“Nothing clears a room like removing a brain…”- Corps De Blah
In my years of working music retail I can 100% ascertain that nothing clears a store like a Scott Walker album and that is a compliment of the highest order. Difficult listening? I’ve spent the past month trying to digest Scott Walker’s new album, Bisch Bosch, and a month is not enough. It is difficult listening but there are rewards to be reaped. At times, it’s lush, sparse, swinging and some songs resemble Morphine. It’s varied and doesn’t rely solely on standard instruments in the production. Machetes, whoopie cushions and something that sounds like dogs barking are utilized. Sounds creep in and out, synths stab and drop out like the evening being disrupted by a sole scream and overall left me with a feeling of nervousness. There are many moments where Bisch Bosch eerily sulks around and leaps out of the shadows to startle listeners.
Lyrically, imagine seeing a Broadway production starring legitimate scoundrels (Nicolae Ceau?escu- Romanian Communist politician who was executed on Christmas Day- subject of “The Day The Conducator Died (An Xmas Song)), freaks (Zercon- the jester for Attilla The Hun) and knaves. The lead is an unassuming man who revels in being surrounded by the dredge of society who has assembled a historical Legion of Doom to ruin your day.
Bisch Bosch is easily the most harrowing and bizarre musical journey of the year. Fittingly, a near Christmas release for possibly the years most fucked up album for the most fucked up season. Buy for Mitt Romney supporters, anyone who received special gifts from President Obama, your cousin who wants the new Swans/ GSYBE records or anyone heavy into acid. While you’re at it, watch 30th Century Man to try and understand the most out there Ohioan expat.
In the past few months, Adriana and I posted a couple freebie tracks from a Copenhagen musician named Søren Løkke Juul, who records as “Indians.” Welp, 4AD digs ‘em, too, and just signed the band. To give you more in-depth introduction of Indians — and to finally see Søren with his full band play “Magic Kids,” “I am Haunted” and “New” — check out the above 4AD Session, which the label describes this way:
Filmed over the course of one day on Osea Island – a little-known, privately owned island in the estuary of the Blackwater in Essex – the starting point for the performance was embracing the challenge of playing, recording and filming outside, placing the music into a vast open space, under sky and near water.With the intention to capture the sense of air and atmosphere in the music, each track was recorded in a different location, moving the band and cameras in order to introduce a new element that reflected the change in song. This was further complimented by the shift in light: the session begins with ‘I Am Haunted’ filmed just after high tide in the early afternoon, is followed by ‘Magic Kids’ just as the sun had set, ending with ‘New’ filmed in the small hours of the morning. While still flecked with the surreal ambiance of Søren’s air-tight compositions, the full-band performance adds a foreboding sense of wonder that provides a fitting introduction into Indians’ very own natural world.
Indians will make their Columbus debut Dec. 4 at the Basement with Other Lives. Look for the band’s first full-length in early 2013.
Over the last ten years, the men of Danish band Efterklang have been conjuring up and evolving a sound that is finally getting some decent exposure on our side of the Atlantic. Childhood friends Casper Clausen, Mads Brauer and Rasmus Stolberg grew up on the small island of Als and relocated to Copenhagen in 2000, with the collective aspiration of making music for a living. Quite ambitious as only a handful of bands coming out of Denmark have gained international recognition. (The three that come to mind are Mew, The Raveonettes and, yes… Aqua) Drummer Thomas Husmer joined them soon after the move and their first EP, Springer, came out in 2003. In those three years, they began their own label, Rumraket, from which they continue to work. (Rumraket’s first non-Efterklang release was Grizzly Bear‘s Horn of Plenty.)
Efterklang was recently added to London-based label 4AD, which will release their new album Magic Chairs in late February. This album has made quite a hike from previously recorded material (released on The Leaf Label) that meandered through electronic experimentation (Tripper) and orchestral proclamation (Parades). While there will still be enough instrumental creativity going on to satisfy old fans, there will also be constructed melodies that those who follow The Dodos and Mum will appreciate. They also consistently have some of the most amazing album artwork thanks to the brains of Hvass&Hannibal.
Live video of the Sufjan-meets-Sigur Ros song “Cutting Ice to Snow” after the jump. Continue reading →