More fun with Mathias Svalina’s iPod
It’s really obscene that I still have this thing in my possession. Well, supposedly I’m going to see him tomorrow at a reading at Pete’s Candy Store, so I figured I should make the most of what time remains. Today instead of focusing on a letter, I’m going Onion-stlye and SHUFFLE IT. The little machine tells me it’s got 11387 tracks on it, so this should be pretty good. Seatbelts on?
1) “Tipping Strings” by The Knights – This song is lots of fun. It feels like a classic soul song (and for all I know it is one) but it’s instrumental, which is weird and sort of delightful.
2) “Thrush” by Goslings – uhh it’s really slow and rumbly. Someone is saying something but the vocal track has been slowed down to soupy mud (which fyi is slower, categorically, than muddy soup). Theremin maybe? Yeah, I think so. This song is six minutes long. I feel like this is some kind of art-noise version of chamber music. It’s remarkably effective at creating an atmosphere. If you will yourself to not be bored by it, you might even find yourself becoming very interested. Does that make sense- that being not bored is a kind of decision you have to make? But that, once made, becoming interested is actually pretty much effortless? Birds twittering and a late-breaking plaintive guitar passage (perhaps the only clear notes in the whole song) give “Thrush” a strangely satisfying conclusion, as if the modulated chaos of the piece had finally broken into the clarity of an elegy for whatever it was that chaos consumed.
3) “Rex Immense, Vinum Bonum Cum Sapore” by Goliard – This is definitely a cappella Latin singing/chanting… Oh wait, some drums come in near the 1:00 mark. Very vivacious and baffling, not unlike this iPod’s owner.
4) “The Peacock’s Tail” by K.M. Krebs – another 6 minute noise song. Lots of static at the beginning. Sorry Krebs, but I don’t have the patience to give you the same attention Goslings got. That’s the bitch of Shuffle, I guess. NEXT!
5) “Skit 1” by Various Artists – obviously from a comp of some kind. Black guy and a white guy talking about buying a car. Not actually a music track. I assume if I was playing the whole album I would now be hearing whatever song comes after that skit, but since I’m shuffling around, next up is
6) “Clangor Buccinae” by Malkuth – This is some seriously dark shit. Metal’s metal. Twenty seconds in and I’m totally won over by it. The vocals are sort of standard-issue growling, and I have no idea what’s being said. It’s awesome though. This drummer loves something that’s really tinny– either a cowbell or maybe the side of one of his own drums. Anyway, thesis = fuck yes.
7) “Wildness” by Trailer Bride – hey, an actual recognizable SONG, albeit not one I recognize. Oh, wait a minute. This is weird too. Upbeat indie-country over which a woman who has almost but not quite perfected her Lucinda Williams impression is sort of talking-singing about something I didn’t catch because I was typing this sentence. Sample lyric: “All I can do is play guitar / I got a monkey nerve down in my heart.” Is that right? How can that be right? How can it not be? Touche, Justin. Touche, Mathias.
8) “Maliyo” by Rail Band – Is every fucking song on this iPod 6 minutes long? Umm, the music is really pleasant, like really pleasant elevator music might be if pleasant elevator music was possible. Definitely hand drums, and a synthesizer. Don’t know what language they’re singing in, but I sure know which one they aren’t.
9) “Sagrado Teixo / Cruel Vento” by Sangre Cavallum – More non-English. Maybe Latin again? Big thumping drum on this track, and prominent wind instrument– maybe flute? Sort of Jethro Tully, only totally totally different. Two minutes in everything stops and there’s the sound of blowing winds. Then a new song starts–this must be “Cruel Vento”– and it’s really scary, like the same way monks are scary, when you see them all together, deep in the forest, singing their secret songs.
10) “eyes for window” by Damien Jurado – gorgeous acoustic guitar. Sweet, hushed singing- Iron & Wine-like. “I used to be your someone you would talk to / My eyes they were the windows you would look through.” Some strings come in. Probably the most “normal” song I’ve heard on this little device thus far…until about 2:30 when some weird audio track of an old man rambling (maybe a clip from a movie?) comes on over the violins, if that’s what they are–and then it’s just…over.
Tags: Mathias Svalina