Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 12,1989
Bob did a good
Museum features Adams
Mould played few games Monday night
Y JIM PONIEWOZIK
As Bob Mould and his band of new music veter-
ans took the stage without a word and laconically
delivered the instrumental "Sunspots" from his solo
LP Workbook, I doubt many occupants of the mod-
erately full Nectarine Ballroom could help but worry
that the ex-Husker Du guitarist/songwriter's perfor-
mance would be - well, businesslike.
But as Mould's eyes rolled back into his head and
the band banged out the orchestral opening chords of
"Wishing Well," pleasure came before business.
Mostly. Though his backers were proficient some-
times to the point of seeming casual, Mould deliv-
ered the entire new album and several new songs
with unembarrassed passion.
Mould's voice has evolved from a whine some-
where between George Bush and a duck to a worn
but expressive Pete Townshend-like tenor, and the
exceptionally tight backup band and the lack of dis-
tortion showcased his speedy, evocative guitar work
better than Husker Do's sonic blitz.
Despite a few vain and obnoxious calls for
"Celebrated Summer," the crowd seemed receptive of
end familiar with Mould's solo material. Work-
book's arrangements are rather complex, and some
of the songs sounded flat stripped of cello lines and
layered harmony vocals; others, however, such as
"Brasilia Crossed With Trenton" and "Dreaming, I
Am," outdid their lethargic vinyl versions with
:added guitar solos and more aggressive drumming.
The new material raised high hopes for the second
LP, notably "Out Of Your Life," a backbeat-heavy,
The highlights of the show, though, were
Workbook's brutally confessional ballads -
"Poison Years," "Heartbreak a Stranger," and
"Sinners and Their Repentances." Mould delivered
most of the songs with his eyes closed, almost
oblivious of the crowd, but rather than seeming
aloof, he gave the impression of eavesdropping on
an intensely personal moment, as though he were
writing the songs right there.
Mould finally threw a bone to the oldies-hungry
crowd with an acoustic second encore of "Hardly
Getting Over It" and "Makes No Sense At All." His
mellow delivery of the Flip Your Wig chestnut
clashed with the audience's screech-along of the cho-
rus, and the irony was not lost on Mould, who
broke into a smile as he sang "Is it important?
You're yelling so loud..."
The set list was questionable. While Mould's set
was infinitely preferable to a greatest-hits revue, and
while an artist whose work has shifted so radically
in the past year shouldn't deny the change, a song-
writer with a catalog of over 100 songs can't help
but handicap himself by drawing on only 20 of
them. And saving the old nuggets for the end
smacks of an artificial climax. But 'as anyone with
genitals can attest, a climax is a climax, and when
Mould strummed his last chord, saying he'd be back
"in about a year," you could almost see the crowd
reaching for its appointment books.
BY RONA SHERAMY
TO open its new Works on Paper
Gallery, the University Museum of
Art is exhibiting 13 pieces by the
American photographer Ansel
Adams (1902-1984). These black-
and-white prints dramatize Adams'
passion and respect for the American
landscape and the natural world.
The Works on Paper exhibit re-
flects the range of Adams' photo-
graphic pursuits, through which he
captured both simple and majestic
examples of natural beauty. Adams
was inspired by the sedate forest, the
expansive field and the awesome
mountain. His prints vary from tran-
quil still lifes of leaves and tree
trunks to panoramic views of cliffs
and lakes. The viewer is gripped
equally by the towering cliff and
snowcapped mountainside in Mono-
lith, the Face of Half Dome,
Yosemite Valley, California (1927)
and the stark treetrunk and eerie
darkness in Aspens, Northern New
Mexico (1958). One should also
note the placement of White Post
and Spandrel (1953) to the right of
Aspens in the exhibit. The consecu-
tive arrangement of these two prints
creates an intriguing contrast:
Aspens presents a bare, slender tree
trunk in its natural forest environ-
ment, while White Post and Span-
drel presents a bare, wooden post as
part of a rustic front porch. A tree is
captured in two different environ-
ments and forms, yet it maintains its
linear, sturdy quality in each context.
In Georgia O'Keeffe and Orvile
Cox, Canyon de Chelly National
Monument (1937), the stark contrast
of dark-clothed figures against a tur-
bulent, cloud-filled sky readjusts the
viewer's perspective of the relation-
ship between nature and people.
Adams' human subjects do not over-
power their natural suroundings;
rather, as in the Georgia O'Keeffe
print, there is a powerful interplay
between dramatic figures and dra-
matic setting. Adams poignantly
photographs the two figures from a
low angle, as though he were lying
on the ground and aiming upwards
with his camera. As a result, the
human figures and the cloud-filled'
sky receive equal attention. The sky
is not only a background for Adams'
studies but one of its intentional
components as well.
Several works in the campus ex-
hibit are from Adams' Museum Set.
This special collection of pho-
tographs was selected by the artist in
the five years before his death. The
Set represents what the artist felt
were his greatest artistic accom-
plishments. Prints from the collec-
tion, such as Frozen Lake and Cliffs
(1932) and Trailside, Near Juneau,
Alaska (1947) capture nature's intri-
cate designs and artistic formations.
In The Frozen Lake, the icy water
and jagged cliffside shimmer in a
multifaceted tonal arrangement. In
Trailside, flowers, leaves, dewdropsA
and grass blades weave together in a
decorative, collage-like pattern.
Adams' prints capture an un-
spoiled American landscape, and his
art gives form to the Western fron-
tier ideal. As J. Carter Brown, the
Director of the National Gallery of
Art, states, "The vast and magnifi-
cent spaces of our American West
still resonate with something sacred.
Ansel Adams felt it, both in the to
pography of the Western landscape
and in its revealing light." Adams,,
photographs exude a reverence for
their natural subjects. Combining
technical excellence with creative vi-
sion, his works transport the viewer
into a realm of uncorrupted beauty.
ANSEL ADAMS PHOTOGRAPHS
will be exhibited at the University
Museum of Art through October 29.
The museum is open Tuesday-Fri-
day, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday and
Sunday 1 -5 p.m. Admission is free.
Oh what a day, when three
English guys who play top-notch el-
evator music parade about as my fa-
vorite movie star, and sing about
"The girl I used to know" ...ho, ho,
ho! What a laugh! What a riot! To
think that I'd actually follow these
guys around and look out for their
second record, and, hey, here it is.
Bebopmoptop is a nod in the direc-
tion that Danny Wilson seemed an-
gled at the first time around, with
Meet Danny Wilson. Something in
the Dannys' melodic delivery and in-
strumental knack for beauty through
simplicity reminded me of the mop
tops, while their obviously jazzy
repertoire looked, sounded and tasted dense, murky, and abstractly miser-
like bebop. able, only the initiated can truly ap-
Although Danny Wilson seems preciateit. Robert Smith's lyrics
to glow with a dull VH-1 connota- seem to cry for redemption through
tion, the trio has a very special place purgatory, and yes, some listeners
in the hearts of their cult audience. are tempted to suicide by it.
There's something in the hearts of But at the bottom of the ladder,
the "postmodern" generation that when it comes to wallowing in your
won't let it rest. It involves a ro- own personal hell, comes Danny
manticism through pain, suffering, Wilson. They would have to be the
death and destruction, lost love, and most sedate, pathetic, and wretched
bleak, utter hopelessness, and its be- of all the English romantics. Not an
ginning dates all the way back to easy position. Songs like
James Dean. Only certain records can "Lorraine's Parade" and "Broken
really satisfy this need for punk nir- China" took about a hundred listens
vana. The first would obviously be to become bearable. Pathos of abject
Morrissey, with his black lyrics that alienation, loneliness and despair
scream with poetry and at times were coupled with mood music for
lapse into self-parody. the creatively morbid. -That's why
One notch lower on the scale Bebopmoptop is such a great record,
comes The Cure, with music so because they've found creative new
ways to make us writhe.
The first song, "Imaginary Girl,"
has the same evocative qualities as,
say, "Five Friendly Aliens" or
"Aberdeen," i.e., joy through pain.
A sense .of perceived hopelessness
begins with the lead guy, singing
amid a rainstorm about marrying an
imaginary girl, and what fun it is.
Once again, the melodic quality is
exquisite. This one comes off sound-
ing like a musical, before it explodes
into a funky blast of life and lament,
punctuated by three major chords in
sequence and a classic soul chant of
"yeah, yeah, yeah." This is beautiful
stuff, by virtue of its pure emotional
worth, as well as a touch of progress
The next song, "The Summer of
Love," (great timing, guys) also
shows a bit of musical growth. Jar-
ring through rhythm guitar licks and
a joyous, tight arrangement, the cut
displays a celebratory nature and bla-
tantly descriptive lyrics: "there was
acid on the radio/ acid on the brain/
anyone could see that there was love,
love, love/ anyone could see."
"Loneliness" is yet another tear-
jerker, with a brilliantly sparse ar-
rangement. When the music kicks
in, comprised of operatic piano and
synth parts, it seems to live and
move around the vocals, almost like
It's eerie how "Charlie Boy"
comes on, like the repetitive theme
of "Broken China," last year's ode to
broken hearts. This is supposed to
be the upbeat song here, but it still
cannot escape the burning-throat,
inescapably dreadful sense of horror
that permeates the work. "If You
Really Love Me (Let Me Go)" is
sort of obscure; another DW (read R
& B) chant underscores the chorus
and bridge. It's actually sort of di-
luted, almost to the point of disap-
Probably the best news about the
new record is that there aren't as
many blow/toss-offs as the last
time. The titles really make me
chuckle. There's "I Was Wrong" and
"Never Gonna Be the Same," though
the best is "The Ballad of Me and"
Shirley Maclame." No pop music
here, pal. So if you too are looking
for something not quite so restricted
in the emotional range, perhaps
Danny Wilson is it. It's a real drag.
-Forrest Green III
_[Read Jim Poniewozik Every _
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