Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Zirafa - Cicadas & Orange Drink - The Skies Have Turned Red

Today I head to Chicago to visit two of my favorite musicians and best friends, Zirafa (aka Farsheed) and Orange Drink (aka Drew + friends).

First up we have, Zirafa with a song from his debut album that he self-released while still in high school. Play this track on Groundhog Day and we skip Spring and move straight to Summer. Shit's hot. White hot as the sample says. There may be an inspiration from DJ Shadow's High Noon here, but the soul comes from its own creator, leaving behind the mystery and self-torment of Shadow in favor of celeb- and explo- rations. Sweat pours off of everything from the guitars to the drums to the sunbaked foundsounds until it's so palpable that the closing rain recordings feel well deserved and bring a very real sense of relief. One of the tightest tracks on the record, Cicadas certainly stands the test of time and sounds even more impressive with the accrued knowledge that teenagers don't typically make instrumental trip-hop rock masterpieces like this.

Next we have Orange Drink with a still unreleased song presented here in demo form (if I'm not mistaken). Opening with a distinctive and mood setting tightening of the strings, The Skies Have Turned Red releases the listener into a beautifully strained 3-part harmony. The song's brevity only serves to heighten the impact of it's unbelievably elegant and concise suicide-letter lyrics that begin with our character having already given in to his self-erasing impulses and lying dying in his own wake; his final thoughts filling our ears. From fearless declarations of freedom to the comprehension of the effects his death will have on others, both physically and emotionally, Drew keeps his character from succumbing to heroic-depressive stereotypes instead exploring the whirlwind of what self-inflicted death must bring with unrelenting realism that's wise enough to include a quick but remorseful outcry for help after it's already too late, fading out with the final harmonic cries and added layers of embittered guitar. There's a brutal sympathy here that leaves you mourning for those left shattered before their end.


hemlock said...

I remember driving around Blackbeard with Zirafa, and he was playing me this cassette tape of a radio broadcast that he was excited about. It was the "white hot" portion of Cicadas.

Steve said...

ah I remember hearing the Orange Drink song a while back after Asif used it in one of his videos. The beginning of that song is perfect and its brevity allows you to hear the whole thing, awesome intro included, over and over again.

This is the first Zirafa song I've heard but count me as a fan. The age he made it does add an extra layer of appreciation, but if he made this track at 55 it would be just as great. I particularly like how it's setup so you can appreciate it one way sitting at your computer and in another way flailing around your room (or, for the more sociable, a [public] dance floor of some kind).

Good post Dave, you should do more off-the-blog-radar stuff. I know in this case they're friends of yours, but I love hearing about people that aren't under Pitchfork's expansive gaze.