I am writing this from my phone with the intent of finishing it later. Today I am working for the Travel Channel for an upcoming show, and one of the last shots of the day is a time lapse of the location.
The hotel we shot in today is one of the stranger ones in Tampa. It’s a converted morgue and crematorium, formerly run by one of Ybor City’s most notorious gangsters back in the early 1900s.
As the story goes, the guy was a looney toon who captured thousands of cats in eager anticipation of the forthcoming rat apocalypse in Ybor, and was one of the forefathers of modern cryogenics. Which is to say, he froze a bunch of still living cats and kept them in freezers, waiting for the chance to save a neighborhood in Tampa from the rats that would presumably overflow the harbor.
Also he was a serial killer.
The point is this: the show I’m working for isn’t even one of those hokey ghost shows. It’s about hotels.
That said, we encountered some strange stuff today. I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the traditional idea of “ghosts” – but I will say that I believe in spirits, both negative and positive. Negative spirits just tend to make themselves better known.
So in the course of today, our director of photography had an issue with his camera he’s never seen before in a room adjacent to the one that has the most “activity.” There’s been footsteps in places where there shouldn’t have been footprints (as in, stomping near us when we are the only ones on this floor). And as I sit here writing this, the hotel’s lights have flickered on and off about 7 times. The manager claims that never happens.
How does this relate to HEALTH’s sophomore release Get Color?
I’m not sure. It’s a lot of noise. A lot of static.
I will reevaluate once I’ve completed the overtime I am now dipping into.
Revisited, June 16th
Yesterday was my second real dilemma of the year. Each day of this year’s project, I try to look ahead to the next day in terms of when I can fit in the post time-wise. Most days it’s simple. A month into the project, I wrote about Caribou’s Swim at 6 am before a 14+ hour workday. But it was an office day, and not one with a lot of strenuous equipment and set moves. The day I got robbed in Miami was the first “crisis mode” panic I had, but I was able to overcome it by writing about Little Dragon’s self-titled from my phone.
So yesterday, filming for this show, I was in charge of babysitting a timelapse, which is exactly what it sounds like: sitting behind a camera for a few hours while the sun does its thing. But unlike Little Dragon, I couldn’t really pay too much attention to Get Color – which is to say, I really didn’t. I was focused on the task at hand.
Which isn’t a problem so much, considering I’ve apparently listened to the whole thing over 50 times, according to Last.fm.
I like noise rock, and noise punk. Both. A lot. Let’s simplify that: I like noise. From the early influences of bands like Refused, At the Drive-in, and Hopesfall, I preferred music loud and fast and heavy.
In any offshoot subgenre that has cropped up since, I’m sure there’s a band that I could at the very least appreciate. HEALTH doesn’t seem to have the desire to squeeze themselves into any particular classification. As such, they were recognized by Rockstar Games to record the soundtrack to the video game Max Payne 3, which spawned a new single (“Tears”).
Get Color is their latest conventional album, but it was released in 2009 – which means that we are long overdue for a new record. Sure, ::DISCO2 and the Max Payne soundtrack have been released since, as well as the GOTH STAR single. But I think it’s time for some new jams not written to game cutscenes, eh boys?
The follow-up to 2007’s self-titled, Get Color blasts for 8 of its 9 tracks, before finally settling down for once, as something of an afterthought (“In Violet”). You could call it a cooldown period. Your ears will need it.
Capitalizing on HEALTH’s best moments, the band does not suffer from a sophomore slump. Opener “In Heat” tells listeners all they need to know: there’s gonna be a lot of Lightning Bolt-influenced drums, some ethereal vocals with indiscernible lyrics, flashy and heavily doctored guitar licks, and twisted, alien electronic effects, something like a vibratto for keys.
“Die Slow,” “Death +” and “Eat Flesh” each mimic this same style. Granted, it’s an acquired taste, but one that I’ve come to appreciate on a level I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain.
Why do people have the desire to listen to sounds such as these? The best description I could ever give for a band like HEALTH is that they’ve taken the TV snow that was ubiquitous prior to the digital age, and turned that into tangible audio, like some sort of grand sonic experiment to breathe life into pixels.
To contextualize this, let’s say that the band’s music is weird enough for the members to appear on… whatever the hell this Gorburger thing is:
I won’t fault you if you need to talk out what you’ve seen.
I am constantly having the internal battle of “Who will appreciate this?” Not just with this project, but with things I have created in the past, either written or visual. I read somewhere about the “2% Rule” in comedy – that some jokes only 2% of your audience will understand and/or appreciate.
I think this extends to various forms of art and especially in music. While I won’t attempt to quantify the same 2% figure, I will say this: the treasure trove that is the Internet serves as the vehicle for a wealth of super talented bands like HEALTH. The discovery process is exhilarating. But the sharing process is every bit as important. Tell people about the bands you like. A small percentage of them may appreciate that same band. Mutual adoration is the core of music as we know it.
From Get Color, this is the surreal and bizzaro short film directed by Eric Wareheim for “We Are Water” –
Standout tracks: “We Are Water” and “Death +” and “Die Slow”
Weakest track: “In Violet”
RIYL: Noise. Static. Experimental post-everything.