Monday, February 05, 2007

It is what it is, not enough to call it quits

(Picture from; thank you!)

The return of Christian Walz! Well, not really, but I'll take what I can get. Best known for his song "Wonderchild," Christian is Swedish, and has released two albums so far; I still need to buy the first, but I love the second (and wrote about some songs from it here). Unfortunately, as is true for many I artists I like from non-English speaking (or not primarily English-speaking) countries, I have a difficult time keeping up with him; I probably should have known about this earlier, but I just found out...well, technically yesterday...and was so excited I had to share. The reason I said it's not really the return of Christian Walz is that this isn't technically a song by him; it's actually a Fläskkvartetten (or Fleshquartet) song featuring him. The group Fläskkvartetten (a group of string players that has been together since the 1980's) may be familiar to you, as Robyn was the featured vocalist for their song "This One's For You." So far, I've just bought Christian's song (I have no patience), but I may have to buy the whole album; based on the preview clips, it sounds gorgeous in a very atmospheric, instrumental way.

Stay The Same--to begin with, let me recommend listening to this song on good headphones and with no background noise if possible; I know that's the ideal listening environment for all songs, but it's especially necessary in this case, I think. Christian's voice, distinctive as always, is vitally important to holding this song together (and to my enjoyment of it), but really, his singing is just an opportunity to give Fläskkvartetten the excuse to build a beautiful, dark, string-focused but minimal backing. Those high string peaks just before the "pretending it's OK" and after the "down to stay" line could not possibly, despite the fact that they come from instruments and not a human voice (my natural preference), express any more emotion. The title notwithstanding, there's the slightest hint of the exotic here, but more than anything else, a practically unbearable sadness; each individual element of this song may be light, almost delicate, but as a whole, they create the feeling of a truly immense weight on your shoulders--a weight that, if we are to believe the lyrics, comes from pretending a relationship is still working, knowing it's failing, but still being unable to end it. I can't believe this song is 3 minutes and 19 seconds long--despite its slow pace, it always seems to be over so quickly.

I also recommend watching a recent live performance of the song (it's also the performance from which this picture is taken); you can find it here on YouTube.

Given that it's 1:13 AM, I don't think I've done justice to this amazing song, so I may end up writing more about it in the next few days. For now, though, you can buy Fläskkvartetten's album Voices Of Eden here (physical) or here (digital). I really recommend buying Christian Walz's album Paint By Numbers--you can get it here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: I know exactly what it'll be--a Romanian group that I've written about before avoids taking sides in the debate RobPop has started.


J'ason D'luv said...

PPG (did you know there's a complex of buildings in Pittsburgh called PPG Place? It's where they shot a lot of the Inspector Gadget movie), I've always been curious -- how to you go about choosing the artists you write about? You should do a whole post on that!

Poster Girl said...

No, I didn't--a famous namesake! How exciting :)

Would people be interested in that? If so, it'd be an interesting post to write up (though I'd have to think about what I actually do first ;) )...good idea!