Monday, February 13, 2006

A Frequent Returning And Leaving Unnoticed

It is funny when you have known and loved a record for over twenty years then, heck, you discover something rather marvellous about it that means you’ll never be able to listen to it in quite the same way. I speak of Talking Heads’ 'Remain in Light' and specifically the final track, The Overload. According to this month’s Word Magazine – excellent as ever – Brian Eno had described to David Byrne the kind of music Joy Division made, prompting the band’s front man to produce The Overload, a pastiche of the gothic, atmospherically charged work associated with the Manchester post-punk giants. Listening to The Overload with that information is rather stunning and truly fascinating; apart from the American accent, it could well be any outtake from the Closer era, a sparse and haunting piece in the style of Decades or 24 Hours. What is remarkable is that Byrne had never actually heard any of Joy Division’s music before creating that song. That is currently my favourite rock fact.

With a bit more time on my hands I am able to listen to plenty of sounds and am revisiting some old favourites as well as hearing some new stuff. Filed under ‘old faves’ is 'Disintegration' by The Cure which sounds really marvellous, superbly produced and teeming with fragility and haunting melodies. This sounds downright old-fashioned but the album is full of fabulous songs from the melancholic Plainsong to the charged Untitled. A lost classic methinks. I also played Nick Drake’s final album 'Pink Moon' at the weekend for the first time in ages. I know this sounds daft when one considers how commercially unsuccessful Drake’s work was but I always think of 'Pink Moon' as the album without the hits. No Northern Sky, no Hazy Jane, no Fruit Tree but a studied, consistent array of delicate essentially English folk songs. Lovely. The new stuff has included the Antony and the Johnsons album, 'I Am a Bird Now' which is stunningly arranged and full of tender, very emotionally charged numbers. I had always obdurately considered it to be a tad over-rated, its success down to a media hungry for something different but I am wrong. The eulogising reviewers were right. This record moves me and is as good as it gets.

No comments: