What a week

It was a pretty busy week. I listened to a lot of John Lennon (the Signature Box, twice) and some Richard Thompson. Monday and Tuesday I had to leave work quickly to run errands, and on Wednesday I went home to be with mum ‘m’ dad for their last night in Singapore this year. Thursday they flew off to New Zealand, and Thursday night I went downtown for another round of Christmas shopping and errands. I got nearly everything done, except for two items, but that will get taken care of soon enough.

Friday night I went out to Boat Quay’s Home Club to see some live bands with two office colleagues. It was a shoegazer festival! Goody. The first band, Under The Velvet Sky, was playing some crazy Frank Zappa-esque prog rock. They sounded pretty good, but since I only heard part of their last song I bought their CD, I’ll have to check it out. Stellarium was up next, they were pretty straight forward shoegazer, sounding a lot like My Bloody Valentine, although they did a cool cover of Sonic Youth’s “100%”. Got home, watched half of “Play Misty For Me” and then went to sleep.

Saturday was a busy day. Woke up, watched the rest of “Play Misty For Me”, then watched “Diva” and most of “The Phantom of Liberty.” Then I headed downtown, did some banking, bought another Christmas present, and went to the multimedia library to get some more movies. Got eight: “Death Note 2″, “Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea”, “M*A*S*H” (the Robert Altman film), The Beatles Anthology Parts 1 and 2, “Tears of the Black Tiger”, “Buena Vista Social Club”, “The Sargasso Manuscript”, and “Black Sabbath”. Great. Then I went off to the National Museum of Singapore to catch a screening of “Kurutta I’peiji”, a Japanese silent film from 1926 about madness and life inside an insane asylum. The performance included musical accompaniment by The Observatory, an art rock band from Singapore that I’m a big fan of. The music was atmospheric and interesting, and at times as chaotic as what was being shown onscreen. There were two crescendoes in the film and the band filled them with some great noise. After that, I headed home and watched “Death Note 2.” There had been a CD launch party from Lunarin, but I gave it a miss.

Today it looks like I have a lot of work to do – chores, housework, shopping, etc. Busy busy busy…

CD reviews


under the velvet sky, “the black sea sorcery” – Eccentric, crazy jazz-core with lots of found sounds (radio blurts) and tons of zaniness, with great odd and freaky garbage. I don’t know how to describe an album of four songs with lengths like 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 29 minutes, 2 minutes. Sheesh. But I’ll try…

One long jam, it was recorded live in the studio in October, 2008. First track “Mystique Morning” starts off with some trippy guitar sounds and other sound effects, then comes in with drums. Comes in with great psychedelic guitars, and blares out for a while. “A Girl Named Gaza” takes a while to get going, and the drum and bass build up for the guitar, which cranks out some psychedelia. Beautiful. Trippy narration there after a while, taking it into the next track. With “The Sorcerer’s Hat”, a song of nearly 30 minutes, there’s initially trippy echo guitar, and some horns coming in, some percussion. There is nearly 10 minutes of echo-ey guitar plonking, before the psychedelia heats up. The song chills out ten minutes later, and the dijeridoo kicks in, and the song gets quiet. What’s happening, man? The song trips back to a new song, groaning with some child’s nervous murmuring. It later builds up into a funky slam, with loud riffs, some distant crowd announcements and horns understated, before everything grows into a fever pitch. Fun! “Rain At The Break Of Dawn” is slow starting, with a cello vibe, then it becomes a bit like chilled out raga rock. Groovy, man!!


Stellarium, “Stellarium” – This Singapore band knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to re-creating those beloved sounds from our favourite Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth albums, and it sounds great. The first song, “Any Day Is Fine” sounds like your standard Jesus And Mary Chain aggro feedback noise, right down to the weak vocal mix. Great noise and drones. “Chocolate And Strawberry” is bass-led, with some great fretwork and that droning vocal over feedback thing. “Harbinger” is more melodic, but it is also bass-led and feels very comfortable. Man are the vocals weak in the mix! “Vertigo” mumbles along with a fantastic wall of bass warblings. “Paddle Pop” starts off with sheer noise, then goes almost into a near-Godflesh negative banger, and then a bit of a dreamy song, before becoming a hive of evil feedback, harsh and abrasive. “The Grass Is Greener” is a big thick fat riff, with some horrid vocal sounds. “Tomorrow’s Monday” is sort of a boring track, ut stll very Jesus and Mary Chain-ish (they had boring songs too, right?), or maybe even a tad Love and Rockets-esque (ditto), but it picks up in the last few minutes as it grows in to a wicked maelstrom of noise. “Fader” starts off fast like a sqruonky Sonic Youth tune, then goes into some surf rock (?!?!), that is maybe a wee bit Cure-like, a wee bit Curve-like. Or maybe it is simply surf rock the way Sonic Youth would do it. Either way, it’s hard to get a bead on. The final track “Dead Nebula” seems 14 minutes long, but it is actually a feedback-marinated eight minute ditty, followed by 90 seconds of silence, then a true shoegazer ditty starts up, with jangling chorused guitars. Sweeeeeeet… The tune starts off strong with some great drum beats and a very nice electric groove, it builds up slowly, and then after four minutes all hell breaks loose. The “mystery track” has a very fast electronic beat, and totally washed out/layered vocals. The guitar is nearly impossible to identify as guitar, it’s so distorted.

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