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Wonderful - partly read this book and partly listened to the audiobook on audible, because Stephen Levine's voice is very moreish. He's obviously liveWonderful - partly read this book and partly listened to the audiobook on audible, because Stephen Levine's voice is very moreish. He's obviously lived for so long with death and dying top of mind and his experience and openness comes through.
Lots of Buddhist, Hindu and Zen influences but also Christian, Jewish, Islam and scientific information. Aetheists won't be put off either I think.
I'll be working with this book for a year... month by month, meeting with a small group and discussing it. What if we only had a year left? How would one live differently, what would be changed.....more
This read like a very long short story to me, but maybe I was expecting such after some previous Saunders I have enjoyed. And iWonder, wonder, wonder.
This read like a very long short story to me, but maybe I was expecting such after some previous Saunders I have enjoyed. And it didn't take long to read.
You might guess that bardo is what to say to a friend suggesting a visit to the local watering hole, but it is actually the Buddhist term for the state just after death. That time when all ties to our (apologies to any spirits reading) mortal plane are not yet severed. Creepy to set a novel there. But the word novel also means inventive, new. This book is indeed that.
The descriptions of the moon therein are quite something. But there is much more. Any good student of history needs to read it.
I love listening to the period of fertile and reactionary musical exploration that was Germany from late 1960s, the freedom of it all, and the wildnesI love listening to the period of fertile and reactionary musical exploration that was Germany from late 1960s, the freedom of it all, and the wildness and humanity, as though the awful war birthed something mutant. Birthed a group of people who embraced invention, didn't give a fig for commercial success and rejected the mainstream insidious vanilla musical tropes of Schlager, beer-hall dumbing down, still nationalistic in its way.
The new German musicians worked to create rhythms and ideas providing fuel for contemporary music even today. No other scene came with the caveman aggression and yet peacefulness of Krautrock, finding a way for the braves of their generation eager to move somewhere forwards psychologically from the horror of mass brainwashing, violence, the pariah status of their country; they had a right to be free and happy, but this was going to take a first principles group approach.
Isolated, springing up in different regions of Germany from each other and somehow avoiding local success, without internet to expose their doings, the groups Can in Cologne, Amon Düül in Munich and then Berlin communes, Kraftwerk coming from Düsseldorf, with a two-act initial phase, the first of which many wouldn't know existed, where they were closer to Ummagumma Floyd than the locked down electronic which so inspired future beatmakers in techno and hip-hop.
Faust, also, sprung up in Hamburg, where the Beatles famously cut their teeth (98 consecutive nights in one club!) and where many Fab Four imitators also appeared. Luckily Faust had invention to burn and a bizarre set of circumstances - a commercially hungry Svengali who somehow wrangled major label funds for their recordings where desks and effects were wired up through rooms of a house and musicians could apply effects to their colleagues' instruments in real time, very cutting edge.
Another Düsseldorf band with ties to Kraftwerk was Neu! who although a duo, made enveloping and entrancing rock music with help from studio wizard Conny Plank, who not only was able to utilise the new recording techniques becoming available in the early 70s, but was able to nurture and bring out the essence of a band with sympathetic production. Plank is pivotal to the story of this music and there could be multiple books related to him alone.
This book's author has taken Plank's approach to heart where he picks out the strengths and uniqueness of each band and so clearly allows us to place each in context in a rebuilding and globally smarting Deutschland. It's been seen as a niche of music, with some going through a Krautrock "phase" as one might with Be-bop or Prog rock. But this is music with a long tail, and the book opens it up with a critical but joyful eye, more approachable than similar surveys by Julian Cope and others.
As a long time fan who recognised early as a teenager the thrill of Faust from his UK bedroom, ears and eyes opened by this bizarre music, colouring his ideas about the charts and leading him to delve deeply, David Stubbs has compiled a wealth of origin stories. He has the musical knowledge to see the threads of Krautrock develop over the years (and dedicates a few pages to the justification for using the "K" term, incidentally) making clear that this music, for all the noise about it since Stereolab and The Fall, Pavement, Hunters and Collectors and others quietly championing it, has long legs.
A very much needed swathe of colour for the music journalism landscape in Australia. Not a clickbait headline in sight. Enjoyed particularly the exploA very much needed swathe of colour for the music journalism landscape in Australia. Not a clickbait headline in sight. Enjoyed particularly the exploration of Summershine records' DIY melody aesthetic. And there is a lot to learn about, the many faces of Kirin J Callinan, cover star to the stars, just the wordless tip of the iceberg. People doing music for the love not the coin. Simona Castricum, of fluid gender, making organic techno and Kimchi Princi who is like a wonderful Australian/SEA Kitty Pryde heavy on the late nite vibe. Great stories, under-celebrated music stories from this land. Looking forward to issue2....more