Twelfth Week: November 15th – 21st, 2015

I’m making some changes! From now on I’ll listen and write about five records every week. Five is the minimum, maybe I’ll get in one or two more, maybe not. Probably not. I’ll write more about it below my writing about these five records that I listened to, so scroll down if you’re interested.

 

1. Neu! – Neu! [1972]

I think this record is the embodiment of Krautrock, which  is a funny thing for me to say considering I just listened to it and only recently started delving into Can and Kraftwerk. However, I had a peripheral knowledge and understanding of Krautrock, and what I mean is that this record is full of that drum beat that I’ve always associated with Krautrock, and the slowly evolving simple musical idea.

It took a few listens for me to warm up to this record, mostly because I felt like the songs don’t have enough variation. I know, it’s silly because I just say that the slow progression is what makes this the embodiment of Krautrock, but sometimes I feel like it’s too slow. Anyway, after a few listens Hallogallo started revealing more of itself to me.

I think the tracks that shine the most for me right now are the last two parts of Jahresübersicht. Part 2 is great for its jet sounds, the slowness, the speeding up or slowing down after the breaks, and the jet sounds (really, a guitar) harmonizing with the bass around 5:10. The harmonizing is pretty sweet. Part 3 is great for its intensity with the weird, quiet, and strained singing. I absolutely love it.

2. Neu! – Neu! 2 [1973]

This record sounds like they were forced to make another one but didn’t have enough material. For instance, one song, Super, is there in three different speeds – 16rpm, 33rpm, and 78rpm. Neuschnee is there in two speeds. A few other tracks sound like collages and I’m fine with that, but it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose. Reading the Wikipedia entry for the record, it seems like they ran out of money and just reused the songs from side 1 in side 2 (hence the speed up/slow down).

Anyway, the first side is still cool and enjoyable, but this record doesn’t hold a candle to the first.

3. Can – Ege Bamyasi [1972]

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Vitamin C before, but it wasn’t Can’s version. Maybe in a movie? I don’t know. Anyway, it’s my least favorite song on this record. And in general, I’m not into this record as much as I’m into the others. It’s got some good moments and everyone brings their A game, but the songs are just not that great.

4. The Impressions – Keep On Pushing [1964]

Curtis Mayfield’s first (?) band. I think it’s interesting to hear the similarities between this stuff and his later stuff, like Roots, Curtis, and Superfly. For instance, his guitar playing is exactly the same. On the other hand, the songs themselves aren’t as good as on those three records. It’s a fun record to dance too, though, and I did like Amen. Or at least it stands out more than the rest.

5. The Impressions – People Get Ready [1965]

Similar thing to Keep On Pushing, but I wasn’t hearing as many callbacks (callforwards?) to later Curtis Mayfield records. There’s a lot of soul music out there, and it’s all good in the sense that it’s pleasing to listen to, but most of it isn’t mind blowing or making me come back to it. Also, I only listened to this record once, so I may be jumping the gun with these assumptions.

 

As far as scaling down to five: Five is more manageable than ten. Ten means it’s more than one record a day, and I actually don’t get to listen to as much music on the weekends, so 10 a week is actually 10 in five days, which is two records every day. It might be cakewalk for other people, but it’s tough for me. In the past few weeks I was stressing over listening to all 10 records every week, and I felt like I wasn’t giving each record as much attention as I should. I also wasn’t getting to listen to stuff I already know. So basically, the whole thing was starting to shift from being something that is fun to do and exposes me to new music, and into being a chore. I don’t want this to be a chore. I want it to stay fun. Also, week 12 was supposed to be last week, but I didn’t get to listen to all of the records from week 11 until halfway through week 12.

Yeah, it’s a little defeatist. I started with 10 records! High and mighty! Now I’m down to five. I’m fine admitting defeat. It’s all for the fun of it. I just want to listen to new music. I want it to be enjoyable. If I’m miserable because I’m stressing over whether or not I listen to enough music, then it’s missing the point completely.

I’m keeping the Ten Records a Week address. It’s got all the ten records weeks, and no one really cares about the address.

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