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music as catchy as their name...

music review :: niellerade fallibilisthorstar :: skrankwerk
released on dystoniaek

sweden's NFH are a bit of an anomaly. they have, by their own admission, virtually no familiarity with the type of music they've chosen to make, no in-depth knowledge of its history or sub-genres. instead, they're music is purely intuitive, largely improvised, relying on the gifts of particular surroundings for its considerable atmosphere.

skrankwerk is the latest opus from the five member ensemble, who have managed to develop a sort of cult following. the sound, if you've heard their releases before, is a natural evolution from previous releases. the pieces reflect a decaying modernity, using sounds processed from various found objects and locales, resulting in a sound-scape that is both identifiably organic and undeniably alien.

the album ranges from an almost unbelievable starkness to a beautifully thick cacophony of percussive rattles and crashes to eerie, atonal washes. it's difficult at once to describe the sound in a way that will be meaningful without falling back on clich├ęs that don't do the sound justice.

as you might glean, from what I've said, the album will be a challenging one for many. it neatly ignores any established genre boundaries and will prove frustrating for anyone who is used to music that works within defined parameters. that said, it's also exciting, exotic and rewarding in a way that few new artists are.

a particular favourite for me is "spjallmotor", which sounds like a recording of objects being disposed in and consumed by an incinerator.

beautiful and highly appropriate artwork completes an excellent package. available direct from the label.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…