per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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just me, putting my hand on my heart
Quote for the day:

But we want to leave you with the intimation that the universe, all it's horrors notwithstanding, is strange and marvellous; that love is the law and the drug and pull and the push of all we do; that the pursuit of beauty is useful, honourable, and healing; and that our actions in this time, in choosing forgiveness over vendetta, brilliance over mediocrity, the clean difficult way over the dubious easy option, will determine whether or not we realise the wealth of possibilities implicit in our existence.

This is from the liner notes of "Big Night Music", the 1986 release by Shriekback. This is my favorite band, one that all-too-few people are familiar with. Shriekback has provided a huge chunk of the background music of my life for eighteen years now, and they still manage to astonish and thrill me.

I'm sure I had at least heard Nemesis (their one real chart hit) during my college clubbing days, but I heave a clear memory of the first time I became aware of them: during a moderately hellish period in my life, bigblackmimesis sat me down and played me Cradle Song- a quiet, literate, and immensely loving lullabye. I felt like the world's hand had unclenched from my heart, and I wept.

Their music runs an enormous gamut, from peaceful songs like that to huge, sprawling litanies to chanted things that sound like invocations of forgotten gods to playful celebrations of the Dionysian urge to spare and hard-hitting numbers that recall their roots in bands like XTC, Gang of Four, and the League of Gentlemen. They have some of the best lyrics in the world- literate and funky and magickal and frightening... they are the first and possibly only band to make me go to the dictionary, and when I did, I jumped up and down and shouted "Yes!" bigblackmimesis and I were so amused and inspired by their song Gunning for the Buddha that we wrote characters based on it for the very first Tales from the Floating Vagabond LARP.

I've been fortunate enough to see them in concert once, years ago, where they engaged the audience in a way that made it seem more like a shamanic ritual than entertainment. Barry Andrews, their singer/keyboardist/guitarist, toured last year on his own, and cast a softer but no less effective enchantment. I wouldn't say I exactly proselytize them, but I recommend them to my friends every chance I get (like now!), suggest them for group mix CDs, etc.

And they're still around; they just came out with a short CD ("Having a Moment") last year, and I have high hopes for more wonders. They have a loyal fan-base; we funded their CD, found venues and crash space for Barry on his tour, keep the flame alive. There are three websites in particular that anyone interested should check out: The Shriekback Digital Conspiracy, The Shriekback Index Page, and Barry Andrews's own page. Their music is around on CD; much is still in print and can be found on Amazon, and it crops up on eBay sometimes as well. eBay is also the place to find Having a Moment, as well as Barry Andrews's solo material (look for seller "i_obtain") (it's not up there now, but keep checking (or email one of the contacts on the Conspiracy page).

Listen. Enjoy.

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That is a marvelous quote. I am a fan of Shreikback myself, although to a lesser degree than you. I have one albumn on vinyl and one on cd and a few vinyl singles. I've always been partial to Nemesis and My Spine is a Baseline. Might have that title not quite right - alas it has been a long time since I've been able to access the vinyl.

Shriekback was one of the really truly great musical gifts you've given me over the years. They rock. Even if I did think that one song was "licking honey from a raisin" and giggled because it made me think of the "chopping broccoli" song. =)

"Cradle Song" will always have very special meaning to me...

Even if I did think that one song was "licking honey from a raisin"

I just love the way your neurons misfire...

and giggled because it made me think of the "chopping broccoli" song. =)

It's not as funny as you and random221b getting frustrated trying to explain it to me when I had no idea what you were talking about. ;-P

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