Scarius over at shafted has been a friend and classmate of mine for a long time. I can tell you right now that he is one of the more intelligent members of my peer group i have ever met, but sometimes he doesn’t strike me as the most rational. Shafted has been going through some growing pains this summer, especially because some of its regulars are vacationing and they were augmented with the addition of myself and my good friend Yorick as posters to the site. The recent growing pains have had to do with who posts what and why anyone else should care. I personally have a policy of posted highly editted posts of some length that are always accompanied by a picture and a song lyric for a title. Scarius posts whenever the feeling moves him. I suggested that he ought to get a blogger for such purposes, at which point he said something to the effect of “you don’t understand.” And then he posted 7 or 8 times in a single twelve hour span. I think that was rather borish of him.
Anyway, that sort of went on a tangent. What i love about Ani’s first two CD’s is that they are bare. The first cd is only Ani’s voice and her guitar, and the second one uses just a few overdubbed harmony vocals and rhythmic instruments. On both albums, especially the aforementioned Not So Soft, Ani’s voice comes through like the clearest day you’ve ever seen in your life. Perhaps this was a symptom of her music being more folk than folk-rock at the time, or perhaps it had something to do with the way the album was recorded, but her voice just doesn’t carry the same luminous glow all the way through Imperfectly. By Out of Range she sounds as though she’s employing a totally different technique, and on her newest recordings her voice is alternately road-weary or used in tricks of pronunciation and enunciation. Or maybe i’m wrong. I love all the albums, anyhow, so i don’t think it makes much of a difference.
For some reason i am crushing hardcore on old Ani DiFranco CDs this weekend. Many people just starting to listen to her want to get the ‘best of’ of her first two cds, her live cd, or a newer one. I don’t think any of those impulses are correct if you intend to embrace Ani’s entire creative cannon. You really have to start on Out of Range or Not a Pretty Girl so that you see both where she comes from and where she is going. I started right before Living in Clip, and this was the order i bought in: Out of Range, Dilate, Living in Clip, Not a Pretty Girl, Little Plastic Castle, Puddle Dive, Up^6, Imperfectly, Ani DiFranco, Not So Soft, To the Teeth. While i don’t endorse that specific order, i think it helped me to appreciate both old and new music by Ani. However, when i bought Dilate it was the newest release, so that skews the equation a bit. However, under no circumstances should Little Plastic Castle be your first buy, no matter what your friends tell you.
my hair : my website’s layout :: my handwriting : my singing
i’ll elaborate on that later
Two things i was reminded of in the last 10 minutes: 1 – Ani DiFranco’s voice is recorded so clearly on Not So Soft that you hear it rather than the underlying rhythm of a song when you turn the volume down very low. 2 – Microsoft products highlight in the most backwards, idiotic, and counter-intuitive fashion possible. But, that’s par for the course, really.