On Repeat: “The Diamond” My Brightest Diamond

https://i0.wp.com/www.onetunes.ru/wp-content/uploads/r/1489926/6.jpgI was listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered today, and they described Bjork’s music as “celestial.” I think there are many moments that My Brightest Diamond does the same thing, even if not in such a grandiose way, on this album.

I think a lot of that celestial feeling in My Brightest Diamond comes from the delicate weaving of strings, harp, moody piano bass, and breathy background vocalisations.  And *that* is exactly what I find so enchanting about this body of work. It is graceful and violent. But! I am not here to talk about the album as a whole, but just the beautifully bitter “The Diamond;” which incidentally is my very first MBD song. *sigh*

I can tell you first off that what drew me into the murky and lovely universe of “The Diamond” is Shara Nova’s dark tinted, breathy delivery. She also is very talented at giving stony, sharp reproaches–which you can hear in this song’s lines “are you coming?” and “you must feel splendid.”

I really love the drums in this track, which are muted and almost sound canned. There is also a very light guitar tremolo in parts that remind me of the slight tremble in a tense voice. It’s one of those parts that is easy to miss, but would completely change the texture of the song if it weren’t there. Also, Maeve Gilchrist on harp is just phenomenal. Her part starts out slow and spaced, but builds into the verses in such a way that you feel like you are being carried away on a wave. It is perfect and in my opinion, is what makes this track sparkle.

Honest to stars, if you’ve never listened to My Brightest Diamond’s “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth,” please please give it a whirl. You’ll need a quiet time, some candles and possibly some wine or maybe a toasty cup of coffee and a cloudy day, but it is well worth giving it the space to breath it’s beauty into your life.

5/5

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On Repeat: “The Diamond” My Brightest Diamond

New to the Library: Add Violence EP-Nine Inch Nails

http://assets.teamrock.com/image/8c7153e1-0971-40db-aab8-9c4757a6dc4a?w=800Wow, just wow.

When I got the Not The Actual Events EP, I was happy to have more Nine Inch Nails in my life–especially since it didn’t turn out God awful. But this newer EP, Add Violence, is far superior.

Although I’m still a little confused about the decision to put out two 5-6 song EPs weeks apart rather than just one whole album. *shrug* This EP has so much more soul. So, perhaps the decision to keep them separate was to keep the integrity of these tracks intact…I will say that I don’t think anything conceptually new is happening here, though. It’s more like, wouldn’t it have been nice if The Fragile‘s two discs were Left-Trash Rock, Right-Art Rock? That’s the distinction I see here.

“Less Than” has that juicy bright synth loop that is very reminiscent of Pretty Hate Machine‘s peppier tunes. I’m getting a little tired of the ascending scale melody theme in Reznor’s songwriting, but it is catchy…so I guess that’s a little bit of a toss up. Fortunately, this is it’s only cameo in this EP. *whew* The instrument build up in this song is very well crafted and gives you that “so pumped” feeling ala “We’re in This Together.”

“The Lovers” is another toss up for me. Again, he is implementing a lot of his hey-day tropes–in this instance the whispered spoken word. I appreciate the style in it’s “original” form of “I Do Not Want This,” but here it just feels like the middle aged, high school football hero regaling us of the glory days. I love the sung melody, though; and I do feel the spoken word works as a sort of stylistic counterpoint. So that being said, I’m not sure the song could do without the spoken word even though it grates me. Also, this track is a reminder that Trent Reznor has beautiful song writing capabilities. I would love to hear instrumentals of all these tracks, because they really could stand on their own. It’s really no wonder he has been working on so much soundtracking recently.https://i1.wp.com/cdn3-www.musicfeeds.com.au/assets/uploads/nine-inch-nails-2017-source-facebook-671x377.jpg

“This Isn’t the Place” is so bluesy. Love, love, love. The perfect break up mash: Feist’s “The Limit to Your Love” as drunky, emotional catharsis and then this moody bitch is when you just sit and stew about the bullshit. This is really only underlined by the breathy falsetto vocals that start halfway through. Saudade as fuck; “I thought we had more time.”

“Not Anymore” is raw AF. Reznor doesn’t always do dramatic pauses, but when he does they are perfectly placed. I also love how so many thematic sounds from the last handful of albums get blended into one cohesive monster here. There are so many sonic rabbit holes to explore here. And just when you think you’ve settled into it. Boom!

In pops “The Background World.” I’m not sure the extended noise section was reaaally necessary, or that it necessitated the “album only” buy (such a gimmick btw…I mean unless you’re Bjork’s “Black Lake,” just sit down and let people buy what they want lol). It could have easily ended around the 6-7 minute mark without damaging the whole. What I do love about this track is how both the lyrics and the instrumental pieces metaphorically reflect the consequences-unraveling phase of an event. This is a very hard interpretation to get right, and it seems only fitting that Reznor would be the master of that realm.

Overall this EP is wonderfully solid. Skip your Strawbricks and add this latest NIN installation to your collection. It is definitely worth it.

4/5

New to the Library: Add Violence EP-Nine Inch Nails

ON REPEAT: “Unravel” Bjork

My guesstimate is that I found this gem in my collection around February and iTunes says I’ve listened to it 110 times so far–plus I got the VSQ rendition (love!). I find that the world reaches out to me with songs at just the right moment…or maybe I go searching when I don’t already have one in my arsenal for a particular feels.  Either way, “Unravel” by Bjork snuck it’s way into my life some months ago right at the nexus of re-establishing relationships with my estranged ex-lover and my ex-BFFF.   There is an anticipation of being able to share everything that has been missed in the meantime.  And yet, I cannot begin to comprehend how to share the journey of losing my Grandmother or moving across the country in a giant U-haul with a car trailer or the pain of finally letting my disappointing relationship with my father simmer out.  How do you navigate these lost spaces that would have been shared moment-by-moment?  How do you reconnect without dwelling on the bitterness of the past?

“He’ll never return it”

Bjork’s lyrics never cease to elude my understanding…why does your heart come undone in a ball of yarn?  Were you crocheting through the pain??  As with many other artists (Tool, Radiohead, The Beatles acid years…) my sad little bitter heart still finds a way to completely identify.  The somber synthy organ of wedding march-esque material in the background really seals the deal.  Get a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and cry into it while repeating “Weee’ll haaaave to make new loooooove.”

ON REPEAT: “Unravel” Bjork