three speakers cover the area

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Okay, I've gotten a bunch of emails, and IT IS ON. "It" being NaSoAlMo (National Solo Album Month) 2005: in November, the challenge will be to write and record a solo album from scratch within the month. Details to come in a couple of days, but start gearing up.

Record of the day is the new version of an album I've known for a good long time: the Fall's Room to Live (Castle/Sanctuary). This is at least the fourth edition of it--most of the bonus tracks from earlier reissues are gone, replaced by a bunch of live recordings that approximate the whole album over again. (No "Papal Visit," because they never attempted it live; no "Marquis Cha-Cha" because who knows. A live "Words of Expectation," which never ended up on a studio album for fairly good reasons, and is not as good as the Peel version that came out recently.)

Room to Live originally came out six months after Hex Enduction Hour, which was one of those monumental-in-concept-and-execution albums that are usually pretty hard to follow up. So this one is slapped-together-sounding and short: seven tracks, which ramble and bumble in the ways that HEH threatened to and didn't. (Mark E. is being so cryptic and sarcastic that there is no way to even guess at what he's going on about most of the time. I've always imagined the atmosphere in the Fall around this time as being something like the atmosphere in Captain Beefheart's Magic Band during the Trout Mask Replica rehearsals--so far off in their own territory that they didn't know which way was up. Probably not true, just what I envision.) "Marquis Cha-Cha" and "Room to Live" both have their moments, especially the latter's clenched-teeth rockabilly lead guitar, but they both also move like there's something attached to their ankles.

Do the live versions bring the sludgy, bottom-heavy songs to life? They do not. Even on other live recordings I've heard from around this time, the Hex songs lift off and the Perverted By Language songs roll like a huge studded wheel, but the Room songs just kind of slump there and melt.

Great story from the liner notes about Arthur Cadman's very brief tenure as a third guitarist: "Smith introduced him to the band, who knew precisely nothing of his arrival. He was then dismissed after his sixteen-second tuning-up session, which is buried somewhere in the mix."

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on October 9, 2005 10:52 PM.

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