Completely exposed

Posted in the mind wanders... on December 5, 2010 by Bruno

I’ve been hurting for days now, the phantom pain of missing you, a piece of me. Because since you’ve walked into my life, you’ve filled a void that I ignored even existed. A dull ache has come over me and has just recently been replaced by a sharp sting.

Don’t flatter yourself, girl. It’s not you. It’s this tooth filling, a piece of a molar the size of Larsen B that’s broken off, leaving the nerve as exposed as a virgin on her wedding night.

David Sylvian – Sleepwalkers

Posted in Album reviews on December 5, 2010 by Bruno

If Scott Walker is the voice of God, then David Sylvian must surely be that of the Son and the Holy Ghost. Ever since Japan, the angelic murmurs of Sylvian have been able to sooth us after a day of mayhem. Secrets of the Beehive and Dead bees on a cake were just two of the very bright pearls Sylvian cast into a pitch dark sea of pop music. Unfortunately, David thought less was more and his two last efforts were a bit too minimal to our taste.

Sleepwalkers
is a compilation of rare collaborations spanning the last decade. A sort of best of with a twist. The title track springs into life with some noisy distortion, until Sylvian comes down from the heavens to preach to us: “Wake up from your cultural slumber, you fucking sleepwalkers.” A slow incantation that nestles itselfs in the back of your mind. Money for all starts in a trip hoppy kind of way, like Portishead on a summer holiday, until it evolves into a gospely singsong. Some of the tracks on this album were written with former Japan drummer Steve Jansen. Ballad of a deadman sees Policewoman Joan Wasser join their ranks, to make a country-folk ballad that slowly rides into the sunset.

Never shy of an experiment, Sylvian lends his voice to a bit of spoken-word next, before we bump into an old acquaintance: Ryuichi Sakamoto, World Citizen par exellence. Five lines, a sort of contorted piece of chamber music, brings us to another Nine Horses song The day the earth stole heaven. I’m optimistically inclined, Given time she’ll change her mind

Playground Martyrs is a little musical fingerling with Steve Jansen, swimming up a gentle river of piano and strings, before reaching eastern shores again with Exit/delete. This gentle guitar ballad on lost love, is a collaboration with multi instrumentalist Takagi Masakatsu.

Pure Genius, teams Sylvian up with Chris Vrenna, former Nine Inch Nail producer. Dark and eerie, a shining anachronism amidst soft treading jazzy efforts like Wonderful World, that is shattered to pieces by the brittle voice of Stina Nordenstam.

Transit
is a return to the minimalism of Sylvians latest albums, thanks to Austrian button tweaker Fennesz. Next up The world is everything, a piece of chamber music like Playground Martyrs sets the stage for Thermal, the spoken word piece for Arve Henriksens Cartography. Sugarfuel is an itchy, nervous, luscious, drum and bass driven ballad that leads us to the Trauma of goodbye, that last one a throbbing of gentle, yet discomforting noises, leaving you startled and vulnerable after a journey through the many faced garden of Sylvians world.

Stakeout

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2010 by Bruno

So, apparently, today is going to be the day that hell freezes over. Since I have no fireplace to roast me some chestnuts, I had to make sure I had other companions to get me through the blizzard. Of course, a few Irish and Scottish distillates will get you a long way, but something was missing. Whilst the stew was gently simmering away, I put on all of my clothes and walked out into what seemed Hoth. Two steps out, I sank ankle deep into the snow (then again, one should remember I have flat feet, so about an inch would do the trick). Destination music man with the voucher we got at work to get me a few companions for the coming winter.

Unsurprisingly, some of the usual suspects made the cut. David Sylvian, an all time favorite, with his latest effort, Sleepwalkers was the first one to join me. Sleepwalkers offers a panoply of collaborations and hides little gems like the gospely Ballad of a deadman, featuring Joan as a Police Woman and former Japan partner in crime Steve Jansen or Wonderful World, that’s been haunted by Stina Nordenstam. An early live album by Tom Waits came a close second. And when Loudon Wainwright III and Joe Henry team up, do I really stand a chance? To warm things up a bit, I finally bought Jamie Lidells Compass. And I will never ever walk away from a Neil Hannon who’s going cheap in the sales, especially since the Emerald Isle is in such dire straits.

The weather outside pointing my compass firmly North, some new shores were to be beached upon. So new to my audio cabinet: German Get well soon, who made the perfect winter version of my drunken adolescence soundtrack Born Slippy. Since the music man was all out of Wendys, I got me two Lisas. Lisa Germano and her Magic Neighbor and Lisa Gerrard, of former Dead can Dance-fame, teaming up with Patrick Cassidy for Salem’s Lot soundtrack, Immortal Memory. And to round things of a bit of jazz. Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin must be one of the most inspiring jazz bands around since the untimely death of Esbjörn Svensson. It might not last ’till spring, but it might just get me through a few snow packed nights.

Come all ye faithful

Posted in Rants on November 24, 2010 by Bruno

It’s that time of year again. You can feel it in the crisp air. You can see it on the television: that Coca Cola-truck is on the move again. Holiday season. So shut up and start being happy.

First up is Thanksgiving. Probably the most sarcastic holiday ever invented. It’s the day the Americans say thanks to the Indians for welcoming the Pilgrims and sharing their turkey. Not many Indians are known to be very fond of that tradition. Actually, not many Indians are known to be, point final (most turkeys aren’t very fond of Thanksgiving either). It’s like the English would thank the Irish for the invention of potato blight. Or Israel having its national holiday on the birthday of the chemist who came up with Zyklon B.

And of course the big whammy is Christmas, previously known as the Winter Solstice. We’re celebrating the birth of a little Jew in a stable, just outside Bethlehem. He went on to say some pretty amazing shit (my theory is that he got infected with Creutzfeld-Jacob, what with that ox breathing down his neck just after he was born). He was also the first man to prove time travel is actually possible. He traveled to the seventies, contacted the marketeer who did the Beegees’ image building, took him to the Middle Ages and re-branded his whole franchise. And with some success: his book outsold Harry Potter. One of the most important things he said, was: Love thy neighbour as thyself. We must all have pretty low self esteem, judging by the way we treat our neighbours.

And the week after that we celebrate the New Year. Actually, the new year is to be celebrated right about Christmas (solstice remember) and January historically isn’t the start of the new year at all. The Romans started the year with March. January is named after two faced deity Janus (and not Harvey Dent, of Batman fame, as one might think). Most people are indeed very two faced around that time of year, promising to stop drinking, smoking of stuffing themselves and forgetting all about that promise by the end of the month.

In fact the whole holiday season is aimed at you consuming as much as you can, buying the most preposterous presents you can come up with. Not me. This holiday season I will give you my eternal friendship, my undying love, my shoulder to cry on. I might even lend you my ear. Not because I want to get back in touch with the real spirit of Christmas. No, it’s just I’m a stingy bastard.

The luck of the Irish

Posted in Rants on November 22, 2010 by Bruno

Okay, I get it. If even a minx with semi divine knockers as Cassandra wasn’t taken seriously (well she was actually, according to legend, by Ajax the Lesser) what hope do I have of being universally accepted as the herald of impending doom. My biggest ambition is to be your Tweety in the coal mine, hoping the Sylvesters amongst you leave me a window of opportunity to tweet my concern.

Because, yes, my dear reader, once again I have seen our future and I can tell you that we are – as was Cassandra after her close encounter with Ajax – utterly fucked.

I can hear you all sigh: “Knock it of, we’ve heard this one before. What is it now? The fact that the world is going to warm by at least 4 degrees centigrade if we don’t all hold our breaths and farts? The fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pope Nazinger are writing each other love letters and are planning war on the Axis of Evol-ution? The fact that the TEA-party thinks that the best way out of financial turmoil is to lynch a few negros, Klan-style?” No, alas, this is worse.

I foresee the end of the Euro. It has been a long time coming with the bankruptcy of Greece and the foul stench wafting of the Spanish and Portugese budget. But today from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour and I can shout without any hesitation “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?”. Why? Because a new contestant has entered the game. Belgian minister of Finance Didier Reynders has promised one billion Euro to bail out the Irish.

As yis all know, I have nothing against the Irish. Au contraire. I have poured (pouring being the key word) several billions of Euros into the Irish economy myself, drinking about two livers worth of Guinness, Bulmers, Beamish, Jameson, Connemara and Tyrconnell. I have bought every album by the Virgin Prunes, Villagers, Divine Comedy, The Frames, The Guggenheim Grotto and other Irish bands that don’t have Bono as a lead -uhm- singer. There was a time I would have gladly given my heart – and other body parts – to a certain Fenian female. Not on loan, but to have and to hold and to do with as she saw fit (and fit she was).

But here’s the thing: we, the Belgians, are officially broke as well. We’re probably even broker than the Irish. Their just isn’t anyone to notice, since we’re busy deciding who’s in charge of the money we don’t have. So fer feck’s sake: don’t go spreading our bread around, will you?

So write to your local MP: NO MONEY FOR THE IRISH (nor the Spanish, Portugese, Walloons or Antverpians).

Suicide is painless

Posted in Uncategorized on November 21, 2010 by Bruno

I can hear you, the adulating masses, cry in unisono, not to do it. Still, you will not dissuade me. I’ve been on the cyberledge for a while now and it is time to take the plunge. I was living a lie. How could I ever have thought that the two square inches that fence in the Facebookstatus, would be enough to contain my ego? How could it ever give my quintessential Weltschmerz the Lebensraum it so desperately craves to flourish? How could I ever think that the jelly wrestling muses in my head would be content with a jarful of binary marmalade?

So no more. This is a goodbye note, to explain to you my social cyber suicide. The afterlife of Worldpress will update you with regular rantings from the great beyond. ‘Cause, don’t get me wrong: there is still a lot in this vale of tears that rubs me the wrong way (that escort last night just being the obvious example).

Last week, for instance, I went to Ghents brilliant new museum, STAM, to wander and wonder around in about 10.000 years of history. Neolithic spearheads, Roman drinking cups and of course overwhelming medieval regalia to feast your eyes on. Perfection. Well, almost perfection, thanks to you…

Look, I can understand you have urges. I get them too. But there’s no reason to flaunt the fourteen months old outcome of that urge whilst I’m talking to Charles V. It’s like me waving my collection of encrusted handkerchiefs in your face. And in what universe do you think I will applaud the fact that your little mewling cabbage drivels on a display containing an 1100 year old parchment confirming Ghents independence from the Count of Flanders? A squirt of bottled milk on a syndicates pamphlet dated 1904? No sir, not cute. Rule number one: as long as they shit themselves and think it amusing, they don’t belong in a museum, but in the confinement of their own house, so I don’t have to deal with that shit. Junior should’ve stayed with granny. Hell, Junior should’ve stayed in your scrotum, dude, ’cause if he grows up to be just such a dick as his dad, we’re in a right mess.

I was also honoured to meet your better half, the oven in which this little bun of fun was baked. Next time mummy thinks it’s perfectly okay to shout into her cellphone whilst standing in a medieval refectory, I shall have to amputate both her ears and arms and staple her mouth shut. Are we clear on that? Man, you must have been seriously loaded the night you rode that cow. And when I see how much extra weight she still carries around, I can only hope she had a cesarean. Because some things stretch beyond all repair and I can’t bear the thought of you being stuck with her for another fifty years and not have the occasional ten minutes of craic. Not even when the lights are out.

See, you think I could’ve bashed this guy the way I just did on Facebook?

Bang goes the knighthood :: The Divine Comedy

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 by Bruno

U vindt Bono en de zijnen anno 2010 nog steeds het neusje van de Ierse muziekzalm? Dan is het de hoogste tijd voor een spoedcursus ‘Ierse muziek voor Dummies’. Les 1: The Divine Comedy.

Als je in Ierland vraagt naar de beste plaat van de laatste twintig jaar, dan krijg je als antwoord allicht niet ‘Achtung Baby’. Geef toe, wat gitaareffectjes en licht Keltisch gewauwel, meer hoeven we van U2 niet te verwachten. Neen, een Ier zal eerder denken aan ‘The accoustic Motorbike’ (Luka Bloom), ‘Burn the maps’ (The Frames), ‘Shag Tobacco’ (Gavin Friday) of ‘Black River Falls’ (Cathal Coughlan). Of ‘Regeneration’ van The Divine Comedy.

Die Divine Comedy liet onlangs zijn nieuwste worp op de wereld los. Zanger-songwriter Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy, c’est moi) is blijkbaar in topvorm. Op ‘Bang goes the knighthood’ slaagt de bard uit Derry erin om in 12 welgemikte uppercuts de Victoriaanse façade van het establishment aan diggelen te slaan. Het begint met ‘Down in the street below’. Vanuit een knusse uptown huiskamer kijkt u door licht aangeslagen ruiten naar de Belfastse rat-race. De straten van het refrein herinneren ons aan het Bruxelles van Jacques Brel, een van de voorbeelden van Hannon. Het volgende nummer slaat ons al meteen tegen de mat. ‘The Complete Banker’ (U vermoedde allicht een ‘w’ voor dat laatste woord) zet in enkele pennetrekken de ganse bankwereld te kijk (U vermoedde allicht een z voor dat laatste woord). Op een luchtig deuntje wordt de hebzucht van de financiële kaste genadeloos afgestraft… We’ll learn the lessons, run tests and analyze, we’ll quench the numbers, ’cause the numbers never lie. Maybe this recession is a blessing in disguise. We can build a much much bigger bubble the next time … and leave the rest to clean our mess up.

‘Neapolitan girl’ kan dienen om de volgende Martini-reclame featuring George Clooney op te vrolijken en ook op ‘Have you ever been in love’ en ‘Assume the perpendicular’ was het moeilijk om onze heupen stil te houden. Titelsong ‘Bang goes the knighthood’ steekt de draak met de ‘keeping up appearances’ van de bourgeoisie. God only knows what keeps bringing me here, gambling with everything that I hold dear. One careless word in establishment ears and bang goes the knighthood, the wife and career. Over een adelijke jongemann die afdaalt in de wereld van gokverslaving en SM. Les bourgeois, c’est comme les cochons, quoi. Met ‘At the Indie Disco’ bewijst Hannon dat hij zonder veel verpinken ook een catchy single neerpent. Maar het absolute hoogtepunt van dit pareltje is zonder enige twijfel ‘When a man cries’, een stukje pathos waar zelfs deze grote mond even stil van werd. Een nummer in de geest van Scott Walker (nog zo’n voorbeeld van Hannon). Ogenschijnlijk een niemendalleke, gezongen met de nodige ingetogenheid, tot het verdriet in al zijn geweld losbarst en je als een gebarsten stuwdam kopje onder duwt. Boys don’t cry, zei The Cure ooit, maar ze konden er niet verder naast geweest zijn. ‘Bang goes the nighthood’ is als een kopje Earl Grey, een rustpunt in je dag, waar je aan nipt met de pink stevig omhoog.