Wednesday, January 05, 2005

equal ways: nooten & brook

Speaking of Clan of Xymox... Pieter Nooten played keyboards for them. When he departed the band after their 2nd full length and final album for 4AD, Medusa, he worked on a much more ambient release with Michael Brook. Check out the demo version of the Xymox song from the same release as yesterday and then the amazing reworking.

The innovative guitarist and producer Michael Brook was born and raised in Toronto. While studying electronic music and the arts at the University of Toronto, he met trumpter Jon Hassell. Through Hassell, Brook also was introduced to minimalist composer LaMonte Young, under whom he studied Indian music. A period working as the house engineer at producer Daniel Lanois' famed Grant Avenue recording studio led to a tenure playing guitar with the Canadian pop band Martha and the Muffins during the late '70s; at the same time, Brook also met Brian Eno, guesting on the 1980 Eno/Hassell collaboration Possible Musics. In 1983, he also played on Harold Budd's Magic Realism.

In 1985 Brook made his solo debut with Hybrid, an influential ethno-ambient work recorded with Eno that discovered the middle ground between Western and Indian musical aesthetics and established his unique, heavily-processed "infinite guitar" sound. (He helped develop and invent this special instrument, which is probably most famously used at the beginning of U2's With or Without You- its the long sustained guitar that never ever breaks.)

He spent much of the remaining decade working with Eno, helping create video sculptures and sound installations across the globe; he also became a sought-after producer, helming records for such diverse talents as Roger Eno, Pieter Nooten, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Balloon, and the Pogues. In 1990, Brook returned to world music, producing Youssou N'Dour's acclaimed Set; more importantly, he began a continuing collaboration with Pakistani qawaali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with the seminal Mustt Mustt, a fusion of Western ambient and pop sounds with the sacred spiritual music of the East. In 1992, Brook returned to the studio to record his first solo effort in seven years, the stellar Cobalt Blue for 4AD; a rare concert performance given at a party celebrating the album's release was subsequently issued as the limited-edition Live at the Aquarium. Brook later wrote the score for the Kevin Spacey-directed crime noir Albino Alligator. Buy some of his stuff.

Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook - Equal Ways
Clan of Xymox - Equal Ways (Demo)


At 2:21 PM, Blogger guanoboy said...

Great follow up. Love the comparison between the two songs, very cool!

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy crap! you are amazing! chapterhouse, clan of xymox, and now sleeps with the fishes?!!! i've never met anyone who's even heard of this disc. it's been in my top 5 for over 12 years now. you are a saint to share it's existence with the world. thank you thank you.


At 10:52 AM, Blogger heath said...

thanks shane, I am a bit of a 4AD junkie (and their ilk) so expect the same sorts of goodness from now til eternity! in other words, keep checking back... cheers.

At 12:42 AM, Blogger erik said...

I love 4ad as well.

There was an interview somewhere, someplace with one of the Xymox people many moons ago. I beleive one of these two guys above said his primary goal was to take over the world via his music and be rich and famous via Pinky and Brain. This made me upset at the time and explains why Clan of turned into Xymox.

This albumn is quite qood from recelect, though I never owned it :( A better albumn is in the same relm is Colin Newman of Wire fame, Commerical Suicide. Not as dark but dark enough.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger heath said...

the colin newman stuff is good yea... but I find the idea of those pinky and the brain comments to be hilarious. that had to be a joke- I mean cmon, really. cheers and keep reading.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger erik said...

back to pinky and brain,

the comments in the interview were not that direct, however the question asked what was next for them in a musical style, and the answer was stated the music would change to reflect what ever would ever draw to a bigger audience.

it has just been a ploy, but it got alot of people off guard in the mini (for lack of better term) goth circle

we were smart then, i hoped we would have picked this up


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