diamanda

Christmas is roaring down the pike full-throttle now at Amoeba. Mondays feel like

Saturdays. Saturdays feel like Armageddon. Everyone’s running around with a “just trying to hold it together” look on their faces. I have to work nine hours on Christmas Eve. Then I’m driving up to SLO for two days. This, of course, depends on my car. The clutch is beginning to slip and the steering mechanism complains when I work it too hard. The one thing that gives me hope is that the stereo still works fine.

I’m feeling a little lazy tonight. I want to post about Diamanda Galas, as I promised last time, but she commands a little more effort than I have now. It’s 12:44 PM and I guarantee I’ll be up until about three. Tuesdays are my Thursdays, so I’m having a little to drink, kicking back at my desk and listening to tunes. In an hour or so, having posted whatever nonsense I’m about to write, and having perused a few more Twilight Zone episode summaries in search of something I can pitch as “adaptable,” growing weary with the hour, I’ll shut things down, shuffle over to the couch, drop in a movie (just borrowed the Mitchell Bros. classic, Autobiography of a Flea from work) and pass out after about twelve and half minutes.

Oh, alright. I’ve been listening to Diamanda Galas while I’ve been writing this and I just can’t help posting a little bit about her. I first caught a scent of her intensity back in 1994 when The Sporting Life hit the shelves. I was at Morninglory Music in Isla Vista and I just had to ask the guy at the counter, “What in the name of all that’s sane are you playing??” The Sporting Life is her collaboration with ex-Zeppelin bassist, John Paul Jones. Her voice is unbelievable. To say she’s operatically trained is a little misleading. She’s classically trained, but the operas she’s performed were inspired by the Expressionist Shrei (shriek) style. She’s had more than a passing acquaintance with drugs. Her voice spans four octaves. She knows several languages. She’s smart as a whip. You put it together.

I’ll skip Plague Mass, which really should be heard in its entirety. This is her harsh, confrontational bleed-out over the AIDS epidemic and the pain (both physical and emotional) it has caused. I guess you could call it her magnum opus. Instead I’ll just give you something from The Sporting Life and then toss in, for good measure, something from Schrei X. The first sounds more or less like a blues standard. In fact it is. But Galas brings her own unique flair to the vocals. As for the second? Well, let’s just say I like extremes.

And as with the Death Metal I lobbed out to you last time, this is not gentle music, so brace yourself, or go find yourself some Erasure. But compared to the battle axe of Gorgoroth, this is the surgeon’s scalpel:

Dark End Of The Street: stream |

      mp3

Headbox: stream |

      mp3

Yes, that’s a human voice making that noise. And before you dismiss it as mere noise, let me just say that there’s something deep and primal that stirs when you really sit down and listen to this stuff. Galas taps into something I don’t even want to try to explain, but it’s powerful and it’s damn frightening.

Bedtime.

About the author: will

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