temudjin borkchu - Post subject: Iggy
Original Study by BRADLEY BANKS
Bradley Banks is a Musician and Engineer, living an working in NYC.
Mixture Flavour by XIRON XIN
Xiron Xin is Himself and None of Himself Nowhere.
Roq and rol?
The pose that Iggy Pop struck for the cover of "The Idiot" is mimicked from the expressionist painter Erich Heckel's work: Roquairol. The album cover photo was taken by Andy Kent, the bass player for "You am I".
Erich Heckel was a German painter and printmaker, and a founding member of Die Brücke (translated as "The Bridge") group which existed from 1905 to 1913.
Heckel and others members of Die Brücke aimed to make a "bridge" between traditional neo-romantic German painting and modern expressionist painting.
The cover pose of "The Idiot" gives us further insight into the artistic work inside.
"The Idiot" as a work of Expressionism
Expressionism is an artistic movement or classification characterized by willful distortion of reality for emotional effect.
In 2oo1, Bowie said of Expressionism, "It was an artform that mirrored life not by event but by mood. And that is where I felt my work was going".
One reality that is distorted for emotional effect on "The Idiot" is ambiance.
The human ear is a clever device which can discern sound origin, motion, and physical volume. If you were to clap your hands in your bedroom and then clap your hands in a gymnasium, listening carefully each time, your ears would tell you most of the basic information your eyes do. You would hear the room size, wall hardness and whether or not there was something soft and absorptive (a bed) present.
Most listeners hear ambiance on a sound recording on an unconscious level. Ambiance defines the acoustic space where the musicians performed; they have to exist somewhere. Ambiance on recordings is created during tracking and / or mixing. It can be captured by the microphones in the room or added to / created with an effect.
Bowie (as producer) and the engineers manipulated this facet of reality to give the listener feelings of dread, coldness, desolation and unconsciously force the listener to fathom the world in which these performers existed.
Ambiance is most noticeable on impulse sounds, like the aforementioned hand clap. Impulse sounds excite the room briefly and end quickly, leaving the listener hearing only the room's response. (The Impulse response is used to characterize "systems" other than rooms.) Drums are terrific impulse sources and offer the best way to hear the ambiance on a recording.
"Nightclubbing" is the track with the most obvious example of distorted ambiance.
A second distortion of reality used within "The Idiot" is dissonance.
Dissonance is present most overtly on "Mass Production" and "Funtime" and is used to make the listener feel that something is going wrong, but since the "mistakes" remained on the record, the listener wonders what kind of musician would purposely do this?
Who is in control here?
The third distortion of reality present on "The Idiot" is literally distortion; the distortion on the piano instrument. Normally, you could not pass distortion off as an indicator of expressionism, but since the piano is such a foundational instrument, its sound known to all, distorting it adds to the feeling that something is not quite right.
"The Idiot" as a Bridge
Wikipedia research on Erich Heckel's Die Brücke finds the following: "Die Brücke aimed to eschew the prevalent traditional academic style and find a new mode of artistic expression, which would form a bridge (hence the name) between the past and the present. They responded both to past artists ... as well as contemporary international avant-garde movements.
The group developed a common style based on vivid color, emotional tension, violent imagery, and an influence from primitivism. "
Bowie said, "When I was in Berlin, I'd find old woodblock prints from the Brücke school, in small shops, at unbelievable prices, and to buy like that was wonderful."
It seems as if "The Idiot" would be quite at home among the works of Die Brücke. Iggy's work with the Stooges can be described as primitive.
Iggy's many whoops, screams and hollers, his violent stage antics and the band's musical limitations drove their knuckle-dragging sound.
For any Iggy Pop / Stooges fan in 1977, "The Idiot" was a massive departure. Bowie and Iggy's vision for "The Idiot" was to bridge Iggy's primal past to the 1977 present (and future) where bands like Kraftwerk and NEU! were creating mechanical and electrical music.
As we have seen and will continue to see, "The Idiot" draws from a multitude of varied inspirations.
Of "Funtime", Iggy said, "But [Bowie] had good ideas. The best example I can give you was when I was working on the lyrics to 'Funtime' and he said, 'Yeah, the words are good. But don't sing it like a rock guy. Sing it like Mae West. Also, it was a little bit gay. So, the vocals there became even more menacing as a result of that suggestion."
The opening gives us some eerie ambient feedback, a cough and giggling. The cough betrays what could be the ambiance processing on the drums or other instrument(s). Almost immediately, the listener is greeted by a zombie-like, dissonant chorus: "All aboard for funtime". Watching and listening to the above live version of "Funtime" illuminates a stark difference between the live version and the album version. We notice that on the album version, this chorus is sung in monotone while the live version has a melody.
The guitar on the first bridge starts with an off-note, but its kept as it is part of the dissonant mood. During the bridges where the singers are whipping themselves into a frenzy, singing, "Ooooo, we're having fun!" and "whhhoooooooooh c'mon!" the listener feels helpless as if he/she is strapped into some kind of horror show carousel that is careening out of control. This final part brings many screams swelling with a slow rise and fast decay which intensifies this wild, spinning effect.
This out of control feeling and ever present dissonance on this song makes the listener feel that something very UN-fun is actually happening and this is the main thrust of "Funtime". The juxtaposition of "Fun" and "Funtime" with the aggressive subject matter, monster references, leering sexual content and terrifying soundscape, leaves the listener not with feelings of irony but unease.
To the performers, with their depraved nervous systems, this song is all about genuine "funtime" with no irony intended. Its a glimpse into a world you could never join nor hope to understand.
IGGY IS IGGY.
hayseed - Post subject: Re: Iggy
da asta nu-i silviu gherman?
temudjin borkchu - Post subject: Re: Iggy
Home: Brooklyn, New York USA
Bradley Banks is a multi-instrumentalist who composes, performs and records all elements of his music. His songs contain organic and electronic instrumentation and moods ranging from frantic and upbeat to somber, pensive and melancholy. His eclectic music, reflects his vast experience from playing violin and percussion in orchestras to performing in seedy NYC punk rock venues. Bradley strives to create music that is sonically unique often with mangled, distorted sounds and unconventionally coupled instrumentation to make your project STAND OUT!
Bradley Banks has been playing music for the majority of his life,
and currently plays bass for various New York City bands.
He has performed in a wide range of settings from playing violin
and percussion in orchestras to singing and playing in clubs
all around New York City.
Bradley's studio is filled with a variety of instruments and both
new and vintage (circa 1950s) pieces of analog recording gear.
Most of the microphone pre-amps, microphones and compressors
he uses were built, designed or refurbished by Bradley, himself.
He uses many homemade distortion pedals and modified
compressors to achieve a unique sonic palette.
... and ... foremost ...
Thanks for everyone's posts and emails. I've finally gotten in touch with Laurent Thibault! He's been very gracious and is providing lots of details. I'm going to go back through and make additions in BOLD text. Take a look at the "Sister Midnight" post, for starters.
I just finished a 1.5 week tour of France which was great.
We played some great shows including the Printemps de Bourges.
Laurent Thibault kindly met me and we had some great time hanging
out and chatting together about "The Idiot" recording and his music career.