Retropolis: Rumore

Machine translation from Italian magazine. The translation is terrible; but you get the gist of a great article. If anyone with Italian skills would be kind enough to write a translation, I will gladly accept and publish it.

– Nicholas Caleffi

Exactly ten years ago, in autumn 1993, the Afghan Whigs published their fourth and best album, Gentlemen – chosen as the album of the year from Noise. Published during one of the beautifulr seasons of the rock independent to stars and strisce, Gentlemen is between the capolavori of years Ninety: summa perfect of the crash between a powerful and dynamic sound and pitilessly realistic witnesses. Today the Afghan Whigs does not exist more. To three years from the issolution of the band, while Greg Dulli continues its personal travel of lussuria and desperation (according to album of the Twilight Singers, the its new musical plan, has been as soon as published), it is difficult to notice in the panorama strongly puts into effect them a group with an emotional and comunicativa intensity therefore.

Prologo. Milan, 30 January 1994
The premises is the Zimba Club: an organized concert, goodness knows because, to the five of the afternoon. We are to the end of the ladder, the last brano of a maratona debilitating that has seen us to participate emotionally to the onslaught to the heart and the organized brain from the four individuals (of which one, the drummer, only dressed of the amphibians) that they move on the theater box. The amplification system is to the limit, the voice of the singer is practically tutt’ one with the distortions of the guitars. In a mixture of fury and control that sfocia in a sonic climax of epochal dimensions, the Afghan Whigs are demolishing Milez Is Dead and Greg Dulli it says before beginning this ennesima we danced of the dead women: “I’ ve got something to say about love…” the apex of the piece recites “Don’simply t forget the alcohol, oohh baby, oohh baby…” Dulli, the white man American whom it would want played to just the funeral Let’ s Get It on of Marvin Gaye, it once again invites to participate to its banquet of sex and forfeiture to us. We accept gladly. These were the Afghan the Whigs, largest rock band of years Ninety.

Scene # 1. Athens, Ohio, 31 October 1986
Like all the great history that are respected, also that one of the Afghan Whigs has a beginning wrapped in the legend. The biographers of the band narrate in fact that exactly that day Greg Dulli, original of Cincinnati, has met the fellow countryman Rick McCollum in a jail of Athens, after one good night made up of drunkennesss and risse in order to celebrate Halloween with dignity. True or not that it is, the two join the forces and with to Steve Earle and John Curley it gives life to the Black Republican, then renames Afghan to you Whigs taking the name (seems) from one gang of muslim motorcyclists white men active in years Sixty in Florida. The first exhibitions from the alive one are to the height of pessima the reputation of the band, with risse between Dulli and the public and the same musicians. The record debut, autoprodotto for the label Ultra Suede (is the name of the study of recording of Curley) hard just the space of its publication, because (but also the legends are wasted here…) seem that the same musicians, insoddisfatti of the result, of it have destroyed the little existing copies. The album, for the report, was entitled Big Top Halloween and exited in 1988. The seed of great things to come had been planted.

Scene # 2. Seattle, 1990-1992
“Who eats my meat and drinks my blood dwelling in me and I in he” (Giovanni, 6, 56)

On the cover of Retarded, targato EP Sub POP of 1990, the four of Cincinnati is introduced with the grondanti of blood and wrapped hands in sudari, in one it rests from sacrifice as soon as completed the whose candor sends back threateningly to Biblical history of vendetta and fury. In Up in It, according to album published from Sub POP (near which they are marries to you but of whose typical sound, paste of post punk, hard rock and psichedelia, as it will be understood soon, share very little), one hand trafitta from stimmate. And still on Congregation, the album of 1992, the cover of The Temple, from Jesus Christ Superstar, while the attack of the crowds ridden Retarded begins therefore: “Television’ s gone, and I’ m halo with Lucifer…” the passion of Dulli for thematic the religious ones (therefore intrise of violence, desire of espiazione, sacrifice) crosses all the production of the Aghan Whigs. There is also this in music of the band, than just in those years – we are to horse of the two decades, when one ventata of new sounds is born and it is expanded in the north of the States and reaches until in Europe, on the wave, above all, of the interest for the so-called “scene of Seattle” – it is prevailed as one of the musical truths more interesting and originates them, thanks to mix a particularly effective one of post punk, rock classic and infuences of black music of the past, Motown and Stax on all. The production is not still to the height of the expressive potentialities of the group, but already in those EP and one discs (manciata single and the album Up in It) hides small jewels, that contribuiranno to increase the value of the band, in particular in the heated live: brani like already cited Retarded, Sister/Brother or You My Flower, where to emerge from a granitico sound barrier it is above all urlo it primordiale of Dulli. The true carried out point of is the album Congregation, still on Sub POP: disc that sin from the cover (a girl of color with a child white man in arm) declares the own attempts, in the attempt to join the suffering and the drama of black music with the sudden start and the aggressiveness of the rock chitarristico of matrix post punk. E’ the first classic album of the Whigs, with a repertorio of songs fulminating and sweeping (Turn on the Water, Conjure Me, This Is My Confession) and danced suffered (Let Me Lie to You, Tonight). The album is closed with a capolavoro, one come down to the inferi between sex and alcohol, without tito it. The fan they will learn to know this brano like Milez Is Dead, because, to how much it seems, it came composed the day in which Miles died Davis.

Scene # 3. New York City, years Fifty
“Memory that once, watching from the window, not far away from a bar, I saw two wanderers staggering in Elizabeth Street; one was therefore drunk that the other was stealing the shoes to it, and while I observed this scene I felt to arrive from some part notes of When My Dream Boat Comes Home di Fats Domino. This world was just crazy and I thought, because they do not make it to see in films ” (Martin Scorsese, Scorsese according to Scorsese)

The cinema of Martin Scorsese is one of the most powerful rappresentazioni of contrasto/connubio between violence and innocence of the America of the post-war period. I use, particularly guessed, of the successes of music POP of the age, in contrast to scenes of brutal cruelty, is one of the keys in order to comprise the vision of the director (the attack of Mean Streets: “Not you free of your sins in church, but in the roads”, on notes of Be My Baby of the Ronettes). The same type of raffigurazione of violata innocence appears in music of the Afghan Whigs, is to musical level that thematic: Dulli and associates have not never hidden just the love for the classics of soul of the years the Sixty (sonorous column that often accompanies the gesta of the italianamericans of Scorsese), which they have rendered homage more times, trasfigurando and emphasizing the tragicità of black music of the past in one absolutely contemporary vision. In the autumn of 1992 Uptown Avondale exits, the more explicit homage to that was: a EP of four brani soul of years Sixty and Seventy (for the precision: Band of Gold di Freda Payne, True Love Travels on to Gravel Road di Percy Sledge, Like See About Me of the Supremes and Beware of To the Green) whose versions, scarnificate and dramatised, nevertheless therefore near the spirit of originate them, makes to come the brividi. This was the soul of years Ninety. In the course of the years the band one has attempted also in the rilettura, particularly vibrating, of the struggente The Dark End of the Street di James Carr (one of the beautifulr brani of black music of all the times) and the Keep Coming Back di Tyrone Davis. Some year after, for the sonorous column of a film tutt’ memorable other that in which Beautiful GirlsdiTed Demme , friend fraterno of Dulli scomparso in the 2002 and brother of the most famous Jonathan appear shortly (, the director de Hush of the innocents) will produce also in an incredible version of Can’ t Get Enough Of Your Love di Barry White, where the typical one I vocalize “low”, winking and sensuale of the large one crooner soul it is transformed, in the interpretation of the band and of Dulli, in an apocalyptic one and deprived of hope hymn to desire.

Scene # 4. Memphis, Tennessee, May-june 1993
“Not, not creed that the things can return behind. What it will succeed, probably, is that the women will become more similar to the men; for the moment, however, they still have the fixed one of the seduzione; _ _ instead to the the man not gliene frega nothing to sedurre, want above all sweep. The seduzione is important only for the males lacking in one exciting professional life or in other shapes of interest? The women know to adapt themselves to the male values; sure times must be strained, but they are perfectly in a position to making it, historically is tried? (Michel Houllebecq, Platform)

Gentlemen, the fourth album of the Afghan Whigs, comes recorded in the published spring of 1993 and nell?ottobre of quell?anno. With to little other discs (Nevermind, Dirty of the Sonic Youth), belongs to the formation of the great capolavori rock of years Ninety. After the remarkable executive and productive improvements of Congregation, and the fundamental passage of Uptown Avondale, the band of Cincinnati sforna just capolavoro and one of you concern to us absolute of new rock the American of that decade. Gentlemen is concentrated of anger and melancholy, fury and dolcezza, played and sung to the maximum from four musicians R-al.meglio of the shape. And then there are the songs. The disc slides like unstoppable a novellistic flow through eleven episodes, with thematic and melodiche lines that return, to emphasize the novellistic continuity dell?album; little times l?idea of a concept have had this force and, at the same time, this expressive immediacy. A lot of the merit, like always, goes all?interpretazione of Dulli, never like in these brani therefore expressive and aware over the lines. Musically, the cure dell?esecuzione has been affinata without to lose in power. To lyric level, Gentlemen is a behavioural treaty sull?uomo of years Ninety, ritratto polishes and pitiless of the male brain to the taken ones with the own weaknesses, in which the sex and, more in a generalized manner, the relationship with the women, they are to the center of the speech. The more famous phrase of the disc (?Ladies let me tell you about myself, the got to dick for brain, in Be Sweet) he projects endured on Dulli l?ombra of the misoginia, but it has always declared that – even if leaves of the material could have an autobiographic root – its witnesses went understandings as the rappresentazione of the thoughts of determines personages to you, risen of dramatis personae to the center of brutally interrupted experiences. The dominant feeling of the disc is the anger, un?amarezza that tramuta in anguish, desperation and search of truth. The sex becomes the paradigm of the human relations; and to an intelligent and thin author as Dulli the game succeeds doubly, when Marcy Mays of the Scrawl) to more giving to voice to brano the touching and masochista dell?album calls un?interprete feminine (, My Curse. In the small world of rock the alternative American of years Ninety it is difficult to characterize un?opera with lyric therefore direct, honest and pitiless. The disc is a succeeded small (sells 150mila copies, the better one turned out that the group will succeed to obtain in all the career), and contributes to increase the reputation of the band. But all?orizzonte it is not preannounced null of bond.

Scene # 5. Los Angeles, autumn 1958? 1992? February 1996
“Ho killed of the innocents. I have betrayed of the sacred oaths. I have collected to full hands l?orrore, for trarne profit. The fever. One burning fever, by now. I want to be gone some with music, I want to be abandoned to its vortex, want to vanish with it” (James Ellroy, White Jazz)

They will want nearly three years to us before the publication of the continuation of Gentlemen. The long gestation is due above all to the physical and mental state of Dulli, than for badly lenire a lancinante of drug stomach imbottisce. Black Love, the fifth job of the Afghan Whigs, exits in March of 1996 and is l?ideale proseguimento of its predecessore, to lyric and musical level. Indeed, l?idea of novellistic and conceptual flow is capacity to the extreme consequences here, with l?album that comes thought and constructed like a novel or a film, and in which the same songs they have the function of scenes or understood them of the history. (Dulli: ?Se you had moneies in order to make of a film, would be just therefore; the witnesses of the songs would be converse of the personages, these would be the sounds that feel, the things that they make) Of the Dulli rest from young person he has studied cinema, and the discs of the band, rather than?prodotti and records to you, they are always shot on location, that is?girati on the place. L?ingresso on drums of Paul Buchignani in place of Steve Earle does not change granché in the sound of the group, than however it is refined ulteriorly in catartici brani as Honkey?s Ladder and danced dark like Night by Candlelight. The disc is an other capolavoro, played on the thread of the passion for l?immaginario hard boiled of one writer like James Ellroy (the?quadrilogia of Los Angeles? it is l?opera that, entirety all?Edipo King, inspires the writing explicitly dell?album). Dulli of it plans also one teatrale version, before disappearing – practically sull?orlo of the suicide – and beginning to think next to a solista plan.

Scene # 6. In the twilight
While the band it seems to disintegrate itself momentarily, Dulli writes one series of brani in same mood the dark one of Black Love. The new songs will have one long gestation: they begin as danced nocturnal and intimiste, in collaboration with Shawn Smith (of the Brad) and Harold Chichester, in order to completely reach one final version stravolta to cure of the electronic pair London Brazillia Row. The collaboration is also the sign of the passion of Dulli for the sonorità black contemporary, hip hop and r?n?b. L?album, to name of the Twilight Singers, exits nell?autunno of 2000. Twilight as played by the Twilight Singers é an optimal disc, dark and intimista, than extension as Dulli is by now far away from the rock chitarristico of main its band that – with the new drummer Michael Horrigan – has in the published meantime a new album.

Scene #7. Washington, 4/9/1965
“Sommossa. Revolt. Uprising. The Nbc transmitted the retorts. The experts estimated. Littell watched. The black ones launch Molotov cocktail. The black ones launch mattoni. The black ones plundered the bottiglierie.” (James Ellroy, Six pieces from thousands)

L?ultimo album of the Afghan Whigs, published nell?ottobre 1998, is entitled 1965: year of birth of two members of the group, but also one of the memorable moments of music POP (as it reveals classifies it r?n?b of brought back Billboard of quell?anno in the layout of the CD: in the first ten places there are the Supremes, the Impressions, Martha Reeves, Solomon Burke, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye). But 1965 are also l?anno dell?escalation of the war in Vietnam and the Afro-American revolts to Watts, suburb of Los Angeles. And here l?amore for black music its enormità explodes in all. After artistic the existential crisis and of Black Love (with the divorce dall?Elektra), Dulli it collects the forces and it re-unites the band to New Orleans, magical and dangerous place, that in the nights of the carnival (the ill-famed Mardi Gras) spirit of outlandish personages and bizzarri that they directly seem escapes from the pen of Greg. And? in this atmosphere to the contempo it lives and unhealthy, between musicians blues and jazz, that it takes to life richer and?classico l?album musically? of the band, lacking but in that drammaticità that had rendered the two previous ones capolavori. Do not lack pieces from ninety (Somethin? Hot, Uptown Again, 66, Omerta), but on the disc flutter un?atmosfera from party to the six of the mattino that perhaps it consoles (for the found again one be of mental and physical health of Dulli) but does not satisfy of all. On the end of the vampiresca Omerta/The Vampire Lanois, however, l?ultima sferzata: ?When you?re high and lost in the clouds then you know it?s Time to get down again, Dulli sings, and us they could not be truer words in order to describe its existential distance. Neanche a year after l?uscita of the disc, in a bar of the province American, Dulli participates all?ennesima rissa, a blow in head is pecked and ends all?ospedale. (Famous: the title originates it them of the disc had to be Stand up to Get down).

Epilogue. Los Angeles, Autumn 2003
With a scarno communicated, in February 2001 Columbia informs officially that the Afghan Whigs is melted, for geographic?lontananza? between the four musicians. While little it is known of the activities of Curley, McCollum and Horrigan, Dulli hour manages a bar on the Sunset Strip to Los Angeles, the Short Stop, where to times it is exhibited also like DJ. According to album of the Twilight Singers, for a long time announced, it is exited to half October. On Internet the T-shirt Dulli for President, realized from some fan irreducible can also be acquired. That, seen the times that they run, it would not be neanche one bad idea.

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