Monday, March 14, 2005

The guns shot above our heads, and we kissed as though nothing could fall

Excerpts from an interview by Monica Lynch, from Index Magazine:

MONICA: Do you dance, Stephin?
STEPHIN: I love to dance. I will dance again when I can find the shoes in which to do it. I am very disappointed with my feet. But I took dance in high school.
MONICA: Really? Did you have to wear leotards?
STEPHIN: I don’t remember what I wore. But I was liable to be wearing leotards in high school anyway. Or jumpsuits. There was one point when my entire wardrobe was jumpsuits.
MONICA: It was interpretive dance that you took in high school, I suppose.
STEPHIN: Yes, we would invent dance routines to various Bowie songs.
MONICA: Like what? "Ashes to Ashes?"
STEPHIN: Oh, no, no, no. "Moss Garden" from "Heroes". We were into "Heroes", and side two of Low.

The albums cited, Low and "Heroes", were two of the three albums (the third being Lodger) on which David Bowie collaborated significantly with Brian Eno, while living in Berlin in the late 70s. Merritt's earlier synth-based recordings sometimes evoke the distinctive atmospherics of those albums - for example, Merritt's effervescent synths in his arrangement of "Babies Falling" are reminiscent of the gentle gurgling sounds at the beginning of "Neuköln" on "Heroes".

The Magnetic Fields covered the track "Heroes" for the Bowie tribute album Crash Course for the Ravers, lovingly compiled by Claudia Gonson's sister, JJ, on her Undercover Records label in 1996. While not as passionate as Bowie's own version, the cover has a soothing yet relentless momentum to it and is easily one of the best interpretations of "Heroes" I've heard. It's a hard song to cover well - there are several really bad covers out there, as evidence of this. The second track this week is a two-in-one bonus of "Moss Garden" and its subsequent track, "Neuköln" (which starts at the 5 minute, 5 second point.)

While listening to "Moss Garden," imagine, if you will, an even smaller version of Stephin bouncing about in an unpredictable, animated fashion, wearing a jumpsuit.


Anonymous Tom said...

I've had your Stephin tabs site in my bookmarks for a while, and just found this blog. It's looking great.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Ernest said...


10:03 PM  

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