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andee's world: Eat Up the Hot, Black Night

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Eat Up the Hot, Black Night

I love Robert Smith. I doubt if there will ever be another musician who will capture my imagination so completely. I've been a fan since '90 or '91, a little after Disintegration came out. Since then I have systematically explored every nook and cranny of the Cure's career. I've bought all the albums, singles, videos, bootlegs and books I can find. Cure fans are nothing if not obsessive, and if you're a Cure fan, then you understand my thorough absorption with this music.

My favorite period of the Cure is undoubtedly the '82 to '85 phase -- just a few years, but musically an incredibly rich and creatively restless time in Robert Smith's life. It was also, probably not coincidentally, the darkest and most chaotic time in his life, during which he took copious amounts of hallucinogens, destroyed relationships with friends, fell into bouts of depression, nihilism and even violence, broke up (and reformed) the band and probably entertained the notion of suicide more than once.

During this short but insane period, Robert Smith prolifically made four Cure albums (Pornography, Japanese Whispers, The Top and The Head on the Door), two Siouxsie and the Banshees records (Hyaena and Nocturne) and a wonderfully mental one-off LP with Banshee bassist Steve Severin (The Glove's Blue Sunshine), plus a slew of brilliant Cure B-sides.

Think about how much music that is for four years -- these days that kind of output is unheard of. But what's more mind-blowing is how rapidly the music evolves. There is a breathless, feverish spirit of experimentation that marks The Cure's music from this period; it is fiercely undefinable yet completely identifiable. The musical adventurousness that blossomed in this era touched off a good decade's worth of fearless, genre-defying music-making for The Cure.

I still make mix tapes, partly because I'm a luddite and partly because making mix tapes is better than making mix CDs. You can't work the pause button when you're making a CD. You can't ride the recording level. You can't be very artful about it. I hate mix CDs, honestly. You've gotta have a boring, uniform, 4-second gap between all the songs, and the volume levels careen wildly from one track to the next, depending on how loud the source disc is.

Anyway, that's a whole different rant. Point is, I still make loads of mix tapes -- I've got hundreds of them. Most of them are of the 'various artists' type, but I also love making compilations from just one band's catalog. I've made many Cure mixes, but my favorite one is a tape I made two years ago. It's not so much a "Cure mix" as a "Mad Bob" mix, which focuses mostly on Smith circa '82 - '85.

Alot of this music is wired directly to my impressions of summer -- there's something about the demented, wonderfully warped sounds of early eighties Cure that evokes delirious, sleepless, tar-black summer nights spent in the studio, exorcising the nightmare visions and lurid colors of a tortured imagination.

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SIDE A

"Shake Dog Shake" (from The Top, 1984)

"Short Term Effect" (from Pornography, 1982)

"Perfect Murder" (from Blue Sunshine, 1984)

"The Kiss" (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, 1987)

"Torture" (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)

"This Twilight Garden" (B-side from Wish, 1992)

"Kyoto Song" (from The Head on the Door, 1985)

"Sex Eye Makeup" (from Blue Sunshine)

"The Funeral Party" (from Faith, 1981)

"Bananafishbones" (from The Top)

SIDE B

"The Hanging Garden" (from Pornography)

"Siamese Twins" (from Pornography)

"Just One Kiss" (from Japanese Whispers, 1983)

"Like Cockatoos" (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)

"All I Want" (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)

"The Blood" (from The Head On the Door)

"Six Different Ways" (from The Head On the Door)

"Mouth to Mouth" (from Blue Sunshine)

"Cold" (from Pornography)

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I'll make a copy of it for you if you want...but then, you probably don't have a tape deck...

Burning in summer,

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