Wyrd Visions listens to hip-hop
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.


Masta Ace - "Hold U (ft. Jean Grae)". Masta Ace and Jean Grae make the sentimental simple, simple, simple. Nothing cute or precocious: a story; an explanation; unostentatious honesty over a warm, looped sample. I am always struck by the way hip-hop cuts meat from bone. It's got a poetry that's often much more precise than folk, rock, pop, or even the blues. Like the way Fitzgerald or Salinger can explicate something, secular words painting a picture of grace. Here's a love song that strolls effortlessly through the body of a love affair, blossoms all around, never stopping to be cute. Because this song demonstrates that it's not cuteness that sits at the centre of love, nor even the absence of doubt. It's the agreement, whole and plain, that: you, me, we're in love. Ha, so simple! Good thing I've got it all figured out. (He rolls his eyes.)


Wyrd Visions - "Bog Lord". Both Grizzly Bear and Final Fantasy have been speaking with wonder about their tourmate, Wyrd Visions. It was the first time I had heard the name, and to be honest I wasn't attracted. The phrase "Wyrd Visions" makes me think of the little occult/elf figurine shops in small-town New Jersey, places with big crystal balls in the window. Places that smell of incense and flash with mirrors. But I'm a fool, I'm a fool. I should know better; I should know to trust Ed Droste and Owen Pallett. While Wyrd Visions is certainly part of the, uh wyrd folk movement, there's a play in the music that keeps it skittering over the cloud-tops, never stuck in its mud. This song is ten minutes, eerie and also smiling, like the man in the corner at the all-night diner. It sucks you into its long landscapes and slowly-moving figures; organ, harmonium and crisscrossing guitar. It slows to match your breath. "Wyrd Visions only listens to hip-hop," says Owen. This is not hip-hop -- it reminds me more of Alexander Tucker than anything else, -- but oh it resists getting trapped in the old folk groove. It wanders, it skirts, it flows, it swings. It moves across the floor and whispers to your girl. It's a will'o the wisp in our Sunday night, murmuring through the grates.

[more info, album to be released on Blue Fog]


Some recent pieces of mine in The Skinny (and I have my own Final Fantasy intvw that's not been published yet): Akron/Family interview, Scatter, McClusky, The Knife, Belle and Sebastian, The Hussy's, The Streets, Kepler, Spinto Band, Alexander Tucker, Craig Thompson's marvelous graphic novel Blankets. Oof.

Posted by Sean at April 24, 2006 3:00 AM

Ahhhh saw Akron family in a tiny club in London, they are legends, it was great and literally healed me! Hallelujah. I recorded a few MP3 snippets but it hardly does it justice. Great memory.

Posted by Matthew in London at April 24, 2006 4:28 AM

Nice piece on 'Blankets'. Check out the comic 'Local' if you haven't already, Sean. Not sure about Wyrd Visions but I'll give it a second play.

Posted by dymbel at April 24, 2006 6:57 AM

yeeeeah! wyrd visions rule! so glad you posted this

Posted by edward Droste at April 24, 2006 11:39 AM

Fun facts: Mr. Bergh also plays in a great band called Awesome. They often wear Ikea obelisk lights over their faces Residents-style and give ceremonial improv a good name. His bandmates all have quality solo projects that the world outside Toronto should know about, namely N!fty, Mortimercy (who has also apparently recently been a supporting/supplementary Wyrd Vision), and Animal Monster.

Also, er, I just got to hear a new Grizzly Bear recording that Owen Pallett contributed strings to and it was quite the collabo; congrats, Mr. Droste.

Posted by Craig Dunsmuir at April 25, 2006 1:33 AM

Akron famil is a spectacular band. Thanks for the track it brings back so many great memorys.

Posted by Custom Bicycles at April 25, 2006 6:53 PM

Who knew the English language had a word with a triple e? Thanks for pointing it out, Sean.

Posted by Dave at April 26, 2006 12:30 AM

calling it "wyrd folk" is.... easy

Posted by arrow at July 3, 2006 9:19 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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