NWR The "What are we listening to?" Thread

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Rod Smith, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton- Choir of the Mind. I didn't give this album due attention when it came out a couple of years ago. It's the first solo record she's made since 2006's Knives Don't Have Your Back, which I loved. Been listening to this during the week and it's really grown on me quickly. It has a similar dreamy hypnotic haunting quality. It's a quiet and beautiful, sometimes dark album. Good contrast with Emily Haines' band Metric who are more of an accessible indie rock band. Both her and they really deserve to be better known.

    Nick Amis likes this.
  2. I dunno about the music, but I recognise the attitude...
    Jonathan Kalman likes this.
  3. Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis. Listening to this and other Joy Division songs.

  4. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    I was in the Bungalow Bar, doing the sound for Aztec Camera, when this news broke and spread around the place like wildfire.
  5. Hard to believe it was 40 years ago. Unknown Pleasures was probably the first album I bought 'en primeur'. I saw an advert from a record store in London advertising it months before it was released, so I duly sent off my cheque and the album arrived through the post on release day. Seems very trusting these days.
  6. Love Metric - as much for Emily's lyrics (which are very clever, nudging towards poetry at times) as for the great music.
    Adam Ventress likes this.
  7. Good man! Yes her dad was a poet, Paul Haines. Have you heard her solo stuff?
    Seen Metric twice, both times at the Ritz in Manchester. I think Art of Doubt is their best album to date.
    Rob Lockwood likes this.
  8. I heard some early stuff Adam - first Soft Skeletons album I think. The second album you refer to seems to have taken her 11 years! I note also that you're bigging up a Metric album I've not yet heard... I used to be on all of the band mailing lists and wonder if I dropped off after GDPR?

    I think Old World Underground is near perfect, but lots of interest on all the albums I reckon.

    Not seen them though: well, I wandered nonchalantly past at Leeds Festival as they played Dead Disco, so I knew it was them, but hadn't at that point worked out how good they were. Did the same with the Dresden Dolls, which I'm really kicking myself for, as Amanda seems to have moved on.

    Right: 2 more albums for the list! :)
    Adam Ventress likes this.
  9. Which was the last Metric album you heard Rob?
    I wasn't a fan of Pagans in Vegas, but really liked Synthetica and Fantasies. Art of Doubt was 2018, and imo their best.

    Yes 11 years between Knives and this one, just as good though.
  10. I've got them all I think except Art of Doubt, though haven't listened to Pagans in Vegas which I think is widely viewed with a bit of suspicion, especially - I seem to remember - an 8-min synth extravaganza! I won't prejudge...

    Enough intelligence in the lyrics, the themes and the songwriting to be worth a touch of lockdown time I'dve said!

    Adam Ventress likes this.
  11. I'm listening to Radio 3, which is broadcasting a performance of Mendelssohn's wonderful violin concerto. Utterly captivating.
    Mike Holliday and Po-yu Sung like this.
  12. I like Boulez as a composer. Not a terribly popular opinion, I know. :D Have you played his piano sonatas? A local pianist, Paavali Jumppanen, does the sonatas particularly well IMO. Patriotism even though I feel no such sentiments or is he actually good?
  13. I know the first two sonatas well but haven't performed them. Enquiries certainly welcome! Coincidentally I listened to Jumppanen's performance of the second sonata the other day. It is quite magnificent, with its accuracy and relish in a different league even to Pollini's famous account; in fact some of the very finest piano playing I have ever heard. Do you know much about him?
    I will admit to a certain mischief in drawing attention to the above, but it is a work of extraordinary beauty and consequence.
  14. Sadly I know nothing about him except that I always seem to enjoy his playing. Especially the Boulez. I don't understand what was mischievous, though?
  15. This is music that was very important to me when I was younger, but I've rather drifted away from over the last 15 years or so. I did play the 1st sonata when I had time to practice and my fingers still just about worked - Aimard's recording always struck me as being of a completely unachievable brilliance. I will investigate Jumppanen, I've not heard of him before.

    It is amazing to hear some of the early recordings of his music, even conducted by him, which are absolutely dreadful. More than anyone else, I think we owe him for the astonishing improvement in the standards of playing music that makes extreme and non standard demands on the players over the last 30 years or so.
    Saina Nieminen likes this.
  16. I meant my post 2187, Saina, in the light of today's events in the UK.
  17. Isn't the story that someone at Universal Edition asked him what the title of his new piece was, and he said he didn't know but that 'Cummings ist der Dichter', and they assumed that that was the title....
    Thom Blach likes this.
  18. I wonder if it's even more recent? access both to those who have mastered such things and to media examples is vastly different to that in my student days, when even among quite distinguished musicians it tended to be about how to get to the end without falling over more than the intellectual sensuality that is the raison d'etre of most of his music; though as with really quite a lot of things in classical music I increasingly wonder for whom and for what it is intended, from the point of view of the listener.
  19. Is his music though only meant for intellectual sensuality? I mean I kind of see these sonatas as kinda like the aural sensuality I get when listening to Cecil Taylor and Alexander von Schlippenbach in the jazz end of loud bangy piano stuff. I'm sure someone like you who actually knows about stuff will think differently but to a complete amateur like me Boulez, Taylor and Schlippenbach all bring me similar pleasure. I don't see one or the other as more intellectual than the other but I do love the noisy, atonal aesthetic where the piano is sometimes used more as a percussion instrument. I hope that doesn't sound too much like blasphemy to you. I mean is it ok that we like it because we just happen to like this kind of noise in our ears and it makes us feel feelings?
  20. The comfort many students have with new music these days is one of the great joys of my teaching life. There are still hold outs, but not many, and often more resistance from older teachers than the students actually. I made a record last year with two top professional groups and one of current or immediately ex students and I don't think there's any difference in the end result. When I was a student at the RAM in the late 90s people would play new work, but it was much more marginal and ghettoised.

    I think Boulez's spell at the BBC did given rise to an expectation that players in this country would be able to play what is on the page with this kind of music, of course in combination with doing so at English music-making's customary speed. Probably not the place for a long discussion about trends in British contemporary music performance practice..
  21. Far more than OK, Saina. As with wine music is about physical enjoyment far more than it is about anything else and I don't have even the slightest doubt that Pierre Boulez would agree.
    Saina Nieminen likes this.
  22. I can certainly relate to what you are saying and the physical, visceral aspect of the music is a huge part of it, as a player too, although there are lots of times it sounds like Debussy to me too... Xenakis and Varese have that sonic physicality even more for me.

    One of the things that I lost interest in a bit, though, was music where huge amounts of work went on for both the composer and performer in ways that the listener, even an allegedly expert one, would be very unlikely to ever determine. That's not to say I want things to be superficial, but I'm less interested in what I need to read an essay and spend 6 months with a score with to understand and/or get my hands around than I used to be....
  23. I suppose not; but the Boulez BBCSO prom in 1976 including Berio's Ora, Stockhausen's Kontra-punkte and his Pli Selon Pli remains among the most exciting experiences of my life and probably made me in to a musician. I don't know whether that was a good thing or not.
    Exactly that. I always wondered whether Cornelius Cardew was right. It is that huge amount of work that is often the point, though, not so much with Boulez, where a complete realisation is at least theoretically achievable, as with the Ferneyhough school, of which it seems to me he himself is the finest exemplar by some distance, where it quite intentionally is not.
    Alex Hills likes this.
  24. This kind of sounds like my other great love in music, Renaissance polyphony tbh! I know there is amazing mathemagical counterpoint going on in that music but I don't need to need to know that phrases are played back to front, flipped upside down, sung at half the speed, etc. in order to enjoy the music. I just like the sounds coming into my ears. My enjoyment of Renaissance polyphony and the complex polyphony of JS Bach aren't caused by some strange mathematical ability that I might have. It's simply pure enjoyment of those sounds. Same with Boulez. And Cecil Taylor.

    But I'm such an amateur that I never went past learning JS Bach's flute sonatas as an amateur flautist so obviously I cannot have the experience pros have. But I'm kind of interested to hear what are these compositions are that require 6 months with a score to understand! :D
    Thom Blach and Alex Hills like this.

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