Clint Mansell (and Kronos Quartet) – Tree of Life


This is from the soundtrack to The Fountain. I found myself humming it out of nowhere the other day, or a version of the main theme that’s found in “Tree of Life.” In a better world, this soundtrack and this song would be just as popular as Clint Mansell’s oft and weirdly deployed Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. The Fountain, too, deserves better recognition (for the chemical reactions-as-nebulae micro macrophotography alone, you should watch this movie).

[Note on the image: I love this still life. Georg Flegel]

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All June

The Impossibles – Stand Up Fall Down Get Crushed (Live)

Impossibles Crop

Last June I went to Austin with my four younger brothers to see a band that had played its last show 10 years prior. The Impossibles had gotten back together to play two shows over one weekend. The band filmed its other final show in 2002 and released 1,000 copies of it on DVD through their old record label, and since then I had probably watched that DVD 30+ times, both with and without the commentary (which is incredibly funny–the commentary, I mean). My expectations were high, though in all likelihood paled in comparison to my younger brothers’, who had all grown up listening to the Impossibles, and who held them in the same esteem as Weezer, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, et al. The concert that we went to–the first night, June 9th–was one of the most fun I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s for a hundred different reasons, but the best of which were: the band’s enthusiasm, their sense of humor, their genuine surprise at the crowd’s reactions; the crowd itself, one of the most age-diverse I’d ever seen, with 45 year-old dudes and 15 year-old kids all displaying the same beside-themselves levels of excitement; and the opening acts, some of whom also grew up listening to and admiring the Impossibles. I tried to imagine what the band members must have felt, what they thought about their time in the band. The Impossibles were never as popular as Weezer, or Opertation Ivy, or Jimmy Eat World, and the band has admitted that they’re fine with that–but even if they never sold a million copies of any album, or got to headline Coachella or whatever, it must be heartening for them to know that the art they made, even when they were in their teens and early twenties, had an intense and durable effect on a whole lot of people.

Anyway, so that night’s show was filmed and recorded, and the Impossibles have released an HD recording of the show through their website, and an album of the show through the usual places. It’s all pretty wonderful.


Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury – Inhale


Geoff Barrow (of Portishead and BEAK> and Quakers) worked with Ben Salisbury on a soundtrack for a Judge Dredd movie. Not the Judge Dredd movie that just came out. A Judge Dredd movie that exists in another, more perfect world. The project, or soundtrack, is called Drokk, and it is weird and wonderful (the real movie, “Dredd,” is neither of those things, but it is both watchable and sort of entertaining). Much of Drokk sounds like BEAK> with the haze and menace turned up, and it follows the rhythms of some of the best sci-fi soundtracks, in that there are tracks that are pacey and grim, followed by songs that simply respire. Mystery leads to resolution leads to additional mystery and complication. Also, Geoff Barrow is (I think) a stone-cold genius and it’s always great to hear his work.

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White Label Assassins

Animal Collective – Sponge Luke


I wrote about this song a while back, and was reminded of it while listening to the Animal Crack Box rarities collection. As far as I know, this has never been released in any form, and might’ve been played only that one time, at the Bowery in 2004.

There could be a two-part suite where Black Dice’s ‘Miles of Smiles’ follows (almost) seamlessly upon AC’s ‘Sponge Luke’; both songs possess a fire-eyed nocturnal gleam and menace. ‘Miles of Smiles’: humidity slick cicadas whirr and grumble, while ‘Sponge Luke’ has the bubbly kvetching of innumerable lily-bound frogs.

‘Sponge Luke’ feels, always, like it has been stitched together roughly in front of me, and it’s a thick-threaded, expansive cloth: a sheet for the summer, a thunderstorm comforter. Avey Tare’s vocals on this have the same sort of kid-party feel heard on certain “Sung Tongs” tracks (I think ‘Sponge Luke’ actually dates back to that era), which I enjoy.