December 24, 2002 at 12:44 pm #45618
A review of Free so Free out of a Berlin newspaper from 08th Oct. 2002:
The attempt of an ‘intellectual’ analysis …
category: Feuilleton/ culture
author: Jens Balzer
I rather don’t want to
J Mascis and his new album "Free so Free"
One of the most important poses of a Rock’n’Roller is the denial of everything, the clearly demonstrated joylessness with joining the ways of the hostile world. But how could you refuse the claims the whole world, without refusing Rock’n’Roll at the same time? There have been numerous attempts to answer this question, but hardly anyone has the talent to express the typical Rock’n’Roll cleavage more clearly than J Mascis.
Fifteen years ago, Mascis became known as the guitarist of the band Dinosaur, at that time he pulled to a certain extent the quickest gut in the entire Indierock [not my formulation, sorry ; FC] – on Sonic Youth’s style founding record "Daydream Nation", for example, he recorded all those guitar tracks, which Sonic Youth couldn’t handle themselves. But as fast as Mascis speedy fingers ran over the guitar strings – at the same time he always successfully spread the impression that he got mixed up with these Rock’Rollers against his will. He always sang his lyrics with a nasal, bored voice; with his long, always slightly greasy hair, which only rarely permitted a view in his face, he perfectly posed as a slacker: as the sloppiest, most refusing guy, which one could imagine.
Among all those sloppy, refusing guys, who were the Rock’n’Roll audience at that time, he became thereby the most popular poser. But at the time when Grunge threatened to become really popular, Mascis retired sloppily on the couch in his living room – only after the genre has disappeared from the Rock’n’Roll stage, he started to record some more solo albums. The latest one, "Free so Free", came out this week – and it sounds – not very surprisingly – like all previous J-Mascis and Dinosaur albums sounded. Still the guitar seems actively and passively at the same time in a strange way, as if only the power from the pick-ups woke the dozing guitarist up; still they are Mascis’ typical breaks, the sudden changes in rhythm and harmony sound as if the otherwise smoothly flowing music would tremble under an electrically caused thrust of strength and energy.
That’s not at least because of the excessive use, which Mascis made of his effect devices – for instance from the Wah Wah pedal. But like always, the technical aspect of his guitar play – although it’s handycraft aspects are outstanding – are without each audible dominance. The parts of Mascis body which are involved in the production of his music don’t really seem to belong to the rest of him.
Thus still two speeds within his music: the speed of the tones and the stand of it all – as if all is hidden inside a cocoon, that protects him against aging. But against each form of rejuvenation as well: No other musician still resists with so much energy and intelligence against the smallest advancement. Among the conservative Rock’nRoll musicians, J Mascis is the biggest and most radical.
J Mascis & the Fog: Free So Free (City Slang / Labels / Virgin)
Pic: three, who understand each other well: J Mascis, his guitar and his dogDecember 24, 2002 at 12:49 pm #84722
Thank U Again for the translation
Seems only the german people are interested in writing reviews for that great album, its a good review though
Gotta love these german people
December 25, 2002 at 9:52 am #84723
yes, those Germans had a big output of J Mascis reviews…
Found another short, non-intellectual one
The master is back with his third solo album and again he shows all doubters, where the hammer hangs [stupid German expression, sorry ;FC]. With his 36 years, he is still not at all tired or boring and on his tenth album, he conjures up one unmistakably noisy rock song after the other. Probably nobody will contradict, if I state that Mr. Mascis is actually a rather crude singer, but nevertheless, he solves the situation with his charismatic, slightly nasal and just very special voice. I don’t know how exactly he succeeds with this, and probably it will always remain his small secret. In any case one accepts it only from J Mascis in such a way without a wink. The fact that he is an exceptional songwriter doesn’t have to be mentioned here anymore, because he already proved that over many years. Also "Free so Free" is no exception and I would call it without a doubt his best solo album, since it comes along less bulky and much opener and easier accessible than the predecessors. Of course there is still the typical Mascis melancholy hanging over it, which actually adheres to each song and became simply one of his trademarks. A great, absolutely inspiring record, that determines again, how Indierock should sound in 2002. Mattias
Rating: 81/2 out of 10
16.10.2002December 25, 2002 at 10:26 am #84724
Thanks Again Cloudy
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