Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cymbal #15:: Two Late Night Songs

Stabbing distortion laden rhythm guitars, a swinging lead, drums that don't mind being backstage except for a few seconds of really showing off, and it's a quiet-loud formula. It could be any damn melodic death metal song. But the difference is the single infectious melodic lead, which will not be contained, which will erupt like a fountain stoppered with bubble gum into pipe like mellifluousness. Melodic death is about that very counterpoint, that Ferran Adria tart appearance and the sweet deception revealed.

Dark Tranquility - Monochromatic Stains - 2002

The video looks like just a bit like some scenes of Dr. Caligari's Cabinet, na?


When I was about fourteen years old, Lauryn Hill owned r'n'b on radio. This song reminds me of the strangest thing: darkroom chemicals. When I was in Photography class in high school, I spent hours together in dark rooms, exposing pieces of paper to negatives through large complex metal enlargers that looked as though Galileo would have used them to look at the rings of Saturn, tapering towards an evil snub point and then firing beams of light for carefully controlled seconds. After that, you'd take seemingly white sheets of paper and dip them in (i) developer; (ii) stop bath; (iii) water; (iv) fixer and than some other thingamabob. The nitrates would suddenly blossom as you slopped developer over it and miraculously, the image would form on the sheet in crystal clear black and white.

Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop - 1998

We had a radio in the corner, which would play the consensus best local station, and that year, this song was always there. This and the Beastie Boys "Brass Monkey". But Doo Wop was just so deeply funky, so full of soul and vibe, and just a bit of wisdom ("That's the sin that did Jezebel in"). You'd walk out humming it, with the smell of stop bath on your fingers, acrid and spirituous. And the breaks in the rhyme - that deep little pause between "better" and "watch out"- wow; how does a silence get so melodious?

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