Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Day two, CAN I keep it up?

As I have a lot of free time at the moment, this is proving to be the highlight of my day. Today's is a great song, one which I've neglected to listen to in much detail before, but as ever, The Fall provides.

Song: I Am Damo Suzuki

Album: This Nation's Saving Grace
Year: 1985

Really quite a lilting number from The Fall here, I was actually only a year old when this came out, showing how long the legacy of this band stretches, and Damo Suzuki is still performing his improvisation-heavy art today.

Wikipedia (the fountain of all unedited knowledge) offers this useful slice of information: 'I Am Damo Suzuki' is a tribute to Can, Damo Suzuki having been their vocalist. The riff descending in semitones is based on 'Don't Turn The Light On, Leave Me Alone' from Soundtracks, while the drum rhythm comes from 'Oh Yeah' from Tago Mago. The lyrics make reference to other Can songs, such as Vitamin C.

This is fascinating, in that they've spliced several Can songs into one, improvised-sounding track, I always envisage the Fall song writing process as a strict military-style affair, Smith making people repeat the same note forever until they fall over, the best parts being lifted for entire songs, the amount of riffs per Fall song must be around 2 or 3 at the most, so it is nice to hear them break free now and again. This is a sprawling epic in Fall terms, sounding dreamy and laid back, almost shoegaze-like a good 15 years before the likes of My Bloody Valentine and the like took it to its logical conclusion.

The lyrics are incredible, the standout would be "What have you got in that paper bag? Is it a dose of Vitamin C?" which is as stated above, is another reference to Suzuki's legendary band Can. The drums sound like whipcracks on this track, and the delay-drenched guitars provide a brooding, opressive atmosphere for Mark to spit out the ranting lyrics, seemingly a frustrated attack on kraut-rock or maybe denial of post-punk labels the Fall may have been getting at the time, see the lines: Who is Mr Karlheinz Stockhausen?/ Introduce me, I'm Damo Suzuki/Soundtracks, soundtracks melched together/ the lights, the lights/ Above you listener was in cahoots with Fritz Lieber".

Utterly strange again, this will become a common theme.

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