Tuesday, March 01, 2005

getting in tune

Ok, let's cut the the chase! Music has been a savior, a lover, a friend, and a great distraction these last few weeks. I've been obsessed with finding 'new' music to listen to. I say 'new' music, because I don't necessarily mean 2005. Just something I'm not familiar with. More importantly, I'm always looking for that new band or artist to obsess over. My usual pattern is to find a group to fall in love with...buy every album over the course of a few months (if available), research their history, memorize important and obscure facts, and find visual documentation. Finally, I make a blood oath to see them live (if possible) before I die. I went through this mess with each of the following artists, in no particular order:

Queen - Smashing Pumpkins* - Bjork* - Nine Inch Nails* - The Doors - Pink Floyd# - Radiohead* - King Crimson - Roxy Music* - Beach Boys* - Genesis - Tool* - Peter Gabriel* - At The Drive-In - The Mars Volta*

* Denotes that I have seen that band live.
# Denotes a technicality. I did see Roger Waters live. This almost counts in my opinion since he wrote the bulk of Pink Floyd's music. And since Roger, Dave, Nick and Rick will never fully reunite...that's the best I'll do!!

Well, that's all I can remember right now. Of course, these represent some of my favorite artists. Unfortunately, its been a while since I've gotten excited about an artist. No, excitement has occurred many times...obsession is what I seek. To immerse myself fully in their work. To that end, I've started listening to and purchasing a lot of CD's lately. Here is a list of what I've purchased in the last two weeks or so...

Santana - 'Lotus': An energetic two disc live set recorded in Japan, back in 1973. At this time, Santana was deep into his jazz-fusion period. Vocals are kept to a minimum during this mostly instrumental journey of discovery and enlightenment. Santana is in top form, which would continue on through his classic albums 'Amigos' and 'Moonflower'.

Hawkwind - 'Space Ritual': Another adventurous live album. Hawkwind were a sci-fi, psychedelic metal band with a reputation for devastating live performances. With future Motorhead icon Lemmy on board, the band took on the sound of a cosmic Armageddon. Not for the squeamish!!

The Decemberists - 'Her Majesty': Given to me by a friend. This band of chamber-pop mischief makers will be hitting San Diego soon, and I want to know their sound. Living somewhere between Belle & Sebastian and Death Cab...though more B&S. Makes me think of costal towns...

The Orb - 'Orbus Terrarum': Ok, this shouldn't count because I already owned a copy. But it was all worn out and it was time to replace it. How to describe this incredible CD? Ambient house? Atmospheric dub?? All I know is that when I lie in the dark and listen to it (which is the ONLY way to listen to it), I am transported into a Martian rainforest...through an underworld sea...deep within the echoing caverns of some underground alien ruins...finally to pass sweetly out into the peaceful void of space, with dust from Saturn's rings trailing behind me... I really want to make love while playing this album. Its been a goal since I bought it in 1995. No shit.

David Sylvian - 'Secrets of the Beehive': Also recommended by a friend. Currently it is on order and should arrive soon. Not sure what to expect, but I am familiar with Sylvian's original band - Japan. For anyone who digs the cold perfection and exotic tones of 80's production values married with oriental grooves, then I highly recommend Japan's last album, 'Tin Drum'. David Sylvian is Bryan Ferry's unbaptized disciple.

Orbital - 'In Sides': Another 'techno' offering. I've found myself drawn to the cold but futuristic leanings of electronica lately. This album comes from the mid 90's, when techno was at its peak in my opinion. The most recognizable track off the album is 'The Box' ... which was a minor late-night MTV hit. Back when MTV played videos ... often ...

The Mars Volta - 'Francis The Mute': Continuing my Cedric Bixler / Omar Rodriguez obsession, the latest offering from the boys is about as prog as one can ever hope to get. The entire album operates as one large piece constructed of various movements, moods, and breaks. Sure, within the pile of melodies, rhythms, lyrics, and noise, there are some 'songs'. The radio successfully tore 'The Widow' off the album as a throw-away single. But I pity anyone who bought this album expecting more classic rock heroics and catchy choruses ... unless their idea of classic rock is the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes circa 1974, Can, or Fela Kuti and Africa 70. A difficult album, but it is offering slow and lovely rewards.

I guess that's about it. I've also been listening to Tears For Fears' first album, 'The Hurting', far too much lately. And that damn Pinback CD. Ah music...how you rule me...


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