By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Now, what drives contemporary classical-music composers and jazz musicians -- William Parker, Matthew Shipp, people like that -- and pushes it further, is people forcing the harmonics, to make a more interesting use of the notes. They‘re not treating the piano to sound like some weird effect to pull you into the sound of it; it’s just about the notes chosen. So this album stayed away from those kinds of effects; it‘s all about the harmonic, and the things that were being said, that made the songs.
But then, I don’t really see the records musically as stops on the way, like there‘s a learning process that goes through the records. There is one, obviously, but that’s not the aim. This record does not diminish the last record, or the subsequent record.
You wrote the arrangements for this album using a Dictaphone and then hunting and pecking for the matching note on the piano. Isn‘t that tedious?
Part of why these arrangements sound like they do is they’re not coming from any kind of academic approach to writing music, or even the ability to play the piano. If you learn to play piano at a reasonable level, you learn things like “the next chord to go to” after the chord you‘re on -- you learn a kind of movement within music. Even people who are phenomenally talented on piano, they sometimes have to unlearn what they know in order to get back to an area that’s exciting. Without that knowledge, the only limitation was what note I could dream up, which didn‘t require whether I could actually locate that note with my fingers on the piano or guitar. Somebody here likened it to animation: You’re drawing the same frame over and over again with the tiniest of changes, but when you spin it back and the frames go past in real time, it‘s exciting.
There’s a lot of humor in the lyrics on this record, which is an element of Spiritualized listeners often don‘t grasp.
I guess some people want everything to be about specifics, like I’m a country singer: “Something happened to me at the bar the other day,” or “A friend of mine had this misfortune, and I decided to write a song about it.” The songs are honest to me, and I‘m not writing about things I don’t know, but they‘re not about specifics in my life; it’s not like I‘m laying everything bare by saying these words. Lee Hazlewood, when he’s singing about selling his watch for a fifth of scotch, there‘s no misery involved, there’s no ‘This is sooo unfair, oh Lord, why am I here?’ It‘s about the highs and the highs. It’s rejoicing the highs and -- well, saying it‘s ’rejoicing‘ the lows is the wrong word -- but it’s rejoicing the whole. It‘s all part of what makes life exciting.
Spiritualized performs at the Wiltern Theater, Tuesday, November 13.