glass works
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Hanne Hukkelberg - "Searching". The press materials would have her be the Norwegian Joanna Newsom, but no, that's not right. If anything, Hanne sounds like Cocorosie, wetmouthed, ringing, glimmering. There are, however, some differences: Hanne's one person; She would, I bet, would make you (good) breakfast; And instead of dating Conor Oberst, I can only imagine Ms Hukkelberg on the arm of Bill Murray. Some Slavic Bill Murray, I guess. He'd probably be an entomologist.

This song is underwater sunlight or a squirt of lime. It's scrapes and dings, Jon Brion organ, an unfliching brightbright faith. "But now that I can see / my man / will come to me." There's a true tenderness in these strange sounds, the squeezed voice, the theremin's distant sorrow -- I have the feeling we could break Hanne Hukkelberg's heart.

[buy from the Leaf Label]


I had no interest in liking Flotation Toy Warning's debut album, Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck. I hate the band name, I hate the album name.

But wouldn't you know it - it's great.

Popsheep already posted the record's best track, "Popstar Researching Oblivion", but there's much, much more to be heard. Maybe there's even too much - you better know what you're doing when your debut is seventy minutes in duration and most of the tracks are longer than six minutes.

Flotation Toy Warning - "Happy13". I guess the album is what the kids would call "avant pop", and this is a good label only inasmuch as it keeps things very vague. "Happy13" trudges a bit, never reaching euphoria, while "Popstar Researching Oblivion" lolls in silly wagging cornfields. "Donald Pleasance" is impressionist sorrowful, "How the Plains Left Me Flat" stamps like a one-man-band. What's terrific about "Happy13", though, is the way that synth line cuts right through, grabbing you by the collar from those very first notes. Flotation Toy Warning have a bevy of resemblances - The Eels, The Unicorns, The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, the Polyphonic Spree, even Chad Van Gaalen, - but they're also very clearly their own thing. That knife-edge synthline gives way to dusty drums and a dustier lead vocal, but later it's resurrected in a bed of twinkles, rhodes and maybe even distant choir. The song ends abruptly, but that's because it's not a radio single - it's part of an LP.

Yeah - The biggest challenge that Bluffer's Guide... faces, other than its absolutely awful moniker, is the fact that it's really an album album. There are a very many musical ideas, vignettes of melody and timbre and mood, snatches of song that bump into one another like so many brightly coloured boats. Unlike Ian, I don't find myself reaching to play the same track(s) over and over, but instead I compulsively hit 'play' to listen again to the whole CD. I relish the moments that are already familiar, I am brought to attention by the unexpectedly brilliant sound.

The band is from London. You can buy the album on Misra as of August 16th, and if the label gets its website troubles sorted out, you can already order it from the UK label, Pointy.


Elsewhere, and perhaps of interest only to Canadians:

Rick Mercer's got a blog! And it's funny!

Posted by Sean at June 22, 2005 3:09 AM

That Rick Mercer blog IS quite funny!

Posted by Sam at June 22, 2005 1:49 PM

When I heard Flotation Toy Warning on Popsheep I immediately got their album and was equally amazed, though I find I am able to listen to individual songs (like the two that you and Popsheep have posted). STG quickly regaining "King of Blogs" status in my eyes.

Posted by nofrontin at June 22, 2005 6:04 PM

Thanks for the Hanne Hukkelberg Sean, I love it! It is neat how she is using lots of non-instrument objects in such a musical fashion. Now I need to find somewhere in North America to buy it.

Posted by jay at June 24, 2005 2:49 AM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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my love for you is a stampede of horses
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