Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stick's Picks

Audio: Silent Waters, by Amorphis

Back when the world was new ... OK, well not quite that long ago. More like 1994. I had my first encounter with Amorphis by way of their album Tales From The Ten Thousand Lakes. It’s a good thing that CDs were in wide use by then, because I would have worn a vinyl copy straight through to the turntable platter. As much as I loved that album, for reasons that completely elude me at the moment, I sort of lost track of Amorphis.

For probably similar nebulous reasons, Amorphis popped into my wee noggin recently and I decided to see what they were up to these days. Silent Waters is their most recent album, although it’s well over a year old by this point.

I’m not sure how best to describe Amorphis, but I’ll give it a shot. I’ve never been too hip to the various subcultures of metal; I pretty much just give a thumbs up or thumbs down and ignore the categories. Although I like grindcore bands like Panterra well enough, I prefer my metal served up with a bit of the progressive rock flavour and Amorphis suits me just fine in that regard. Originally, I think they were classed a death metal band, but now maybe more like a goth metal or progressive metal band. Take from that mess of a description what you will.

More importantly, Amorphis tends toward the melodic end of metal without producing the treacle that other melody-oriented bands manage. Another notable point about Amorphis is that they are one of the very few metal bands who’s arrangements include keyboard parts that actually both stand out and enhance the music without sounding like they were written by a bunch of retards. I would hazard a guess that if you like some current metal and also enjoy older bands like Rainbow and Deep Purple, Amorphis is probably right up your alley.

At any rate, Amorphis has been pumping out all sorts of great jams since Tales From The Ten Thousand Lakes, and if all my mumbo-jumbo sounds like your cup of tea, Silent Waters is a good first sampling of Amorphis-y goodness.

And, yes, they do seem to have some strange obsession with water.

Video: Darren Aronofsky

I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie Pi, directed and co-written by Darren Aronofsky. It’s the story of a mathematical genius who doggedly pursues his faith that there is order in the universe and this order can be described by math. The film is shot entirely in black and white, and while I would normally expect this to be the signal of a pompously artsy-fartsy movie, it actually works spectacularly well in Pi. The lack of colour allows the story to shine through exceptionally well.

Being as impressed with Pi as I was, I decided to check out some other work by this Aronofsky fellow. I subsequently watched Requiem For A Dream, and The Fountain, both of which, I am happy to report, are great.

I won’t bother describing the latter two movies, except to say that they, along with Pi, are good and offbeat. They all fall in the range of weirdness that I generally like in movies. All are cleverly strange, but not so fucked-up-weird and art-housey that I can’t derive some sort of point from them.

Textuo: ?

I was sure I had something for this section, but I was wrong. I got nuthin’.

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