Archive for February 15th, 2009

h1

R.E.M. – Murmur

Sunday, February 15, 2009
Murmur (1983)

Murmur (1983)

Murmur is strange. Its lyrics are cryptic. The music didn’t jump out at me on first listen. The songs didn’t stick out either, with the exception of “Perfect Circle.” To be honest, R.E.M. and Murmur seemed as completely unassuming and unaffectiong as the desk lamp next to me.

After the second spin, I thought, “is this it?” So, Murmur went back in drawer and I went on with my life.

A few months later I was on Christmas break. I decided I was going to spend extra time going through R.E.M.’s discograhy – six times, in fact, for each album (I only got up to Green). I figured if I did one album a day, then I could spend about two weeks knowing R.E.M. well.  If they still didn’t speak to me, then that would be that.

Fortunately, Murmur spoke to me, though it took patience. Listening to it six times in one day wasn’t as dreadful as I thought it would be. In fact,  it was enjoyable.

I wouldn’t call Murmur R.E.M.’s best – that title goes to Reckoning or Fables of the Reconstruction. But Murmur has mystique the other two lack, perfect for a cloudy day or contemplative mood. As I listened to Murmur more, I came to appreciate R.E.M.’s unconventional riffs, chord progressions, and melodies, aspects I missed on the first go-round.

Today, R.E.M. remains unassuming, and to an extent, unaffecting. But mysteriously, its songs have come to grow on me the more I listened. A four star album.

Advertisements
h1

Ulver – Perdition City

Sunday, February 15, 2009
Perdition City (2000)

Perdition City (2000)

Ulver is my recent obsession. I love bands that get out there and do something different.

Before Perdition City, Ulver was a black metal band, based out of Oslo. But with this album, Ulver dared go electronic.

They completed a jump where many bands fell.  Ulver’s style jump demonstrates they aren’t just accomplished metal musicians. They are accomplished muscicians, period.

The style jump reminds  me of Radiohead going from OK Computer’s alternative to Kid A’s electronica and jazz (being a Radiohead fan, I had to use that analogy). In an interesting coincidence, both Kid A and Perdition City hit shelves in 2000.

Ulver, too, incorporate jazz in Perdition City. The opener “Lost in Moments” flirts close to being  cool jazz, only without the cheese. Though relaxing, it remains dark, Ulver remaining true to its black metal past.

The next track is my favorite, “Porn Piece or the Scars of Cold Kisses.” The song begins with icy piano. Then sparse beats join. It crecendoes to a sudden fall. Silence. Then enter lyrics in pure poetry, beats and chord progression accenting each syllable to perfection.

I will listen to Ulver much in coming weeks.