Portishead Without the Beth

Beak> is the name of the new band created by Portishead member Geoff Barrow and the two tracks up on their MySpace page are great shoegazing efforts, yet I seem to find myself missing the inimitable Beth Gibbons voice on them. That’s not to say Beak> sounds like Portishead sonically, but it is certainly reminiscent. Think trip-hop recorded live without the feeling of persistent tweaking and mastering.

According to the site,

The band have very strict guidelines governing the recording and writing process of their work. The music was recorded live in one room with no overdubs or repair, only using edits to create arrangements. All tracks were written over a twelve-day session in SOA Studio’s, Bristol.

Of the two available tracks, “I Know,” feels a little like a Factory Records riff while “Battery Point” has a UK drone appeal with a killer repetitious, percussive final few minutes.

I’ve already got my limited edition boxset of the debut LP on pre-order from the UK, which incidentally, contains

1) The Full length BEAK> CD album presented in a DVD case
with a bonus 4 track CD EP featuring tracks NOT available on the album2) A BEAK> heavyweight T Shirt – you choose what size you want S.M.L.XL

3) A BEAK> 12″ Record EP featuring 2 MORE exclusive BEAK Tracks
NOT available on the standard album

4) This will be sent in a special black BEAK> pizza style card box.. each Box hand sprayed by BEAK> members.. (no bullshit)

5) BEAK> Badges

FULL TRACKLISTING

BEAK> CD FULL LENGTH ALBUM.

1) Backwell
2) Pill
3) Ham Green
4) I Know
5) Battery Point
6) Iron Acton
7) Ears Have Ears
8) Blagdon Lake
9) Barrow Gurney
10) The Cornubia
11) Dundry Hill
12) Flax Bourton

BEAK> CD E.P.

1) Green Machine
2) Globus Hystericus
3) Clutton
4) Oh

BEAK> 12 INCH Vinyl EP.

1) Nash Hill
2) Granby Hill

This is the first ever release from Beak> and is limited to 250 “handcrafted” (see above) editions. It runs about $65 when converted from Euros. Buy here.

Nadja

When Nadja, the rebellious, parentally oppressed vampire weightlessly glides through the empty Pixelvision streets around her and causes an unsuspecting male to bleed from the inside out, just by looking at him intently – all to the score of the maliciously depressing Portishead – I can’t help but think this is quite possibly the best updated vampire tale filmed to date.

Almereyda’s (dare I call it) piece of art is shot in part using an obsolete Fisher Price Pixelvision camera. This, first of all, is just unique in and of itself. Secondly, the film retains it weirdo, indie cred by having an executive producer by the name of David Lynch (who also appears as the receptionist in the morgue), because c’mon folks – even if he had final cut on this, it’d still end up being surreally amazing! Go ahead and add me to your list of bloggers who are Lynchians, I know it’s nothing surprising.

Nadja is a modern horror story with a classic taste. Nadja is not happy with her life as a vampire (are they ever?), and it comes from being part of a dysfunctional family of them. With her father’s death, Nadja is finally free of the restraints of her seemingly in denial-that-they’re-vampires vampire family. No one’s going to tell her when and when not to suck the blood of the living, be damned! The best brush stroke-of-genius either Lynch or Almereyda or somebody had was the artistic caress that softens the blow of an otherwise hard-to-swallow (or rather, conceptualize) modernized vampire film. The haunting images transformed into a black and white mosaic are a veritable flashback to the chiaroscuro horror of Begotten.

Vampires have always symbolized an expression of humans innermost desires, reducing us to mere blood cells. Nadja, in all her Fisher Price expressionism, literally reduces humans to blood cells.