KID SHIRT

Sunday, August 24, 2008

THE OVERCOAT



He's funny, is ol' Gogol; seriously damn funny. Laugh-out-loud funny (and I don't laugh-out-loud much at things I read, except when evangelists get caught with hookers or that time that Doonesbury aimed an antibiotic-resistance jibe-joke at believers in Intelligent Design; I'm a former microbiologigist, so I find things like that funny. Poor me.) Gogol: he's loads funnier than that Tom Sawyer.

Everyone pre-assumes he was some sort of serious miserablist cos of the Joy Division association ("Dead Souls"). Sure, he burnt the second part of his novel and blamed it on The Devil, but who amongst us hasn't done that at one point or another? Falling into a deep, deep, depressive, existential crisis? Been there; done that.

Weirdly, I always associate "The Overcoat" with PIL's "The Suit". But I've no idea why, beyond the fact that they sound similar. The titles, I mean...I wasn't suggesting that Gogol's novel made any sort of noise...

I stumbled over an old Kris Need's piece on PIL a few weeks ago and was kinda taken back by their Avant cred around the "Metal Box" era; I hadn't been aware of the fact that they had originally wanted the LP to be a lot longer; like an hour longer (or something similar) and that they'd ditched a whole raft of tracks (anyone know what became of the unreleased Metal Box Sessions; or was that just self-myth-making? Seems strange that they didn't just use them to pad out some of their future albums when they hit artistic/creative problems/differences later on. (Or maybe they did!) Or maybe it's because they also featured Wobble, who had left/was sacked, (depending on who's telling the tale)) They also claimed that they were originally going to release the album without any track-titles whatsoever, but Virgin wouldn't let them (which makes commercial sense obviously; tho the band obv. relished railing against their label; it certainly made them look like badass musical outlaws or avant-pop pioneers. Still, it really felt like they were on a roll at that moment). Yeah, I really like the idea of a titleless album. I also like the hints dropped by the group that they had intended to pepper the album with a bunch of one/two-second noise interludes. PIL: they certainly sounded like an old-fashioned "collective" for a while, back then - like a younger version of the old Rock in Opposition crowd; everyone on equal wages, even the backroom folk - and all that dicking around with emergent video-technology, etc; it sounds incredibly exciting reading about stuff like that now (I must re-read that Wire interview with Levene from a few years back; and would be great to maybe interview someone like Jeanette Lee (she's a co-partner in Rough Trade and apparently manages Duffy these days)) - such a lost opportunity when it all collapsed due to differing drug preferences or whatever. Ah, never mind.

I'm listening to "Close to the Edge" by Yes as I'm typing this. Side One, in fact.

Bet that made you laugh out loud.

2 Comments:

At 7:53 pm, Blogger Dan said...

"I'm listening to "Close to the Edge" by Yes as I'm typing this. Side One, in fact."

Not really - admittedly, I'm a little surprised you're digging Side One, rather than the other (which has 'Siberian Khatru' on it, which I really love), but 'tis no crime.

 
At 9:17 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

Well, about a year or so ago I really preferred Side Two - it sounded I dunno 'softer' or something; full of Escher-Stair-Like sequences (which is one of the reasons I like certain Prog records); didn't like Side One much at all - but it's kinda flipped around in the last few days: Steve Howe's gtr at the beginning of the Title Piece is so beautifully scratchy and pre-emptively Post-Punk...always loved Bruford's drumming on "Red" "Starless" n "Larks" era Crimson. He's a bit mechanical-sounding sometimes, but I can live with that. (I've got a friend who's obsessed with Bruford - and I mean really obsessed...can spot his fills at a hundred metres) I'm playing Side one again right now; fifth time today. (and I've been out most of the day) Haven't played Side Two for months! I binge on records sometimes; play them to death: pick them apart, put them back together again. I'm mostly listening to the drums right now.
I like that "Evening Star" Fripp and Eno type interlude: drifting fx and keys...then an electric piano comes out of the shifting sound-fog. Production's a bit thin in places (you can even hear the tape splices! Tho prob not on a remasters/re-eq'd CD copy)

I keep meaning to buy a vinyl of "Relayer".

I just played the same side of a Ligeti record for five days in a row. Then two days of Weill, tho I actually managed to turn that over a few times. Now Yes. I'm prob. depressed or something. Or maybe I just said that for 'comedic' effect too.

 

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