Friday, December 14, 2007

Scandinavian Punkjazz and other things

Well, I've finished the photography class which was the reason for starting this blog so maybe I'll keep it going with some other random stuff, photography related or otherwise. Here's some of the music I've been listening to recently:

Some new stuff:
Squealing, screaming free jazz in the Brotzmann, Hession/Wilkinson/Fell tradition but with (sometimes) a rock edge. It has that joyous, snarling noise, volume and power that typifies the best of free jazz and is a world away from the pointless politeness of many modern conservatory trained jazz musicians. A glorious noise indeed and album of the year for me.

I've never really been into Radiohead but I've been listening to this a lot recently. The first half of the album pretty much washes over me but there is some excellent stuff on the second half, particularly tracks like Faust Arp, Jigsaw and Videotape.

Some old stuff:
This period of Aretha's work is often dismissed because people perceive it to be inferior to her later more well-known work. It is often criticized because people feel that the jazz arrangements don't suit her voice compared to the out and out soul that she did later. Personally I love this stuff; it's precisely the tension between her voice and the arrangements that makes it great. You can sense her caught between holding back and pushing against the music.

This is another often criticized album but for different reasons. At the other end of her career from Aretha in the album above, this was Billie Holiday's last recording, shortly before her death. She had drink and drug problems, her voice was falling apart, she couldn't remember the lyrics, but again its the the tension that makes it work, this time between her cracked, fading voice and the lush arrangements. From a technical point of view her voice is all over the place but it has an emotional power that is heart-breaking.


gweipo said...

which photography course did you do? sounds really interesting!

David Biddlecombe said...

Actually the course was a module of a degree course run jointly by PolyU and the Arts Centre. I think the Arts Centre probably also run similar courses as stand alone evening courses etc.