There’s a hole in my head where information goes

Spent the last week tracking down more outstanding albums.

Underworld - Danny Boyle's Frankenstein
Underworld’s score for Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein

At first listen I immediately noticed familiar material from experimental sound projects in Underworld’s past.

Seemingly random ambient noises, clangs and echoes, the repeated spoken words, “walk with me” and the word “vision” uttered quietly… all originated from the download-only RiverRun project entitled Lovely Broken Thing.  The “vision… come on” sample has also appeared in the song, “Bamboo” which has only been performed live.  Underworld has done this often historically, developing song fragments through live performance.  Another similar example is a female voice speaking the words, “bad… boy” which appeared in the John Peel performance of “Biro the Leggy” and later found it’s way into the album track, “Scribble.”

Still, other than those traces of familiarity there is little evidence that this is an Underworld recording.  Gone are the warm electronic loops and stream of consciousness lyrics of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith.  In their place is a dramatic and somewhat ambient soundtrack that perfectly suits the play.

The Secret of N.I.M.H. soundtrack, Varese STV 81669
Jerry Goldsmith’s Secret of N.I.M.H soundtrack

The Wikipedia calls Goldsmith “one of the most prominent and prolific film composers of the 20th century.”  His catalog includes nearly 200 major motion pictures.  The Secret of N.I.M.H. was Don Bluth’s directorial debut (and most agree his greatest work.)  The movie pushed the limits of animation and the story was powerful and mature for a children’s film.  Paired with Goldsmith’s skillful composition, it is a soundtrack to be remembered.

The version of the album that most commonly surfaces has the cover pictured below.

The Secret of N.I.M.H. soundtrack, TER 1026

The more elusive version features the original movie poster cover art (now a highly sought-after collectible.)  The first two copies I found were $33 and $40 respectively plus shipping, but after a dedicated and determined search I acquired a near mint copy for $8.  A small price to pay for one of the most memorable film scores of my childhood.

The Secret of N.I.M.H. movie poster
The album will be filed beside the score of Bluth’s second film – An American Tail.

As foretold in my previous post the new Low record has been released, and as a special thank-you the band included a free acoustic EP with the album, available only at mom-and-pop record shops.

Low - C'Mon
Low – C’Mon (w ltd. ed. acoustic companion disc)

I also ordered two double LP copies of previous Low albums that I found for a steal from a seller online.

Low - Trust
Low – Trust double LP

Low - The Great Destroyer

Low – The Great Destroyer double LP

Low has been defining the slowcore genre for nearly 20 years, and their latest effort, C’Mon does not disappoint.  Stand out tracks include “Witches”, “Especially Me” and “Nothing But Heart.”  Nels Cline of Wilco joins the band on several tracks as well.

The slow build in “Nothing But Heart” is reminiscent of the album closer “Cop Shoot Cop” from Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.  Over 17 minutes long, the song is anchored by a repeated bass line much in the way that the Sparhawk repeats the single-line lyric throughout “…Heart.”  Guitars and feedback build until the song is lost in a cacophony of noise.  A gospel choir warmly chants beckoning in the song’s conclusion and the familiar bass resurfaces as the feedback dissipates.

Put on your best pair of headphones and tune in.