Björk to the Future: Part I

If you have never heard of Icelandic superstar pixie muffin Björk, you were never alive during the 90s. For all her intrinsic weirdness, Björk’s music in the 90s was always a reliable source of fifth dimensional electronic dance floor passion. It saddens me that this generation may only know her as the girl that wore the swan dress to the MTV Music Awards 2001 Academy Awards show. Well, I mean that’s a hell of a thing to be remembered for but it dismays me that her music has taken a backseat to her persona. Even though her music has always been in and around my life, Björk has never been mine except for my brief love affair with Lars Von Trier’s gutwrenching drama, Dancer n the Dark. All my friends owned her CDs so I never felt the need to be redundant in my purchases. I’ve always been threatening to dive into her work one day and this is that day.

[But wait, there’s more!]

Deer in the Headlights

I don’t talk much about the band I fronted while working in Japan from 2002 to 2004. There’s not much to say really. We never got out of the clubs, only did a demo for one song and I left my guitarist and bassist in shambles when I quit. Haven’t spoken to them since. I thought time would be cruel to the memory but recently I got a disc in the mail from my old partner in temperature crime, Jojo and I have to say I wish I could have made it work. We were really close to something cool and different and primal. If only they hadn’t tried to change us into Limp Bizkit in the end and my voice hadn’t completely bailed on me. Guess I should’ve learned to sing…

Here’s some footage from our shows at Club Quattro, Domannaka Hall and a third forgotten venue.

This is the song we always opened with called 「漁村」or Gyoson. It means fishing village. You’d have to travel back in time to ask a younger me why I called it that. Perhaps some clue lies in the lyrics to the coda:

there’s just too many to say hello to
and it’s breaking my heart
oh it’s tearing me apart

there’s too many to say goodbye to
and i don’t know where to start
oh i can’t tell them apart

I always wore this creepy featureless white mask to open shows. Got a lot of mileage out of the mask.

This song was called Dharma but it didn’t refer to the red cloaked figure of religious significance. I was referring to the derogatory slang for parapalegics in Japan. The lyrics are total nonsense to me now but I think I was trying to suggest that just maybe medicating our mental issues was not the solution. I myself was on Paxil for a few years and was probably pissed off about that. The song begins with the line: “I’m a hospital of fucking problems.” I have since had a high record of outpatients, I’m proud to say.

This song went through several titles before I settled on Mind Fuck. It was originally called 「小鳥はこの手に」(Kotori wa Kono Te ni) which comes directly from the lyrics:

ah you’re doing it again  that thing
stop it
ah little bird in the palm of my hand

fall… down 
fall down
fall down この手の平に
fall down never ever gonna give you up
fall down never ever gonna let you go
growin colder colder fingers bolder bolder
why can’t i have you and not hurt you? 

At the time of this performance I had still not written the lyrics or melody to the chorus. Hahaha. Can you tell?

The next song was our ballad. I wrote it for my wife (then girlfriend.) I’ve never been able to top the lyrics of this chorus no matter how hard I try. This was a favorite of mine even though I always started it flat. We changed the way it’s sung several times. I bet if I tried it today I could fucking nail it.

この胸が張り裂けそう 離れたくない気持ちで
陽は手探りでずっと 君の寝顔を探している
僕は邪魔をしようとして 眩しい光に手を上げ

(trans: the morning drowning in the murky dawn
my heart about to tear apart, not wanting to ever leave you
the sun fumbling around searching for your sleeping face
I tried to get in the way, raising my hand to the bright rays
we believed we’d always be together
the flaming hot peperoncino of those days)

That’s a story for another time…

This always closed our shows and I loved it. Hotoke Otoshi (Buddha Takedown) ~ Bringing Down the House. It just leant itself to theatrics. I think it was about how the divine and the commercial are mutually exclusive. How will we face our maker when we’ve changed our faces from his perfect work? The ugly star in the song is actually the sun. Orphan of the universe. The ugly duckling of the cosmos. Someday it’s gonna burn us right up. Yeah… I used to write things like that when I was in my twenties. It’s good to remember that person sometimes while I’m pushing an old lady down a flight of stairs so I can be first to own a Nintendo 3D Fun Machine PS360.

light of the holy star
in the end you get what you deserve
light of the ugly star
just came round to say good… bye.

Good bye… my sweet rebellious, riotous youth.