5 / 22 / 13
Sorta Dear Diary,
This morning I've been listening to the new album from The National, Trouble Will Find Me, as well as the latest Wild Nothing EP.
Not quite sure how I feel about Trouble Will Find Me at this point. For me The National's output tends to be slow burning, so it'll likely take some time to dig into it, something I've been trying to keep in mind as I listen. I can say right off the bat that the songwriting is quite good, and the triple play of "I Should Live in Salt" / "Demons" / "Don't Swallow the Cap" is just a fantastic way to begin an album. In particular "Demons" is really getting under my skin. As is "Humiliation" in the second half. Overall, I'm inclined to say the album is less varied and dynamic compared to High Violet which still remains my personal favorite of theirs.
The new Wild Nothing, Empty Estate, is just a lot of fun. It seems less emotionally charged compared to their last EP, instead going for something a bit more 80s blase, but with genuine sincerity in its goofiness. Sort of Tom Tom Club in parts. "A Dancing Shell" in particular has been on repeat for me:
The whole composition of that video is just perfect. Gaaahhh.
As for what I've been listening with on this occasion, I'll say it's been an IEM kind of morning.
The standout here has been the Flat4-KAEDE. This thing is *the* perfect little device for listening to that dub techno stuff I referenced a few posts ago. It's also great with that Wild Nothings EP. Basically anything that slings a beat and / or demands low end power backing it up is well served.
Yet at the same time---time and again---I'm struck by how precise and utterly nuanced it can be. The guitars on Hope Sandoval & The Warm Invention's Bavarian Fruit Bread for instance just have this incredible tactile sound, that old [but true] audiophile cliche of fingers against the strings. The leftover extraneous rattle of the strings, the decay of notes as they hang in space ... if there's one thing at which the Flat4 platform truly excels above all else, it's low level information extraction. I also find it's uncannily adept at delineating notes and the air surrounding them, a sort of analog to a painting's negative space in a given track.
I've been a rather terrible cinemaphile this past year. It's something I've vowed to change, and I plan on getting back into the swing of things at some point in the not-too-distant future. That means more film-related stuff in these diary posts. Later this week in particular I plan on having a mini Cassavetes thing: Faces, Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Love Streams. I've seen Woman Under the Influence far too many times to include it in this go-round, though Gena Rowlands's Mabel is my homegirl fo sho. I may include Mikey & Nicky however, just cuz it's a great underrated film IMHO.
So yeah, on a further film-related note, there are a few really awesome Criterion Collection releases coming out later this year:
Satyajit Ray is simply one of the greatest directors of all time. Easily in the top five. Even top three. A true master. It's about time Criterion released more of his work, and I have a feeling the delay all these years was partly due to Sony sitting on the rights to the films. Charulata in particular is one of India's greatest films. It's also one of the greatest films specifically concerning the life of a woman in a particular social context.
Before that though there's another incredible release:
Kenji Mizoguchi's The Life of Oharu. Another film that can easily be considered one of the greatest of all time. While not quite as utterly heart-wrenching and ultimately transcendent as Sansho the Bailiff, nor as compositionally perfect as Ugetsu, this film is still a must see and---like Charulata---should be considered one of the all-time great films about a woman's struggles.