October 2003 Archives
After a nice day mid week full of surprises, today was a bit of a bummer to end the working week on.
I haven't been enjoying work at all, and a lot of this came to a head today, leaving me even more dissatisfied.
Then I get home to discover the following news:
Australia - re schedule
Opeth have had to re schedule their previously announced Australian tour scheduled for December because the price of flights to Australia were ridiculously expensive due to the time of year making the tour uneconomical.
The dates will be re scheduled for the last week of March 2004.Dates will be posted shortly.We will also be attempting to include Perth if possible this time.
Oh well, all the more reason to have a good time tonight enjoying some live metal of the technical and brutal variety.
I've been playing with a new feature that the latest firmware update added to my iPod. 3rd gen iPods always had the facility to create on-the-go playlists, however they were transitory - and definitely lost once you synced your ipod with your puter.
Now they are more permanent, and when you do the sync - the play list is mirrored in iTunes.
Today, I was on the train and had the thought - I should create a playlist containing excellent tracks by the handful of bands which have made the difficult jump out of the constraints of metal.
I like to create play lists that are around 75 mins long, so if they are really good I can throw the tracks on a CD and share the mix with others
We're not talking sappy metal ballads (anyone recall every rose has it's thorn?) here either, a couple of entirely non metal albums are required for a band to enter this play-list.
I'm still fine-tuning it, but thus far I have tracks from the following bands:
Ulver (Vowels, The Future Sound of Music)
The Gathering (Broken Glass, A Life all Mine)
Anathema (Leave No Trace, Regret, Lost Control, Suicide Veil, Release)
Katatonia (Criminals, Tonight's Music, Chrome, A Premonition, Omerta, A Darkness Coming)
Of the bands listed, the one that has made the most successful switch is The Gathering, however Ulver never really switched, they just refuse to tie themselves down to a specific genre.
after taking a two week break, i'm back into the breadmaking.
tonight, i'm trying something different. knowing how well chilli and bread go, I decided to go for beer and chilli bread.
based on a recipe I found for flat beer + bacon bread, i've replaced the bacon with the gloriously flavoursome chipotle chilli which has a smoked, meaty flavour and a medium chilli heat.
the main bread is still baking but because I couldn't wait, I made a toppa first to guage how it was going to turn out. After devouring that, I'm pretty happy with the chipotle flavour, not sure what happened to the beer taste, but I was using this as an excuse to get rid of some crap fosters beer that would otherwise sit in the back of my cupboard for the next couple of years.
These words echoed by Dennis have run around my head many times over the years since I discovered the Scandanavian genius for musical innovation.
To this day I still refuse to purchase any Burzum, despite acknowledging that as a composer, Varg was incredibly talented. Unfortunately he is as equally talented as a communicator, with the end result being persuasion of impressionable people to sign on for his brand of arayan racism.
The whole thing gets too grey for me when one considers that In the Wood's genre classic - Omnio was released on Misanthropy records who were founded to distribute Burzum's catalogue after Varg was sentenced to a 21 year life sentence for murder.
less than 24hrs after my most recent package of CDs has arrived, i'm already starting to think about writing some mini reviews...
This entry will serve as a bit of a placeholder until I get a chance to organise the ideas somewhat.
The three CDs I was most anticipating were: the two Ulver discs and the double in the woods live at the caledonian hall.
As I listen to last-ever in the woods concert, i'm thanking the band's foresight in recording and subsequently releasing this wonderful gem.
Amazingly, the actual concert was only attended by about 300 individuals, a good portion of the audience travelled from their own countries to this little hall in Norway for the experience.
I still recall being played the first in the woods album by a friendly shop owner at the now defunct warhead records. It was quite different even for the time - when dark atmospheric metal was just starting to come to the forefront, mostly via doom metal. Instead in the woods formed out of the post-black metal scene and thus brought a unique perspective to atmospheric metal.
When I recently read about this live release, I dug out in the woods' second album Omnio - arguably the highest point in their career and which was performed in it's entirety as mid-portion of this live recording.
In 2003, Omnio stands up extremely well, especially when contrasted with how the lustre of some of the more well known doom metal bands faded quite quickly. Like Anathema, in the woods drew heavily from pink floyd, but rather than simply trying to be a Floyd for the 90's. In the Woods incoporates many other aspects - black metal beats/phrasing, extremely sparsely used blackened vox, haunting female vocals and melodies that recall Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds to create a truly unique vision.
Onto the chameleons - Ulver, even before I discovered in the woods, I have fond memories of being blown away by Ulver's debut Bergtatt whilst on a mission of discovery in Perth's Dada records.
Up till now, no two Ulver albums have been alike, and rarely even in the same genre. Most people refer to the first three as the black metal trilogie, however the mid point of this trilogy - Kveldsjanger - (Evening Songs) shares more in common with gregorian monks than black metal.
Personally my favourite Ulver album was the sprawling double cd - Themes from William Blakes - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. It amazingly managed to fuse drum n' bass, techno, black metal with the thrash/operatic narrative so well utilised by King Diamond and Devil Doll.
So now we come to Ulver of 2003, who seem to have found a niche in the strange industry of movie soundtracks. Svidd Neger is the second soundtrack from Ulver, the first being the minimialist Lykantropean Themes.
I really liked the exploration of such a limited palette that comprised Lykantropean Themes, it became favoured bedtime music (excepting the more techno-ish closing track)
Svidd Neger has a lot more diversity,with elements drawn from nearly every musical avenue the wolves have pursued since they formed in the dawn of the 90's. However despite this, there is a sense of cohesion, potentially only achieved by careful post production/mastering as each track does seem to gel as indvidual.
The other Ulver release, a little EP designed to clear out the studio and tide fans over until Svidd Neger's release is actually quite a nice gem. We finally hear Garm actually showcasing just how good a singer he has become. With the band exploring minimialist glitch and ambient soundtracks recently the limited return of vocals is quite nice.
The other wonderful aspect of a quick fix is the remix of a track (Nattelite) from Kveldsjanger which is quite haunting and eerie, a nice left-over from last years remix/10th anniversary album
Today was extremely rewarding, after lunch I returned to my desk to find a package of CDs fresh off the plane from my now favourite store - The End Records.
Included in the order was:
Ulver - Svidd Neger (Soundtrack)
Ulver - A Quick Fix of Melancholy (EP)
In the woods - Live at the Caledonian Hall
Anaal Nakrath - The Codex Necro
The Gathering - Souvenirs
Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness (repackaged & re-mastered)
Plus a grand total of 4 of promo/sampler CDs
After work, I caught up with an old friend - Glenn Curran and had a lovely meal/chat. After this, Glenn mentioned he wanted to go and check out a second hand bookshop, so off we trundled to Goulds. I've been going there every few months in the off chance I will find a copy of an old cookbook that contained the original recipe which I personalised into the apple crumble that I so love.
Problem being, I don't know the name, nor the author just what it looked like: softcover, beige about 1 cm thick, B5, Australian publisher. So I proceeded to methodically search another overflowing shelf, when amazingly in less than 30 minutes there it was tucked away in the back row .
Perusing this cookbook as I was drifting off to sleep last night, I realised that my own cooking has gone far beyond these simple but tasty recipes. It's amazing to see exactly how much my current recipe for apple crumble deviates.
It would be an interesting exercise to do some taste tests on my current recipe vs the original. As my boss is so fond of saying at the moment - sometimes less is more.
A few weeks back, I ended up promising to give a personalised intro/explanation of extreme metal for a friend who makes a living composing music and is currently writing an opera for his PHD.
Since then, I have been thinking about how best to present this, what songs/artists to showcase.
With a time limit of 30 minutes and an audience not used to the trademarks of the genre - extended narrative structures, blast beats, growled or rasped vocals and atonal/dissonant guitar textures. This becomes quite a challenge.
The tracks I've decided present a good cross section of key metal styles are:
Emperor - The Loss and Curse of Reverence (Black)
Morbid Angel - Blessed are the Sick (Death)
My Dying Bride - The Sexuality of Bereavement (Doom)
However, unless I edit those tracks, these three would pretty much use up my 30 mins.
However, I also want to showcase the twisted free jazz/death structures of Gorguts, the glacial textures of Skepticism. the epic dark psychedelia that is Enslaved, the juxtaposition that underpins Opeth and the complex neo-classical stylings of Solefald.