Saturday, 17 May 2008



Well, recently I have been getting really into listening to a lot of HEALTH. And I'm not even talking HEALTH/DISCO remixes, I mean the full-on noise rock experience. Yeah, I am that hardcore.

Usually when there's really short tracks on an album they are really crap and pointless, for example 'Number One' on Lightspeed Champion's debut or 'Silver Thoughts' From Cut Copy's latest offering. If it's a little bit of fluid sound that does not stand up on its own as a song, it shouldn't be a seperate album track. HEALTH's shorter tracks however, might just be their best ones. Highly compressed thrash-noise compositions that properly get you awake and ready for anything. Like this one:

HEALTH - Girl Attorney zShare | YouSendIt

Another one of my favourite tracks from their self titled album is 'Courtship', and anyway I just want to show off to the world how clever I am when it comes to recognising a bit of sampling. Listen to this song, and at the 0.17 mark it launches into this cool scream/shout thing, and Crystal Castles fans will definitely recognise this from the backing to Crystal Castles' latest single 'Courtship Dating'. And this isn't just something i've thought up, on a bit of paper that comes with the album it says 'background screaming courtesy of Health'. There's clearly some kind of conspiracy going on here with them both using the word 'courtship', but i don't know what it is yet.

Crystal Castles - Courtship Dating zShare | YouSendIt
HEALTH - Courtship zShare | YouSendIt

And anyway as I was having a read round the rest of the album literature I was intrigued to see that the track 'Air War' does not credit the vocals to Alice, but in fact they are sampled from 'Thema (Omaggio a Joyce)' by someone called Berio. I wasn't all that surprised the vocal wasn't Alice - and I don't think anyone would be, seeing as to be honest it sounds absolutely nothing like her - but without another option most people had assumed they were by her. And so in the name of investigative blogging, I decided to have a look around. After a bit of googling I found out the song is on a few different CDs, all of which are out of print. I then stumbled upon this blog. It didn't have an mp3 of Thema, but it made a bit of a reference to it, along with a lot of interesting stuff about postmodern composing that I didn't understand at all, but was still quite interesting to stumble through. So I decided that at the end of the day it wouldn't hurt to email the blog author, a Mr Jacob Sudol, and ask ever so nicely if he'd send me an mp3. It turns out he'd actually already posted it on his blog last June, and I've posted it here it is for you to enjoy as well.

To introduce it a bit, it's a reading of the opening to the Sirens chapter of James Joyce's Ullyses, which I haven't read but I think I will one day. It's not read the composer Luciano Berio himself, but his wife Cathy Berberian. Herself a soprano singer, she definitely deserves a lot of the credit for it due to her crazy vocal acrobatics, but then gradually her voice is subjected to all kind of crazy effects: distortions, echoes, stutterings; the tape speeds up, and then it slows down. Eventually it becomes an unrecognisable mess of sound. It's pretty weird, and although it's obviously a bit dated sounding - it was made in the 1950s - it's quite amazing to think people were messing around with sound like this before either of my parents were born. If you like it, I might suggest you also have a listen to 'Visage', which, although unlikely to get into your most played, is quite a terrifying experience and worth hearing at least once.

In the CC track 'Air War' the vocals are a bit more high pitched and of course, made even less recognisable to the point that a lot of people thing the words are in a completely different language. I've just found an old Pitchfork article that is quite funny to read now, because it describes "Alice's vocals" as "reminiscent of Luciano Berio's Thema (Omaggio a Joyce)". Haha, silly pitchfork.

Luciano Berio - Thema (Omaggio a Joyce)zShare | YouSendIt
Luciano Berio - Visage zShare | YouSendIt
Crystal Castles - Air War zShare | YouSendIt

Buy Crystal Castles' Album
Buy HEALTH's album
Buy HEALTH's remix album

Oh yeah, and because this blog is now a year old, as of a few days ago, I am posting the lyrics as well, to celebrate.

Bronze by gold heard the hoofirons, steelyrining imperthnthn thnthnthn.
Chips, picking chips off rocky thumbnail, chips. Horrid! And gold flushed more.
A husky fifenote blew.
Blew. Blue bloom is on the
Gold pinnacled hair.
A jumping rose on satiny breasts of satin, rose of Castille.
Trilling, trilling: I dolores.
Peep! Who's in the... peepofgold?
Tink cried to bronze in pity.
And a call, pure, long and throbbing. Longindying call.
Decoy. Soft word. But look! The bright stars fade. O rose! Notes chirruping answer.
Castille. The morn is breaking.
Jingle jingle jaunted jingling.
Coin rang. Clock clacked.
Avowal. Sonnez. I could. Rebound of garter. Not leave thee. Smack. La cloche! Thigh smack. Avowal. Warm. Sweetheart, goodbye!
Jingle. Bloo.
Boomed crashing chords. When love absorbs. War! War! The tympanum.
A sail! A veil awave upon the waves.
Lost. Throstle fluted. All is lost now.
Horn. Hawhorn.
When first he saw. Alas!
Full tup. Full throb.
Warbling. Ah, lure! Alluring.
Martha! Come!
Clapclop. Clipclap. Clappyclap.
Goodgod henev erheard inall.
Deaf bald Pat brought pad knife took up.
A moonlight nightcall: far: far.
I feel so sad. P. S. So lonely blooming.
The spiked and winding cold seahorn. Have you the?
Each and for other plash and silent roar.
Pearls: when she.
Liszt's rhapsodies.


MrMeuble said...

Chouette article ! Je ne connaissais même pas la version originale de courtship. J'aime bien ton blog, je le rajoute dans ma liste de liens (sous les pavés, la plage).

Tom Oakley said...

Ah merci. M a francais est mal, mais je pense que je comprends. je rajoute ton blog dans ma liste de liens aussi

joey said...

I'm late and feel pretty troublesome because I wonder if you could upload those tracks once more. I love Crystal Castle so much and I always try to listen to the songs they sample.

Tom Oakley said...

I'll upload the berio one but you should blatantly buy the health album if you want to hear the courtship sample!

joey said...

Thank you so much! I'll definitely try to pick up Health's stuff because they're great anyway C: