February 1, 2006

LNYE, Pt. 3: My Favorite Album of 2005

The first installment of the Lunar New Year Extravaganza dealt with music from the Boring Three (the U.S., Canada, and Britain). The second segment focused on a Korean band. (See links below.) The third and final post in celebration of the new moon-year is on a man from the Netherlands.

Spinvis writes songs. When I first heard them, I figured a wizard had transformed the Icelandic noisefashioning foursome known as Múm into a 41-year-old Dutch songwriter and his troupe.
But that's stupid. The only real similarity between Spinvis and Múm is an ability to make non-acoustic music sound effortlessly organic. Spinvis writes songs that are tuneful, though crafted to feature bits of glockenspiel, strings, winds, bleeps, and blips. Spinvis also released my favorite album of 2005 and has me believing that music is better when you don't understand the words.

That album, Dagen van Gras, Dagen van Stro (Days of Grass, Days of Straw), is the perfect soundtrack for mildly-threatening outdoor activities. "Ik Wil Alleen Maar Zwemmen" is the childhood walk that unexpectedly turns to a gallop. "Bijt Mijn Tong Af" is the hang-gliding session that opens with a quiet Kim Deal "ah-ooo" and a Grandaddy bassline, and closes with you hanging from a tree. And "Kom in the Cockpit" is an upbeat flying machine sexscapade. There's also the slightly mournful backfloat ("Aan de Oevers van de Tijd"); the cellphone war around the campfire ("Het Voordeel van Video"); the storm impending on a night of outdoor ballet ("Flamingo"); the sailboat ride just off the shore ("Dagen van Gras, Dagen van Stro"); and the 11-minute stuttered-word journey through the forest of unwritten Dutch fairy tales ("Lotus Europa"). Purchase all that and more here or at the iTunes music store. (Rhymezone!)

"Smalfilm," released in 2002, is the single from Spinvis's self-titled debut. (Double rhyme!!)

For even more Spinvis-ing, go here.


mike said...

the little thingy over the 'u' in mum? now that's dedication.

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