Listened Grizzly Bear’s unravelling songs

As founding member for Grizzly Bear, Ed Droste has shaped the sound of modern indie music. Across five albums, the American band have layered intricate and nuanced guitar music with choirboy vocals and a lot of heart. Their breakthrough album was Yellow House, but since then they’ve held fans enraptured and toured Australia multiple times over the years. Their latest album is Painted Ruins, a record that came after a five year break from the band. With Grizzly Bear’s layered music in mind, I gave Ed the theme “songs that unravel.” The mid 90’s reigned supreme as the meat in this sandwich, but he really did go all over the place and spoke about the songs he loved as well as the time we’re living in, as music fans. From album vs playlist culture, to the risks we take in music, this is a wonderful conversation not only diving into his own collection but his deepest thoughts on the state of the industry.

I really enjoy going back and listening to older episodes that I missed. A couple of things that stood out in this interview with Ed Droste was the listening process and the ‘playlist generation’. He reflects on growing up with records and how the form forces you to listen to each track, rather than skipping. For Droste, it usually takes five listens to form a judgment. This expereince reminds me of Jim Groom’s Vinylcasts.

The other point of interest in the podcast was Droste’s discussion of songs and the way they can change over time, evolving with their live performance. Sometimes the live performance forces you to re-listen to the recorded version.

There are also times when you can return to an older song with fresh energy.

Listened Brian Eno’s luminous songs from ABC Radio

When Brian Eno came to Australia for the first time ever, back in 2009, Zan was lucky enough to sit down with him and invite him to curate triple j. He was in the country for Luminous, a festival that would become Vivid in Sydney. He had created light installations, and programmed some of his favourite musical acts to come and play. Over five songs, Eno shared his passion for these artists, and some of the theories and thinking that have made him one of the great modern music philosophers and creatives. This is a rare treat to get into the mind of a genius, across five songs.

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 – “Think Africa”

Battles – “Atlas”

Jon Hopkins – “Light Through the Veins”

Reggie Watts – “Out Of Control”

Ladytron – “Predict The Day”

In this interview from 2009, Zan Rowe speaks with Brian Eno about songs/artists associated with with the Luminous Festival. Some of the points that stood out were his idea of listening as the act of connecting:

When I am listening to someone’s work, I think ‘that is a little bit like’ or ‘there is something in here that might be enriched by hearing some else’s music’

The importance of having strong views:

That’s quite good doesn’t help anyone … if you take a strong position other people can orientate themselves around it. They can see what they feel in relation to your position … Having strong opinions forces others to take positions as well.

Talking about Jon Hopkins, Eno questions how many people are actually synthesiser players.

Most synthesisier players are keyboard players with a few sounds

For me someone like Chris Beckstrom represents this difference.

Eno also wonders about the difference between recorded and performed music.

I often think that recorded music should have a different name. We do not think of cinema as theatre … Music form is different to what composers did centuries ago.