it is an incredible discovery, one that i hope to share successfully with you; it will give you a newfound energy you didn't know you possessed. the music, in a word, is -
first introduced to me when i was 15, now 7 or so years ago, Shellac... well let's see... i initially must have written them off as cheesy stoner rock or something, just not anything revolutionary or important to me, because i never gave them their due listening. i can't believe this stupid shortsightedness of mine!
beyond words is this band. the descendants of earlier punk and hardcore acts such as Rapeman and Big Black, both bands including Shellac's main vocalist and guitarist Steve Albini, Shellac is a band that fucks with your head in the most pleasurable way. the following evaluation of their effects on the human mind is that of a young girl who has heard the following albums of theirs: At Action Park of 1994 and 1000 Hurts of 2000. the latter was her favorite album before she heard, for the first time in 7 years after hearing it only once before, the former - her new masterpiece in the world of art. at least for the time being (subject to change: often).
At Action Park's opening track, "My Black Ass" offers a nonchalant attack on the senses. i would classify most of Shellac's music that i have heard just like that - an attack. the lyrics by no mean betray their style - it is all brutal, forceful, quite a session of wonderful and sometimes not so consensual intercourse of the internal world and that which penetrates it.
in their album notes, under "Personnel," they classify themselves as mass, velocity, and time.
need i say more about their awesomeness? and when you watch them play live,
i can't even believe my ears, especially at witnessing just how tightly wound and together the bassist and drummer are at all times. they coexist so beautifully, and of course Steve Albini was just the most ecstatic performer and guitarist. the vocals come and go in this set because it's all about the energy, that pure unadulterated momentum.
this music does nothing but caress your most violent sentiments with a similar reverie. it sweeps one away in rapture, inducing a yearning for expansion in all directions. i find it to be just... intelligently-handled anger, seductive almost. am i going too crazy here?
i posted earlier my obsession with bands such as Unwound and their doppelgangers but this thing with Shellac, it is... different. so much more raw and mangry (a new word i just made up, deal with it). i think i'm so attracted to this sound because, much like Tyler Durden from Fight Club, i have become fed up with being a complacent sleepwaker.
they call themselves a "minimalist rock trio" and i would have to agree with this assessment. minimalist to the point where it isn't minimal in substance but minimal in redundancies. basically, everything about their sound is real, true, reaching you from heart to heart. the heart of one heavily-breathing beast to another - to you.
the bass and the drums work together in unbelievable contortions, and Albini's guitar is a conglomerate of uncomfortably perfect sound convulsions and pitch modulations. they create sounds you didn't even imagine could be created.
the end of this song - "Crow" - is a sound of constancy, of repetitive endless fluctuations of the mind's fancies. i don't fucking know man. i am out of words to describe how i feel.
time flies as a crow flies
in a straight line
through you not around you
your life is only that with which
has its way with you
currently i am experiencing the first initial pangs of falling deeply in love with something. someone. it stings in the most beautiful way. the desires are almost completely one-sided, it seems, and the struggle lies in conveying these desires in a way that will alert the other to your state of being, without startling them. to be desirable in your desire.
i have never felt so sensual in my entire life. it is like the color red has suddenly washed all over me after years of being merely pink.
editing this 4 days later
now i have heard shellac's album Terraform (1997) and can say with confidence it has given me another dose of acceptance that Shellac as a singleminded unit is now one of my favorite artists in the history of the world.
it opens with a 12 minute track, the majority of which is just four notes repeated consistently without hardly any variation.
it's called, "Didn't We Deserve a Look At You the Way You Really Are?"
a brilliant track, an interesting concept, another installment of beautiful repetition that grinds away at you but does not bore through you quite yet, because of how much it moves you. the next track, however, is my absolute favorite! you can even hear it on that live album video i linked up there, at the 4:08 marker. the song is called, "This is a Picture."
a perfect example of exactly what i look for in music. the instantaneous change from the harsh-edged angularity of the beginning repetitious riff to the harsh yet resounding seconds/sevenths, intervals that call to me with beautiful dissonance and continue to pop up in my musical journeys. when Albini begins to speak-sing with his midwestern-sounding accent, his drawl if you will, i go weak at the knees... it is definitely one of my favorite Shellac songs of all time.
of course, the bassist and the drummer in this sync are so painfully, intricately intertwined in a way not matched anywhere else. at least not to my knowledge.
|hold this guitar, be careful|
can't you see i've got my hair full
of heartbreak, girl
this man embodies "the idea of creating and living in your own delusion/fantasy world, outside of what everyone else expects you to be, committing to creativity above all else" - words from the greatest thinker and musician alive today regarding another fantastic musician.
my favorite RSM song is and has always been and probably will always be this one, "Showing Shadows" off of his arguably most popular or at least most accessible or if not either of these it's the first one i heard - 1976's Phonography.
what i love about RSM are his chords... he is in touch with the greatest sounds, and although the textures and structures are primarily of a pop sound (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just something i don't experiment with as much when i personally make music) he makes wholly unique and seemingly unending worlds out of these songs, of which he has made over 2,000... a never ever ever ending artist until the end of life.
it is quite incredibly, really. how can someone not give up to this extent? in the face of all kinds of obstacles - time, time, time always one of them...