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Thread: Charlie Looker - Simple Answers

  1. #1

    Charlie Looker - Simple Answers

    Charlie Looker (Z's, Extra Life, Dirty Projectors...) has an album in the works, "Simple Answers, a song cycle/concept album for tenor, soprano, mezzo-soprano, chamber orchestra, percussion, and electronics", which will consist of "five long-form songs and three intricate instrumental pieces".

    This project looks promising, and needs a little help from its potential avant-prog, RIO-oriented and variously mutant friends :
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...simple-answers

    http://www.charlielooker.com/

    e.g.

    Last edited by unclemeat; 06-04-2017 at 09:39 AM.

  2. #2
    I'll contribute, but only when my salary's in. I love pretty much all that he's done, including that first Time of Orchids album.

    Still waiting for a CD issue of the third and final Extra Life; or did it happen already? I think they should have ept going, btw - fantastic band, and genuinely progressive in their "rock".
    "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

  3. #3
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post

    Still waiting for a CD issue of the third and final Extra Life; or did it happen already?
    Hmm.. I got DREAM SEEDS (their third Album) on CD for ages now (2012?)...

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    Member Morpheus's Avatar
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    Sounds cool, Psalm Zero is pretty bad, it will be nice to see him doing something interesting again.

  5. #5
    I never heard Psalm Zero, although it was on my mental 'must check out' list.
    Looker is a real talent. I enjoyed Extra Life enormously and look forward to hearing this.

  6. #6
    Come to think, I heard Psalm Zero through a tip in here a short while back and yes, I have to agree - not overtly interesting at all.

    My only hope is that he doesn't steer away from rock/pop music entirely due to the terrible "stigma" of being perceived as "progressive".
    "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

  7. #7
    Member Morpheus's Avatar
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    I think I introduced you to PZ when you brought up Looker's Prog anxiety.

    "Pretty bad" was probably too strong, I just find it dull, particularly after Extra Life, one of my favorite of that whole Brooklyn school at the end of last decade (and his era of Zs is my favorite of that band). It is basically industrial metal mixed with 80s goth rock, not a brew that does much for me, but others will surely get more milage.

  8. #8
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    What does "Charlie Looker's prog anxiety" mean in this / these contexts.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    “Remember, if it doesn't say "Cuneiform," it's not prog!” - THE Jed Levin

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  9. #9
    Member Morpheus's Avatar
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    What, you don't know about Prog anxiety? Cold sweats brought on by mellotrons, shakes from extended drum solos, cape related PTSD....

    In another thread, Scrote was talking about Looker's constant need to distance himself from Prog, that's all. Anxiety was probably weird short hand for me to use, "hatred of the dreaded P word" would be more accurate.
    Last edited by Morpheus; 06-02-2017 at 04:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    What does "Charlie Looker's prog anxiety" mean in this / these contexts.
    Steve, he was very actively outspoken and determined in the aftermath of especially Extra Life's Made Flesh that he disliked the reference to progressive rock (even the "radical" renditions of it) in interviews, on Twit etc. This although I remember in his early years of Time of Orchids and Zs that he appeared almost flattered. although bweildered by the parallell.

    Presumably he didn't realize that prog-rock - which he himself purportedly belonged to - was still going strong with the likes of Ayreon, Steve Nixon, Neil, Stryper and Grandpa Jones.
    "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

  11. #11
    Good little teaser on ol' Charlie here:

    "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. #12
    A few days to go but it's not quite close to the edge...
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ref=nav_search

  13. #13
    Member Morpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    Interesting music, and quite good, in my opinion. A strange combination of avant-classical chamber music in the instruments, and Eighties goth/darkwave in the vocals. But if Charlie is trying to avoid any kind of "prog" like the plague, he's not doing a terribly good job of it - while I'm sure it's most emphatically not meant as such, this stuff works quite well as Time of Orchids-like avant-prog.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    if Charlie is trying to avoid any kind of "prog" like the plague, he's not doing a terribly good job of it - while I'm sure it's most emphatically not meant as such, this stuff works quite well as Time of Orchids-like avant-prog.
    Just let's not tell Charlie. He'll go entirely bananas on us, scrap his shit altogether and return as leader of a G'n'R covers act.
    "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

  16. #16
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Just let's not tell Charlie. He'll go entirely bananas on us, scrap his shit altogether and return as leader of a G'n'R covers act.
    You say that like it’s a bad thing.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    “Remember, if it doesn't say "Cuneiform," it's not prog!” - THE Jed Levin

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  17. #17
    ^ Can't we all just hear him get down to some seriously heartfelt and stationary business doing "Sweet Child of Mine"?
    "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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    Scary lyrics, too - they seem to be about fascism and the horrible attractiveness of its clear, simple certainty, even to those who know better.

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  21. #21
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    Fascinating interview. His comments on the Western Classical tradition, on metal, on the white-supremacist subtexts some perceive in those musical genres, and on the horrible attractiveness of fascism are very much worth reading. Even the album's title ties in with those concerns - Simple Answers (to impossibly complex questions - the wrong answers, but so viscerally appealing). He's a really intelligent guy.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Fascinating interview. His comments on the Western Classical tradition, on metal... are very much worth reading.
    Throughout much of the interview he talks at length to define what can basically be summarized as the maximalist paradigm, particularly in the following section:

    "in the metal world, there’s... a lot of value placed on ambition, grand achievement, technical proficiency, the quality of purely musical content (harmony, groove, composition), and overall dead-seriousness of purpose. I think a lot of metal heads fetishize classical music as well..."

    One must wonder how these scattered, wordy invocations of the maximalist paradigm will transmute once the maximalist/minimalist prism becomes more broadly known, understood, discussed, and consciously referenced in musicological circles.

  23. #23
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    Also, he has (in the past) quite vociferously denied that his music has anything to do with prog, and expressed a proper hipster's boundless contempt for that much-abused genre. Yet what is it but prog, just reinvented from first principles?

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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Also, he has (in the past) quite vociferously denied that his music has anything to do with prog, and expressed a proper hipster's boundless contempt for that much-abused genre. Yet what is it but prog, just reinvented from first principles?
    As such he's quite on par with lots of folks in places like PE, in that "prog" is narrowed down and reduced to common denominators of abominators. In the grand science of Prog, this is often referred to as the expansivist-trivialist reductionism spectrum, and it's inkredipel in overall importance.
    "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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