Sunday, October 05, 2008


First there was the MBV show which I had expected to help my deteriorating hearing further atrophy. There was the choice, ear plugs to help stop the hemorrhaging of the bodily organs but the undeniable melody underneath all the noise would be completely muffled. I did both.

But that was just the prelude to what I heard two days later. Lou Reed with Ulrich Krieger & Sarth Calhoun at the RedCat, performing an hourlong set of "unclassified" music. It was a private, more intimate affair. Never one to be a massive fan of the saxophone, Ulrich did things to it I never thought could be done: the bellowy feedback was marvelous, his stooped posture was inspiring (I was falling for him), it was a total commitment to the music, out of control but always in control. It made me miss playing live, where nothing else really mattered. Sarth's deep demented keyboard tones tested me at times but Lou's contented grin made everything alright. There were beautiful, just absolutely gorgeous & quiet melodies at times unexpected, through all that regal energy, that misshapen noise. It was modern day baroque music. I loved it.

I left with a new context, a redefinition of what I thought melody and noise should be for me. Noise has always been challenging for me; I've always opted for more apparent melody, something sweet and harmonious, something more balanced, like a 3-chord traditional song! Some friends have said I'm into a specific kind of esoteric but this "obscure" indie rock/pop music I've been obsessed with since a twee teen is rather "mainstream" I think, based on the popular, the folklore. I mean I love Top 40 Hip Hop and the new Killers song is just awesome! Now this noise is something different; it's been there for a while but I've never been able to appreciate it until now. I guess it took a crazy German dude (like this one) to get me to open my damaged ears to something more...

Then the week ended back to the familiar, those simple melodies made for simple people like me. The Japanese Motors were fun to watch and have improved tremendously while first time viewing of the Sian Alice Group was a good gap between art noise and sweet contemplation. Give me Melody or give me Death!