Fifteenth Week: December 13th – 19, 2015

1. Bauhaus – In the Flat Field [1980]

My friends were talking about Bauhaus on Facebook so I asked them to recommend a record to start with. They recommended this one.

It’s cool. I only listened to it once, but I think I can get into it.

2. Bill Orcutt – Gerty Loves Pussy [2014]

I’m digging this record, but I have conflicting feelings. I really like this kind of guitar playing because it’s so weird, angular, and insular in the sense that it won’t work in any other context other than solo guitar. It’s not limited by anything, so it’s the purest, or perhaps most ideal form of expression. Its freeformness is also a problem, though. Isn’t it more impressive to work within the limits of a structure? Working within a song requires ingenuity, and really, everyone can just play a guitar on their own. I understand that this kind of music can’t be played with a band, so maybe it’s good that someone does it. I mean, this whole talk of what’s more impressive is silly, who cares if something was done within the context of a band or alone? What’s important is that it’s enjoyable and interesting. Judging it by if Bill Orcutt could have done better is idiotic.

The other “problem” I have is that my guitar playing on its own sounds like that. I mean, I’m no Bill Orcutt, but I do similar stuff and I’m not really familiar with his stuff. The problem with that is that I think 1) if I can sort of do this, then he can do better (again with the better argument?) 2) what am I going to do now that he’s already been doing the same kind of thing.

*No, you didn’t miss an asterisk in the writing. Bill Orcutt didn’t play this thing completely alone. He was playing along to a reading.

3. Mary Halvorson – Meltframe [2015]

Look at me getting in all those 2015ish records!

I like Mary Halvorson’s guitar playing, but so far this record is kind of a mix bag. Again, the playing is great, but some of the arrangement I can take or leave. Then some are good (probably good songs to begin with) and I enjoy them more. Like Solitude, Sadness, and Ida Lupino. Actually everything from that point on was great, it was just the first few songs that I thought were lacking.

The guitar sound is a little, uhh, weird. Just the distortion sounds like the stock distortion in a Peavy or something. I think she uses a rat, but I’m not sure. I’m used to distortions being huge sounds that fill a room, and here it’s this tiny sound. It doesn’t really diminishes her playing, but it’s not helping either. It was probably a conscious choice, so what do I know?

4. Bill Orcutt & Jacob Felix Heule – Colonial Donuts [2015]

I enjoyed this record, but it didn’t have a huge impact on me. Of all the records I listened to so far, I guess it can be kind of compared to Richard Dawson’s Nothing Important, except I think Nothing Important is better.

A certain description of this record says that this record “collects thirteen compact, stylistically diverse duets”, and I don’t know if I agree that they’re stylistically diverse. I didn’t hear that diversity.

I just thought of something, remember how earlier in this said I essentially said that Orcutt is a cop out because he’s not playing this sort of music in a band context? Guess what, here he is, so here I am eating my hat.

I should probably listen to it a few more times. Some of the subtleties might have escaped me.

5. Kluster – Klopfzeichen [1970]

Pre Cluster Kluster. I think some other guy played here in addition to the Moebius and Rodelius from Cluster.

This is more experimental than the Cluster records I know. Maybe less musical? Definitely less electronic. No drum machines and maybe there’s one synth here and there. Mostly loops of acoustic instruments. I like the spoken word that’s on top of it all, it gives it another dimension of ominousness.



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