Wolves Evolve

Music

In my efforts to become smarter, I will occasionally revisit things of the past and try them again with a more educated set of senses. Case in point: Ulver’s 10th anniversary remix disc, 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machine. I think Jester Records sent me a copy to review for earPollution, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it.

And looking through the archives, I see that I never reviewed an Ulver record during the eP era, and I wonder if I hadn’t really discovered them yet.

Anyway, the remixes. I seem to recall only recognizing Fennesz, Merzbow, and Bogdan Raczynski. when I first saw the disc. Now, it reads as Ulver having a very hip circle of friends in the electronic music world. At first pass, I wonder if Ulver’s most hardened fans scratched their heads in confusion as well. Given the band’s direction on Perdition City and the following EPs, the list of participants makes a great deal of sense. And the record is certainly a glitch fest. Some of it is the sort of squealing tone waves that I’ve given myself clearance to no longer pretend I have to say kind things about (in the abstract, it is interesting; it just isn’t interesting to listen to), and some of it does take Ulver’s stripped down electronic lounge sound in interesting directions. As Ulver’s sound has continually changed from record to record, you start to wonder how you can talk about some of these aural efforts as being unlike anything Ulver has done because they could very well be the sound of the next record.

I’ve been waiting for War of the Roses to grow on me. I see that they’re releasing a live DVD from the Norwegian National Opera, and given the track listing, it should be an interesting listening experience. Visually too, if the live visuals for “Norwegian Gothic” (at the War of the Roses link listed above) are any indication.

Also, there is a track by track interview at the War of the Roses site that was conducted by the Freethinkers blog that is worth watching. (Oh, it’s a Pop record.) And Jørn’s quote–“The paradox always has a home with us”–sums up the Ulver sound so well.

Summer Is Here; It Must Be August, Finally

Book Talk

Summer–those extended days of cloudless skies and heat–eventually arrives in August, it seems. I grew up in the desert, where summer arrived three days after the wild flowers bloomed in the mountains, and it always throws me that “summer” is always half over before the days turn successively hot. “Successively” is the key word here. We tend to have a half day of rain just as you’re getting ready to mow the lawn.

And we’re fully into the dog days already. Even the cat is too worn out by the sun to put up much of an argument when I shoo him back indoors. Motivation is difficult to sustain, and interest in anything other than wondering when the ice cream man is coming ’round is hard to dredge up. The words, they come slowly in the heat. A good time, perhaps, to go through the old stacks of paperwork that need filing or shredding, or to finally get around to alphabetizing the library. Or even figuring out where everything is. Back in the day, I remember how confounding it was that our European Overlords took August off. There is something to that, I think.

The Rouge edition of Scarlet Imprint’s Red Goddess is out, complete with a lovely cover by Christopher Conn Askew.

The Red Goddess was Scarlet Imprint’s first publication, re-released now in paperback form for those who missed getting their hands on Her the first time around. It was a mighty roar of an arrival, this one, and as Peter Grey says in his introduction, it isn’t necessary to be an old hoary hand at Magick in order to find something new in this book. You simply had to be “young, raw, hungry, and passionate.”

In the summer heat, when motivation comes slowly, one could do worse than to rediscover their muse. Though, as Grey notes, “in the end the words will not count.”