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September 09, 2005 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-09

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 9, 2005 - 9

DON'T
LOOK BACK
SOUNDTRACK TO
SCORSESE DOCUMENTARY
TRACES BOB DYLAN's
EARLY CREATIVE EVOLUTION
By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Editor
MUSIC REVIEW
If there were an encyclopedia of late 20th century
popular music - a definitive compendium of artists,
albums, genres, movements, slang, scenes, debuts,

Founding members of the Dave Matthews Fan Club. Go Dave!

Black Dice expand
"sound on new LP

By Uoyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer

Black Dice's Broken Ear Record is the
death knell of the neo-noise renaissance,
but that might not be such a terrible thing.
Noise peaked
creatively in '02
with Black Dice's Black Dice
own masterpiece Broken Ear Record
Beaches & Can- DFA
yons, Wolf Eyes'
Slicer and Dread
and the discovery of Lightning Bolt's
Ride the Skies. The genre peaked cultur-
ally last year when Wolf Eyes released
Burned Mind on mega-indie label Sub
Pop and subsequently appeared on the
cover of Wire magazine. Predictably,
this underground movement led more
established bands to incorporate aspects
of noise into their more straightforward
work. When bands like Wilco brought
noise to the Starbucks and NPR crowd,
it irreparably damaged noise's hipster
credibility. Now Black Dice, a forerun-
ner of the genre's improbable surge in
popularity, is going the way of Animal
Collective and becoming gradually more
pastoral and less and less apocalyptic.
Interestingly enough, all of this bodes
well for Black Dice on Broken Ear
Record. Rather than growing stagnant,
the band has transformed from druggy
Merzbow imitators to Autechre with

aggression. Boredoms' influence is also
becoming more and more apparent,
as demonstrated by the almost dance-
able groove that kicks off album opener
"Snarly Yow." The song is paired with
"Smiling Off" at the outset of Broken
Ear Record; at a combined 18 minutes,
they represent the bulk of the album
- both sonically and in length. Less
face-melting and abrasive than prior
efforts, both display Black Dice's more
efficient approach to destroying dorm
room speakers. Here, less noise is more
devastating.
Following those scaled back yet still
visceral tracks, the album turns it down
yet another notch with the starkly sparse
"Heavy Manners." It's a make-it-or-break
-it moment for the album, but Black Dice
pulls off the change of pace infinitely bet-
ter than they did with 2004's inconsistent
Creature Comforts. The band trudges on
with two more hypnotic jams before end-
ing the album with their most accessible
song to date.
The album's- closer, "Motorcycle,"
is perhaps a promising glimpse at the
direction Black Dice will take in the
future. The four-on-the-floor beat and the
uncharacteristically optimistic guitar riff
display the sort of varied sentiment that
lesser noise bands never even attempt.
But, the band wisely let the album ride
out with a fractured rat-ta-tat of drums
and bass, proving that while they can do
subtle and happy, they're still the best
there is at rupturing eardrums.

ODs, legends and all the other
little details that make music
worth loving - the listing for
"bootleg" would read something
like: "A recording illicitly pro-
duced, bought or sold. See also:
Dylan, Bob."
No other artist, not The Bea-
tles or the Stones or Michael
Jackson or the Grateful Dead,

Bob Dylan
The Bootleg
Series, Vol. 7:
No Direction
Home - The
Soundtrack
Columbia/Legacy

"Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything."

has attracted fans and followers of unofficial record-
ings in comparable quantity or fervor as Bob Dylan.
No other artist has presented the same Delphian
combination of mystery, wisdom, directness and
inspiration that defines Dylan's musical persona; to
fully understand him as an artist is as impossible a
task as assembling a complete collection of Dylan's
full - that is to say unofficial - catalog.
Ever since Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan,
fans have collected and traded unofficial recordings
by the enigmatic (and prolific) artist. Tapes include
everything from home recordings to live shows to
interviews to demos to outtakes to alternate versions.
For decades, bootleg recordings were the domain of
Dylan's most rabid fans, an elite group - some of
whom view collecting the artist's unofficial record-
ings as a spiritual more than musical pastime. That's
how things were until '91, when Dylan's longtime
label, Columbia, released The Bootleg Series: Voss.
1-3 (Rare & Unreleased), a three-disc collection of
non-album tracks that spanned Dylan's career from
Greenwich Village coffeehouses, civil rights rallies,
electric inspiration, motorcycle accidents through to
the supposed "third comeback" and the inception of
the Never-Ending Tour in the late '80s.
Since then, some of the most historic performanc-
es of Dylan's career have been released; live record-
ings from '75's Rolling Thunder Revue tour, '64's
Carnegie Hall performance that marked the apex of
Dylan's acoustic career and the essential '66 Free
Trade Hall show during which a wild-haired Dylan,
backed electrically by touring band The Hawks, was
denounced by a dissatisfied folkie as "Judas!"
The most recent installment in the series, The
Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: No Direction Home - The
Soundtrack, doesn't capture the music made on one

evening or one tour; this release is meant to accom-
pany the story of Dylan's ascension as a controver-
sial folk poet and his controversial "second coming"
as the new musical landscape's electric messiah,
which is shown in the upcoming Martin Scorsese-
directed documentary of the same name, airing
Sept. 26 and 27 on PBS. No. Direction Home's first
disc is comprised mostly of early and live recordings
from Dylan's acoustic years, including what most
believe to be.the first recording of his music in exis-
tence (opener "When I Got-Troubles," whose faded,
crackly quality and bluesy simplicity is reminis-
cent of selections from the Anthology of American
Folk Music, which may have had a hand in inspir-
ing it). Dylan's fascination with folk legend Woody
Guthrie shows on recordings of "This Land Is Your
Land" and one of only two self-penned songs on his
first album, "Song to Woody." These tracks exhibit
Dylan's fascinating experimentation with persona
early in his career; on "Troubles" and the home
recording of "Rambler, Gambler," Dylan's voice is
youthful, almost sweet; he sounds like a barefoot
Appalachian boy whose only contact with the outside
world comes from fuzzy transmissions of blues and
country radio shows from the Tennessee Valley. By
the time he recorded "Song to Woody" and "Dink's
Song," Dylan's voice had aged and hardened to that
familiar nasal rasp of gravel and soul that character-
izes the folk classics ("Man of Constant Sorrow"),
social commentary ("Blowin' in the Wind," "Mas-
ters of War") and pre-psychedelic epic visions ("Mr.
Tambourine Man") that made the singer/songwriter
from Minnesota into a cultural vanguard.
No Direction Home's second disc kicks off with
an alternate take of the delicate, rhapsodic "She
Belongs to Me," one last reminder of Dylan's first
public identity. But in between this and the next track
we hear an announcer's voice:, "Ladies and gentle-
men ... the person who's going to come up now ...
has a limited amount of time ... his name ... is Bob
Dylan!" Momentary applause, and then - in the
flash of a second - the world changes as we hear

Courtesy of Columoia

the rough preliminary twangs of "Maggie's Farm" as
performed at the '65 Newport Folk Festival. Accord-
ing to legend, the raucous electric performance so
affronted festival attendees that pandemonium broke
out; the audience booed, and musician Pete Seeger
supposedly went after the band's cables with a hatch-
et. The song was a response to fans' initial rejection
of Dylan's electric experimentation; the line "I try
my best to be just like I am/ But everybody wants
you to be just like them," is a combined slap in the
face and "fuck you" to those who wanted to hold
Dylan back. This is the definitive moment in the
most important era of Dylan's career; regardless of
Scorsese, Columbia could have released this single
recording and fans would have understood.
The rest of disc two takes listeners through 1966
with alternate takes and live versions of songs from
the powerful Highway 61 Revisited and the career-
defining Blonde on Blonde. Lyrically, these outtakes
don't differ much from the album cuts, but the musi-
cal framework is often different. The bluesy, lan-
guorous album version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh,
It Takes a Train to Cry" featured twangy, fast-paced
music, and on this version of "Leopard-Skin Pillbox
Hat," organ slinks beneath Dylan spitting out slow,
innuendo-heavy lyrics. The aim here is not to rehash
Dylan's music "greatest hits"-style, but to show the
hours of experimentation and activity that went into
producing two of the most important rock albums
ever recorded.
No Direction Home comes at a time in Dylan's
career at which he has transcended the persona
of plainspoken protest singer, enigmatic rock-
poet, ghost-faced fortune teller; now he's the
larger-than-life legend, the weathered old musi-
cian he tried so hard to sound like when he was
20. It feels a bit like a retrospective, a prema-
ture look back at Dylan during his most creative
period. But if we have faith in him - and we do
- we know that this is just more hero worship
or canonization; and that the era of Bob Dylan as
living legend isn't over.

DAILY ARTS. WE HAVE SKI MASKS*
COME TO OUR MASS MEETING
SUNDAY AT 5 P.M.

t

Cordially invites Michigan University Juniors and Seniors
to a presentation and reception
On
Monday, September 12th, 2005
Davidson Hall
5:00PM
Career Analyst Interviews: Wednesday, October 19t", 2005
Summer Analyst Interviews: Monday, January 23rd, 2006
Seniors interested in interviewing for Analyst positions
in our Investment Banking Group
should submit resumes and cover letters through MTRAK
by September 29th
For additional information please contact:
Shannon Sullivan: (212) 632-6244

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