Mendelsohn: I have gone on record that I don’t particularly like ‘achingly beautiful’ records. In the long decades since we began Counterbalance there are two that probably qualify for the ‘achingly beautiful’ category: Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Jeff Buckley’s Grace. I’m sure I am missing a couple. There is probably a Nick Drake record I should include and an AC/DC album or two—although they contribute to a different kind of ache. I would like to add an another record to ‘achingly beautiful’ list (not the head-aching list). Please turn your attention to the xx’s self-titled debut.
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Maritime’s journey has been one of upsetting people’s expectations.
When the group was formed, the excitement of merging the members of the now-defunct Promise Ring (Davey bon Bohlen and Dan Didier) together with the then-finished Dismemberment Plan (bassist Alex Axelson) was enough to send the writer of your nearest indie-rock Blogspot into a spasm of delight. Yet the group’s first-ever set, Glass Floor, arrived in 2004 with a hushed murmur, as this new band was intent on exploring exploring mellower, acoustic textures that caught fans of both the Ring and the Plan off guard. Despite its somewhat muted reception, Glass Floor contained some rather lovely, beautiful moments, along with “Someone Has to Die”, a song that was soon picked up by The Onion’s A.V. Club as the soundtrack to their long-running Undercover series, which, in an intresting twist, was updated in later seasons to “It’s Casual”, off of 2011’s Human Hearts.
Klinger: Remain in Light. When you talk about Talking Heads, you’re going to have to talk about how great Remain in Light is. People love that album, and rightly so. Few albums have brought such a diverse array of musical styles into one funky intellectual gumbo of sound. After that, you’ve got to talk about those great early records—77, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music. Bold statements that bring the daring of punk into tight focus while maintaining pop sensibilities. Smart, funny, fearless. Brilliant.
“Sometimes I’m really weird, I know,” concedes Wolfgang Flür towards the end of our interview.
Certainly, his eccentricities precede him: for starters, and to get the obvious out of the way, Flür was a member of Kraftwerk during their classic ‘70s/‘80s lineup, along with Karl Bartos and founders Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. With 1974’s Autobahn (the first to feature Flür as a full-time member), Kraftwerk infamously drew a line in the sand between their long-haired, jam-filled psychedelic past, and their precise electronic future.
But that’s the past. And since his departure from Kraftwerk, ending a great run with 1986’s underrated Electric Café (since reissued under the originally intended title Techno Pop), Flür has taken the seemingly paradoxical turns of repeatedly and public distancing himself from Kraftwerk, and penning a memoir, I Was a Robot (2000), which namechecks his artistic leviathan in its very title.
Editor’s Note: This article was published on 14 January 2011.
Klinger: I gotta be honest with you, Mendelsohn. For years, I operated under the assumption that the only Bowie you really needed were the Changesonebowie and Changestwobowie compilations. Bowie just seemed like one of those artists for whom the hits told the story. That’s not a dig, either; I was inclined to lump CCR and Sly in there, too. But I was under the impression that anything beyond the FM playlists was strictly for people who showed up at parties wearing glittery unitards.
Eventually I came around and recognized that there’s a lot going on in Bowie’s deep catalog (I think it was Station to Station that did it for me, or maybe Hunky Dory), but even so, if you had played The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars for me during that time, I’m not entirely sure you would have changed my mind.