3 more notes on Still Smiling (and an axolotl addendum)


Let me once again thank the Quietus review for tipping me to this remarkable Bargeld/Teardo collaboration.  In contrast to a lot of online album reviews, it’s indubitable music criticism rather than hipster word salad: I’m a better, smarter person for having read it, and it substantially enhanced my enjoyment of this remarkable recording. Pointing out the centrality of language games and exploration as the reviewer does  is spot on:

Indeed, explorations of language and the soul appear to be at the core of this album, with Bargeld beginning the album on ‘Mi Scusi’ by apologising for his accent and Italian, and wondering “can I kiss in another language?” On ‘Konjunktive II’ (tr. ‘Subjunctive II’) grammar becomes an exploration of disdain at the self – “alone, i.e. not me”

…..As a lyricist, Bargeld has long played with language by becoming a collector of words and things, often in list form – and so it is here, from “chocolate moose and calvados” (‘Nocturnalie’) to “Henry Moore… cadmium, cobalt… zinc… 12 meter eisenbrucke” (‘Buntmetalldiebe’).

Elaborating on this, I’ll say that for a multi-lingual effort, it sounds not like an airport wating zone, but like the involuted cerebrations of a multi-lingual international (a Nabokov, a Beckett).


But I’m not  a music critic.  Why do I have a blog? Why, as a forum for crackpot answers to questions no one asked. A long held theory of mine:  Nick Cave has had his ups and downs in quality and compellingness over his career and it’s been my long-held if hard to precisely pin-down conviction that genius spikes the closer the Bargeld collaboration.  Cave is Bargeld, in that sense.  I’m pretty sure; just don’t ask for proof.


Otherwise, I’ve had a number of days to live with the full recording of Still Smiling.  in line with the multi-lingual theme, here’s an Aztec/German song “Axolotl”  (one of my favorite tracks) in a concert version


And here’s a link to some more axolotl themed entertainment:


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One comment on “3 more notes on Still Smiling (and an axolotl addendum)
  1. HS says:

    I like this stuff. That’s a good find. It sounds and looks like something that would leave a good impression when seen live.

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