Monday, September 26, 2011
In the late 1960s my Dad attended night college after his daytime job. His English class must have been quite modern, because he bought two albums by the Beatles, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and 'Magical Mystery Tour' - they were discussing the lyrics at college! Still, it probably was a bit simplistic, my Dad since then is convinced that 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' is code for LSD. I really wouldn't bother with such interpretations, the albums were so much more than just mere adolescent wisecracking.
I guess those two records are the ones I havelistened to the most often in my life, although not much recently. And I could probably mention any song from them in this list. I was just a child, but I became completely enthralled by this music, and despite my innocence and musical ignorance I clearly realized that 'Sgt. Pepper's' had an invisible concept behind it. Of course, the superficial framework of the album was as a show being presented with an opener and an end, but the songs themselves held a quality of their own and still there was some kind of inner coherence. 'A Day in the Life' is the most unusual title, first as it is played after the show as something like a bonus or afterthought, but also it is thematically going somewhere else. Someone's reading the newspaper and then drifts off into a strange dream. Again you could interpret it as another song about a trip, but as a child you didn't need to know what drugs are to go along with the concept. Kids do it all the time - without any drugs. More than just a song it seems to combine two or more songs in one grandiose epic (much like Frank Zappa loves to do), the orchestral parts expanding the dimension of the music into another realm. It's still hard to pinpoint the song's impact or to decipher the lyrics completely, but it remains one of my favourite songs, although I can hardly listen to most of the Beatles' other hits any more. I'm glad I was able to hear this as a child, later on in life I might have not appreciated it as much after having heard even more sophistacted music by then.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
On MySpace I had a pal, Nayfo (real name: Ugo), a higly talented musician in London, with whom I discussed music a lot. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from him for quite a while. He once recommended the band Broadcast (actually a duo, James Cargill and Trish Keenan), who created very innovative electronic pop music and were known for their perfectionism in the studio. I checked them out, of course, and instantly fell in love with 'Black Cat', a title from their album 'Tender Buttons'. It is a lovely simple and catchy (and quirky) tune ('curiouser and curiouse') and pops up in my head every so often. Naturally I got all their albums and was never disappounted. Broadcast were not just an obscure band known by insiders. Their last album 'Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age' was announced best album of the year 2009 by the music magazine The Wire (in my opinion the best music mag there is). It's doubtful, though, that there will be more music under the band name. Tragically, lead singer Trish Keenan died of the swine flu on 14 January 2011 at the age of 42. 'Black Cat' has become their swan song to me, the line 'Awkwardness happening to someone you love' can bring tears to my eyes.