Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From SF through Norway to Prague


Sun Kil Moon is Mark Kozelek, a San Franciscan who made an impression with his band Red House Painters as melancholic romantics in the fog-bound alleys of a hushed city. I had enjoyed his music, even if it seemed barely there and delicate enough to shatter with a glance.
The other day in The Mission, I stopped into Aquarius Records and picked up his latest CD, Admiral Fell Promises, mostly because of song titles that referred to places nearby like Half Moon Bay and Sam Wong Hotel in Chinatown. As with any music this fragile, it took some time and patience to really hear it. I've begun to fall under its spell and catch threads that unite the album -- traveling and coming back home, achingly beautiful Scandanavian ports and dreary days spent looking out hotel windows. It is growing with every listen and is very nicely strung with Flamenco flourishes and gorgeous repeating musical phrases.
The video above is a fan-made piece that I stumbled upon while looking for the latest Sun Kil Moon works on youtube. I like that the images are independent of the song, an ode to the Norwegian jewel of a town, Ålesund. Instead, the maker sets the moody number to the meditative photography of Josef Sudek, a Czech master of light. His impressions of early 20th century Prague make my heart stop. I adore the steampunk aspect of fusing new music & technology with vintage images created from what was then new technology. It creates a kind of mood for me that is particular to this decade -- a shiny, over-lit time that aches for a more authentic, incandescent era.
Below is a view of Ålesund, Norway, which seems to be me a kind of Nordic Rio, shockingly beautiful and as cozy as Norwegian cabinet bed.

Alesund from Aksla
photo courtesy of Odell_rd at flickr

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