Reflektor

One of the many rubbish things about having a massive haemorrhagic stroke is that the ever-present factor of fatigue, and the whole brain lesions thing, militate against a quick return to the traditional, full-time workforce.

Voted Funniest Thing On apoplectic.me 2013

It’s not that the traditional, full-time workforce is such a fantastic thing. But the money’s nice. It’s not everything, but it sure takes the sting out of being poor. This week, for example, I was idling in the take-away, waiting for my veggie kebab and perusing the winter programme of the local Institut Français d’Ecosse. What really grabbed my attention was the roster of free movies. And…

“…an interdisciplinary visual and oral experience based on L’Etranger read by Albert Camus himself… and mixed live with contemporary electronic music by Belgian DJ Pieree de Mûelenaere.”

What’s not to love? Stroke Bloke’s a fan of the French-Algerian goalkeeper of many years’ standing. La Peste may still be my favourite book. Though, it’s been a long time since I last read it. And these things change. Turns out London Fields is a huge pain in the arse, teenage Stroke Bloke. But I digress. The problem is, it’s been over twenty years since I read L’Etranger in the original French. And even at that high water mark of my linguistic skills, my French was nothing spécial. Ach, what the heck. The point is to live. I’m going.

Philosophy Football t-shirts. Really.

Similarly, music-obsessed Stroke Bloke has hardly been able to buy a record since Killing An Arab in 1980 in the eighteen months since The Event. What I do these days is drop albums on my Pinterest Choons page so I can imagine getting them some time in the misty future. But recently, Mrs Stroke Bloke laid her hands on a copy of Arcade Fire’s Reflektor.

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Je suis tellement déprimé au sujet de mon petit pénis.

Eagle-eyed readers will recognize that Rodin’s statue of Orpheus and Eurydice graces Reflektor‘s cover. Like Camus’ Myth Of Sisyphus, characters of Greek myth inform Reflektor‘s themes.

The band have always looked to tackle weighty subjects across the length of an album, whether death, religiosity, or the isolating effects of suburbia or technology. Even in lead singles like Black Mirror, which alludes to similar concerns as those addressed by Charlie Brooker’s series of the same name.

In the case of Reflektor, they spin a tale of love, disconnection, modernity, death and Kierkegaard out of the story of the mythical world’s legendary poet and musician and his doomed effort to rescue his wife from the underworld, as well as his 1959 Brazilian successor.

Sounds like a barrel of laughs, right?

And that’s exactly what it is.  Y’see, Win and Régine and chums roped in LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy to handle production duties, and David Bowie’s appearance on backing vocals cements a connection  to groovy, icy disco.

LCD  Soundsystem were responsible for one of my most joyous nights in Brooklyn. Not too long after the release of their first album, and five seconds before your mum knew Williamsburg was the capital of the hipster world, I saw them in a little club called Studio B on the boundary of Billyburg and Greenpoint. It wasn’t the brightest of periods, but as the groove of Yeah (Crass Version) stretched over the ten-minute mark, that joy was unconfined.

I liked ’em before they went mainstream. Y’know, in the clubs.

So, yeah. If you will. The story of today’s post is the story of how Mrs Stroke Bloke brought me back from the Underworld.

Who’d want to be rescued from Underworld? Eh? Oh.

Actually, I’ve done that one already. This one’s about the redemptive power of music. Oh. I’ve done that one too. OK, French philosophers. Ach, done that. OK. Go and read the tinyletter instead. That’ll have something new in it. I’m dancing.

Stroke Bloke’s lost control again

[Blogger’s note: If you got this far, you’ll have realised that I didn’t really know what this week’s post was about when I wrote it. And that’s fine. It’s just blogging. There doesn’t have to be an arc or a deeper meaning every week.

But then I wrote this week’s tinyletter distribution to subscribers, and I think I’ve figured out what my Reflektor is about. Now that Mrs Stroke Bloke and I are increasingly at home in Auld Reekie, Brooklyn and Edinburgh are holding up a mirror to each other. And you know what? Scratch the surface, and Edinburgh’s pretty hip. In the best sense of the word.]

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2 thoughts on “Reflektor

  1. Man I remember when funerals came out and got, what, a 98 on pitchfork. No one had heard it but I got it and it defined that period for me. “In your parents bedrooms whatever happened to them”

    I’ve never been able to listen to any of their other albums. Seemed they exploded into a smooth disco hipster parody. Completely unfair I know but the intensity of that first record was just something I could never overcome

    Neutral milk hotel knows this. I saw them at bam a few weeks ago; they played all of in the aeroplane. Incredible.

    So this isn’t a tiny letter theme of hated it as kid liked it not or vice versa

    It is more “liked that a decade ago so can’t get over that when listening to this now” or “always loved that and still do”

    But considering this weeks strict arc and theme I figured a bit off topic was fine

    1. Ha! Off topic is what we does! Stroke blog?! I guess doing something so good that everything that follows is a let down can be a problem. Can’t imagine Oasis are big in the fotbp household, but everything since their first album has been, “Och, lads. Why did you bother?” See also, Arctic Monkeys, Strokes, etc, etc, etc. Oddly, it seems to be less of an issue in the literary world…? Anyone…?

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