Planet Of Sound #498

An arrogant taste in music can piss people off in seconds, but the persistence that drives the hunt for the good stuff is mostly worth it. To backtrack, I always get a kick when walking past McDonalds in the city bus interchange and getting a blast of excitable classical music. Something like Wagner’s epic ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ somehow makes perfect sense while patrons dip that last chicken Mcnugget into the remnants of the dipping sauce as people scurry past with an extra spring in their step from Wagner’s call to arms. I recently walked past the same McDonalds on my way to Landspeed Records and was treated to the grandiosity of Richard Strauss’ ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra,’ better known as the eternally thrilling opening music to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey. This would have encouraged patrons to consider the meaning of human existence while dipping into the sweet and sour – the right and proper thing to do. I was on my way to Landspeed to purchase the latest album from Japanese noise merchants Boris who were apparently on the verge of calling it a day but decided to release a doom/stoner monster instead, titled Dear. As I briskly walked through Garema Place, I wondered what might happen to the patronage of the interchange McDonalds if Boris rather than Richard Strauss was blasted through the speakers. Maybe lines would form out the door, but this is probably one more deluded fantasy from a music fan who naively attempts to apply the principles of French writer Jean Genet’s subverted morality principles to the world of music by weighing up the possibility that the music underground will once again rise up to bask in the mainstream as Nirvana managed back in 1991 when their singular brand of highly charged punk rock knocked Michael Jackson from the top of the charts. Admittedly, it is also possible that I gravitate to the lesser known stuff in the hope of impressing the staff behind the counter at Landspeed Records with my highly evolved taste. Although, what would they care about yet another self-righteous music devotee who acts like their taste in art is the only one that matters? Besides, it is near impossible to strike up any meaningful conversation as they slip the latest valuable purchase into a yellow bag while you stare awkwardly at a stack of Foo Fighters albums on the countertop. It doesn’t matter anyway, because obtaining the Boris album was consolation enough, as was the hard liquor at Shorty’s that followed and then the purchase of a couple of books that enthusiastically celebrate the music underground and by association all those socially maladjusted music geeks who wallow in it. Jeanette Leech’s Fearless: The Making of Post-Rock details how deconstructing rock music became a hallowed mission for successive generations of free thinking musicians, and the comprehensive survey of former Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore’s many side projects, We Sing a New Language by Nick Soulsby (reviewed in the previous issue of BMA) obsessively explores how deconstructing rock music can satisfy the desires of the most obscurity driven music fan. It has been heartening to read about the many non-concessions experimental musicians make when engaged in total creativity, and the sheer randomness that sometimes goes into non-contrived art. “During the concert a guy shouted ‘fuck shit up’ … and that’s how the album got titled,” turntablist Christian Marclay says, referring to the 2000 album Fuck Shit Up recorded by Moore, fellow Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and Marclay at the esteemed Victoriaville festival in Canada. And it is this sheer open ended approach to music making that should receive attention from fans who use good art to kick everyday habit and routine up the backside, but with the expectation that you won’t always get what you want. To illustrate, I picked up a copy of the latest Queens of the Stone Age album Villains and then headed out for a quick drink. I spotted a girl who I vaguely recalled had once pissed me off at a house party because she was loudly proclaiming that Coldplay were misunderstood and under-appreciated by people who should apparently know better. I already understood that she wouldn’t ordinarily give people like me the time of day given her striking physical appearance, but the Coldplay rant aside, I nevertheless hoped that some personal quality might give me an entry point of some kind. I quietly nursed my beer while pretending to read my own stuff in BMA. She eventually came up to me, noticed the Queens album and asked if I liked the band. I said I thought they had been getting more mainstream as time went on. This didn’t go down well and she must have also noticed the growing hole in the underarm of my woollen David Jones jumper as I lifted the beer for another hit because she turned without another word and quickly disappeared into the crowd as I glanced longingly at her gorgeous tanned legs. Well, you can’t win ‘em all as the cliché goes, but so long as Thurston Moore is out there somewhere participating in yet another outsider project everything will be ok.


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