06 mayo, 2006

Dirty Three Albums


Dirty Three
Sad & Dangerous
Label:Poon Village
1. Kim's Dirt
2. Killy Kundane
3. Jaguar
4. Devil in the Hole
5. Jim's Dog
6. Short Break
7. Turk Reprise
8. You Were a Bum Dream
9. Warren's Waltz
10. Turk
On their debut, Dirty Three seems to be working out future ideas. Most of the songs are quite lengthy, and some of the more repetitive numbers are often hurt by this ("Kim's Dirt," "Turk Reprise"). As a result of the band's experimentation, however, we see a different side of the group not witnessed on later efforts. For instance, Warren Ellis sets down his violin to play bass on "Jim's Dog," a song that seems like it would fit perfectly on a film-noir detective movie soundtrack. One of the greatest moments on the record arrives in the form of "Turk," appropriately the last song and the biggest epic. Here, Dirty Three emits dark Eastern melodies that build until they finally climax into a shrieking, stuttered middle section. In the end, there are two sides to the material on the album: pure emotional feeling and meandering filler. (AMG)

Dirty Three
Dirty Three
Genre:Rock/Experimental rock
Label:Touch & Go
1. Indian Love Song
2. Better Go Home Now
3. Odd Couple
4. Kim's Dirt
5. Everything's Fucked
6. The Last Night
7. Dirty Equation
There have been many attempts to integrate instrumentation, other than the guitar, bass, and drums format, into so-called rock music. Many bands have gone through an Eastern or psychedelic phase, adding strings, tabla, or some other seemingly eccentric instrument to their sound. For the most part, bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and others make these new instruments sound out of place in a rock setting. But the Dirty Three -- an aptly-named Australian drum, guitar, and violin trio -- create an hour of music on this self-titled album that takes the experiments of their predecessors and coalesces them into a beautiful whole. Violinist Warren Ellis is a magician -- the sounds he coaxes out of the instrument range from conventional melody to washed-out feedback noise. On "Indian Love Song" Ellis starts off with a gentle plucking of the strings, but midway though this ten minute drone he's on another planet, wailing away in a Pete Townshend meets Thurston Moore vein. This album does not follow a strict melody-cacophony structure though. Mick Turner plays along perfectly with Ellis, crafting subtle guitar lines that complement his counterpart. All the while drummer Jim White uses a keen selection of shells, tambourines, and God knows what else to keep a beat. The band seems equally assured in playing quiet pastoral passages ("Kim's Dirt") and ferocious rock ("Everything's Fucked"). Their music is cinematic -- moving at varying paces through different emotions. Where most bands have come up short in both creativity and execution, the Dirty Three have it right. (AMG)

Dirty Three
Horse Stories
Label:Touch & Go
1. 1000 Miles - 4:40
2. Sue's Last Ride - 7:22
3. Hope - 4:53
4. I Remember A Time When You Used To Love Me - 6:11
5. At The Bar - 6:39
6. Red - 3:54
7. Warren's Lament - 8:44
8. Horse - 5:38
9. I Knew It Would Come To This - 8:38
Dirty Three have a gift for creating unforgettably emotive instrumental soundscapes, and Horse Stories demonstrates this to great effect. The versatility of Warren Ellis' violin playing is what drives Horse Stories, but although the violin is the focal point, Mick Turner's guitar and Jim White's drumming are vital elements in making Dirty Three's sound so compelling. The tracks here are widely varied, from slow, languid pieces like "1000 Miles" and "At the Bar" and wild dances like "Red" and "I Remember a Time When Once You Used to Love Me" to stunningly beautiful tracks like the aptly titled "Hope." It is fitting that Horse Stories helped Dirty Three reach a wider audience than they had with their earlier efforts, as it was an album that saw them reach new heights in creativity. (AMG)

Dirty Three
Ocean Songs
Label:Touch & Go/Bella Union
1. Sirena - 4:06
2. The Restless Waves - 5:09
3. Distant Shore - 5:50
4. Authentic Celestial Music - 10:04
5. Backwards Voyager - 4:34
6. Last Horse on the Sand - 4:52
7. Sea Above, Sky Below - 6:04
8. Black Tide - 4:35
9. Deep Waters - 16:27
10. Ends of the Earth - 5:11

Special Edition DVD Tracklist
1. Last Horse on the Sand
2. Distant Shore
3. Authentic Celestial Music
4. Sue's Last Ride
5. Deep Waters
The Dirty Three's fourth venture into long-play territory is easily their most controversial, and a decided change in direction. While the band's previous recordings -- Sad & Dangerous, Dirty Three, and Horse Stories -- have all, in some way, attempted to capture the trio's live show, where slow, winding patterns and riffs become a swirling churning blast of emotional cacophony for both musicians and listeners, Ocean Songs takes a very different tack to achieve an end that is similar, but more focused. There is an aesthetic at work on Ocean Songs, from the cover through to the last note of the original recordings (early issues of the CD came with a second CD with three bonus tracks, all of which have surfaced elsewhere), the purpose of which is held in the somewhat mysterious title. The music is what makes it so. Are D3 playing songs inspired by or seemingly "created" from the ocean? Or are they paying homage to the ocean? The music here keeps all tempos reigned in and all instrumental flurries to a minimum, creating the feeling of waves lapping and pouring into and out of one another. It's as if the D3 were on a vessel, playing to the ocean itself. There are hints in guitarist Mick Turner's gorgeous cover painting, which shows a tranquil mermaid on one side, a near tidal wave over a red boat on the back sleeve, and both in deep blue against a light blue background, seemingly under the ocean. On the tentative opener, "Sirena," Warren Ellis plays two- and three-notes lines, held interminably against Turner's pastoral and minimal guitar flourishes while Jim White's rhythmic constructs glisten and shimmer through the middle, offering it all more room to drift rather than create a frame. On "Distant Shore," a tune built on three chords and a fragment, Ellis puts the album's tentative nature forth in the elegantly twisting lilt of his violin, creating a melody that is simply a chant, as Turner and White slip around his center, creating a view of the shore and the ground, mirage-like and ephemeral, and presented through a watery prism, as mournful, left behind, turned away from. The centerpiece of the album -- from which there is no return, either to "traditional" D3 form or to anything else considered rock music -- is "Authentic Celestial Music." Ellis, for the first time, overdubs his violin, creating a series of drones and overlapping melodies. Turner plays its straight, creating a chord structure that follows the dynamic changes in Ellis' minimal style, from one melody to the next, with no more than 12 notes total. White relies on his tom toms and a muted snare, almost leaving his cymbals out of the mix entirely until over halfway through the tune's nearly 11 minutes. Here is a new kind of intensity for the D3, one built in unison and not in any kind of rock counterpoint. A dynamic range is built upon slowly, with repeated phrases and rhythms masking the turbulence underneath, mirroring it even, and holding some degree of it in, where previously the dials would have been in the red. This is not to say there isn't drama or tension -- far from it. It's just that it does not get released through catharsis; instead, it merely goes quiet. When "Backwards Voyager" ushers in the second half of the album, it is clear that listeners are in the aftermath of a storm. A dangerous calm is created by White's whispering snare, and deepened by Turner's generous open-tuned chords, plucked and gently strummed, as Ellis just hovers elegaically in the background, moving the band into a lulling, shimmering space where everything floats in open, empty, poetic, and lyric space. D3 move eventually from this gorgeous, mournful, and some what sad space into the heart of beauty itself, meditating on this new terrain, one which extends far beyond anything they conceived of exploring as a band on previous albums. Loss, desire, remembrance, solitude, and the tenuous benevolence of nature are all emotional frames explored in tracks like "Last Horse on the Sand," the densely mysterious "Sky Above, Sea Below," and "Black Ride." The disc ends with "Ends of the Earth," with Ellis taking up the piano as well as his violin, and Turner playing a gorgeous yet simple lyric line that evokes the shimmering horizon, endlessly out of reach, just over the next curve in the earth. Ellis, whose chords underlie his fragile song, also layers his violin just above White's brushed snare that haunts Turner's guitar. In the middle of the tune's five-minute span, one can see into the depths of the ocean itself, and hear it speak its secret truths while revealing its hidden, flowing body. It's a song than ends in a small, shimmering whisper about things to come, things that are, and things that will never be. On Ocean Songs, the Dirty Three have expanded themselves immeasurably as a band by holding themselves in to listen, and have made some of the most haunting, poetically profound, and emotionally honest music ever to come out of the "rock" world. (AMG) / Pitchfork

Dirty Three
Whatever you love, you are
Label:Touch & Go
1. Some Summers They Drop Like Flys - 6:20
2. I Really Should've Gone Out Last Night - 6:55
3. I Offered It Up to the Stars & the Night Sky - 13:41
4. Some Things I Just Don't Want to Know - 6:07
5. Steller - 7:29
6. Lullabye for Christie - 7:45
The Dirty Three have created their own brand of violin-infused rock and carry this torch of innovation even further with Whatever You Love, You Are. There are some characteristic Dirty Three moments on this album; the final song "Lullaby for Christie" would have fit in perfectly on their first self-titled album. The song swoons and breaks with a delicate yet powerful melody. There are some key explorations on this album that, even if they don't always succeed, depict a band that is far from comfortable with the status quo. "I Offered It up to the Stars and the Night Sky" experiments with overlapping violin tracks and ends up sounding more like a chamber work by Steve Reich than the Dirty Three. Although it's not the album's most listenable song, it sounds incredibly different than anything else the band has done. Another new direction for the band is in terms of production; much of the album contains overdubs and has a much smoother, but not always better, sound. Perhaps the only aspect of Whatever You Love that is lacking is the rough "live" sound that the other albums have had. The production takes away from some of the band's spontaneity but also allows it to refine the subtleties of their sound. Hopefully, with time, the Dirty Three will be able to fuse their rough-edged sound with technological advancements to achieve a perfect synthesis. (AMG)/ Pitchfork

Dirty Three
She Has No Strings Apollo
Label:Touch & Go
1. Alice Wading
2. She Has No Strings
3. Long Way to Go With No Punch
4. No Stranger Than That
5. Sister Let Them Try & Follow
6. She Lifted the Net
7. Rude (And Then Some Slight Return)
On She Has No Strings Apollo, the Dirty Three again offer up the sounds of their hearts and inner landscapes to the skies and whoever's listening. The band's tendency to start a song quiet, loose, and lovely and then slowly sweat it into a faster, intensified crescendo is familiar by now, but somehow remains vividly evocative. The emotional road from heartbreak and regret, expressed through beating music with wailing violin ("Alice Wading"), to feeling lost, heard in a song's slow unraveling ("She Lifted the Net"), and back again is part of humanity's oldest story, and is a tale that violinist Warren Ellis, guitarist Mick Turner, and drummer Jim White are good at telling. If you are a fan of the Dirty Three's past expressions, you'll be moved by their sound again as they relay new wordless tales of woe, sadness, and things past. Worth noting: The quieter, reflective pieces like "Long Way to Go With No Punch" deliver moments of reprieve, and bass guitar (played by Turner) is heard for the first time on a Dirty Three album since 1994's Sad & Dangerous. (AMG) / Pitchfork

Dirty Three
Label:Touch & Go
1. Ever Since - 4:48
2. She Passed Through - 3:26
3. Amy - 2:48
4. Sad Sexy - 3:23
5. Cinders - 3:02
6. Doris - 3:26
7. Flutter - 6:36
8. The Zither Player - 5:01
9. It Happened - 2:14
10. Great Waves - 3:28 (vocals by Chan Marshall)
11. Dream Evie - 2:43
12. Too Soon, Too Late - 3:29
13. This Night - 3:56
14. Rain On - 3:39
15. Ember - 2:38
16. Michèle - 3:23
17. Feral - 4:10
18. Last Dance - 4:16
19. In Fall - 3:54
Australia's Dirty Three have covered a lot of ground over their ten-year career, and always as a trio: violinist Warren Ellis (also a prominent member of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds), guitarist Mick Turner, and drummer Jim White (the latter two are also known as the Tren Brothers). The band have continually re-examined their sound, and looked for different textures and dynamics while retaining their original instrumentation. Not this time. This is the Dirty Three as you have never heard them before. Their sound is unmistakable, but their creation process has changed significantly. For starters, the record was not done live in a studio. Secondly, the band employs a greater range of instruments. Ellis adds viola, bouzouki, piano, and mandolin to his cache, and Turner plays organ and bass as well as guitar. There are also two vocal tracks on the set, Sally Timms of the Mekons appears on "Feral," and Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) wrote the lyrics to, and sings, "Great Waves." Mark Soul also plays bagpipes on "Doris." What it all amounts to is the most adventurous recording in band's catalog. And the experiment pays off in spades. There are 19 tracks here, most of them under four minutes and all but two under five. In other words, Cinder captures the Dirty Three at their tightest, most expansive, yet most "song"-oriented album ever. It opens with White's cymbal and snare slowly and purposely announcing "Ever Since," before Turner's signature electric guitar and Ellis on bouzouki slip in unobtrusively and the melody asserts itself before Ellis' violin finds a melody in the weave and plays in, through, and around, evoking distance, melancholy, and the hint of real sorrow. The tune gains in intensity, but only enough to assert tension that goes unresolved before the band takes it down another notch on "She Passed Through." It's even slower, more meandering, yet more melodic and the shift of mood and dynamic is prescient. The recording becomes almost lushly romantic through "Amy" and "Sad Sexy," where the volume rises, the dynamic thickens, and the pace quickens. But it's still only a glimpse. The chaos begins to assert itself in the title track, which is simply an intro, a way of entering into "Doris," which quite literally explodes with Turner playing power chords in a way he hasn't since Horse Stories. "The Zither Player" also moves into hard-driven rock, albeit textured by Ellis' bouzouki. Marshall's vocal on "Great Waves," graced by Turner's guitar, is moody, drenched in gorgeous erotic poetry and kissed by the slow, unhurried, gradually unfolding drama that is an homage to eros. The dreaminess begins anew here and carries on throughout the rest of the disc. Timms' vocal on "Feral" is wordless, drifting, and spiritual like an inebriated angel trying to find a song in her memory as the band conjures that ghost above and around her voice. The elegiac "In Fall" takes Cinder out, purposeful, droning, whispering. The Dirty Three don't go at things. They look at them softly, through clouded gazes, and move around them. This has always been true. On Cinder, they engage a song itself in this way, in their way, by not trying to find its musical body, the place where it defines itself, but instead but they seek relentlessly, through investigation and elegant articulation of the journey, its spidery, impure, constantly desiring heart and find it, in all its wounded, pulsing beauty. (AMG) / Pitchfork

More info:
Band's web / Bella Union / Touch & Go / Complete discography

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