When I was backpacking around Central America, my iPod started misbehaving and I ended up spending several long bus journeys listening to DJ Shadow‘s Endtroducing…. LP. A year later, on nighttime bus adventures in Nepal (better scenery, worse roads) and with a fully-functioning iPod, I found myself returning to this seminal album. Ever since, I’ve come to think of it as being ineluctably associated with exotic, far-flung places. All this, from a work of art pieced together in the most urban way possible, from hundreds of obscure, unloved vinyl records, and snippets of movie dialogue. Continue reading Two, many DJs
The ornate arrangement, with curlicues of woodwind and dizzying strings, does little to dispel the undercurrent of despair in Scott Walker’s version of “When Joanna Loved Me”, which appeared on his Scott solo album. Here’s a gent who, reminiscing about a lady he once loved, is able to transport himself back into another time and city—”And for a little while, She loves me”, he crooned, back in 1967.
Nestled between two considerably funnier tracks, “When Joanna Loved Me” trickles along a rickety waltz, faintly ominous pulses of brass and tinkling piano revealing the song’s truly blue mood. Walker’s gently sinister tone imbues every line—even the good times, when “Every city was Paris / Every day was Sunday / Every month was May”—with a healthy dose of longing. Tony Bennett didn’t do it so much justice.
February brings weather that’s alternately trickling and restorative, then malevolent and jagged. Continue reading Meltwater