on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 27 Sep

Ideas for long and winding October evenings

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off

Björn Meyer’s solo album for electric and acoustic bass guitar (and few electronic effects) occupies a peculiar place within a long tradition between solo guitar and solo bass albums on Manfred Eicher’s ECM label. At the beginning of the year Dominic Miller’s solo guitar work (with some decent percussion from skilfully helping hands) has been a study in clarity, lyricism and intricate suspense (in relaxed atmosphere). The sound of Björn Meyer uses different ways to create tension and release, momentum and quietness, and it is still surprising after all these decades how  many of theses solo journeys don’t follow well-trodden paths. The magic still works.

The ’80s cannot rival, musically, with the magic density of the two earlier decades, but they are a suitable playground for aural archaeologists. Discovering hidden treasures is the name of the game, and Michelle Mercure’s „Eye Chant“ is a stunning example. A woman who works the space between sound and image, sound and machine, nature and science, without any „smart-Alexa“-concepts, a woman with playfulness and a detailed sketch book: wouldn’t be surprised Boards of Canada would have had found their perfect role-model here. More probable: time is not always too kind to artists on the margins.

Oh, I could write long stories of living with the music of the Go-Betweens. It all started for me when I got their first album, the garage band version of the Brisbane trio, in the Bavarian wood. I followed their ways from start to end, the group, the solo efforts of the two songwriters, the reunion. They became soul food company, and they became one of my favourite bands ever. Robert Forster’s biography is utterly sincere, a great study of creative peaks, traps of illusion, short highs, and slightly longer lows when being part of the indie rock scene. Reading his book, I’m strolling through familiar places, Notting Hill record shops, the Donau river at Regensburg, I remember concerts and interviews. Everything filled with great expectations, great losses – the love for life, for  music, and the prize you pay, in sensitive balance. Heartbreaking stuff.

In a world that seems to suffer more and more from sociopathical presidents, the dirty return of fascism, darkness and devils prevail. It’s no longer true that the devil gets away with the best sentences, the banality of evil is overpowering any smart move. There are no smart moves of fucking scumbags. „American Crime“, the title, may sound like pure mainstream, but, substantially,  the series, some years old by now,  has nothing in common with cheap thrills, on the contrary, it is deeply rooted in American misery, disappointment, and nightmare. Nightmares have a long history. Read Bill James‘ „The Man From The Train“, and you know – not easy to digest, and unforgettable. Out of respect for the dead.

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