Monday, 15 April 2013

"Making a bedspring sound like a voice or a voice sound like a bedspring" (The Knife...of course)

Back to music after a dabble in politics on the previous post, I so wish blogger was more comment friendly and I could share with you some of the *ahem* more interesting responses I got emailed.

Anyway, The Knife’s album, ‘Shaking the Habitual' has a short film, 'The Interview', an introduction to its politics. See image to the left, it all comes with an amusing comic strip too.

To sum up very quickly, it's about shaking up of the habit of the rule of the white middle class male, of capitalism, patriarchy and the institutions set up that do nothing but limit gender equality, the stereotypes within and without the nuclear family, and in society across the board. It's eccentric; it's all about masking identities and creating a space you feel you can exist. I love this kind of thing. 'The Interview' is directed by Marit Ostberg who did the brilliant 'Full of Fire' Watch below.

I don't think this album would be what it is without ' Tomorrow, in a Year', (featuring Planningtorock and Mt.Simms) a collaborative electro opera and ode to Charles Darwin. Now that album, conceptually and on the ears does challenge although there were a couple I played over and over, particularly 'The Height of Summer'. 'Shaking the Habitual' does have a similar evolutionary sound, tackling head on the societal expectations and perfunctory thinking within a mix of quite primitive and futuristic composing. I do think it 's a bit lazy to write it off as going off into a path that will lose people, and if it does, so what? That's the privilege Karin and Olaf talk of in their interview, a privileged point that they can do as they please which is part of their charm. Yes, there's an ambient thing going on for almost 20 minutes that will test the patience of some, but it's still good and could be used to meditate to (come on positive spin), it's no accident it's called 'Old Dreams Waiting To Be Realised'.

So I'm looking forward to the 21st of April for the vinyl release. I fear I may be ousted to a sound proofed room to listen to it but I will battle through that. There's screechy vocals, there's woodwind action, tribal beat and metallic drums, all mixed up with synths and bedsprings, voices that sound equally human and alien, industry and politics. Let's throw all formula on the big bonfire of burning formulaic norms on many levels. Also, 'Without You My Life Would Be Boring' is very Kate Bush in its eccentricities. 'Wrap Your Arms Around Me' definitely Bjork.   'Networking' sounds like really big spiders tap dancing and that is  *exactly* what networking sounds like in my head, unpredictable speeds and legs everywhere, you will know what I mean when you hear it. 'Fracking Fluid Injection' is a beautiful  insane thing and will definitely get me sent to my room if I try and play it around my people. It makes you want to scream, but 'Ready To Lose' the closer makes up for it and echoes Karin's solo project Fever Ray.

Like most projects from The Knife, the difficult moments are blown away when you click with a track, this one for me still 'A Tooth For An Eye' and 'Ready To Lose'. With tracks this long, you only need three goodies to feel you have an album anyway. (There's more than that though). I think it's quite accessible in places with a lot of dance and ambient influences. Maybe try listening to their collaborative opera from 2010 first, then put this on and it will feel like you're listening to a 'Now!' compilation. I love it more every time I hear it and I'm pretty sure that will grow especially as I'm getting it in a format that makes a 'skip' button an impossibility. I may be quite a loyal Knife fan but I never *pretend* to like something. If you never hear from me again, it may well be because I've been buried in a shallow grave with all my Knife LPs.

Admittedly I do have a special affection for The Knife as they are the first band I ever wrote something on. I probably couldn't have done it on anything else as if we're all honest, getting beyond the words, 'I like this, please listen' can be tricky. They do give you a bit more to ponder.

Related Posts:

A Tooth For An Eye
Full of Fire

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In other news, this weekend is defo disco time as my copy of Ssion's 'Bent' has arrived.  I *adore* this LP and Cody Cricheloe is certainly shaking some stuff up too. Luvvbazzar people X

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