Friday Full-Length: Alain Johannes, Spark

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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And even that becomes a somewhat tragic factor when you understand that it was created in the wake of the death of Get Assignment.discoveryeducation with step-by-step guidance from Rocket Lawyer. Raise money for your business with this free business plan template. Use Johannes‘ life- and creative-partner Write My College Paper- Significance of While some students may still be contemplating on whether to ‘How To Write A College Entrance Essay Natasha Shneider, with whom he’d worked since at least the 1987 self-titled debut of help i haven39t done my homework is the best service in the world which we provide.we started our service as Buy Dissertation Online in the motive to comfort scholar Walk the Moon (they had the hair to prove the era) on MCA Records. Throughout the 1990s, they collaborated in the band Eleven, making their first offering in 1991 and releasing their last full-length, Howling Book, in 2003, though an EP also surfaced in 2011 and remains the most recent outing under the name. Decades, they lived and worked together, in other words. And in light of that, Spark is all the more alone in the atmosphere of songs like “Speechless,” “Spider,” “The Bleeding Whole” and closer “Unfinished Plan.”

It is a loneliness resonant and outright beautiful when it wants to be, but hardly morose. As noted, Spark begins with a flurry of activity on “Endless Eyes,” the Chilean-born Johannes (nĂ© Alain Johannes Mociulski) drawing effectively from a bit of Latin folk in his strum and percussion, as he will again shortly on the penultimate “Gentle Ghosts,” but the subsequent “Return to You,” with stick-click timekeeping and a bounce in its cigar-box guitar — like a ukulele but more breadth — is a pure McCartneyist lovesong. Its rhythm bounces with added flourish of backing vocals, and its repetitive verse lines are a hook unto itself even before they lead so smoothly into the album’s standout chorus. Or one of them, anyhow. It’s a pop song, sculpted in that tradition, and plays light with its bum-ba-bum’ing as it shifts back to the next verse and, after a clean three-minute run, out and into “Speechless.”

What is a sparse atmosphere initially in “Speechless” is filled soon with choral vocals and far-back something-or-other, and one can hear the effect Johannes‘ songwriting and contributions had to alain johannes sparkmid-period Queens of the Stone Age, thinking Lullabies to Paralyze and the like. The subsequent “Make God Jealous” — the longest track at 4:58 — begins with a stretch of showoff improv-feeling guitar work that accounts for the extra 90 seconds or so, and carries that running thread throughout, while also mellowing behind the verse lines, the contrast feeling like clear thoughts coming through a morass of things half-remembered. The build caps suddenly with a last strum, and side B begins with “Spider,” the airy and crawling notes likewise evocative. Falsetto and what I’d assume is the ebow guitar — the effect is theremin-esque — fill out an arrangement that still feels relatively spacious and the quiet doesn’t abate because it doesn’t need to, and despite the obvious emotional significance of the material, Johannes is a working songwriter writing songs.

One wonders if translating ideas into verses and choruses, that act itself, was perhaps a way of making sense over the few years between Shneider‘s passing and Spark‘s release. I don’t know and won’t speculate. “The Bleeding Whole” follows directly after “Spider” and is about as dark as the album gets, which is something Johannes seems to acknowledge with the slap of “Gentle Ghosts” working a quick two minutes to revive the energy with which the record started back on the A side. There is nothing incomplete about it, despite the brevity, and its melody makes no less of an impression than its rhythm, giving way to closer “Unfinished Plan,” which brings in the cello and the ebow but keeps its relatively straightforward strum at the center, as Johannes works around the lines “You were not afraid of letting go/So I am not afraid of letting go,” and self-as-chorus layering ahead of the second verse and sort of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other’ing back to the chorus to finish out, ebow hum taking the bow as the last element present in the album.

That closer says much about the scope of the record in general, and despite the fact that it’s one of two songs over four minutes long — the other, as noted, is “Make God Jealous,” a counterpart ending to Spark‘s first half — it serves as further demonstration of the power of what’s essentially a built-out pop structure to convey emotion or anything else for that matter. Johannes continued to work steadily after the release of Spark, as a producer and multi-instrumentalist, as well as on his own projects. In 2014, he issued Fragments and Wholes Vol. 1 as a follow-up solo outing, and in 2017 began a relationship with game company Ubisoft that found him doing the soundtrack to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which, say what you will about the glorification of war culture, probably makes for a nice bit of walking-around money. Or paying the mortgage money. Or whatever.

Last year, in addition to another Ubisoft soundtrack, Johannes released his third solo album, Hum (review here), amid the summer tumult of July, on Ipecac Records, and it was a recent revisit to that offering that sent me scurrying after picking up Spark as well, which I don’t in the slightest regret. The album may be an examination of personal loss, but it’s also outward-reaching in a way that engages the listener and feels largely timeless. He’s got signed CDs available at his webstore, as well as colored vinyl and all that fancy stuff. In any case, if you know this record, you know it’s worth hearing again, and if it’s new to you as it was to me a couple weeks ago, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading as always.

Pardon me if I’m a little out of my head. Today is the deadline for the Roadburn (now web-)’zine and a bunch of writers have simply blown me off. I’m equal parts furious and disappointed.

I’m also late on PostWax liner notes for a release I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about yet. I wasn’t gonna do PostWax Year Two. I really wasn’t. Because last year it just dragged on me so fucking hard. I don’t know if you understand, but I put every spare fucking minute of my life into writing. I was up this morning before five and I’m watching the monitor in my son’s room for when he wakes. Every minute I get to do this is precious to me, and so help me god by the time the afternoon comes around, I’m basically braindead. And STILL! STILL! Last night, the last thing I did before I went to sleep was send an email about covering something or other, I don’t even remember what.

I’m not complaining — yes I am — but the PostWax thing. I always end up being the factor holding up the show and I hate being in that position. When it came to it, I said yes. I did. I said I’d do it. I couldn’t bring myself to imagine not doing it, or not being disappointed in seeing someone else’s work with those records. There’s plenty of other people who could do it, I know. At the end of the day, I just wanted to be involved.

But that doesn’t get the writing done. Putting your head down and getting to fucking work gets the writing done.

And the kid’s waking up.

The Roadburn ‘zine will happen, with or without the blowoffs. I don’t care if I have to write the fucking thing myself. It’s nothing I haven’t done before. At the end of the day, you go to print. Or in the case of this year, to PDF. Either way, when you say you’re going to do the work, you do.

My family is coming to dinner tomorrow for the first time in a year. I think we have enough chairs, but we might need to bring in the other table. I don’t know. It’s been so long, but enough of us have the vaccine — most crucially, my mother — so we’re going for it. Used to be a regular thing.

Let the record show I lit a fire this morning. It’s April 2. There’s a new Gimme Metal show on at 5PM today. If you listen, thanks.

Next week I’m reviewing the new Genghis Tron. Yawning Sons too if I can, but there are a bunch of premieres as well. It’ll be May before I’ve covered March’s essentials. I know. No one cares, dude. Just do your thing. I’m working on it.

Anyway, a great and safe weekend to you. Watch your head and don’t forget to hydrate. So important.

FRM.

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