Sunday, April 10, 2011


An unusual choice for lounging around on the hottest day of the year but there you are.

After a failed evening of trying to get people to witness the power of my fully operational Hi-Fi system courtesy of an array of old favorites, I thought I'd try putting it through the paces with something new.

I can't help feeling a little disappointed that after months of research, waiting, saving and spending the reaction to my new stereo was mixed at best.

'There's not much bass'.

I took this to bed but said nothing until my wife mentioned it again on a trip to the supermarket.

'There's not much bass on that new stereo of yours is there?'

This came in the middle of an unrelated conversation about grass strimmers so maybe it had been playing on her mind as well.

Sound is a very personal thing, some people like it rich, others analytical, others still tainted or tweaked with an extra helping of bass or a cranked up high-end. What do I like? Jesus, I don't know, I just want my stereo to sound half decent. GIven the amount of money and time I spend on finding the software it's common sense to invest a proportional amount of money in the thing that makes the sound come out.

I hadn't had an issue with the lack of low end until it was pointed out by a room full of people. What to do? Well I could ignore it, get on with my life and dedicate the man hours to something less dull... Or I could start looking for a couple of concrete slabs to place under the stands with a hope of somehow capturing some of the vibrations that may or may not be dissipating through the heavy pile carpet.

I am not educated enough in the ways of classical music to try and work in any similarities here, but it reminds me of the 'Music For Egon Schiele' album by Rachels although I'm pretty sure that's a cod reference to make.

The first time I heard it, the music accompanied the film and it worked in the context of the particularly dreary and miserable as a motherfucker images. Without them much of the mood is the same. This is not 'get up and go!' music. It's the sound track to a particularly long and painful day. It's music for heavy reflection. Lets not forget, it's also music for the end of the world, for cannibalism, fields of fire and pushing a supermarket trolley into the mouth of oblivion.

The slow, meandering string led sound aside for a second, let's look at the protagonists.

Warren Ellis, is not the man who wrote some of the finest comic books of all time but rather the multi-instrumental guy with the colossal beard who played with the Dirty Three. His talent and ear for musical drama is obvious.

Nick Cave needs no introduction and I won't say any more about him than these recent forays into the world of movie music have done him nothing but favors. They have rounded off his CV in the way that most maturing musicians can only dream of. If only Madonna had taken a leaf out of his book rather than attempting to remake and reclaim that same faded glory album after album (they are only months apart in age). If only she had thought to trade just one leotard for a shred of the dignity that surrounds Cave's work but no, Ciccone will die on that treadmill, gaunt, unloved and living in the past.

So where was I? The soundtrack to The Road. If it weren't for the occasional metallic screeches, obviously there to underline certain points of the films sheer horror this could be an every day listen. As it is these very occasional hideous early period Einstruzende Neubautenesque shrieks take the edge off a bit challenging me when all i want is to sit back and go,

'Mmmmm, nice strings, lovely arrangement....shame about the bass'.

Well worth a listen this.

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