Gorgeous Noise

Who knows how long it will be up, but someone has posted the video of "Soon" by My Bloody Valentine, so here it is...

Not quite able to accept the realization that Loveless is now almost twenty years old, I just spent a few minutes looking around for discussions of it online, and came across the following at Pop Matters, which reminds me why I have kept a safe distance from most rock prose for some while now:

At first, what streams from the stereo may appear an indecipherable code, a foreign cacophony. It can be appreciated for its pure otherness just as one not fluent in a script may be seduced by its graphic qualities. The lettering becomes an impenetrable surface to ponder. Consider the convolution of slashes and lines of Kanji or the blocky clarity of Hebrew or the celestial curvature of Arabic. But in hearing a piece plucked from the hazy bulk of Loveless and presented on college radio, bracketed by the requisite indie-rock banality, it becomes some spectral broadcast. Not to say that this tangle of pitches and tones once considered too thick to unravel suddenly comes into focus and becomes intelligible. Rather, like all great art, one may begin to see, or in this case hear, the work on its own terms. Every sound is no longer translated into some comfortable clearness. Rather, one begins to love its pure, dense sonance.

Oh yes, one do.

Over a decade has passed since I have lived with this album, literally thousands of others have passed through my hands and shelves. Loveless remains the only sacred tome. Acquired on the cusp of adolescence it traced my awkward, giddy ascension into the realm of adulthood. And, most importantly, inoculated me with that insatiable need to attain further sonic knowledge, to listen with a ravenous, poriferan sentience. Even for its makers it remains insurmountable, a glorious flash that produced a long, slow fade.

Listening with "ravenous, poriferan sentience," I think I can hear the sound of Walter Pater throwing up in the background.

August 28, 2009 11:10 AM | | Comments (8)

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8 Comments

Agreed about the prose. The music is pretty good -- but severely limited, no? One-two-three-four, simple chord changes on the beat. The sound is fine, but I wish it were more creative.

The qualities you are talking about are what make something rock, more or less. I'm not a rock-ist by any means, but the minimalism of the rhythm and melody here is not a negative, to my ear. The record has so much going on with texture and timbre that I don't really want more.

What a relief! Here I thought you were going to impugn the use of cliches such as "cooking" "tight" "solid" or "in the groove," all of which I had used in the first draft of my next blog post.

I take your point, Scott -- but we can all think of examples where richer harmony or rhythm or voice-leading rock. (Trout Mask Replica, let's say.)

I will say, though, that it's refreshing to hear the bass being the active, mobile element, cutting against the harmony (passages with the minor third when the chord is major, etc.).

I think it will be okay, Steve, as long as you get "authenticity," "tasty licks," and "rhizome" in there somehow.

Scott: I went with "subtle work" as my pretentious cliche but I don't think anyone read the note, because facebook doesn't indicate that there's a jump page.

"an indecipherable code, a foreign cacophony.... The lettering becomes an impenetrable surface to ponder. ... one begins to love its pure, dense sonance."

The pop-music, self-loving, distorted-mirror effect: All criticism is autobiography.

I saw "my bloody valentine" live last year. Hearing "soon" at extremely high volume, it is surprising how less dreamy and more "happy mondays"-sy it is.

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This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on August 28, 2009 11:10 AM.

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