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Diggedy Derek
02-11-2004, 02:31 PM
He's got a new album out, which to me sounds exactly the same as everything else he's done. Is there anything more to this man's talents than singing like a tramp, telling tedious tales of drunken bar-hopping, and his musical accompaniment of someone hitting a sink?

And didn't Captain Beefheart perfect this (as well as many other) forms of music nearly 40 years ago?

jed_
03-11-2004, 02:28 AM
I'm a huge Tom Waits fan and your either a huge fan or a hater when it comes to Tom, it seems. It doesn't sound the same as everything he's done but it uses much the same sonic palette that he's been using since Swordfishtrombones around 20 years ago. Is this a problem? only if you dont like it. music now is so focussed on a spurious sense of Progress (which is usually progress in technology) is there no space for someone who does essentially the same thing for a protracted period of time and simply fine-tunes it?


Is there anything more to this man's talents than singing like a tramp, telling tedious tales of drunken bar-hopping, and his musical accompaniment of someone hitting a sink?

And didn't Captain Beefheart perfect this (as well as many other) forms of music nearly 40 years ago?

the thing is - if you dont like the voice you will NEVER like Tom Waits - if you don't like loopy percussion sounds you will NEVER like Tom Waits and if you think that Beefheart (as much as he influenced TW) has done this all before you may well be deaf.

another thing: If you dont like it then you don't have to hear it, no one's shoving his music down your throat but theres always this implication of pretention relating to TW fans and i think that is maybe what your trying to get at. I think it's false.

nomos
03-11-2004, 04:38 PM
Just saw him opposite Iggy Pop in Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes. It was probably the best part in the film as Iggy played the geeky fan to Waits' too-cool-to-be-bothered.

mms
03-11-2004, 04:58 PM
only if you dont like it. music now is so focussed on a spurious sense of Progress (which is usually progress in technology) is there no space for someone who does essentially the same thing for a protracted period of time and simply fine-tunes it?.

what music nowdays is particularly focussed on a sense of progress, especially in technology I can't think of any?
Maybe a five years ago at some level but most music nowdays isn't too bothered about these concepts.

What about people like steve albini or elton john, whitehouse and will oldam, isn't what you describe exactly what these guys off the top of my head do?


i've never understood tom waits either it must be said and i haven't listened to it after i realised this , apart from in gavin briars jesus blood where he ruins it totally coming in at the end with his drunk actor bit.

jed_
03-11-2004, 06:33 PM
Maybe those people you listed do the the thing i said: "fine tuning" their craft or expression - i'm only familiar with oldham. I'm not saying TW is the only person doing that, thank god. As for my idea of progressive music being linked to technology i think that is a real phenomenon but i must admit i find it hard to express the idea properly and that i dragged an idea into the thread that perhaps doesn't seem completely apposite here.

I agree about him ruining the unity of the Bryars track but more because it brings in an element that seems off kilter with the rest of the peice. If you listen to that last section in isolation it's actually pretty good.

jed_
03-11-2004, 06:35 PM
and i'd blame Bryars for doing the wrong thing more that TW in that instance.

mms
03-11-2004, 07:31 PM
[QUOTEAnd didn't Captain Beefheart perfect this (as well as many other) forms of music nearly 40 years ago?[/QUOTE]

i'd say it probably comes from before that with harry partch, and his hobo based stuff/weird tuned instruments i wonder if both of em listened to him.
man some of that stuff is almost unbearable bless him. soe of it just get's it right tho.

jed_ yeah i reckon it is probably Briars fault, a friend of mine had him as a lecturer some years ago actually which i found odd when she told me.

jed_
03-11-2004, 11:13 PM
[QUOTEAnd didn't Captain Beefheart perfect this (as well as many other) forms of music nearly 40 years ago?i'd say it probably comes from before that with harry partch, and his hobo based stuff/weird tuned instruments i wonder if both of em listened to him.
man some of that stuff is almost unbearable bless him. [/QUOTE]

and Moondog from what i have heard of him!

Diggedy Derek
04-11-2004, 11:05 AM
Good reply to my first post, Jed- I was playing devil's advocate, of course. You're spot on that if you can't get past the voice you'll never get inside the music. I can't get past it, and that frustrates me. Rather than being able to give a considered response, I just feel like turning the stereo off immediately. It just sounds- to me, I stress- a ridiculous charade. Consequently, I feel like the whole thing is (as you say) pretentious.

I guess it's like my feelings regarding Frank Sinatra- the voice is so big, such a mass-ive presence, this ego seems to swallow the rest of the music. But as I say, I really don't understand the music, and just wish I could. It's like when I see a film with Nicholas Cage in it- despite it's other merits, it's hard to get past this enormous hammy presence that is the centre of the piece.

Interesting points about progress. I think there still has to be freshness, surprise in the equation somewhere- those Finnish folk underground people are good at using basic instruments and making them sound totally alien, as are say Sunburnt Hand Of Man. For me, Tom Wait's accompaniments never have any element of surprise, though, but that's probably just me.

jed_
04-11-2004, 01:53 PM
it's good to play Devils Advocate - if it had been a thread saying "how good is the new Tom Waits album" i probably wouldnt have replied to it! :)

to anwerr your last post though i have never known someone to persevere with TW then "get it" - its just an immediate love it or hate it i think.