Meltdown in the Epistemology Department
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.


Medicine Head - "When Night Falls"

If you've never heard my karaoke version of "You're So Vain", then you've never been moved. In my baritone warble, the best verse ("You said that we made such a pretty pair/And that you would never leave/But you gave away the things you loved/And one of them was me") is rendered with unprecedented pathos. Unfortunately for you, I only do about one show every two months and I rarely tour and since karaoke is not the sort of thing one records, you'll probably never hear it. As such, I offer this thematically relevant, just slightly less beautiful, proto-Antony piece in its place. This song was recorded in 1970, but there's nothing to date it; it sounds as though it could have been recorded today. Promises are still broken and hearts with them and try as we might to run from it, when night falls, it still sounds just like this. [Buy]

Tsehaytu Beraki - "Aminey"

While they're playing music, most bands cooperate internally. Members play their pre-agreed upon parts, their melodies and rhythms, and together create harmony. It's a utopian thing. Strange, then, that Tsehaytu Beraki manages to find a funky, whining beauty in his band's disagreement and strife. The bassist, for instance, rejects outright the song's 4/4 time signature. Certainly the skittering guitarist appears to be playing from a second score and the marshalling percussionists a third, highly divergent one. It's heartening to hear the guitarist and the singer agree, though in their near-unison there's a hint of competitiveness bordering on brinksmanship. And yet, despite the fractiousness, the music is most harmonious. It's enough to make one question whether music theory is anything more than an arbitrarily decided set of cultural mores. After all, if both harmony and disharmony produce harmony, then what do we really know about anything? [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at February 29, 2012 5:38 PM

Just have to point out that Tsehaytu Beraki (a woman) is a very influential Eritrean folk singer. The instrument that sounds like a guitar is a krar, an Ethiopian 4 or 5-stringed harp, which she plays and sings. Just learning about this stuff today myself and came across your post. Thanks!

Posted by Joel at March 16, 2012 10:55 PM

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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.

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Back to the World
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