Under the Scope: Horse Stories
Dirty Three - Horse Stories
Touch & Go
Here is a blow-by-blow of one of the most amazing records of its time, or any other for that matter. The year was 1996 and these amazing Aussies were on tour with Low following the release of this ridiculous album. Nuff said… each song is described in a mixture of prose and interpretive dance.
1000 Miles – We are at sea. Slow raging waves crash with each thudding kick, as we roll back and forth on the swirling guitars. Warren's violin sings a mournful dirge for the beautifully burning ship as it sinks. All dancing flame and curling smoke. We are next but the music never stops. A new sinking of the Titanic, this time with no DiCaprio.
Sue's Last Ride – You order one drink. The band is tuning up. You can hear the tinkle of the turning strings as you taste the alcohol against your dry throat. You gulp it down and order another. You are sick with anticipation, but someone is playing with you. "These bands never start on time". The fifth drink goes down and you suddenly notice they have been playing the whole time. The music finally hits you in a waltzing wave of sound and you can't stop turning. Was it the alcohol or the music or the waiting or the loneliness? Who cares and then the spin gets faster. More drinks and more music and more dancing. For what seems like hours, the music flows and builds and builds and howls. You end the night, reeling, vomiting and happy.
Hope – A beautiful sentiment, a beautiful song. And it is definitely the first song on this album to give Mr. Turner his due as a master guitarist. Mr. Turner's guitar lines are never rushed or forced and seem to unfold like a flower blooming. Not to be outdone, Masters Ellis and White pitch in midway to create the most beautiful and flowing harmonies, dissonance and all.
I Remember A Time When Once You Used To Love Me – Every song Warren Ellis introduces at a Dirty Three show gets a new name, every time. Perhaps it is something to take the place of lyrics. Every song gets a new name each time, something farcical and long, except this song. This song never changes its name. It is a raging piece of work, like gypsies on crack. Forget all the circus music b.s. This is some real deep vampire country soundscapes, filtered through a faulty Marshall stack and a broken tambourine.
At the Bar – One of the longer pieces on an album of long pieces, this one takes a good long while to set itself, like a nice party or a good hanging. And then… Bam! Everybody is cheering or crying. Yeah, they're crying because this is one of the most melancholy jams on this joint.
Red – Blood, fire, hot pokers, cinnamon candies, the volume meter on my stereo, this song. All these things are red hot. Get the point. Good. And it is louder than any of these things as well.
Warren's Lament – What the hell does this guy have to cry about? I mean, just listen to the way he plays the violin. This massive journey of a song (not a Journey song, mind you) goes from 0 to 60 seven or eight times, getting louder and more bombastic each time. It is stunning in its buildup and saddening in its passing. Only two more songs left on this ridiculously amazing record.
Horses – My favorite song and the only one to have human voices grace it (unless you count the sound of Warren Ellis spitting into the air as he fiddles). Closest in form to a traditional pop song, that doesn't stop this from being one of the most beautiful and luxurious set of repetitions and ebbs and flows. This song has been on many mix tapes of mine throughout the past seven years.
I Knew It Would Come To This – I take it all back… This is the longest song on this record. Thank the powers that be that the Dirty Three don't write short songs. Imagine you are in a forest, quiet and still. Suddenly, you see a squirrel. Cute squirrel, seems to be dancing on the forest floor, hopping from tree root to tree root. Nothing else is around. The air is too quiet. Every other time you have been here, the woods are teeming with life, loud and seething. But this is different. Suddenly the squirrel runs off. Why did it leave? You wonder until you feel the wolf's hot breath on your naked neck. "That's why"… sort of like this song – quiet and serene and then loud, hot and excessively bloody.
And scene… Thank you for sitting this re-enactment of the Dirty Three's Horse Stories… now go buy it or put it on… It will do you some good to stop listening to Britney.
- Grant Capes | 2004-01-06
|OTHER ARTICLES BY GRANT CAPES|
|OTHER UNDER THE SCOPE ARTICLES|