Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 00:47:16 +0600
Even though i thought it would be tough to find ten good albums to put in my top
10 list, there turned out to be plenty of worthy releases. My mistaken
impression must stem from the fact that none of the most anticipated albums of
1996 met my expectations.
Several of my favorite bands released albums in 1996 but only 3 of these made it
into my top 10 (DCD, Zazou, and LiCtD) and each could have been much higher in
the rankings had they been in top form). Here are some comments regarding those
that didn't fully live up to my expectations:
*Tricky* released two albums but only had enough good material for one!
*The Golden Palominos* released a fine album, "Dead Inside," with fresh new
music and truly touching lyrics but a lack of ... well ... singing.
*Bel Canto* tried their hardest to "sell out" but failed, they left just a few
too many brilliant gems on "Magic Box" and i am convinced that these brilliant
gems prevented the band's top 40 breakthrough
*Mazzy Star* tried to do "mazzy star by numbers" on "Among My Swan." Sure it's
nearly as pleasant as "So tonight ..." but it's only half as sultry and one
fourth as inspired.
*Cocteau Twins* veered in the right direction with "Milk and Kisses," but, alas,
i must agree that they seemed to have done it for the wrong reasons. Am i the
only one on this list who is somewhere between the two vocal extremes on this
album? After all, i did "like" it at least.
*His Name is Alive* - Stars on ESP
Did this album come out in 1996? I don't know because i can't find it.
thing is, i haven't noticed that it's missing 'til now because i never feel the
need to listen to it. I mean, i didn't like the Beach Boys in grade school, why
should i like them now? It's better than Mouth by Mouth but i'm afraid that i
can't consider HNIA one of my favorite bands anymore.... i can still see a
shadow of the twisted pop-genius present but the sublime beauty is replaced by
something much more pedestrian.
Okay, enough with the disappointments let's move on to the top 10!
(1) *Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds* - Murder Ballads
This is a wonderful album, from the chilling introduction of "song of jo
the sublime "where the wild roses grow" (my fave), and from the rompin' spunk of
"the curse of milhaven" to the 'band-aid'/'we-are-the-world' style conclusion on
"death is not the end." Cave really benefits from the occasional help of a
(2) *Khan/Brook* - Night Song
Simply sublime. Brook's atmospheric touches are perfect for Khan's paki
(3) *Faith and the Muse* - Annwyn, Beneath the Waves
Parts of this album have taken up where DCD left off while other parts
intentionally take on a more "gothic" approach.
(4) *Budd/Zazou* - Glyph
Zazou can do NO wrong and Budd is capable of great heights. Together th
created an ambient album, nestled snuggly between the traditional ambiance of
old-Budd and the electro-ambience of today.
(5) *Love is Colder than Death* - Spellbound (EP)
Sadly, they've broken up now but at least they went out with a bang! If
still lamenting DCD's newfound artistic direction go out and get the recent
(6) *Perfume Tree* - A Lifetime Away
Electro-Ethereal? Fembient? A refreshing hybrid of styles, neither of
is independently original--but together work quite well.
(7) *Loop Guru* - Amrita
Wow! This was the year i discovered loop guru and these anthems of glob
cross-cultural electronica really get my head and body moving.
(8) *Velour 100* - Fall Sounds
Trey Mani's band is everything HNIA lost! It has dreamy dissonance and
beauty. I hope Amon's replacement can measure up to her vocal prowess. Please,
someone keep us informed when she decides to pursue music again.
(9) *Dead Can Dance* - Spiritchaser
What's a DCD album doing at the *bottom* of my list? Well, i still enjo
tremendously but i really miss the medieval/celtic style.
(10) *Controlled Bleeding* - Inanition
Two CDs for the price of one (one of new material the other of old) and
them have ambient masterpieces. The "orchestral industrial"/"medieval
soundscape" side of CB has always intrigued me. The new disk marries that sound
with the new electro-ambient style that's taking the world by storm. The old
disk compiles songs from the near-infinite catalogue of rare material without
repeating much from the other compilation CDs. What more could you ask for?
(11) "Honorable mention" goes to a few noteworthy CDs that didn't quite make it:
*Husikesque* (Green Blue Fire), *Caroline Lavelle* (Spirit), *Faith and Disease*
than those in my "unmet expectations" list but they don't need to live up to as
high standards until they become revered masters.
Whew! That turned out to be quite long. Sorry.
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 10:06:25 +0000
Just a few lines to say that not all the things that JRR Tolkien said
in his super analyzed message (which began the thread 'Opinions')
were not, in my opinion, wrong.
Apart from the discussion on the right and left brains (I thought we
all had just ONE), I should say that two ideas must be extracted from
the original message by JRR TOLKIEN (wish he wouldn't be dead):
1) As we say in Spain, "Sobre gustos no hay nada escrito", something
like "There is nothing written on tastes". You could talk and talk
and talk and possibly never convince another person that he likes
what you like and doesn't like what he likes. Anyway, let's keep
talking about our likes and dislikes!
2) The only responsible for a work is the artist. And he only has to
answer to himself. No artist owes nothing to his fans. If he makes
shit and he thinks he has made a masterwork, it's his problem. But
you can't blame him, simply don't buy his record. (and talk and talk
Cheers, JRR. You are not alone. I disagree with you in some things,
but keep them coming. (but if only you could write shorter
"Oh, Jesus, estoy viendo la luz,
Oh, Jesus, estoy viendo tu luz,
Oh, Jesus, estoy viendo la luz,
La luz de la bombilla de 100 watios"
*********************** SURFIN' BICHOS
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 09:32:54 +0000
Found the Aeroplane single (CD version) yesterday - I haven't been
following the discussion too closely, but I got the impression this
was supposed to be some sort of limited/promo thing. Obvious v23
sleeve, with the lyrics printed in that tiny space behind the CD clip
(just about readable with a magnifying glass). Everything But The
Girl are quite popular, aren't they? This is Heidi Berry and a couple
of chaps doing their version of EBTG's jungle renaissance. The
couple of chaps are the same two responsible for one of the tracks on
Leaf's "Invisible Soundtracks 2", and the Basilica 12" on Domino (the
only flaw in an otherwise great set of singles). Anyone know more
about them? Also bought a 12" on i/Che by Piano Magic, which was
advertised as "experimental drone/noise", but is actually experimental
farting around with irritating girly poetry, so bad I took it off
halfway through to play the Durutti Column instead.
Andrew Norman, Leicester, England
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 06:47:59 -0500
>i just found this doing an altavista search on HNIA, and had
>a laugh. check it:
>One of the most intriguing offerings in this aesthetic realm is Mouth By
>Mouth, the third recording
>produced by "his name is alive," an ensemble comprising a weird variation
>on the power trio
>(guitar/samples, cello, and drums). Not surprisingly (considering their
>English roots), the sound world
>of "his name is alive" is more arty and less ironic than the deeply
>The result makes the CD
>feel like one long piece rather than a collection of short pop songs. Not
>unlike a concept album in
>delivery, but with the distanced cold gaze of British post-punk, Mouth By
>Mouth ranges through
>affectations of just about everything imaginable, with the band stopping
>at points to sing lovely little
>ditties such as "Lord, Make Me A Channel Of Your Piece" with such
>expression that you almost
>think they are serious.
>These techniques of musical/emotional progression and large-scale
>heterogeneity give "his name is
>alive" a theoretical depth which sets them apart from the musical naivety
>of most of the British
>post-punk scene. With Mouth By Mouth they have also managed to articulate
>a statement for
>European postmodernism which points in a radically different direction
>from that of the European
Wow. A whole in-depth analysis based on an incorrect assumption. Maybe
Warren Demouthbreather and co. should become British citizens, just so all
of this makes sense.
I can see how being signed to a UK label can lead to this sort of
misunderstanding, but at the same time, building a critique based on that
misunderstanding (even though the author points out, ironically, how
different they are from British and European post-punk
postmodernists)...it's a howler like the New York Times article that
referred to "Irish singer Morrissey and Australian singer Kate Bush".
Larry, who has heard "Born Slippy" and wishes he hadn't
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 08:37:01 -0500
While Nick Cave can't be connected to Kevin Bacon, he can be traced
to 4AD (grin)...And, as MURDER BALLADS qualifies as one of my top 10
for the year, I thought I'd pass on this press release posted to the
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds mailing list...
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 11:11:50 -0800
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
INTO MY ARMS
Release date : 27th January 1997
"And he who is in a state of rebellion cannot receive grace, for in life
as in art the mood of rebellion closes up the channels of the soul, and
shuts out the airs of heaven."
- Oscar Wilde, De Profundis.
"Into My Arms" is the latest single from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. It
is played with immaculate beauty by Cave on vocals and piano, and Martin
Casey on bass. This unembellished song of poignance and profundity, so
cunningly deceptive in its simplicity and effortless manner is surely
one of Cave's most beautiful songs.
"Into My Arms" retains his customary wit and succinct turn of phrase,
and does so with extraordinary guile. It is a song that blends the
spiritual with the sensual. He uses religious imagery to reflect the
glories of personal love to affirm religious belief. The inherent
comfort of the chorus - "Into My Arms, O Lord" - ever so naturally
embraces both lover and Lord.
Once again Cave proves that he won't be limited in his choices as an
artist, never allowing precedent, notoriety or commercial success to
inhibit him from the subjects of his choosing. Any expectations that he
may have reproduced the violence's of his previous work, Murder Ballads,
are instantly dispelled by the grace and humility of this song.
"Into My Arms" is song of devotion played with the serenity and
reverence of a hymn.
It is, in the end, simply, and purely, an ode to love, that most sublime
"INTO MY ARMS" b/w "LITTLE EMPTY BOAT" and "RIGHT NOW I'M A-ROAMING."
B-sides, Extras or the other A-sides:
"LITTLE EMPTY BOAT": Accosted by leering temptation the hero of the
story musters up all his energies of denial and resistance. It features
the delectable retort, "I am the Resurrection, babe, and you're standin'
on my foot"!
"RIGHT NOW I'M A-ROAMING": A sage and charming tale about the safety and
sanctity of the home after the travails of life on the road. A lullaby
of the remorseful.
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 09:04:30 -0500
On Wed, 18 Dec 1996, Strick9 wrote:
> > ---------------
> > Biggest Disappointments
> Don't forget Bel Canto's Magic Box.... woo, boy, was that stinky.
No kidding, I have their other stuff (Birds of Passages, Shimmering Warm
and Bright ( my fav) and one other LP with White Out Conditions on it
)and I like those but that new one is just horribly boring and I'm
probably going to sell it back to the CD shop I bought it from.
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 18:19:39 PST
a lot of different threads have already branched out from JRR's article,
and now I
am going to spout yet another one. I will try to keep this as short as
if you're not in the mood for philosophy right now, you may want to
this message concerns the sentence that opened JRR's "opinions" and which
I find the
most interesting part:
>I think I finally found out the reason why people saying they
>didn't like M&K and other albums that I like really bothers me.
the same exact thing (well almost) also bothered immanuel kant, the
philosopher. he was occupied with the critique of art and aesthetics and
something which he called "the rules of aesthetic judgement". I can't
philosophy accurately in english but I think I can convey the most
of aesthetic judgment. (if any of the listies are philosophy students, I
will not freak out by the gross over simplification of kantian
kant tries to explain what makes us identify an object as 'beautiful' .
1. beauty satisfies without an interest. - the object of beauty brings a sense o
satisfaction to the viewer, but not because of some need or interest of the view
that has been fulfilled.
2. beauty satisfies without criteria - we do not have a definite idea why we fin
that object beautiful, it is not because we compare it to a certain criteria for
3. beauty is found without a purpose - an object of beauty may give the feeling
it is well adjusted to it's purpose, but we can't point out what is that purpose
4. now comes the best part. beauty is acknowledged as an object of imperative
satisfaction. this a conclusion from the first rules. if I perceive an object as
beautiful, knowing that it is not connected to personal needs or interests, I ex
that the beauty is a property of the object itself and therefore it will perceiv
beautiful by anyone who sees it. however, since there is no definite criteria fo
beauty, I can not convince anyone who refuses to see that object as beautiful.
so, aesthetics is a SUBJECTIVE perception, BUT we still expect a general consens
over what we see as beautiful. the scene usually sounds like this:
and so on until one of them goes and jumps off a cliff.
I should point out that kant proposed these rules for the judgement of purely
aesthetic objects. there is much, in any piece of art, that has nothing to do wi
aesthetics. but this is still relevant to those forms of art and music (the coct
twins for example) that rely mostly on 'beauty' rather then on 'meaning'. (flame
angry cocteaux fans are welcome and encouraged).
so, I realise that this is not a great deal of comfort, but the next you get int
of these arguments with someone, you will at least know that it's not you're fau
and it's not their fault, it is just the nature of things. according to kant.
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 13:58:47 -0500
the anthropologist/evolutionary biologist Nick Humphrey makes an
interesting case for our perception of beauty. Briefly, he believes that
we find beauty in rhyme and contrast (visual, audio, whatever).
Perceiving rhyme and contrast has evoloved as a means of classification
and ultimately of prediction. If I can classify an item/event I will be
better able to predict future outcomes of interactions with that item/event.
verse-chorus-verse, or verse-chorus-variation of verse is a nifty
compression of rhyme-contrast-rhyme.
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 10:59:42 -0800
[No thislisty content apart from my namedropping a band at the end.]
>4. now comes the best part. beauty is acknowledged as an object of imperative
>satisfaction. this a conclusion from the first rules. if I perceive an
>beautiful, knowing that it is not connected to personal needs or
>interests, I expect
>that the beauty is a property of the object itself and therefore it will
>beautiful by anyone who sees it.
I don't see how this follows at all from the first three 'rules'. The
fact that people see items as beautiful without being able to point out
objective reasons in no way implies that every person's sense of beauty
will be the same. This is very odd since he says in rule 2 that there are
no objective criteria for beauty, which would imply that we cannot prove
that everyone's perception of beauty is the same. (This is similar to the
dilemma that one can't prove that different people's perception of, say,
the color red is in any way similar.)
What I think you (and Kant, who's dead :) are saying here is that if two
people disagree on whether something is beautiful, one of them must be
wilfully refusing to see it for what it is. I find this totally
counterproductive and a sure-fire recipe for lots of tedious flame wars.
Instead, I look around me and I see vast amounts of evidence that
aesthetic senses vary greatly between people. I find Robert Mapplethorpe
pictures beautiful (except for the more, uh, proctological ones). Jesse
Helms finds paintings of crying clowns beautiful. (I'm making that up for
purposes of argument, but it's very plausible.) Jesse and I each think
the other is nuts and want to go so far as to illegalize the other's
objects of aesthetic appreciation.
And just look at this list -- a lot of the music we like is music that
mainstream listeners would call horrible noise. Right? Lovesliescrushing
will serve as a good example...
__________ _____________________ _______________________
Jens Alfke\ Wild-Eyed Java Zealot\ firstname.lastname@example.org -work\
Goodnight stars Goodnight air Goodnight noises everywhere
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 13:53:45 -0700
very well said naor.
beauty is definitely 'in the eye of the beholder'...
what one feels another may not...
makes me want to go and read some more kant...
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 18:30:02 -0800
> While Nick Cave can't be connected to Kevin Bacon, he can be traced
> to 4AD...
...and in fact, Kevin Bacon can be connected to 4AD!! A remix credit is
given to a Kevin Bacon on "Raindance", the 7" single from The Past Seven
Jeff "I Am Guilty Of Commerce With The Devil" Keibel
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 21:04:29 EST
On Thu, 19 Dec 1996 06:47:59 -0500 arbogast