Thursday, 16 October 2008

Stormy blast of hell

Over two years ago, I was handed an audio cassette containing a somewhat legendary live recording from 1993 by the Swedish underground rock band Brainbombs, at the notorious student society Smålands Nation (in Lund). The tape was entrusted to me by a friend (the illustrious David Liljemark) who also happens to be acquainted with the band, and it was a direct copy from the original DAT recording from the gig. From that you might expect that the sound quality was pretty decent. It was not. In fact, it was absolutely terrible. Lots of rumble and hiss, all volume levels at 11, bad microphones, awful acoustics, and on top of that, shoddy wiring caused several drop-outs, twice losing the entire left channel for a couple of seconds. And of course the levels varied during the gig, as the (probably drunk) person in charge of the sound equipment adjusted them back and forth. Considering that the actual performance consisted of lots of guitar feedback and heavy riffing (and occasionally some random trumpet playing), it was not pleasant listening regardless of your taste in music. But it was clear that it had a certain something, and perhaps more importantly, this was to our knowledge the only live recording in existence of an entire Brainbombs set.

As I happened to have been doing some audio restoration for him previously, David wondered if I could do something with the tape, and since I like a challenge (and can be incredibly stubborn once I start on something), I worked hard in my spare time at getting the best sound possible out of the mess, sometimes giving up for many weeks and then going back at it again. After a year or so of this aural self-flagellation, my bleeding ears decided that enough was enough and it wasn't going to get any better than that. Meanwhile, David had somehow got in touch with a very small American punk record company, Richie Records, who said they'd like to make a vinyl record out of it. Almost a year ago, I mailed copies of my master sound files to the States, and didn't really hear much from that point on. Eventually, I forgot about the record. Until the other day, when something reminded me and I got the idea to google for the title.

I was happy to see that they quickly had sold out the 500 copies they printed, and that while some people rightly complained about the sound quality (although they should be glad they get to hear it at all, and its a hell of a lot better than the original tape), at least someone liked it. That made it all worthwhile, as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

It's that time of year again

In case you forgot to make a note of it in your calendar: tomorrow (Monday), the 13th of October, is the internationally celebrated Monkey Island Music Day! Let the festivities begin!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The content convalescent

It's a dreary Sunday in October, and I'm recovering from the cold that knocked me out, well..., cold, on Friday. With my better half gone away over the weekend, the apartment is eerily quiet but for the patter of rain on the windows; it's been drizzling all day. In other words, a perfect day for Bach.

I began by livening up the morning with Gould's recording of Two- and Three-part Inventions; then after lunch I switched to a more autumnal mood with the sombre Cello Suites 1-6 played by Pablo Casals. The late afternoon has been dedicated to Andras Schiff's interpretations of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier. I may follow this with some organ works, but I'm not sure yet if it fits the general mood.

It surprises me every time, that although I have a keen interest in musics of many sorts, there is absolutely nothing like Bach that can fill my entire body with bliss! But it requires the right kind of acoustics and absence of disturbances, so an opportunity like this must not be missed.

(I'll leave Gould's Goldberg variations for another day. I love them, but they would be so cliché.)