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I am bad for finding this funny, but it's damn funny.

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

I am bad for finding this funny, but it's damn funny.

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You know, there are few pleasures in the world to compare with the pleasure of having Diamanda Galas on when your freakishly Christian coworker comes into your office to drop something off. Diamanda singing in Greek, at her most strident and accusatory and bereaved.
Said coworker is Chinese-American, and is freakishly Christian in the way that only a first-generation Chinese-American (yes, both his parents were emigres from China) can be. This is the coworker who it took about 20 minutes to describe a badger to. This is the coworker who had an involved and prolonged interrogatory conversation with me regarding the freshness of the milk in the refridgerator, to which he contributed 'there's a sign that says the milk is bad?' and 'Why does it say that?'.
And Over.

And he just walked into my office and stared at the speakers and said Utterly Nothing other than 'here's the documents I did yesterday'.

Hahahahaha. I am cruel... but I just can't stop snickering.

Oh, and the new album by Ms. Galas titled Deifixiones? Very good. For fans, think 'Saint of the Pit meets Greek, Armenian, Turkish and Middle-Eastern musical themes'. For non-fans, think of a 3-octave range examining all the themes above in four different languages, as a denunciation of the ruthless eradication of Armenian people which the Turks perpetrated from 1914 - 1923- and a denunication of the world's history which has forgotten about this entirely.

Disturbing shit, yeah, but let's face it; you don't LISTEN to Diamanda Galas for comfort, DO you.
I think this may, actually, be her most solid album yet, artistically. But good christ the reviews are funny.

'The thinking person’s Marilyn Manson, Diamanda Galas’ music makes the bleakest mid-'90s work of PJ Harvey sound sunny and optimistic.'

'This record has everything from, "blues to Byzantine scales," professes Galas, a Greek / American diva who wouldn't really look out of place at an Addam's Family bar-b-q.'

See, I can SEE the scene in Addams' Family Values with her in it, too.

'Oh, and this is Gomez's favorite cousin, Diamanda, Mr. Jones.'
'A pleasure to meet you, Diamanda.'
*aside* '...erm, Tourette's?'
*whispered* 'No! She's an artist.'
  • Oddly, Diamanda always lulls me. Never can seem to stay upset, for good or bad, when she's playing. Very grounding. Seeing her live a few times is a literal ninety-minute orgasm for the mind.
    • Re:

      The one time I have seen her live- at a small club that's 6 blocks from my home- was in support of the Plague Mass album.
      I went with a friend who is morbidly terrified of being hit by a car.
      This friend ran screaming out of the concert shortly before intermission. At intermission I went outside for a smoke and I found the friend on the island in the middle of the boulevard, clinging to the light pole. She was putting the traffic between her and the scary woman. The cars MIGHT hit her. The scary woman WILL scare her.
      I couldn't quite argue the logic there, so I pried her off the lightpost and called her boyfriend to drag her home.
  • Another point of order: if his parents immigrated to the U.S. from China, that would make them first-generation and him second-generation (unless he accompanied them, that is).
    • Linguistics- not certain.

      I believe that he was conceived thither and came hence with the parents while still tiny. Not entirely sure, but I've been operating on that assumption. He has an accent of intonation that suggests Chinese as a first language to me, at any rate.
      Though that tone accent makes some of the things he says hysterical; like, his habit of ending every statement written with a question mark. A co-worker pointed out that he speaks in Vallispek (like, oh my GOD, you know?), but without the tonal accent. Imagine someone like, speaking in a 'proper' broad midwestern accent, right? But building his sentences in like total Vallispek, dude.
      It's freakish. I'm telling you.

      As a slight sidebar, there are folks born in San Francisco even today who learn English as a second language, and Mandarin or Cantonese as a first (more commonly Mandarin, I am told). For most of the time I've worked with milkboy I've assumed he was among their number, and only recently did I learn that his parents were in fact emigres (and he as well, supposedly).
  • but let's face it; you don't LISTEN to Diamanda Galas for comfort, DO you.

    I wouldn't put it past my wife. And that's one of the many reasons I love her. :)

    We actually used part of Masque of the Red Death for episode 4 of kittypr0n. It works much better than one might think.

    • Re:

      I find a couple of Diamanda's tracks soothing- I find the Saint of the Pit album very enveloping and relaxing.
      Mostly, though, I find her challenging. Not simply the challenge of pointing a finger and shrieking 'J'accuse' at the apathy of the majority of humanity to the plight of one group or another- though this is a large part of her work, isn't it- but challenging in that she demands I re-think what 'art' and 'music' actually are. I have a basic assumption about what 'art' is SUPPOSED to be- and this, which is obviously 'art', is flying right in the face of it. So, then, what is 'art'?
      It's a very GOOD challenging.
      And how many musicians sing in 5 languages?
      I'd recommend 'Deifixiones' over the 'La Serpenta Canta' album, if the wife is trying to pick one to get first. 'La Serpenta' didn't do terribly much for me.
      • Re:

        Sherilyn has most of Diamanda's stuff, though I'm not certain which ones she's missing.

        On an amusing note, she can't play "The Thrill is Gone" from Malediction & Prayer at home because it freaks the kitties out. They start walking around with their ears turned backward (in that weird way that only cats and owls can do), looking like someone just walked across their grave.
        • More data

          Deifixiones and La Serpenta Canta both were released in 2003, on a non-domestic label, so they're a pretty substantive chunk of change to drop (ergo the icon choice).
          • Re: More data

            Hrm...I have a good friend in the UK, I wonder if he could find them at a more affordable price...
  • ruthless eradication of Armenian people which the Turks perpetrated from 1914 - 1923- and a denunication of the world's history which has forgotten about this entirely.

    Except, of course, for Serdar Argic. rec.food.thanksgiving, anyone?
  • *bwahahaha*

    Oh, yes very evil, but exquisite. I do love the lost Addams Family scene - it's perfect!

    Diamanda seems a favorite among goth medievalists, particularly the songs that sound like Medea composing a soundtrack for the bastard breed of Poe and Lovecraft. I don't own any of her stuff myself, but if I were to add some to my collection, which albums do you think are her best (and why)?


    For I - am I not a dissonance / in the divine accord,
    because of the greedy Irony / which infiltrates my soul?

    • Re: *bwahahaha*

      My first Diamanda album was Plague Mass. However, it was my first because the particular minority that she's holding up and saying 'how DARE you ignore these people???' are HIV patients. The album was born out of her grief and torment over her brother's death via HIV-- and his terrible treatment in the hospital.
      Given that I've had issues with HIV taking the lives of many people I've loved dearly, this album was recommended to me. I still listen to it when I feel the need to mourn: it just rips me open.
      Plague Mass is a live performance at St. John the Divine of several pieces of a trio of albums which are, collectively, referred to as Masque of the Red Death. One of these albums is Saint of the Pit, which I would call her most accessible album. The reason for my certainty of this, though, is perhaps because it's mostly in French, which I'm semi-fluent in.
      Malediction & Prayer is also very accessible: a lot of it is covers. Her rendition of 'Gloomy Sunday' completely fucking owns Billie Holiday's, in my opinion. And you can't go wrong taking Baudelaire's Abel et Cain and setting it to music, either.

      Amazon does offer sample tracks off a few of her albums, so you can nose around a bit and see what sounds intriguing.
      • I've had Plague Mass recommended as a must-have for Samhain (if one does Samhain like we do -- all heavy on catharsis), so your additional vote will make sure I find that one in particular. And if she's doing Billie Holliday, then Malediction will be a must, too. (*smirk* I wonder what David Sedaris thinks of that version?)

        It's refreshing to listen to music in other languages, and sometimes it makes it ideal for background music while working (while my French is mediocre, I do love Edith Piaf and Gabriel Yacoub.) Thanks for the tips, Colubra!
    • Well...

      Oh, only via livejournal. Seems we have some mutual friends.
    • Re:

      And you're only noticing this now? *laughing*

      Silly Yote, we don't, at least not really. I found Colubra via your journal, and friended him back when he was posting mad libs (last summer, I think). In the meantime, he has graciously tolerated my random responses to his musings... *grin*


  • Plague Mass is much more fun to abuse people with, for a reason that I haven't seen you mention yet. Namely: the text is Biblical! If anyone were to accuse Diamanda of being demonic, all you'd have to say is, dude, she's just reading Leviticus.

    That said, I sort of lost interest in Diamanda in the mid-nineties. She recorded a bunch of really lame albums all in a row and I couldn't be bothered to keep buying them. A lot of people say Defixiones is a return to form, but I'll believe it when I hear it.
    • But I wouldn't want to lie.

      Most of the album, in fact, is NOT from the bible. Here are the tracks: I'll put in italics the ones with a substantive (over 20%) verbal origin in any book of the Bible or Apocrypha.

      1. There Are No More Tickets to the Funeral
      2. This Is The Law of the Plague
      3. I Wake Up and I See the Face of The Devil
      4. Confessional (Give Me Sodomy or Give Me Death)
      5. How Shall Our Judgement Be Carried Out Upon the Wicked?
      6. Let Us Praise the Masters of Slow Death
      7. Consecration
      8. Sono L'Antichristo
      9. Cris D'Aveugle
      10. Let My People Go

      1 out of 10 tracks doesn't make for safely saying 'it's just from the Bible', in my book. Sure, the most obviously ritualist and most seemingly-Satanic of the lot is indeed almost entirely straight out of Leviticus... but most of it isn't directly out of any litany or liturgy.
  • It sounds interesting and I may have to check her out. But I'd much rather be the Manson fan's Marilyn Manson: rich, famous and despised by right-thinking people. I think I could go even further on the latter count, although it's a difficult act to balance: being controversial enough that people pay attention to you, but not so controversial that they shut you out of the media. And I do tend to go over the top almost immediately. :)
  • This new work sounds very intriguing. After nearly a decade of lame albums, I might actually pick this one up.
    I used to not be able to play "The Litanies of Satan" at home because it made my old dog howl....

    • Re:

      It's definitely her at top form: I'm pleased as punch with it.

      'La Serpenta Canta' is worth picking up, I suppose, just for the photo of her so made up she looks JUST LIKE a dragqueen, on the liner notes.
  • pissing off the savage beasts:

    my first semester @ salem state college i was renting a room in a suite w/a couple of other girls i didn't know (the building owner just stuck people together whenever rooms opened up). these winnahs and their date-rapist boyfriends would throw ragin' keggers and stay up till 3 am every night listening to the soulful strains of wu-tang clan, then stumble into my room looking for smokes while i was trying to sleep, etc.

    so i got a lock for my door, put 'plague mass' on as loud as it would go, then locked myself in the bathroom for a half hour and got ready to go out.

    nothing like coming out of a nice hot shower to find 3 whitecaps with their hands over their ears, and another two trying to break down my door. :-)

  • t. rev

    Reminds me of a review of Portishead's second album:

    Makes Joy Division sound like the Monkees.

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