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March 25, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-25

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_ARTS
Wednesday, March 25,1992

The Michigan Daily

Page5

What's the commotion?
Matthew Sweet discovers the Madonna Document'

by Jeff Rosenberg

After a divorce, a flood-ruined al-
bum collection, and a scary record
label change, Matthew Sweet is fi-
nally getting a turn for the better.
His newest album, Girlfriend, has
been near the top of college album
charts for several weeks now - and
it deserves the honor.
Sweet's newest super-grunge-o
album, featuring Lloyd Cole, Robert
:Quine, and Richard Lloyd on guitars,
Ric Menck of Velvet Crush and Fred
*Maher on drums is twisted, brilliant
:pop-song craftsmanship. Combining
pure vocal melodies and raw, driven
,tunes, Matthew Sweet creates hard
,organic music in an era of machine-
driven drivel.
Sweet's periodic ups and downs
haven't prevented him from doing
an interview on a payphone in a
Boston bathroom in Boston, though.
Sweet didn't want to be in the
spotlight when he was younger. "I
sang when I was in grade school in
the chorus, but I wasn't confident
about that, ever. It wasn't something

were doing Generation X covers and
stuff like that.
"So that led me more into feeling
music just for a pure passion/ex-
pression thing, instead of just the
technical aspect of learning how to
play an instrument. I thought 'Wow,
I only play one note really fast, but it
really feels cool."'
Sweet's realization that overpro-
ducing and drum machines do not
necessarily make a great album gives
Girlfriend its dry, authentic touch.
Like the opening to "Does She
Talk?", where you hear Sweet state:
"I'm gonna do a sick one," with
plenty of obvious feedback.
This in-your-face quality of Girl-
friend led Sweet to develop the
album's overall content differently.
Many tracks have spaced parts -
you hear instrumental segments in
one ear or the other. Then there are
some simply nifty touches, giving
the near-perfect CD genre a hail to
lost vinyl. Before two of the tracks,
are the delicate scratching sounds of
a record ending.
That was Sweet's idea. "Well, I
felt ... already with twelve songs in
the main order, that it was a lot of
songs. And so it was a way for me to
break it up in my head and not feel
so overindulgent (laughs)."
Feedback is all Sweet has been
getting about his song "Winona,"
however. The song, in which Sweet
asks Winona Ryder to be his per-
sonal movie star (though he never
mentions her last name), is not about
her but only named after her. "That
song was written," said Sweet, "a
while before I ever called it 'Wi-
nona."'
The liner notes on the album inset
do name the ever-lascivious Ma-
donna, however.
"That's a really frivolous kind of
inside joke studio thing. She was
recording upstairs in the same studio
where I made the album, and at one
point I sent her this note, because
everybody else was mocking me at
the concept that she would come
down and sing on my record.
"I decided I was going to try and
get her to. So I sent her this note that
sort of begged her to come and sing

on my song 'I Wanted to Tell You.'
"After she left, it turns out there
was this 'doodle page' that she left
behind on her music stand, and she
had written my name on it. And this
became known as, "The Madonna
Document", and was xeroxed, and
'After (Madonna) left,
it turns out there was
this 'doodle page' that
she left behind on her
music stand, and she
had written my name
on it. And this became
known as, "The
Madonna Document."'
-,Matthew Sweet
everything, and at one point I was
gonna shrink it down and use it as a
good luck charm.
"But then I became convinced it
was bad luck 'cause it took me so
long to play for my record."
Compared to the 'What's with
"Winona?"' syndrome, other facts
that abound in the press seem to be
very personal. Sweet was born and
raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, has the
same girlfriend since the recording
of the new album whom he is very
happy with, and even that he sent a
tape of "Your Sweet Voice" to the
mother of a close friend who was dy-
ing in the hospital.
"Yeah, I know, people are
strange," Sweet said. "I don't think
anybody had any conception my
record would get noticed, or have
any exposure.
"A lot of the lyrics, you just can't
take them literally. They're not
literal about my life but people think
they are, because of all the press
about it now. So I just hope people
will feel the songs for what they
mean to them, and not think about
my life."
MATTHEW SWEET's itinerary to-
day: Hear him on WCBN at 3:30,
meet him at Wherehouse Records be-
tween 4 and 5, and (if you have tick-
ets) see him at the Blind Pig at 10
p.m., with Insane Jane opening. The
show is sold out.

Arwulf Arwulf, seen here avec beret at WCBN four ye ars ag o, is ba ck with a performance tribute to the ex-
pressionist German composer Anton Webern.
Wultie does Webern

by Michelle L. Weger
A strange string of tunes - blues, new wave, techno-
pop - blares from the speakers of a dark, crowded bar
on West Washington. That eclectic mix might be a me-
taphor for the conversation I'm having with Arwulf Ar-
wulf, whose stream of thoughts flows from surrealism
to expressionism, from jazz to ancient Greek sculpture,
from his beginnings at WCBN in the late seventies to
his latest projects for Performance Network.
In addition to directing a set of dances based on the
music of Zoltan Kodaly, and doing his own perfor-
mances with the Modified Starch Chamber Ensemble,
Arwulf's performance art piece, "Das Sonnenlicht
Spricht" ("The Sunlight Speaks") opens a three night
run on Wednesday.
The piece, which incorporates projected images and
texts with music and movement, is a tribute to expres-
sionist composer Anton Webern. A student of Arnold
Schonberg, and member of the Second Viennese
School, Webern was instrumental to the early 20th cent-
ury movement which literally set the music world on its
ear.
"Webern based his whole life on carrying out these
notions that Schonberg had, and based a whole new

form of music on them," says Arwulf. He gestures with
animation as he refers to those notions, the basis of the
then-new musical language called serialism (think of it
as musical Esperanto) which completely defied previ-
ous ideas about harmony, melody, rhythm, and expres-
sion.
Voraciously self-taught, Arwulf explains how he
"discovered" Webern and why the composer became an
obsession. As a teenager, "Wulfie" (Arwulf's preferred
nickname) was intrigued by surrealism, which in turn
sparked a fascination with all creative minds of the
early decades of this century.
lie says that the period gripped him because every-
thing was in a constant state of change. "First thing, we
started having world wars," he says wryly. He then be-
came infatuated with the music of the twenties - jazz.
And it was jazz that ultimately led him to the serialists.
Arwulf first came across Webern's name while read-
ing a book on jazz musician Anthony Braxton. A little
later, he found another reference to the composer in
some writings by a pioneer of electronic music,
Karlheinz Stockhausen, and decided to pick up a little
light reading: an 800-page Webern biography.
The more Arwulf learned about Webern and his
See ARWULF, Page 8

Sweet
I wanted to do. ... That sounded
horrible to me cause I was really
self-conscious and shy, as a kid. I
was very awkward always."
From grade school through
eighth grade, Sweet learned a gamut
of garden-variety instruments, from
recorder to electric bass. "Then in
about ninth grade ... I got this gig
with a group of college guys that

Patsy Kensit divulges (shallow) sexual secrets

Twenty-One
dir. Don Boyd

'aby JonBilik

W hen this mask comes off,"
says a mud-clad Patsy Kensit to the
camera, "I will look like Grace
Kelly." Kensit has no need to re-
semble Grace Kelly; looking like
herself is quite enough. In Twenty-
One, she plays Katy, a woman who,
in clichcd movie vernacular, is ex-
ploring her sexual identity. The pre-
mise is simple: Katy, a Londoner,
has wound up in New York City and
she needs to explain to us how she's
gotten there.
She travels through the movie in
alternating scenes and conversations
with the camera. Presumably she
drops her mask for us, parting her
luscious lips to explain her different

personas as we see them enacted in
the scenes with other characters.
Katy loves her father (Jack Shep-
herd) and her best friend, Francesca
(Susan Woolridge), commits herself
to a junkie boyfriend (Rufus Sewell),
has sex with a slimy married man,
and hangs out with an illegal
immigrant from named Baldie (May-
nard Eziashi). Her mother commits
flagrant adultery against her father.
With this succession of characters
and with silly temp jobs that rest be-
neath her intelligence, Katy reveals
herself to us voyeuristically, but not
quite honestly.
Katy's a likeable character and
there's something compelling in just
watching her prance across the
screen because she's so damn sexy.
She makes Twenty-One an enjoyable
movie, though not very memorable
or, finally, believable.

One might say that this film
breaks ground in exploring (or at the
very least acknowledging) female
sexuality, but Katy's sex life doesn't
seem so real. She herself lends cred-
ibility to the whole endeavor because
of a confidence that underlies even
the most pathetic situations. We
never understand, however, why she
would involve herself with a self-ab-
sorbed junkie who thinks about his
next fix more than he thinks about
her.
Katy's a woman who could have
any man she wants, but spends her
time with losers - and she doesn't
have the low self-esteem that might
justify her behavior patterns.
Twenty-One moves quickly
through its different scenarios, from
dinners in exotic restaurants with
Francesca (after Ethiopian, Turkish,
and Japanese, they wind up in a par-
ody of an American restaurant) to

scenes in which she comforts her
chump father.
The movie tries to create a psy-
chology for Katy by insinuating a
sexual attraction for her father and a
hatred for her cheating mother, but it
doesn't gel with Katy's unflappable
self-assurance.
Despite the inconsistencies, Ken-
sit (last seen in Lethal Weapon 2) is
a pleasure to watch. She moves like
any number of sleek animals and
dresses with unprecedented hipness.
As she seduces the men in her
life, so does she titillate the audience
with her personal addresses. The
film moves quickly and entertain-
ingly through her life with a sardonic
British wit.
While no new ground has been
broken here, Katy's life draws us in
and the satirical camera mimics her
sense of humor to make her es-
capades interesting if not important.

Katy (Patsy Kensit) is one hip Brit. She's got sexual savvy which enables
her to emerge unscathed (and Yankified) from her life and men in London.

The film thinks itself an innovation
with its narrative style and self-con-
sciously honest depiction of Katy's
sexuality. But ultimately, Twenty-

One is a good movie - definitely
worth seeing - but nothing more.
TWENTY-ONE is playing at the Ann
Arbor 1 & 2.

" " " - - ~Do You?

Exercise Good aste
at theLICIvbIh
Dinner served Wednesday thru Sunday
5:30 until 7:30

Fr. Peter Gillquist
Distinguished author and lecturer will speak on
"BREAKING FREE FROM INNER GLOOM"
Sponsored by the Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches of Metropolitan Detroit
University of Michigan
Union - Ballroom
530 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thursday, March 26th
7:30-9:00 pm
Author of
Love is Now (Zondervan Press,1970);
Hndbook For Spiritual Survnal
(Zondervan Press, 1972);
(Zondervan Press, 1974);
The Pheal Side of Beitual
(Zondervan Press, 1979);
Designed For Holiness (Servant Press, 1982):

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