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Thread: Charlie Looker - Simple Answers

  1. #26
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    The whole thing can now be heard on Bandcamp:

    https://charlielooker.bandcamp.com/a...simple-answers

    I haven't listened yet, but will.

  2. #27
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    Now I've listened.

    Intense stuff, somewhere in between half-a-dozen subgenres, including orchestral pop, classical composition, gothy New Wave, and electronica. It's slightly reminiscent of Scott Walker, though the music is far busier and the lyrics are far more clearly pointed. Haven't decided whether I want to buy it or not.

  3. #28
    Is there anywhere a comprehensive, chronological account of his projects?

  4. #29

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post
    Very odd. Weird grammar and word choice. At first, I thought that it had all been done by phone texts, which could account for that. But then I realized that it must have been originally done in English, translated into Japanese and published in that language, then re-translated back to English - which could make anything look odd and incoherent.

    His comments on fascism are pretty much what I had gleaned from the lyrics, so he's getting what he means across.
    Last edited by Baribrotzer; 06-19-2018 at 11:33 AM.

  6. #31
    One of the merits of renouncing any relation with the Prog Beast is you get decent pitchforkian coverage

    https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums...imple-answers/

    This is a strong, cohere, relevant album. Although I miss some sort of more decisive climax to its scope.

  7. #32
    Has anyone here heard his Seaven Teares avant-folk project?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  8. #33
    I enjoyed the Seaven Teares album, although it doesn't reach the Extra Life heights for me.

  9. #34
    Last edited by unclemeat; 07-06-2022 at 07:43 AM.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post
    And it doesn't hurt that it's got Toby Driver in

    Good news, thanks for sharing.

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post
    Ace!

    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    His comments on fascism are pretty much what I had gleaned from the lyrics, so he's getting what he means across.
    I was not impressed by his "understanding" of fascism from neither interviews nor the lyrics in question here, I must say. Ideological matter as prone to intellectual leptitude and destitution as this needs to be read through scholarly annales of scrutiny and diligent theory, not merely interpreted via emotional lectures in text or attitude in accordance with escapist trends of the present tense and situation in the West. The history of ideas is, academically speaking, a received discipline of impenetrable logical leverage on all things societal and politial, leaving little to chance or risk as far as analysis and plain bias are concerned. Consequently, a phenomenon as severely scriptured in strict terminology yet still so frequently submitted to subjective fictions of content (fascism) should either be studied thoroughly or left out altogether. Just my 10 cents.

    Quote Originally Posted by eadric View Post
    I enjoyed the Seaven Teares album, although it doesn't reach the Extra Life heights for me.
    Yes, I heard parts of it and decided not to buy. I'll be following new movements by Extra Life, though - I still think the world of their first two records especially.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  12. #37
    The album is pretty excellent for anybody wondering. I bought and listened quite a few times, and it's a winner in terms of diversity and uniqueness of musical idiom. The vol 2 etiquette is not a random label, since it is truly in style and scope the second part of a unified work.

    Essential stuff for fans of the more "progressed" spectrum of the progressive.

  13. #38

  14. #39
    ^ Wow, that's an excellent presentation!
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  15. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    ^ Wow, that's an excellent presentation!
    Indeed. The proto - cringe element that Charlie is referring to went unnoticed from me, and surely provides a different perspective on the band. The whole description of the 00's Brooklyn context is rather enlightening too.
    The new album kills. At last some music that challenges all predetermined expectations.

  16. #41
    What's quite exhilarating is that Looker has allowed for the 'progressive' tag to remain on the Wiki entry's factbox for Extra Life. Presumably he has cooled off a bit on the malign (?) nature of its reference.

    I wrote and published (in Tarkus Mag in Norway) an article on Brooklyn 'Brutal Prog' in 2005 or 2006, after having heard the music and read infrequent interviews with folks like Jesse Krakow, Weasel Walter, Ron Anderson and indeed Charlie Looker himself addressing the term as well as the purported scene. Of course, the phenomenon wasn't really anything but the neigbourhood's very own namecheck come math-rock/avant/alternoise circulum, melding around The Stone and Tonic clubs/showcase workshops and defiant of style letting each other encourage and support the notion of a "scene".

    In truth, a number of acts soon associated with it actually originated from just about everywhere else on the US mid-to-low East Coast; Ahleuchatistas hailed from North Carolina, Kayo Dot/Toby D. were from Boston, Ron Anderson and Many Arms and Dysrhythmia and Pattern Is Movement (who weren't at all brutal but rather extremely refined) came from Philly, Trephine from Baltimore and even Weasel himself found his way to NY from Illinois. I suppose there were a mere couple of handful of groups stemming from Brooklyn or even NY, Stay Fucked (now Stats) and Tim Byrnes amongst these.

    Further still, there was immense scope and variety to musical matter and direction. Little except for rules of the uncommon seams the sounds of Friendly Bears' serious sense of jazz-core with those of Giggle The Ozone's syntax on Beefheart'ian naívist/absurdist garage-pop, or the sampled trashmash of Scutopus with the ultra-textured dissonant detail in Time of Orchids' apocalyptic crash around divine melody.

    Nevertheless I thought it was the most interesting and refreshing thing to happen in (real) progressive rock culture/music/art/development in a very long while, and I still listen to much of it.

    Last edited by Scrotum Scissor; 16 Hours Ago at 12:17 PM.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  17. #42
    Looker: "Especially the French - the French loved this stuff!"

    I simply can't stop listening and grinning to that exact phrase from the the Brief History. Well, OF COURSE the French loved it! Obviously! Without them or possibly the Japanese or a few years later the Norwegians, who else would?

    His mentioning of fairly well known bands like Parts & Labor, USA Is a Monster, Lightning Bolt and particularly The Locust is spot-on for reasonable links to bigger picture. These (and others like Upsilon Acrux) were somewhat same but truly different as a whole, and they even toured overseas and got to perform to audiences several times here in Northern Europe. The Locust's gig in the cellar at the So What venue in Oslo in 2007 was one of the best and most tremendously energetic concerts I ever attended in Norway; onlookers/listeners were downright terrified at discovering grit and dirt in equations of formality - so violently "rock" yet artistically not. At least not to their recognition.

    Liturgy I never cared for, but Skeletons are really great. It speaks in spades how Looker would love them, as they kinda compare to Dirty Projectors in the skewed dealings of pop/rock expectancy as known.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Looker: "Especially the French - the French loved this stuff!"

    I simply can't stop listening and grinning to that exact phrase from the the Brief History. Well, OF COURSE the French loved it! Obviously! Without them or possibly the Japanese or a few years later the Norwegians, who else would?

    His mentioning of fairly well known bands like Parts & Labor, USA Is a Monster, Lightning Bolt and particularly The Locust is spot-on for reasonable links to bigger picture. These (and others like Upsilon Acrux) were somewhat same but truly different as a whole, and they even toured overseas and got to perform to audiences several times here in Northern Europe. The Locust's gig in the cellar at the So What venue in Oslo in 2007 was one of the best and most tremendously energetic concerts I ever attended in Norway; onlookers/listeners were downright terrified at discovering grit and dirt in equations of formality - so violently "rock" yet artistically not. At least not to their recognition.

    Liturgy I never cared for, but Skeletons are really great. It speaks in spades how Looker would love them, as they kinda compare to Dirty Projectors in the skewed dealings of pop/rock expectancy as known.
    He throws a bunch of names, of which I know absolutely shit about. Also a couple of French philosophers' names in which I am quite interested.
    The "presentation", (which is actually a very comprehensive auto-documentary ) is extremely well done. Charlie seems to me like a very interesting guy, and not just because of his education and clear high intelligence. He seems very grounded, but all over the place at the same time.

  19. #44
    ^ One could do faint to start but dwell into the discography of a band like Dirty Projectors.

    You notice how he's proud of his stint with DP and duly somehow laments the limited duration of it in tone of voice (), yet also figuring how everyone would necessarily know the group by referring to Longstreth as simply 'Dave'? Well, here's the precise point where synapses between "prog (et al.)" and derelict tense in actual pop/rock creativity and evolution go from push to shove. The Dirty Projectors/Longstreth were, for a couple of fiscal years anyway, arguably the most critically acclaimed rock group on the face of the planet - yet still a "prog" community wouldn't even appear to be aware. Not that they usually knew of Zs or Extra Life either.

    Because apparent definitions serve as little other than confirmation as to listening subjects' identity adherence and thus sacrifices basics of virtue in favour of fixture on the "self". So, accordingly, some dubious Wilson is approached instead and after a few steps of seemingly scrutinized deduction as to proper merit/drift, importance settles on this as the one contemporary youngster (50+) ready for rectification of forfeit score. Vengeance is ours in the name of symphorce.

    Ok. Start with the Dirty Projector's outstanding Swing Lo Magellan from 2013 (IIRC), before moving on to their classic Bitte Orca (2009) and dig the poorly hidden nexus on songwriters like Martyn, Ackles and Cousins. Some song-arrangements on this album make many a 70s "prog" equivalent turn off as slow and dull by comparison, yet the debt is undoubtedly there all the same.

    Just not as with Willy.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    ^ One could do faint to start but dwell into the discography of a band like Dirty Projectors.

    You notice how he's proud of his stint with DP and duly somehow laments the limited duration of it in tone of voice (), yet also figuring how everyone would necessarily know the group by referring to Longstreth as simply 'Dave'? Well, here's the precise point where synapses between "prog (et al.)" and derelict tense in actual pop/rock creativity and evolution go from push to shove. The Dirty Projectors/Longstreth were, for a couple of fiscal years anyway, arguably the most critically acclaimed rock group on the face of the planet - yet still a "prog" community wouldn't even appear to be aware. Not that they usually knew of Zs or Extra Life either.

    Because apparent definitions serve as little other than confirmation as to listening subjects' identity adherence and thus sacrifices basics of virtue in favour of fixture on the "self". So, accordingly, some dubious Wilson is approached instead and after a few steps of seemingly scrutinized deduction as to proper merit/drift, importance settles on this as the one contemporary youngster (50+) ready for rectification of forfeit score. Vengeance is ours in the name of symphorce.

    Ok. Start with the Dirty Projector's outstanding Swing Lo Magellan from 2013 (IIRC), before moving on to their classic Bitte Orca (2009) and dig the poorly hidden nexus on songwriters like Martyn, Ackles and Cousins. Some song-arrangements on this album make many a 70s "prog" equivalent turn off as slow and dull by comparison, yet the debt is undoubtedly there all the same.

    Just not as with Willy.
    I've tried some Dirty Projectors, even upon release back in 2009, but never clicked. Of course those were superficial listens, so I don't have any fixed opinion on them. I swear I'll try again.

  21. #46
    Those years (2003-2009) were, in retrospect (always that!), some of the best in my life and - to me - in music as well. I came out from my first divorce and spent summers and spare weekends on my best bud's boat (bohemian like me, 'though heavier and taking toll now, almost 20 years later). It was a converted 43-feet shrimp-trawler that he bought for the sole intent of being able to accomodate it full time while exercising his newfound job as a teacher at the Steiner school in Moss here in Norway. Not being an anthroposophist or anything, he nevertheless dedicated wholeheartedly to customs of esoteric didactics and took to his newfound home on the dock, eventually dumb enough to romanticise about jolly freebies of unprejudicial Socratics. So he invited 15- and 16-y.o. girls from his classes onto the boat and tried to school them in leisure about all anarchic caricatures. With the obvious result that three of them manufactured the rumour that he'd somehow "taken advantage" of their goodwill and optimistic nature in order for release. It was the one time when I saw him absolutely broken with despair; my Nietzschean nerd of a best bud. He simply lost all faith.

    But these years were pure -magic- in terms of pop/rock/independent development. EVERYTHING somehow came together and touched upon closure, with risks and chances taken overall and no one attributing anything to neither commercial liability nor artistic hipocracy. When I came out of a week's coma after drowning in August 2006 and having been flown by ambulance-helicopter from Jomfruland to Skien, the first thing entering my ear was a tune from Mew's Glass Handed Kites. As it was one of the most popular records in 2005-06 here in Scandinavia - and it is a completely progressive one. By a band who wouldn't have had to go that way. I also remember rumbling around, dancing drunk and nude on my best bud's trawler's deck with Jaga Jazzist's "Mikado" steaming aloud through speakers on the surroundings and the attempt to clear down from tox by swallowing significant amounts of canned sardine on rotten brownbread.

    Musically speaking, they were the days of not only Brooklyn Brutals but of Battles, Beirut's "Postcards from Italy", TV On the Radio, Grizzly Bear and New Weird America beginnings - plus significant happenings in Norway as well. And I was still just 33-35 or so, you know.

    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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