on life, music etc beyond mainstream

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Archives: David Mitchell


When the postman rings twice. As he did today. Wow! Finally! In the forthcoming German translation of David Mitchell’s latest novel (July 19), the author of many great time traveling books turns his eye on the dark end of the 1960s, a story of music, dreams, drugs and madness, love and grief, stardom’s wobbly ladder and fame’s Faustian pact. There’s Gene Clark of The Byrds, for example, who admires a guitar figure of Jasper’s. Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Syd Barrett, Jackson Browne, and Jerry Garcia turn up (as does, decades later, the brilliant band Talk Talk, acknowledging a debt to the Utopians). There’s even an aside reference to how the Stones’ album Let It Bleed earned its name. Bone spurs and all, it’s realistic indeed and just the thing for pop music fans of a bygone era that’s still very much with us. So, don’t think twice: this seems to be the book some Manafonistas will dive into, no matter if they had been part of the ancient journey or not. Get it! Bong not included. (m.e.)



„Sehr rituell zubereitet, der Cappuccino“, sagte Katja Riemann, und ich antwortete: „State of the art“. Am Abend liest sie an der Seite des Briten bei der LitCologne aus David Mitchells famosem neuen Roman „Die Knochenuhren“. Das Gespräch mit dem Verfasser dieses alle traditionellen Genregrenzen überschreitenden Schmökers mit Tiefgang war von der hochunterhaltsamen Sorte. Wir hatten uns viel zu erzählen, von unserer Liebe zu ECM-Platten, wir sprachen über das Album „Fear of Music“ von den Talking Heads, das schon im ersten Kapitel seinen grossen Auftritt hat, über den Preis, den man zu zahlen bereit wäre, um Unsterblichkeit zu erlangen, über das Aufeinanderprallen von knallhartem Sozialrealismus und Fantasy, über die rare Tradition, in der sich der Roman bewegt. Und, natürlich, über Holly Sykes. Aber die sass ja schon zuvor neben mir an der Cappuccinobar.

While Ian has had a strange epiphany looking at an abstract painting in Paris, i’ve been looking for a big high quality anorak that keeps the icy winds of Sylt from my body while strolling through deserted coastlines. Cause I was really tired after all. Cause I got lost (mesmerized) in a book that rendered (?) me speechless even after finishing the last of its 600 something pages, everything slowed down, but I’ll start the journey soon. Little delay. In case someone hasn’t got the message (the book and the message have at least one thing in common: time traveling), four Eno albums (from the 90’s) will be re-released as „expanded“/“extended“ editions that really deserve that word. Is there anyone out there who loves surreal heartfelt experimental rhythmical wild music from the outer fields of so-called electronic multicoloured post-fusion anti-math-rock who has never heard NERVE NET? Among its admirers Heiner Goebbels and Eivind Aarset. So tomorrow (in Germany, on Monday in all other countries) you can correct history and get your hands on NERVE NET and MY SQUELCHY LIFE on one double cd. And there’s a special story (see comment 1) behind those „squelchy songs“: it’s  a „killer“ with Eno often working in expressionist mode. Might kick another hole in the cosmos for you, these extensions with all their connections to ancient cave painting, atheist space prayers, deconstructing a John Paul Jones guitar solo, fractal zooms and profound dadaism. I do not know if Ian has ever had a relationship with NERVE NET, but „le Jardin du Luxembourg“ would be a great place to listen to it: a cold afternoon, strange faces, lonesome benches. And feeling great. Late autumnal euphoria. And for the ambient music lovers: NEROLI and THE SHUTOV ASSEMBLY will do the trick and spread their wings around you. Mhm, this sounds too poetic, but it’s not easy to avoid the thing with the „immersive experience“ here. Oh, so sorry, and,  a propos „immersive“, I forgot to give you at least the name of the book: THE BONE CLOCKS.

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