Friday, February 17, 2012


If I'm being honest with myself, a rarity among rarities, few things (no thing, really, since I self-censor like the charlesdickens & versifying requires you the reader to hold a decoder ring unless there are spoilers) here are more nerve-wracking than reviewing music. It's not the falling back on too-worn tropes, words, phrases. That, I can deal with, as I do each time I jot down new lines in the black notebook, almost full. 99 cents at Marc's. Saying the same thing over & again just is, like the ascension & decline of the sun, people being assholes to one another, the miserable collective failure of Clevelandia sports. The difficulty? Describing sound?

Music equaling memory. No, not as simple as people & places & happenstance grafting themselves onto the notes, tendrils worming their way through the measures from the outside to nestle in a chord, to rupture without premonition Sigourney knows, remember when X said to Y, oh Z, I like root beer floats, too. Never that soundtrack shallow. If only. Nor always that quantifiable. To the mind's ear, sound is roaring ocean, so scream & plead & kick the cold sand all you want, there is only ocean, roaring. Details made imprecise by an emotional imprint. Think a ghost, a painfully bright nebula, a cloud beguiling & poisonous.

New albums mean new ones (or old, not reborn but reshaped, for no one lies to ourselves as much as we) receive their permanence, rooted to a place in the cranial landscape, free will an illusion, & that means both a blessing & a curse, forgive the triteness but naught else applies as the visceral roams the wanderer, possessing, & who can predict the aftermath?

Sounds incredibly dorky, I know, but my innards are neither postmodern nor pragmatic. Sometimes an album-adjacent gut spill is okay since all names have been changed to protect the innocent, statute of limitations, & so forth. This is fresh, thus, whew. Anyway, going song by song on Ariettes Oubliées... which I've listened to nearly nonstop since yester morn save a shade over three for sleep, feels fruitless. Les Discrets is an album band in the finest tradition & given that mastermind Fursy Teyssier is also a skilled artist responsible for band's visual presentation, why waste time with blatherings beyond the album's kernel being the Paul Verlaine poem of the title, the tiny aria re-imagined as a woman, hazy stories of a couple, transmitted mostly through the texts of vocalist/lyricist Audrey Hadorn, spooling away from that conceit.

Yes, there's nothing as immediate as Song for Mountains, & the palette is less busy on the surface, the textures layered more like one of those old topographic globes, richer browns & longer blues spinning sepia slow. It's hard enough unlocking the swirling processes of my own flailing in the dark, let alone those of someone else, so pardon the fluorescent-ruined photography, but observe,


& understand. What? That's for you. I'm gonna go pretend to headphone, maybe write some bad poems process new periodicals & think about writing some bad poems.


Prunella Vulgaris said...

I'm to the point where I feel incapable of describing anymore, which is why I'm glad there's options for others to listen.

Also, Randal's commenters who probably think this is death metal due to the aesthetic, you might actually like this, because I do quite muchly.

Anonymous said...

When I get really filthy I just bathe in sound and it seems quite cleansing to me. Ben Franklin took airbaths, hobos take Brut(by Faberge) sprinkles, and I will stick by my aural cleansing. You can't tell me that those energy waves don't dislodge an epidermal particle or two! You can't!

Randal Graves said...

There's only so many ways one can say "dark" or "brutal." I suppose one can say that it sounds like so-and-so. Maybe I should just do that in the future.

Oh, you know you drive around Clevelandia, windows down, Suffocation blaring out with thrown horns as you tear around a corner.

Randal Graves said...

karl of the österreich, sir, many college males bath in Brut By Faberge, certainly not the sole province of the down-and-out. Drown in sound instead, filthy heathens! (with a dollop of Right Guard so the rest of us don't pass out)

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"Come to R.G.'s for the musik, stay for the personal hygiene tips!", says I.

Jim H. said...

I must take umbrage at this review. For your information, sir, Atlantastan is farly and widely recongized as the worst sports town in the U.S. Just ask S.I. Screw Clevelandia.

'Freedom' metal!

Cool sounds. Nouveau a moi. Je desire plus. Exceptin' I don't speak Francaise.

Randal Graves said...

if, next episode, how to properly groom your sideburns.

jim, sir, by worst, I meant adjusted aggregate winning percentage and I don't see how any burg with at least 2 (certainly 3) franchises but ours can come in last.

Pas de problème, je ne parle pas français, aussi.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

I remember very clearly where I was when I first heard New Wave over the air waves (is there radio anymore?); it was The Human League Don't You Want Me Baby and I was turning a corner from a big street onto a minor street in my home town. The top was down, the Californiastan summer sun was warm, and I knew, Knew, KNEW something had changed.

Everytime I hear that song now, I return to a younger age, I feel the warmth again. Music is time travel, I'm convinced.

I like it when you write about music.



Beach Bum said...

Having entered the super duper modern Flash Gordon world of music downloads I like "Au Creux de l'hiver" and will add it to my MP3 player.

Demeur said...

Are these the bookmarks of your memories as TG said?
At least not as bad as your usual nails on a chalkboard

susan said...

I just googled on over to their website and watched the youtube of 'Ariettes oubliées'. I liked the music and Fursy's artwork is very good.

icyhighs said...

All that talk about the difficulty of describing sound reminds me of a friend who had a 'radical' music review show on our Uni radio station. The idea was to review in sound - so he'd use a guitar and a piano and drums to review an album instead of just talking about it.

It was on at 4am on Tuesdays for about 2 months; 5 of us loyal (and only) followers used to get really stoned and just laugh our assess off throughout.

Though he's now got a gig producing a show at BBC so maybe he knew what he was on about after all.

Randal Graves said...

californistan, I would have had 1982 you pegged as a Number of the Beast kind of guy.

It's something beyond a collection of documented facts. Kind of like the notes on the page, you'll play them a little bit different than I would. It's warmth, sometimes it's comfortable, sometimes it burns.

BB, now you'll be able to defeat Ming, save the earth, & quarterback the Jets.

demeur, that's where I live most of the time, so it behooves me to keep the shit where I can find it.

susan, yay, another convert. I feel like a preacher man.

icyhighs, that's a brilliant idea, no matter how sliced up, serious, or fodder for the occasional toke.