11 October 2005

josef k - "it's kinda funny (single version)" (from the endless soul lp, import available for purchase here.)

in brief : the sound of young scotland, once; like orange juice, but w/ the lights out.

i have this co-worker. he's into bela fleck and clapton. sometimes, i think, that's all one needs to know. he has surprised me, though, like when i was playing neu '75, which he liked so much that he bought it on the spot. turns out, he also digs josef k. (maybe it's the german thing ... )

i described the song to him like this: have you ever been so low, on such a rotten streak, that at times there was something bleakly humorous about the whole thing? (he said, "no," which might describe his listening habits.) if he was familiar w/ them, i would have said that josef k were to orange juice as, to use an obvious example, the stones were to the beatles--namely, the former were rougher on the ear and sharper to the touch. (malcolm ross of josef k would later join orange juice after the disintegration of the band he founded.)

"it's kinda funny" isn't emblematic of josef k's sound; their songs are, for the most part, uptempo if not upbeat, w/ guitar parts that bite like barbed wire. it is, however, to me their definitive moment, and this is the single version of the song. there are a number of difference, notably the change in atmosphere. the album version is suffocating, its guitar lines interlocking, forging restraints, while the single version is more spacious. given the subject matter of the song, you'd think that the former would be more effective, yet there's something far more desperate about the latter. it gives the impression that one could leave through the front door instead of through the crack in the wall, and yet. you listen to "it's kinda funny" at this time of year and you're uncomfortably aware that winter'ss coming soon. it's a chill wind of a song that reminds you that there is a cold that you can't keep out.

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