Thursday, 10 July 2003


Although my CD collection does have a lot of stuff that tells you that the golden age of rock is 14, with artists who were around in the 70s (including acts like Hawkwind and BÖC that are getting to be their own tribute bands), my current “I just keep playing these albums” are Godspeed you! Black Emperor';s lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven – mixed rock and orchestral strings along with “found” sounds, and Sigur Ros' Agætis Byrjun – haunting, almost jazz-like.

Both have new albums out - Gy!BE's Yanqui U.X.O. has grown on me; while Sigur Ros' ( ) is positively accessible by comparison with its predecessor, but perhaps not quite so good.

To show I'm still in touch with my roots, I'm also playing Bowie's Heathen, and, more retro yet, Leonard Cohen's The Future (and discovering that he's wilfully misquoted in the Werewolf:the Apocalypse Umbra supplement).

Driving at going on midnight one day, and searching for something tolerable on the radio, ended up listening to Late Junction on BBC Radio 3, I encountered the group Dirty Three, the final track off their album Whatever you love, you are. Their style is violin, guitar and drum instrumental, sometimes slightly Celtic/folksy, often simply an oceanic drift of sound. Then a few days later during the afternoon on Radio 3, I caught Steve Reich's 1974 composition Music for Mallet Instruments, Organ and Voices, which is a minimalist, long time-scale set of rounds. More serendipitous radio discovery, like in previous years with John Adams'Hoodoo Zephyr , or the Afro-Celt Sound System (also known as the Afrocelts), whose Sound Magic(From the Light Continent) is about what you'd expect, from the band's name.

Having gotten into gy!be, it was inevitable that I'd get into other bands on the Constellation label (Silver Mt. Zion, Do Make Say Think, Fly PanAm) which are also into related flavours of instrumental music.

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