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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hard, Shining, Diamonds


A bit more to say about whitewolfsonicprincess' new record, "The Shadow of the Marigold," (see previous post). When we made the IndieoGoGo campaign video, which was probably the hardest thing to do - being on camera, trying to explain what you are trying to create, asking for folks to donate to your cause - we came up with one simple line that kind of summed it all up. We wanted to create "a beautiful, well-made thing."

That was the goal. To create a very cohesive set of music, that created a consistent vibe, that flowed from one song to the next, that held together with some kind of overarching theme/vision. As Terry Flamm put it in his review about our album: an album filled with "sacred and destructive imagery."

I was thinking about other records/other artists who kind of set us on this mission. Yesterday I was thinking of the records that I'd say stand out for me as cohesive artistic statements - not just a collection of songs, no radio friendly cuts, albums not searching for "international pop hits," just superb records, hard shining diamonds, almost out of time and place, just existing on some kind of artistic mountain top.

I'm not saying our record belongs with these great albums, just that we had these records in our heads, they were examples of the kind of work we were shooting for. Records you have to play from beginning to end, and then play again. They never grow old or tired. Always alive.

Anyway, you do the work, and hope your work connects with someone out there. These are 5 discs that do it for me every time.

1. Astral Weeks - 1968 - Van Morrison - what can you say, "If I ventured in the slipstream..." - never get tired of hearing this record, it's like a fever dream, a vision - powerful, spiritual, everything we expect from art. Transforming. Always.

2. Five Leaves Left - 1968 - Nick Drake - moody, dark, dreamy. Lush strings, beautiful acoustic guitar, that haunting evocative voice. A fully realized masterpiece.

3. On the Beach - 1974 - Neil Young - paranoia, revolution, the Manson murders hang over this one. Loose, quirky, funny, a bit sloppy. Unforgettable. 

4. High Violet - 2010 - The National - lush, odd, challenging, beautiful, disjointed, disturbing. Sonically rich.

5. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight - 1974 - Richard and Linda Thompson - hard, bright, brilliant, musical, bleak, black, elemental. Gorgeous vocals, inspiring guitars. Overwhelming.

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