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Friday, February 01, 2008 

Yeah things could be different, but they're not



Let's not even get started on how I feel about the Canadian healthcare system right now, how mad I am at a friend's doctors, how upset I am, how much of a stress headache I have, and I'm not even the person getting screwed over (nothing life threatening is going on, mind you... which makes it better it an obvious, important sense, but also worse - a good friend's day could have been normal if someone had taken 10 or 20 minutes out of their day, instead of the spiralling nightmare it's become).

No, instead we should all listen to this version of Of Montreal's "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal." I said to my Stylus buddies that if we were doing year end ballots now I might have put it on my tracks list at #1, and depending how recently I've heard "You! Me! Dancing!" it might be a tight squeeze, but I think I'd go for this one. One of the few tracks from Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? that I move beyond admiration for towards actual love, the original (just an excerpt, best I could do) is one of the best things I've ever heard. I didn't fully appreciate it until I heard it in the midst of a mix a friend made for me (convincing me, once again, that there is art in making a mix); in context it finally hit me fully, and I don't mind admitting to being a little choked up as well as properly obsessed.

If you'd told me Barnes could do the song by himself with just a solo guitar and still pull it off, I would have scoffed. Part of me is still scoffing (it's like hearing a solo acoustic version of "Station to Station"!). But I think he does; instead of synthpop or motorik it now sounds like early Bowie or T. Rex and much of the emotional complexity of the album version is folded into an overriding sadness, but I'm okay with that. It's still one of the more effortless ten minute songs I've heard, and still one of the best.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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imathers at gmail dot com

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