Author Topic: The Black Swan  (Read 11408 times)

Offline milton

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The Black Swan
« on: November 09, 2006, 06:11:21 AM »
Is The Black Swan a masterpiece???

I certainly think so, everytime I listen to it i'm more convinced of it.

It certainly is ahead of its time, if you conpare it to what Calexico are doing & to what The Jackson Code did then in my opinion you can see what David McComb was trying to acheive with this record and to my mind acheived.

I know a lot of people think its all over the shop but that's what the aim was and it would have been interested to see what the Triffids would have sounded like if they had continued on the that path by adding other people to the mix...

Do you concure GLEE?

What do other people think???


Cheers,

Milton

 

Offline Annie

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 06:49:42 AM »
I kind of do agree, yeah. I was living in Perth at the time of it's release and something that I've thought about quite recently when listening to it for the first time in years was that people that were into 'alternative' music, which was a phrase that still had some validity back then, quite often crossed paths or were only one removed at most from the rest of the crowd, owing to the population I suppose. So you'd go to parties and often see familiar faces but they were people you didn't 'know' so you didn't talk to them. Even at parties with different crowds or a different group at the centre, you would often here the same music and it was particularly interesting that a lot of that music wasn't the actual new alternatice stuff, it was the influences from the past or from more commercial genres. So (thanks for bearing with me) there were some months or years leading up to the release of TBS when you would always hear Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, NWA and so on - it might seem kind of indiscriminate (I remember seeing an interview with Chuck D. where he used young white Aussies as the example of what he hated most about their fame) but it was all equally exciting to our ears. But it was also very foreign and I guess we didn't hear it the same as the people creating it did. Anyway, bit of a ramble but I really would have loved to know what was coming next after BSD directionally. Not sure it would have been more along the hip hop lines but it would surely have been surprising and masterful. I just think it was very brave to venture into such unfamiliar territory. So, I suppose a masterpiece, for me anyway, yes.
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Offline Kees

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006, 07:07:00 AM »

TBS a masterpiece ? Not really for the Triffids. Compared to lots of other bands : absolutely.

The only reason why I could not call it a masterpiece is because not all songs are fabulous/have the same quality. For instance "goodbye little boy" does not have the Triffids quality (except for the brilliant bass line), same for "good fortune Rose", although it sounded very nice in Hasselt.

On the other hand, there are some brilliant songs on it (for instance "New years greetings" and "too hot too move, to hot to think", on which you can "feel" the heat while playing it).

Nevertheless, TBS is absolutely a great album. The most interesting is that they prove on this album that they could also bring brilliant songs which were not expected from Triffids ("spinning song", "little clown prince").

Offline Urpal

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 07:31:23 AM »
I've always loved the Black Swan, and never heard it as a being a great "leap of faith" departure from the albums that went before. There's certainly a theatrical variety from song to song, but it still hangs together, like a play with scenes set in different stage settings, as a complete work.

I'm surprised when people categorise "The Spinning Top Song" as some sort of lame "white boy rap/hip hop" thing as my conception of it is firmly in the "indie" tradition. It's certainly less soul brothery than, say, some of the stuff on Lou Reed's Street Hassle album, and follows the rapping meter of a shouted/spoken "street" song with full band accompaniment in that sort of tradition more than the all out beat box and a touch of rhythm-enhancing vinyl scratch and looped sampling. Same goes for Falling Over You as a mainly spoken word piece.

All the "song songs" are strong melodically and have an extraordinary "theatrical pathos" which I find breathtakingly exciting. Also profoundly moving, comforting and involving. As I listen to it, I pass from the sunset of a scorching hot day in a claustrophobic urban environment (think West Side Story) to the bustle of an evening at dockside, pass through a nightmarish black comedy circus/club with clowns, acrobats, freaks and drunks (Cabaret-ish) and escape to an eden-like pastoral isolation of sweeping countryside and wistful thought. If anything it's stronger on the panoramic screenplay than the previous albums.

Not a bad trip that for a few quid. Ahead of it's time? I can't think of any record since with greater ambition fulfilled.

I'm looking forward to hearing the reissue - promised to be the IMAX version (Director's Cut) restored to it's fully expanded glory - like that old three screen Napoleon silent movie.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2006, 09:30:34 AM by Urpal »
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Offline Johan

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 07:37:11 AM »
I agree with Kees here.
I'm not too keen on the experimentation (although I do really enjoy Falling Over You) but what mostly lets this album down is the number of subpar tracks (at least by Triffids standards): Goodbye Little Boy, Bottle Of love and One Mechanic Town especially.
Still, Too Hot to Move, Butterflies, NY Greatings and Fairytale Love are amongst my fave Triffids-songs.

So it's not a masterpiece, but I wouldn't want to trade it for any album in the Uncut's top 50 of 2006, so it must be a really good album still, or I'm getting old...
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Offline lonesomesquare

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 08:09:23 AM »
The Black Swan was actually the first Triffids album I bought. Listening to it made me realise quite quickly that I just had to get the other albums too!

Too bad that no new studio albums followed TBS, I couldn't agree more. The album definitely went into some new musical directions, still keeping the Triffids High Quality Standards intact. In my humble opinion of course.
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glee

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2006, 09:07:17 AM »
The pleasure of getting the material ready for TBS still awaits me but I'm sure it will be an interesting time...getting started properly on it soon. I have a pretty good idea of what it will be, but this is an album that was demoed better than any other and some of those demos are really, really good. So we'll see what stands up when the time comes. 

Offline Urpal

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2006, 09:42:16 AM »
You mentioned way back that TBS was intended to be a double album but record company pressure shrunk it. Isn't a re-constitution of the originally envisioned album possible?

If not, what would the full double album tracklist have been?

How was TBS actually recorded? By which I mean that looking at the band make-up for each song this varied quite markedly and not all core Triffids were present throughout. Were the recording sessions sporadic or over a concentrated time period etc?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2006, 09:49:39 AM by Urpal »
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glee

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2006, 02:11:26 PM »
It was recorded in three weeks (or maybe four) in a residential studio near Taunton. Cathangar is the name of the town I think. We had various people there at different times. When we had nothing to do we played pool.
 

Offline milton

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2006, 03:12:45 PM »
Its great to see a positive response, its good to know i'm not losing my mind.

GLEE, Is the TBS going to be a 1cd or 2cd reissue?


Cheers,

Milton.

Offline vps

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2006, 05:53:18 PM »
TSB is a great if meandering album. With the exception of "Goodbye Little Boy", which is just too straightforward pop (albeit not without merit) for my taste, the material stands up really well. The eclecticism of the song selection is one of its attractions although it does mean that it doesn't necessarily suit all situations and moods as well as other Triffids albums do. Must say I agree with Urpal on Spinning Top Song, I never took as "white boy hip hop". 
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Offline Urpal

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2006, 08:46:11 PM »
When we had nothing to do we played pool. 

Any memorable games of pool? And who was the best pool player? I'd put money on Martyn.
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Offline babelogue

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2006, 09:03:19 PM »
Totally concur with Milton and Urpal - spot on with your comments about 'theatrical pathos' and 'panoramic screenplay'. Each song conjures up strong images for me, The Clown Prince in particular recalling a bizarre and ill-fated few weeks in France, wonderfully bookended by Triffids shows in London and Glasgow.

Can't go along with those of you dissing Goodbye Little Boy - a perfect pop song, a great breaking up song, great vocals, fabulous pedal steel....


Offline Cassiel

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2006, 09:38:50 PM »
I'm going to have get down in my foxhole again and defend GLB, too. Lovely song. Sure it verges on pastiche, but I love the lyric, the weary vocal, everything about it to be honest.

As I said before, I'm looking forward to this reissue more than any of the others.
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Offline stonesurfer

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Re: The Black Swan
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007, 08:46:53 AM »
I'm glad to hear others of you loved TBS; I can't put my finger on why, but when it came out, it was my favourite Triffids album (I was concerned I may be lynched here for saying so...I was under the impression that many on the board didn't rate TBS) . I think I loved it so much,  because it was so different, so many varied moods, styles and themes, and yet it hung together so well. I nearly wore out my vinyl version, when i first bought it, so I'm really looking forward to the re-release - pre-order me one right now!.

Glee, as I think Urpal asked earlier, are there any plans to include m/any of the "double album" tracks that didn't make it? They would be well worth a listen...

PS I too am a fan of GLB - and of Good Fortune Rose. I remember hearing a snatch of GLB as backing music on an episode of Neighbours (not that I was a fan of Neighbours, you understand, it was just on in the background when I was in the pub at the time...) I couldn't believe that it wasn't a MONSTER chart hit at the time.

On the subject of Neighbours (sorry) can any of you  Aussies, give me a hint as to any interesting/funny  storeylines? I'm not bothered myself, you understand, but my wife is a big fan (shame) and I'd love to wind her up about the soap. And I know the episodes come out several months earlier in Oz than in the UK. 
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