Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

Month: Apr 2013

Tangerine Dream – Lily On The Beach

This is the follow-up record to Optical Race. In a lot of ways, it’s more of the same and that is very much a positive thing. There’s thirteen songs here and the unifying theme is the West Coast of the United States. This record evokes images of everything from beach-side cafes to the high mountains, with everything from fast roads to deserts in between.

It’s a livelier record than its predecessor. There’s none of the dreamy reflection that was prevalent on Optical Race. In truth, the whole record sounds happy. Apart from the battery of synths, there’s drums and guitars throughout and a fair chunk of it does come across as a product of its era. In fact, the song Paradise Cove sounds like it came straight out of Miami Vice or Beverly Hills Cop.

Of course, there’s highlights here, from the title track to the empyrean Mount Shasta, the happy groove of Blue Mango Cafe, the reverberating Gecko and the cool cruise of Desert Drive. The album highlight would be Crystal Curfew.

This record? I love it.

lily on the beach

John Fowles – The Collector

The CollectorThe Collector by John Fowles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The most tragic thing about this story is the degree of difference in how much Miranda and Fred are alive. Fred is a dead thing already – a doomed shell devoid of light, colour and joy. Winning a substantial amount of money brings no happiness to his grey existence. It’s a callous means to an end. His single-mindedness to collect Miranda is enacted with the same washed-out determination his every other act possesses. He is a Nowhere Man that exists somewhere between dead and dying. A social failure; a cipher.

Miranda is vivacity itself. Her every step bespeaks life on a buoyant scale. Her thoughts, spilled out on the pages of a panicked diary, show a young woman whose very zest and animation are given life. There is a crazed quest for life in the plots and ploys she conjures to free herself of Fred…and they become more crazed and, alas, futile, as her tenure as Fred’s prisoner continues.

It is a great injustice (and proof that the theory of karma is bunkum) how this tale pans out. The colourless prevails while the rainbow is extinguished.

So goes it.

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John Dickinson – The Cup of the World

The Cup of the World (Cup of the World, #1)The Cup of the World by John G.H. Dickinson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hmmm…you know, I liked the earnesty in which the author propelled this story along. He had an idea and a vision for it, and I wanted to go along and see where it ended.

That’s the good part. The bad? It feels like I’m reading the condensed version of what the author had in mind here. There’s some disconcerting scene and time shifting that I feel is editorial rather than any quirk of the author’s.

Else? The lead character Phaedra…well, I tried to empathise with her and her lot in life, but I can’t. It’s like reading the life of a British royal and how she would moan over the silverware not being polished or something. Yeah, poor you. First world problems. She verges on faceless as well, and I was waiting for the author to inject a bit of sauce or fire into her. Never happened.

Then there’s the style. The author swings between full-blown Tolkienesque English and something proximating his own voice. That right there is a near-killer of this story.

So, you go over hill and over dale with this story and the net result is not quite what you want or were hoping for. Shame that.

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Lots of music listened to

I’ve been checking out a lot of music lately, some of it old, some of it not so old. Let’s go.

  • Gary NumanDead Son Rising – not bad, but he tries too hard to put the creeps over. Lots of processed vocals and industrial noises. Dark, but not particularly brilliant. Yes, I prefer his Replicas era stuff.
  • David SylvianManafon – now, haven’t we got something truly weird here? This is what you call “experimental music”. Lots of disconnected vocals, acoustic guitar and chopped up orchestral sounds. About as anti-commercial as it comes. Not sure if I liked it or not.
  • Hüsker DüZen Arcade – old school punk. Apparently. People say this band and their records are brilliant so maybe I just missed the memo. Here, one song blurs into the other and the back-to-basics production doesn’t help. Tinny drums and vocals mixed way back make it sound like a cheap garage band record. Love to know what they’re singing.
  • In The NurseryA Page of Madness – this is a soundtrack to an old silent Japanese film. The music? Strange, weird, wonderful, haunting. I love it. More of the same please.
  • Neu!Neu ’75 – the best record of this lot. Six marvellous and utterly fascinating tracks, especially the cruising, dreamy Isi. It’s all good.

neu 75