28 October 2005

vashti bunyan - "rose hip november" (from the just another diamond day lp, available for purchase here.)
vashti bunyan - "against the sky" (from the lookaftering lp, available for purchase here.)

in brief : the sound has been w/ us for years. it's only the name that needed remembering.

when the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, as one old song goes, i turn to a bunch of other old songs. a friend of mine breaks out her neil young and dylan records, which are quite evocative, while i go for belle & sebastian, lambchop, and british folk music. for all its beauty, there hangs in the air an imminent sense of dread--a statement that describes the music, as well as the season that it's so well suited for (cf. twee, an offshoot, which does well in both fall and spring, due to an unwarranted optimism.)

vashti bunyan is enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now; i say "a bit" b/c there isn't much music to celebrate: prior to this year's lookaftering, there's 1970's just another diamond day ... and that's it, really. like marianne faithfull, vashti was an extraordinarily attractive young woman who hooked up w/ a. loog oldham and recorded a stones song ("some things just stick in your mind"); unlike marianne faithfull, she's recorded nothing since then.

just another diamond day, from which "rose hip november" comes, was produced w/ a lot of people i like (incredible string band, fairport convention, robert kirby); lookaftering, the source of "against the sky," was produced w/ a lot of people i don't (joanna newsom, devendra banhart, animal collective). despite that, and the intervening years, there is great continuity between the two records w/ v. little change, least of all in the quality of vashti's voice; the tone, on the other hand, has changed: earlier, she sounded like she could have been a jazz singer or even marianne faithfull, now she sounds fully confirmed as a folksinger, the smokey tone of her youth having given up the ghost, so to speak. there is little concession to contemporary trends. rather, listening to these records one after the other, one discovers that contemporary trends aren't so contemporary after all.

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