the shoes that gaze at themselves

Thanks to lala.com (a startup leapfrogging from the trading of supposedly outmoded objects – namely CDs – into a portal for the exchange of nearly every format of music…), I picked up a copy of an album I’d had on an R.O.C. (“ratty old cassette” – I’m always calling them that, so I should just abbreviate) since its release in 1993, the self-titled album from Dutch band the Nightblooms. I think it was one of my sisters who’d bought the actual CD back then. Most of it is – well actually, most of it’s pretty good, but the one song that stood out for me then, and still does, is “Butterfly Girl“: eight minutes of a spacey, circular guitar figure embellished with ambient electronics, vocals forward and backward, and – not until about five minutes in – your more traditional shoegazery of beautifully corroded guitars. This is one of those songs whose words, even though they’re in English, might as well be in Finnish for me: they work entirely as sound, and even though I pick out a word or two (the title phrase, something about rain), what the song means is entirely carried by its sound and mood. And what’s that? Oh, it’s much easier just to listen to it than for me to explain it.

As long as I’m dreaming of effects pedals, here’s a more contemporary excursion into same, a track by Irish singer Nina Hynes called “Tenderness” which I found at Reverb Records‘ website. (I’d found the label searching for an otherwise-unavailable James Angell song…funny how that works.) This one has a light, almost tropical feel at times…but the textures gradually effloresce unusually, in case you were being lulled to complacency by the song’s surface prettiness.

The Nightblooms “Butterfly Girl” (The Nightblooms, 1993)
Nina Hynes “Tenderness” (Staros, 2002)

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4 Comments

Filed under noise

4 responses to “the shoes that gaze at themselves

  1. Anonymous

    Your post of Butterfly Girl made my day. And it’s my birthday!! Thanks!

  2. 2fs

    Happy birthday, anonymous!

  3. 45 Revolutions

    “Butterfly Girl” is just drums/bass/guitar, no electronics. And it’s just one guitar – no overdubs, even. There’s some tape-looping of the main guitar figure, and some amp noise, but that’s it. The whole album is just one guitar – no overdubs. I had the privilege of doing the recording and I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest…

  4. 2fs

    I guess I was considering the tape-looping as “electronics” (in an older definition) – rather than “synthetics” or something. Anyway, nice to hear from you – and interesting to hear how the CD was recorded.

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