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Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: 33½ Series
    Posted: October 02 2013 at 15:47
This series of short books providing in-depth analysis of one classic or influential album happens to include quite a few prog/psych/avantgarde records. Right now I'm reading the one on Jethro Tull's Aqualung: While the lyrics analysis isn't that groundbreaking, it's full of interesting commentary on how the rest of the composition and performance ties in with the content. There's quite a few clever details in the songwriting that I have remarked on for many years, but haven't really been able to articulate that clearly and the book is certainly motivating me to dig it out again.

Anyone here read other volumes in the series? Curious to see what they have to say about Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Some of the records on the list I have no idea they can wring that much meaning out of, though...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2013 at 16:03
Never read any of them tbh, but I'd be highly interested in the one on Trout Mask Replica.....or maybe not, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe the original experience one has with whatever album could get somewhat tampered with when reading such a book? Like I said, I'm not sure. Anyway, I don't think anybody outside Beefy himself would be able to shed light on this record in a meaningful/less manner.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2013 at 03:56
I'm not sure it makes a very big difference.

With albums this influential, it's difficult (if not impossible) for audiences younger than the original one to listen to said records without evaluating them under influence by the "legend" they have built up in the meantime.


Edited by Toaster Mantis - October 03 2013 at 05:07
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2013 at 04:27
I've read a few of these books, they're usually great (their small size makes them ideal for carrying on a journey).
 
I've read the Trout Mask book, and it's definitely worth a read.  Also read the "20 Jazz Funk Greats" book, which is excellent too.
 
There's a larger book called "33.3 Greatest Hits" which has chunks from each of the first 20 or so books.  That might be the best place to start.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2013 at 08:33
Most of the books I've read in this series have been quite fascinating.  Sonic Youth "Daydream Nation" was especially enlightening, if you're interested in that album at all.  On the prog side, David Bowie's "Low" was very enjoyable.  "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was good but not fantastic.  Looking forward to more.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2013 at 17:04
Hi,
 
Interesting list ... I'll have a read through some of them, and will report later.
 
Definitly curious about a few of these words.
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 11 2013 at 05:31
Finished the one about Aqualung yesterday. Like I said, the analysis of the lyrics themselves aren't particularly groundbreaking for longterm fans... but I did quite appreciate the more theoretical analysis of how the compositional structure reflected the conceptual content in the lyrics. Right down to the specifics of the playing around with conventions from different genres can be seen as illustrating the contrasting themes in the lyrical narratives.

I also liked the information on the different re-issues, and how the album was perceived then vs. now. I'm looking forwards to reading the ones about Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Master of Reality, 22 Jazz Funk Greats and others.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Earendil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 11 2013 at 16:30
I read the Aqualung one a while ago and liked it.  At some point I also want to read The Velvet Underground & Nico and Trout Mask Replica.

Originally posted by Toaster Mantis

 it's full of interesting commentary on how the rest of the composition and performance ties in with the content. There's quite a few clever details in the songwriting that I have remarked on for many years, but haven't really been able to articulate that clearly and the book is certainly motivating me to dig it out again.


I remember it pointing out some clever songwriting details as well that I didn't notice just from listening to the album


Edited by Earendil - November 11 2013 at 16:33
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2014 at 13:44
Just got the one about Piper at the Gates of Dawn from my local library. That's an album which means at least as much to me as Aqualung, so I have high expectations to this book. Might also be difficult for them to say much new about it, though, since I can think of few rock groups as over-analyzed as Pink Floyd.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2014 at 16:00
Finished the one about Piper. Review forthcoming.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 09 2014 at 12:57
Okay, so the book about Piper at the Gates at Dawn starts with admitting that so much has been written about PF's music from the biographical analytical angle of either Syd Barrett or Roger Waters' life so the author takes a somewhat different route. He focuses instead on the recording process, going into the teamwork between not just the band members but also the businesspeople and recording personnel who made the LP possible. There's also a strong perspective on the sociological context of the cultural milieu surrounding Pink Floyd back then.

You generally get the impression that Piper... is the kind of album that could be only be made by those exact musicians at that exact time. For example it turns out that many of my favourite things about that LP are the result of extremely ambitious but at the time not very technically skilled musicians being given very little time to record with a lot of for the time very advanced recording technology they weren't used to, and all that happening at a time when pop/rock music was suddenly becoming really ambitious in ways that people weren't able to categorize properly yet.

Overall it's very informative, but at first I was somewhat shocked at how completely different it is in analytical method and writing style than the one on Aqualung.
"Maybe you are a poet and a dreamer, but don't you realize that those two species are extinct now?" ― J.G. Ballard
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