresistible track, the biggest moment of his career to date and proof that he could be a major overground star one day if the notion were ever to interest him. But evidently, as of now, that is not the plan. There are too many simultaneous ideas, too much comfort in saturating the sound palette throughout Heaven to a Tortured Mind for it to have mass appeal. Albums and yet it is that very freewheeling experimentation that makes it such an intoxicating listen. Genre identification is redundant in the face of this level of artistic freedom.
Only he can know what happens next. Born in Vancouver to a Serbian family, Gavinski began to write music in Montreal during her final year of college, when she picked up a guitar left behind by her ex-partner.
Her vocals have a sweet soulfulness reminiscent of Julia Jacklin, tinged with occasional touches of dissonance that bring to mind Cate Le Bon.
Working through a plethora of. And so, from bussing fans to Margate and headlining stages at festivals, to impromptu gigs at their local, that scattergun exuberance hits with the same velocity here on their debut.
A debut as wry, energetic and charismatic as their inexhaustible live presence has always promised. The shift from big-room techno towards textural abstraction that he hinted at with his last solo album goes full-blown for this collaborative album with Nine Inch Nails keyboardist Alessandro Cortini, in which neither a kick-drum thud nor snare clap is encountered across its 45 minutes and yet still the signifying aesthetics of club music — nocturnal yet bright, solitary yet communal, with interplay of tension and release — linger.
Added to that beatless atmosphere is a laudable embrace of sonic grit and grain alongside the sort of wistfully poignant grandeur more often deployed in stadium rock. The result is a record that suggests Godspeed You! Black Emperor in drone mode, reimagining Music For Airports as if the runways were covered in gravel and air traffic control was on strike. Most of the time, this works a treat.
Drunk elevated Thundercat from the pre-eminent session musician sought for his ferocious 6-string bass virtuosity and funkadelic groove to his own singular and commercial force. However, despite. This pervasive gloom is a hangover from his first two albums, The Golden Age of Apocalypse and Apocalypseboth of which were introspective affairs soaked with moments of disquiet.
If his first two albums were crepuscular ruminations, then Drunk was the other side of the coin — the subsequent, pain-numbing blow-out. It saw Thundercat trade in meditative jams for truncated spats of energy and drowned the pensive with deluges of sanguinity and irreverence. However, like a sicklysweet cocktail, while the first sips were rich with the taste of funk and California sunshine, by the end of the album you encountered where all the bitterness was congealed and Drunk finished with a nuanced capitulation; a hallucinatory and fragmented solace that hit as hard as any of his earlier albums.
However, the results on It is What it Is are frustratingly uneven as mature craftsmanship and heartfelt attempts at transcendence are continually herniated by misplaced Drunk-era interludes that downplay the emotional weight of the record and occasionally border on the obnoxious.
Lyrically, Thundercat shines here as he intersperses potent truths of upwards mobility as a young black man in-between all the infectious bass. Worse yet, it stalls all momentum and irrevocably upsets the spiritual equilibrium of the record.
The interplay between the three vocalists strikes a spiritual chord that soars above the rest of the album. It is what it is. Baxter Dury — The Night Chancers heavenly Stanley Kubrick once said that a film is — or should be — more like music than fiction.
It should be a progression of moods and feelings. He also believed that observation is a dying art. Atypically for Dury, not every song here is confessional.
On some of the tracks, different characters appear, and we know that because Dury adopts different voices and accents to fit the situation.
On this record, Dury remains disarmingly, brazenly British. The title track is a case in point: an Anglo-aggro ode to the aspects of British life that no one talks about, recalling Mark E.
Above anything else, Dury shows us that a little bit of melody and a lot of honesty can go a long way. Fohr may be one of the sole artists capable of undergoing genre exercises with. Best known for her role fronting Grammy Award-winning Brazilian Girls, her own solo rebirth Force Majeure being the first full-length under her own name in six years sounds fresh and exploratory, excellently sidestepping being a retrogressive throwaway whilst still paying homage to the scenes that birthed it.
Albums falling from the sky and lovers setting them on fire. And as soon as the theory gets heavy, there are still enough lyrics on the album to be written on a passive aggressive tote bag.
Likewise their breakthrough King of Cowards, which capped proceedings at six songs. It can be difficult to avoid sacrificing depth in the pursuit of a leaner sound, but nothing is lost here. The record is all guts and glory, tauter than before and all the better for it. While admittedly there is still a good amount of fluff here the album is littered with upbeat tracks that could elicit the desire to dance in more or less anyone The Prettiest Curse is an evolution.
It is striking, complex, uncompromising indie-pop. More than that, it makes a bold statement: it canonises Spanish indie-rock, bringing the Spanish language, in which the band embrace singing for the first time, into the Anglophone mainstream of the genre.
Musically, Hinds layer dizzying samples with trippy distortion and candy floss vocals. Elsewhere on the album, classical guitars provide the backdrop for sultry vocals, while in later tracks statement drum. It is, to an extent, an indie expression of a teenager in turmoil. Yet on The Prettiest Curse, the band have honed their craft: here their characteristic puerility slashes like a knife, and is wielded as a weapon in the pursuit of inclusive, jubilant, defiant indie-pop.
Albums to create some much-needed space, but otherwise Sister is too often hamstrung by its cold, audiophile perfectionism. On the one hand, this is dazzling to encounter — the entire album gleams sonically, every edit feeling super gourmet with nary a hair out of place —but on the other, such airtight cleanliness leaves Sister frustratingly gutless; a masterclass in studio production technique in desperate need of songwriting calibre to match.
FACS — Void Moments trouble in mind On the third album from the Chicago post-rock trio — formed from the ashes of Disappears in — singer Brian Case is almost disappearing into their hypnotic wall of industrial sound.
Except, well, when it suddenly is. Who can say? In its elusiveness and its repetition, it becomes a remarkably effective bit of messaging. The drumming is worth mentioning. The fabric of this middle section is unsettlingly versatile, as Katz contorts it with an occult majesty. His lyrics expertly oscillate between fleeting hedonic fervour and pointed societal rage to fuel an insidious, isolating sound.
After two sets of brain surgery to treat Moyamoya, a life-threatening brain disease, music lost all melodic meaning for the LA producer, also known as Jennifer Lee.
The latter transmits a feeling of relief — of having said your piece, even if no one will ever hear it. Cloud, but the real masterstroke was recruiting Detroit group Bonny Doon as her backing band — they bring such nuanced lightness of touch to the tracks. Out in the Storm was a noisy, aggressive exposed-nerve of an album, one wrought with trauma, and the typically relentless touring schedule that followed served as an extended process of bloodletting.
At the end of it, in the summer ofCrutchfield embraced sobriety. It was a decision that set her up for a series of homecomings on Saint Cloud, her fifth record as Waxahatchee. The influence of country giants like Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt hangs heavy over the album, but Lucinda Williams is the most significant reference point; not just in terms of the bright and breezy Americana of the tracks, but in the way she evokes Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by painting such vivid portraits of her travels across America.
Sorry — domino While Sorry may not be oversharers in interviews, over the past three years the opposite has been true with their music. Consequently nothing here is overly ponderous. Songs are moments. Musically it all feels distinctively, and refreshingly, out of step with the current proliferation of politico-postpunk. Flat Worms — Antarctica god?
Not only has. Thankfully, though, In This House — the second album from this art rock, lo-fi nihilist outfit — does eventually open. New Rave movement with Klaxons and short-lived project Shock Machine. This results in a sophisticated album that nonetheless lacks the visceral thrill of a true performer. That introspection and worldview paired with dark electronica and traditional Iranian melodies make for a fascinating, if complex, listen that pushes beyond convention.
Every few seconds, something in it will give a little tickle to your mental music archive; it could be a vocal intonation or a lyric, a bass strut or a production flourish. For the subsequent few moments, the track unfurling before you is vying for your attention with your innate desire to identify exactly which Talking Heads or Devo track it rhymes with.
Whether that experience sounds like a fun game or some kind of torture will likely dictate your reaction to this album. If there truly is nothing new under the sun, is it really such a crime to create such a loving facsimile of a model that works so well? Wilma Archer — A Western Circular weird world Having released material as Slime between andcomposer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Will Archer has taken on a new pen name, Wilma Archer.
A Western Circular is his debut LP under this new alias, representing a shift in his career. Inspired by the books of John Fante, the record aims high, exploring aspects of duality in the human condition: the ideas of life and death; peaks and troughs of emotion; finding beauty in pain.
Archer expertly plays with tempo and layering, building a sonic world that induces. A Western Circular plays host to an impressive line-up of guests, featuring vocal contributions from Samuel T.
These collaborations have formed and developed over a number of years, the end result being a project which is as ambitious and far-reaching as the soundscapes Archer creates. This is an album more indebted to his native Chicago than Drool, which took its cues from West African stylings in places, and the sense of greater musical cohesion that lends to proceedings is matched by a more singular thematic throughline than previously. They drool. They snarl. On debut album Second Language, he greets us wide-eyed and wonderstruck.
This is one of the more intriguing facets of modern electronic music: the intricacy gifted from both evolutions in computer music and the melding of sound design and musicianship.
While this release dabbles within those parameters, the music here is bright and vacuum-sealed at times reminiscent of the digital gloss of Rustie or SOPHIE. But where those artists aim towards the truly synthetic, the music here feels like the soundtrack to a video game representing an organic world. Serpent is a record that testifies to the calibre of the creative company Loveridge keeps.
Eyeing up the onlookers, he stalks the stage perimeter. It all feels dangerous and strangely masochistic, and Peggy feeds off this deprecative ovation. A rasping, ablebodied vocalist, he spits from the guttural depths of his throat, each round cocked and ceaselessly reloaded. Ollie Rankine. Pints are downed in front of Jason Donovan posters as the wind crashes in from the coast just outside, the atmosphere an intoxicating mix of jollity and impending chaos. The performance is littered with a few unwelcome sound problems which.
Albums Live seem frankly irrelevant to both Dury and his fans, both old and new. Shoulders are shrugged and jokes are shared. Ian Roebuck. Not present at an Album) that is a little under three-quarters full is Janet Weiss — not in person, anyway.
Figuratively speaking, her presence — or lack thereof — is impossible to ignore. What the departure has done is allowed Brownstein in particular the opportunity to recraft this new iteration of the band — featuring St. Vincent sidewoman Toko Yasuda on keys — in her own image. The show is a far more stylised affair than the No Cities to Love tour was five years ago, particularly on the new tracks, none of which sound much less hollow than on record.
Hopefully, on the other side of it all, it will again. Joe Goggins. The 19th-century Bruges Royal City Theatre feels custom-built for their searching sound, its high-domed roof a perfect conduit for these undulating compositions.
The sparse but effective lighting and smoke effects meld majestically with the opulent gold and Rubens red that adorn the baroque auditorium. Minutes tick by with AWVFTS exploring threadbare arrangements; valuable pauses for breath before they invariably grow to a unified cacophony, strings battling one another and piano keys stabbing the brittle electronic veneer to conjure a potent aural life-force.
These crescendos are spaced expertly, each visitation absorbing the theatre deeper into its celestial abyss without resistance. Robert Davidson. The Perfect Candidate dir. But what is? As the first Saudi woman to direct a feature film, her debut, Wadjda, was about an year-old girl who defied her parents to buy a bicycle so she could race against boys.
It was a movie that kept things beautifully simple as it zeroed in on the gender culture of her country — something that The Perfect Candidate does once again, subtly celebrating the music and local landscape of Saudi Arabia as it goes.
When a misunderstanding leads to her becoming the first woman to run for local office she leans into her election campaign, to better the. Needless to say, the backbone of the movie is its story of female empowerment and societal progress, with Maryam an easy hero to follow, supported by her two sisters.
Maryam is the film — in message and dignity. Al-Mansour makes sure to not throw all the men under the bus though — something that many in the West can do somewhat conveniently in an age of increasing Islamophobia. Anselmi rare bird Rock and roll has always loved talking about itself. Now doom metal has found its noble chronicler in J.
Anselmi, a writer, sludge musician, and, most importantly, an avid fan of heavy music. His new book Doomed to Fail is a broad window into the. His approach lacks the intimacy of a memoir and the quirks of an oral history, but as a general overview, the book is a comprehensive account of the heaviest music of the past 50 years.
It wears a thick, velvet shroud. But the format of Doomed to Fail requires Anselmi to move quickly, and as a result he sometimes moves on when you wish he would linger. The violent tension between the D. This, in fact, is its greatest strength. Where so many books aim to offer a breaking insider take or an essential narrative, Doomed To Fail is simply a document of the music its author loves. As a historical document, that may be more valuable than any fresh tell-all or critical take.
Colin Groundwater. Photography by Jonagelo Molinari Kelly Lee Owens arrived in Venice on a speed boat at sunset, wearing a fake fur coat and sunglasses. Not that I want to tell you what to do… I mean, we can do whatever. Or try it and see how it goes? Every building looks too perfectly aged, with muted colours and fading paintwork made just so by a contrived Disneyland set designer.
From whatever angle you look at the place it feels 2D, and like you could push it over. As we go, Kelly eagerly tells me about her star sign. Up ahead with our photographer Jonangelo, she runs back, grabs her phone from her handbag and bolts back towards the clock tower, recording the bells in her voice memos with an outstretched arm.
When we get to the Punta della Dogana museum, housed in a low-slung 17th Century customs building, Kelly sizes it up as the festival organiser gives her a tour. I note how modest her rider is compared to other artists with their own areas in the green room. Behind the screen with Kelly Lee Owens written on it is a couple of bottles of red wine and some kombucha.
She crunches one track to a pulp and watches the room blow up when she releases it. Her speedboat picks her up at 10am the following morning. An hour ago she heard via Twitter that her friend — DJ, producer, remixer and dance music pioneer Andrew Weatherall — had died. She raises her coffee and toasts him, and remembers a man who never copped off with the business side of the music industry, who never needed to feign interest in aspiring young musicians, even having achieved all that he had.
What are you up to? It was before I even worked in the record store. Dip into a gay bar. It felt like our playground, moving to London from a village in rural Wales.
It needs a bit of scuffing up. I keep doing shit until stuff happens. Kelly was now feeling Arthur Russell so much that she wanted one of her own in her live band. For six months, at a cost that is mathematically impossible, she fronted a synth player, her own Arthur Russell and James Greenwood on electronic drums.
By grounding everything in the bass, Inner Song is tied together with a richness that perhaps goes all the way back to when Kelly first heard The Knife. Get them up there next time. But the album focuses on a lot of loss.
Cover story hopeful in my music. And I had to cancel shows because I lost my voice three times. The most gutting points for me was when I had to cancel Green Man, because that was going to be like coming home for me. We wake up and are between worlds, and we let all of this information in. Friends would knock to ask if she was coming out, but she was busy recording the top 40 and harmonising over the cassettes.
When I was a kid I was outgoing and a loner, in a way. I got the Daydreamer of the Year award in school, and Music Lover of the Year, and I felt understood for the first time. Like, this is me. I will never get an accolade as high as Daydreamer of the Year award. I genuinely believe that you can die well. The hearing is the last thing to go, so when my nana passed I was talking her through her death, and I would do that intuitively in the nursing home I worked at before the hospital and in the hospital.
Trust me, an afternoon or hour of that and your perspective on life is renewed. Photography by Nanci Sarrouf. The gravitation he speaks of is towards making more music for film.
The score is a considered yet immersive one to match the slow-build pace and tension of the film. Scoring films is something that has long been on his mind, going all the way back to childhood.
It sparked something in me. There is a lot to learn and so lots of room to experiment. Above all I enjoy collaboration.
With Yeah Yeah Yeahs the underlying principle at my end is just: will Karen like this? It was this super mind-bending thing. I watch that film at least once every year or so. I saw it when it came out and I was in high school. There was a common thread between the guitar style of all those three for me.
It does not work. Yet they can still make something, with both palettes, that sounds like something that is uniquely theirs. Even if you love it or hate it, I respect someone so much who sticks to their vision.
The guy that did it is in the rock band Black Mountain too. In the context of the film it works so well — it heightens everything within every scene.
But with Mandy it was so crazy because he really went out of his zone and incorporated a lot of collaborations. It feels like this soundtrack comes from such a pure place. Also being exposed to all this new crazy music, like what is Tuxedomoon? Pre-internet, it led to me wanting to seek a lot of things out and just find out any information — it was really exciting and valuable. There were so many great musical choices made for this film to create that world at the time — it really made me take note.
It was one of those films that made me be like: I have to go to Berlin. That film could have been sponsored by the Berlin tourist board. Born in Calabar, a port city in the south of Nigeria, he moved to London aged 17, then Norwich aged 19, and it was in Norwich that he would become Obongjayar, finding his creative feet. All gates are open. I was just listening to stuff that was around. It was just like American hip-hop, predominantly that and a little bit of Afrobeat.
Then I bought that bootleg Fela Kuti CD from the local music shop, and that was when I thought I was actively trying to get into listening to music. But that just came and went.
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