Brian Wilson's latterday re-recording of Smile has been getting pretty good reviews all round. I've yet to hear it but I'm told its in the mail. I'm still not sure. Those who know me, know I'm somewhat fanatical about all things Brian Wilson (and that includes his brothers, but not the odious Mike Love who has shown repeatedly over the years that he's a talent free zone lucky enough to have been in the right place) but I have to wonder why, almost 40 years after the event Brian felt the need to record the legendary unfinished work. I'm not arguing with his right to do so but he stands the risk of de-mythologising part of the BW legend, and its a fairly brave move. Who knows how the Wilson mind works, his story is one of genius, tragedy and sheer insanity (that he outlasted his brothers is miraculous in itself), and the logic you or I might apply is an irrelevance here. I guess Brian doesn't care either way, his legend is secure and it must frustrate the hell out of him to have something that obviously meant so much to him, unfinished. At the very least, finishing it might help to exorcise some of those demons he's been burdened with for many many year. God (Only)knows his last solo album was reason enough to be wary of a resurrected Smile...it was (and I'm being kind) not very good and rather sad. But its Brian Wilson, and all power to him: he created (even if you exclude Pet Sounds) some of the most gloriously evocative and timeless musical landscapes of all time, music that took you to place that you'd never been before, a place that existed in the back of Brian's mind, a place he alternated between wanting the world to see, or was terrified the world would see; until it tore him apart, sometime in the late sixties. I guess if the new Smile is 50% of what it could have been in 1967 then its worth the wait....
Friday, September 24, 2004
Extended Play 22 09 04
The Three Degrees-Dirty Old Man (Tom Moulton 12”)-
Posted by Simon at 8:06 AM
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Techno godfathers to receive arts award Isn't this about time...respect is due Saw a twelve foot high Derrick May on the side of the Kuta Hard Rock Cafe, in Bali, a few weeks back...scary. He was doing a midday to midnight gig for the Japanese tour parties that frequent the place...bizarre stuff.
Posted by Simon at 6:05 PM
So, just when I open my mouth and dismiss latter day Elvis Costello albums as dishwater dull, the bugger comes along and releases a good-no make that great (well almost)- album. I got sent The Delivery Man in the mail by my buddy Alister Cain at Universal and I put it in the car player, dismissing almost before I listened to it, as another like the dreary self important North and the one before it, the name of which completely escapes me (and I can't be bothered finding out). On first listen, I really didn't listen and Brigid got in the car and asked me what that dreadful noise was (replacing it with something Philly or suchlike). But I gave it a second go...I owe EC that, and it nagged....track two, then the title track and from then on I kept on flipping back again and again, especially the slow stuff (I'm not a rock'n'roller, my dance music needs to be electronic or pre-1983 guitar noise). I love it, its King of America meets Blood & Chocolate with a nice little sonic edge, and, believe it or not, a wry, ironic sense of humour. And almost great...spoiled only by the awful wail of Lucinda Williams on one track. Sadly Elvis spoils it all by releasing a bloody ballet at the same time, for gods sake.
Posted by Simon at 5:25 PM
I feel decidedly queasy today but I guess its my own fault. The annual New Zealand Music Awards (for some odd reason, called the Tuis) are an excuse for the industry to drink too much, pat themselves on the back, listen to some music, and talk absolute, inebriated nonsense until dawn. As a cynic by nature, and having been to 20 odd (and odd they have been from time to time) of these things I've taken to leaving earylish in recent years. Last night was different. Actually I left my grumpy old cynic hat at home and had quite a time. The awards themselves are just the awards...a new "big" act hailed and feted each year and usually forgotten the next... Can't help feeling that the act of the year in 2004, Scribe, is heading in the same direction. While he's phenomenal live (and completely demolished every other act on the night), his album, doesn't show the sort of depth that its gonna take to jump beyond his current fanbase of early teen kids...fans who move on fairly fast. I really like the guy and he has charisma but it takes a little musical substance too.....I'd love to be proved wrong. Talking of one trick ponies (guess I just found my cynic's hat), I can't help feeling that the Dawn Raid hip hop posse may well have peaked too. There is only so far you can go sounding like Boo Yaa demos from 1990 and I ain't heard much else. Fuck it, I might as well carry on now.....the other two hip hop "contenders" up there at the moment make me laugh. No, seriously they do. The Fast Crew and Misfits of Science look to my eyes like the the sort of hip hop parody a show like Saturday Night Live might throw together. How on earth did we get to this..... Of the current crop of Kiwi hip-hoppers (and I say current because NZ hip hop is hardly new ...3 The Hard Way sold 35,000 copies of "Hip Hop Holiday" in 95 and Scribe hasn't come within a mile of that) I kinda like Dei Hamo. I knew him well in an earlier guise when we called him Sonny and he had a song called "Stop Tagging", a hit in the early nineties. He's a cool guy with a good attitude and the current number one. "We Gon Ride" might have an embarrassingly parochial video, the sort that condemns us to be a backwater at the bottom of the world, but its a nice song and Sonny pulls it off. Guess I'm in trouble now...... But the real fun at the awards is the aftershow swirl. I don't know if many of the drunken deals come to much but I made a couple of contacts and expressed myself incoherently to quite a few. My head hurts.....
Posted by Simon at 1:41 PM
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Juan Cole is spot on today: "I have a sinking feeling that the American public may like Bush's cynical misuse of Wilsonian idealism precisely because it covers the embarrassment of their having gone to war, killed perhaps 25,000 people, and made a perfect mess of the Persian Gulf region, all out of a kind of paranoia fed by dirty tricks and bad intelligence. And, maybe they have to vote for Bush to cover the embarrassment of having elected him in the first place. How deep a hole are they going to dig themselves in order to get out of the bright sunlight of so much embarrassment?" Prediction: Bush will fly in on Nov 2, and the troops will roll into Fallujah and the many other towns run by local governments or militias, less than a week later. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Iraqis will die but the desired short term effect of allowing an election will be achieved. Many Americans think they deserve it anyway. Bush will, after the election in Iraq, claim victory and Bubba will buy it without question. The troops will go home in short order and Iraq will disappear off the Fox screen shortly after.
Posted by Simon at 4:58 PM
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Taken from Francois K's Deep Space NYC site...his current home listening "Transfer Station Blue" Michael Schrieve (needs an edit!!) "The Planets" Tomita "Future Primitive" / "Canto de Flor" Santana "Mysterious Traveler" Weather Report "The First Hallucination", etc... Original Soundtrack from 'Altered States' "Cote Bamako" Art Ensemble Of Chicago "Sketch For Summer" Durutti Column "Metropolis" Jeff Mills "Venusian Summer" (pt 1) Lenny White "Agean Seas" Aphrodite's Child "Pali Gap" Jimi Hendrix "Outer Spaceways Inc" Sun Ra "Cosmic Messenger" Stacy Pullen "Interstellar Overdrive" Pink Floyd .....nice
Posted by Simon at 5:07 PM
Thank's to Peter McLennan's fine blog, I've just discovered this, the thoughts of Nelson George, sometime columnist, and one of the finest historians of black music on the planet. His history of Motown remains one of the lynchpins of popular music journalism. Ta Peter......
Posted by Simon at 9:24 AM