Wednesday, June 01, 2005

kpunk, fantastic, on Goth and Siouxsie,

Fascinating not just the abiding-ness of the Goth look on the streets of the UK and elsewhere, but its odd half-lives in music: sonic traces in nu-metal and in Grimm, even in emo (albeit mostly make-up and coiffure, admittedly, plus the "November Rain"-level over-ripeness of that recent My Chemical Romance video, the one set at a funeral).

Not to demur with Mark's analysis, which is spot-on, but one thing to acknowledge with the Banshees is a tension between the Dionysian and the Glam, Primal and Po(i)se, Fire and Ice, that runs through their music, which can be traced to their love of Can's "hypnotic revolving patterns of sound" (Severin), and comes out in Budgie's tumbly tribal drums, or the headbanging riff in "Monitor", or the carnal grind of "Slowdive", which is something like a porno version of Can's "Half Past One". This tension between the visual--Theatre/Tableau/Ceremony--and the sonic--Turmoil/Turbulence--already being present in some of their Sixties forbears e.g. The Doors, whom Severin for one loved, with their staged elements, Morrison as cinema student as much as season-in-hell poet-inebriate. And surviving even into the early Roxy--Manzanera's playing unique for having both a glazed, sculptural quality--sound you can see--and intimations of post-Hendrixian chaos and conflagration. Two different sides of the Pagan perhaps, the idol-atrous and the bacchanalian.

Last year I stumbled on a VH1 programme, a show from the briefly-reformed Banshees' recent tour of the USA, and was surprised by how powerful and engulfing the music was, how wild and heathen--at times even recalling the most churningly shamanistic parts of Tago Mago. From a bunch of middle-aged English people it was doubly impressive (you should have seen Sioux rolling around on the stage floor in her bodice). But it actually eclipsed virtually all the young bands I've seen live these last few years. And this was on TV, where live rock shows rarely come across well.

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