Thursday, December 01, 2005

Music memories from Noise (Birmingham, AL):

In the year 2000 I worked at The Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, AL. During that time, most of my mornings/loose cash were spent at a record store in Homewood, AL called 'NOISE'. The owner, Greg, introduced me to an enormous amount of quality music during that year, and, to this day, I find that many of my musical interests still point back to a hand-full of artists that Greg introduced me to, there in Alabama. I am extremely grateful for his influence. It all began when I walked into his store for the first time and told him that I liked the post-rock stuff on Thrill Jockey Records, and the retro pop of Elephant 6 (i.e., chicago and athens). He told me frankly, "Oh, I hate that stuff!" I responded (hurt, but intrigued), "Well, what to you like?" He put on the song "Harlem" by Toshack Highway, and it blew me away, for it was indeed better, or at least way more beautiful and intelligent than anything to be found on the labels I had mentioned. It was a pivotal moment for me, in terms of musical taste. This guy had uncompromisingly high standards and I've always appreciated that (probably too much!). Here is "Harlem" by Toshack Highway: Click Me!

If memory serves me correctly, here are some the Albums introduced to me by Greg at Noise:

Quasimoto: The Unseen
Jimi Tenor: Organism
Serge Gainsbourg: L’Histoire de Melody Nelson
Toshack Highway: Toshack Highway
Joe Meek: I Hear a New World
Various Artists: Shake Sauvage
The 6ths: Hyacynths and Thistles
Tarwater: Silur
Daft Punk: Discovery
Peter Thomas: Raumpatrouille
Nino Nardini and Roger Roger: Tropical
Gary Numan: The Pleasure Principle
Gary Wilson: You Think You Really Know Me
Deltron 3030: 3030
Ennio Morricone: (everything).
Flanger: Templates
Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain
The Zombies:Odysee and Oracle
Money Mark: Mark’s Keyboard Repair
Mouse On Mars: Niun Ngung
The Notwist: The Notwist
Console: Rocket in the Pocket
Phoenix: United
Kreidler: Kreidler
The Gentle People: Simply Faboo (song: Superstar)
RJD2: Dead Ringer
Skip Spence: Oar
Bertrand Burgalat: The Sssound of Mmmusic
Wire: Pink Flag
Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant: The Flaming Guitars of…

Films/TV he introduced to me:

Cleopatra Jones
The 5000 fingers of Dr. T.
Orpheus (Cocteau's, with the incredible mirror sequence)
The Brothers Quay
The Prisoner

After five years, Noise closed, and Greg found he could no longer listen to music other than the Rolling Stones and Stravinsky.


Anonymous said...

Cue "Wonder Years" theme music...

E. Twist said...

The word 'lush' doesn't quite capture the fluttering whirls of strings, keyboards, and delicately plucked guitar that opens 'Harlem'; I'd go so far as to label such enveloping richness of instrumentation 'baroque,' perhaps even 'rococo.'

The incredibly simple melody becomes a lump-in-the-throat meditation on man's place in the universe through subtle pitch shifts and just the right mist of reverb. The slow fade-in is the lonesome sound of a gentle wind brushing the surface of Mars moments after the last rocket back to Earth has lifted off.

Ideally, the physics of record reviewing are as elegant as actual physics, with each piece speaking to the essence of its subject as deliberately and as appropriately as a real-world force reacting to an action.

This is what I have just done. 'Harlem' was a worthy subject.

Joshua Corrigan said...

Greg also sold cool threads and had a soft spot for a certain incense from @home. Do you recall the flavor?

Joshua Corrigan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bryan Johnson said...

I found your blog from your dad's Christmas card. I loved this post because Greg would get so mad at me for my musical taste. He cussed me out one day for wanting to by a Sunny Day Real Estate disc. Jeremy Enick only whined by his assessment. From that day on my brothers and I would go in and ask if he had Michael Bolton or Yanni just to get a rise out of him. Glad to hear that you got deeper with him than me. Last time I saw him he was working in the Mcwane Center gift shop. Gone are the glory days.
Loved the song, thanks for sharing.