September 29, 2008
You may have killed someone. I can’t vouch for that though, and neither can you. You’ve got amnesia you see. Bummer, I know. However, the lovely folks from Andy and Polly are here to help you help yourself. They’ll give you a camera, an envelope, and some clues, then push you off through Dublin’s wet and cobbled streets to try to solve the mystery of your past. Ready? Here we go…
Inside the envelope is a list, and some scraps of paper with names and addresses. We’ll need to visit these. Not yet though. Apparently, there’s someone waiting to meet us first. Exit the Curved Street Café, walk straight towards the wall, and then turn left. They’ll be there, waiting. It’s a rainy day, and as we slip down the hill umbrellas cover our faces. Around my neck is a yellow envelope. Our eyes peep down side streets, trying to find out who might be waiting. A statue beckons us from a recess of a concert hall. She hands us a package. Inside it are ten photographs, each with instructions written on the back, and a disposable camera. She speaks to us- ‘Don’t you remember me? Have I really changed that much? I haven’t seen you round here in ages.’ Sadly, we don’t remember her. She promises that all this will change. We’re to go somewhere quiet, and follow the instructions on the photos. It will all become clear in time. The photos are numbered, and each has a memory for us to recreate, using the disposable camera. Memory number one:
‘I used to love this once.’ Memory number two: ‘I felt like a fool’. Memory number three isn’t a photo though. It’s the address of the Irish Film Institute. We’re to go to the membership desk and ask for the manager. This is a bad idea. The manager is cross with us. Very cross. ‘How dare you come here? I can’t believe, I CAN’T BELIEVE you’d even THINK of coming here after what you’ve done.’ Oh dear. We apologise. We explain that we can’t remember what we’ve done. Maybe she could help us out? She sighs, shoves another address in our hand, and tells us never to come back again. We leave, and are a little confused. Memory number 4: ‘Take a photo of what you did here’.
The address tells us to go to a centre deep in the heart of Temple Bar. Once there, Christina in reception will tell us what to do. Christina isn’t impressed with us either. Nobody seems to like us in this town. If only we knew why. There’s a man in pyjamas waiting in the corner. He calls us over. We sit and have a chat. He seems to know us, from long ago. Apparently, something went terribly wrong. He doesn’t want to talk about it. He does want to give us something though. Memory number 5:
Back to the photos. Memory number 6: ‘Nothing is as it seems’. Memory number 7: ‘No escape’. Memory number 8: another address. Oxfam on Parliament St. The manager will know what to do. We’re ushered to a couch in the front of the shop, and a black plastic bag is dumped on our laps. From the bag, we pour out bloodstained books, and a tape recorder. We’re a little worried. We press play. A long scream rings through the shop. People stop and look at us. The scream continues, then two voices break in. ‘What are we going to do now? It’s as much your fault as anyone else. Don’t think you’re not guilty because you’re just standing there. What are we going to do now?’ Memory number 9: ‘Show me where you hid the body’.
We’re at the end of the list. There’s a phone number to ring, and more instructions to follow. Onwards to our ‘old haunt’- The Dame Tavern. Once we’re there, we’re to open the final envelope- the one hanging around my neck. Inside the envelope is a puzzle piece, with some words written on it. We add our piece to the half-completed puzzle on the table, and try to make out the final memory, fragmented across the cardboard. ‘Do you remember that time, when we were running through Stephen’s Green? And we didn’t know whether we were shouting or singing?’ True to form though, the vital pieces are missing. The hole in our past remains. The only thing we can be sure of are the photographs that we’ve taken.
September 26, 2008
September 25, 2008
Bluebirds are good at flapping their wings. I flapped mine over to Amelia’s Magazine recently to write an album review. Expect more in the coming weeks.
September 25, 2008
I’m lifting this thread from Ciarán. Why isn’t this played more often? She says ‘Shucks’ in the chorus, and there’s an awesome vocal pedal note in the middle 8. Also some nice early 1990’s mild bondage evoked in the verses. Always a treat.
September 24, 2008
There’s a difference between a remix, and a remix album. While a remix is essentially, a stand-alone track, a remix album bears the weight of the title ‘album’. It is more than just a collection of tracks beefed up with club beats; it’s a group of songs under the same banner. It is, for all intents and purposes, a new LP. Or is it? Jennifer Lopez made chart history in 2004 when the remix of her J.Lo album (J to tha’ L.O.) became the first remix album to debut at number one in the Billboard 200 albums. The album featured many of Murder Inc.’s heavyweights, like Ja Rule, Fat Joe and P.Diddy. One of the reasons that the album did so well is that unlike records previous, many of the tracks became totally new songs, not just extended club remixes. In 1987, Madonna released You Can Dance, a ‘concept’ remix album. In keeping with the vogue of the time, it was more of a re-edit of some of her tracks for the clubs than anything else. Tracks 1-4 and 5-7 on the album were edited together in order to resemble a DJ’s set, and the album contained one original new track. While the album didn’t fare exceptionally well commercially, it inspired other artists to release remix albums themselves. Ten years later, Michael Jackson’s 1997 record Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix became the best selling remix album of all time. Remix albums remain popular to this day. Super Extra Bonus Party recently announced their plans to remix their debut self-titled album, and Simian Mobile Disco’s Sample and Hold (a remix of Attack Decay Sustain Release) has received rave reviews. However, what are the criteria for a good remix album?
Should it pick and choose the best bits of a record, creating a new, entirely stand-alone album? Jay-Z released an a cappella version of his 2003 The Black Album, in order to make remixes and mashups easier. While only one ‘official’ remix album was made- Collision Course which mashed together Linkin Park tracks with Jay-Z’s vocals- the a cappella tracks gave a free reign to producers and aspiring remixers. The first of these unofficial remixes was producer/rapper Kev Brown’s The Brown Album (2004) which refocused Jay-Z’s club-driven vocals into a smoother, mellower direction. Hot on the heels of The Brown Album came uber-producer Dangermouse’s The Grey Album (2004). The Grey Album mixed the vocals of The Black Album with various unauthorized samples from the Beatles’ The White Album. The Grey Album melded together the best of rock and roll, with the best of rap and the best of modern production. Without heavy beats to cover it, Jay-Z’s lyrical dexterity shone through. Out of context, the Beatles’s samples sounded fresh and bang-up-to-date. Dangermouse’s disregard for musical boundaries resulted in the best album of 2004. Not only that, but it opened the door for further (unofficial) remix opportunites for Jay-Z, and others- including Weezer, Prince, and Pavement.
Should it become an alternate version of the album, by an alternate version of the group? Silent Alarm Remixed is still a Bloc Party album, but it’s an album by a different Bloc Party. Silent Alarm Remixed lives in a binary with Silent Alarm. They are polar opposites. The track for track remixes break down, then awkwardly rebuild, what made the original album so satisfying the first time around. In place of consummate professionals, lining up hooks and slick finishes, we find unsure vocals, and minuscule details illuminated. Four Tet’s remix of ‘So Here We Are’ de-layers the track, showcasing the clever structure hidden beneath Paul Epworth’s stereo-sound production. M83’s remix of ‘The Pioneers’ accentuates the glorious crescendo at the end of the track, and in doing so, its latent romanticism.
Should it, like a decent cover version, retain something of the re-mixer, while still paying tribute to the original? Grizzly Bear re-released their 2004 debut album- Horn of Plenty- a year later with an extra cd of remixes by friends, such as Ariel Pink, Simon Bookish and Final Fantasy. Grizzly Bear are known for their pedal notes, brooding lyrics and repetitive, spider-thin melody lines. The remixes not only fleshed out (and in some cases, funked up) the tracks, they sometimes brought them to an entirely different place. Drew Daniel (Soft Pink Truth) said, ‘I prefer to do remixes when I think there’s some kind of interesting tension between my way of working and the song being remixed, and I only remix music I like: so this was hand in glove.’ In fact, while every remix on the album re-arranges the original tracks significantly, the essence of the original remains- only under a different light than before. In keeping with this, Soft Pink Truth’s remix of “A Good Place” throws in bass-orientated rhythms, underwater vocals and horn samples- all the while drawing attention to the song’s “blow by blow” lyric. Simon Bookish’s version of ‘Eavesdropping’ takes the original track and morphs it into one of his own, complete with an added verse. Safety Scissors uncovers Christopher Bear’s ear for a fine pop melody in their remix of ‘La Duchesse Anne’.
(This is a link to the original, btw, I couldn’t find a remix version on Youtube)
In the case of Horn of Plenty, Grizzly Bear win out in the great remix debate. Unlike The Grey Album, all the material is used. Unlike Silent Alarm- Remixed, it’s still very recognisably an album by the same band. Horn of Plenty really is a cornucopia. The original Horn of Plenty and the remixed Horn of Plenty can sit alongside each other, both containing the same songs under a different campfire-light focus, neither one superior nor inferior, just different.
September 23, 2008
Re: Dropping it like it’s hot.
We have two choices. Damage our outstanding reputations and make a show of one another in front of the legend that is Snoop Blogg tomorrow night, OR learn a simple synchronised dance routine that will keep us all in step and looking fly. Assuming that you will all make the right decision I would like to introduce you to the fabulous people over at Learning 2 Dance (yes that’s the number two, ingenious, no?). I now present to you their comprehensive instructions on how to master the sensational Bunny Hop:
September 22, 2008
I started this post seven hours ago but unfortunately I’ve been somewhat distracted today. By food, mainly. I must’ve had a cheeky nibble on almost everything in the kitchen. yes yes, everything but the kitchen sink. har har. I’ve just returned from there in fact. I rooted out the jar of nutella, wide-eyed, with spoon in hand. It was all gone so instead I cooked a thick-based pizza, with toppings that would generally disgust me, retrieved the cheese from the fridge while softly whispering “I couldn’t do it without you” and proceeded to grate half the block over my pizza. Then I ate it. Now, let us begin.
I’m an absolute sucker for streetstyle sites that feature pretty photography and good design. For me personally, those two factors are just as important, if not more so, than the actual people and oufits on show. Recently I’ve mostly been salivating over (nice image, I know) YouCatwalk, Glam Canyon and Style Sightings.
So Glam Canyon is kick ass. But prepared to suddenly find yourself gagging for a good party and a thorough wardrobe revamp. The text is always a nice addition. And coincidentally, the person behind YouCatwalk was featured here within the last two weeks.
Someone who seems to have his own team of fashion pap everywhere he goes, is one of my favourite playmates in the whole wide universe, Mr. Alan Taylor. Alan has a blog. You should visit it. But only if you promise not to get jealous about his ripping hair and fantastic fashion-filled life. Deadly. Click here to go forth and gaze.
September 20, 2008
I have endured the majority of the past week with no access to the internet. I’m all shook up (Uh huh, Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!…Elvis? Yeah? Never mind.) but shall continue in my quest to provide you with a first class blogging service. cough. I went to London. Then I went to London Dungeon (highly entertaining, ludicrously overpriced, and really very shoddy). Then I went to the Tate Modern (for one hour). Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth (el big crack in the floor of The Turbine Hall) was filled up. FUN FACT! Did you know that fifteen people were injured in the first four weeks of the crack’s existence? Some parts were wide enough for a toddler to fall through. I’m not a toddler so I would have been okay, but alas, it was no more. London provided me with lots of food and lots of beautiful people to eye up. Now for today’s weather report. It is a ravishing, enticing, fetching, tempting, pulchritudinous (thesaurus? check.), bewitching day. On that note, I bid you farewell.
September 16, 2008
There is nothing that the world needs more at this moment in time than a new Boyzone song. And what a song it is. And what a video. In fact. In fact in fact in fact it might be time to conduct another one of our famous seminars in Video Deconstruction.
0.04- They are pretending that this is a film. Aha. Like in my other favourite Boyzone song- ‘Picture of You’. This bodes well.
0.06- Minus points for silly exclamation mark.
0.09- Ronan can’t believe that he’s in what appears to be New York. And how things have suddenly changed from Black and White to Technicolour.
0.10- Stephen looks terribly smug. Probably because at least half of that hair isn’t his.
0.28- There’s a token Mikey shot. Now, back to RoKo.
0.36- Some young ladies with very poor balance walk by.
0.42- Ronan is bemused.
0.47- The ladies kiss each other. They don’t kiss Stephen. Stephen doesn’t mind.
1.00- So far, the video has only really featured the most important members of Boyzone. This is a very clever idea. Shane’s about to pikey it up though.
1.10- Hi Shane.
1.22- Mikey looks like he’s been called away from a business meeting.
1.36- Keith has gotten a cab straight from Coronation St. Why he’s carrying an umbrella is unknown.
1.42- It’s suddenly night time.
1.48- Hugs for all!
2.00- They enforce damage limitation and intersect lovely girls dancing with Boyzone’s shuffling.
2.27- Key change?
2.28- No! It’s a THEREMIN!!! A THREE SECOND THEREMIN SOLO!
2.33- Not to be upstaged by a theremin, Ronan throws in an off-the-cuff dance move.
2.44- Shane Lynch dances like he’s working out on a powerplate.
2.51- Keith Duffy dances like he wishes he was dead.
3.02- Mikey Graham dances like he’s still in his business meeting.
3.25- Fuck off with your Jazz Hands, Stephen.
Ah. Maze. Ing.
September 14, 2008
Sorry, I’ve been a little lax on the blogging side. Mainly because Issue Five of Analogue is now out- in real life and and and in PDF. Instead of posting a picture of the magazine itself, I’ll give you some out-takes from the Album Swop photoshoot I did. All is revealed in the magazine….
The charming cardigan-ed chap on the right? That’d be Karl. The records we’re supposedly fighting over? Lauryn Hill VS Thingama*jigsaw. Who won? You’ll have to read the article to find out.
All the above photos by Neil Burke.