Mick Harvey (AU) + support: Mark Steiner & His Problems
torsdag 13. september 2012 kl. 22:00 på Café Mono
Mick Harvey er best kjent for sitt musikalske samarbeid med Nick Cave som han skrev musikk sammen med i over 30 år.
De to møttes tidlig på 70-tallet i Melbourn og begynte å spille sammen i bandet The Boys Next Door og deretter The Birthday Party.
Sammen så spilte i det legendariske bandet Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds hvor Harvey spilte frem til 2009, da han forlot bandet for å fokusere på solokarriere og familie. Foruten solokarrieren, har han også spilt inn musikk med PJ Harvey, inkludert det kritikerroste albumet “Let England Shake”.
Mick Harvey is renowned as a Musician, Record Producer and Composer who has been active for the last 35 years. Aside from scoring 10 feature films and numerous short films and documentaries, split almost evenly between Australia and Europe, Harvey has also released 5 solo albums in the last 2 decades and been the recipient of several Australian Music Industry Awards and won the Best Original Score AFI for ‘Suburban Mayhem’ in 2006. Just this year won British Producer of the Year for his (co-)production on PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’.
Having spent the better part of 2011 committed to PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’ concerts, Mick is looking forward to dedicating himself to playing more shows in support of his own 2011 album ‘Sketches from the Book of the Dead’. Accompanied by his band – Rosie Westbrook (double bass) JP Shilo (guitar/violin) and his old Bad Seeds band mate Thomas Wydler on drums
SKETCHES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
When Mick Harvey left the Bad Seeds in early 2009 he didn’t have Nick and his band mates foremost on his mind, nor was he thinking of the quarter-century he was putting behind him. Instead, he thought about all those souls that had departed his world fully; of the lives that had ended; of the things that he really wanted to say – in his own way, in his own words, for the first time.
Sketches from The Book of the Dead is Mick Harvey’s first fully self-penned album; a first (and possibly last) step into his own deep, private world.
Harvey has always thought of himself primarily as a collaborator. Outside the Bad Seeds, and his own solo albums, which have predominantly contained interpretations of other people’s songs, he works on projects both low and high profile. On the one hand producing albums by new bands such as The Nearly Brothers, playing concerts and recording with Rowland S. Howard, his old comrade from The Birthday Party and on the other, writing film soundtracks or coming to Britain to record with PJ Harvey on her acclaimed new LP, ‘Let England Shake’.
In early 2007 Harvey had begun writing songs about some of the stories and memories he had of people close to him he had lost. It was just 3 or 4 songs but he knew there was the germ of an idea he cared about in there. Throughout his “Bad Seeds-less” 2009 yet more of Harvey’s old friends and comrades checked out prematurely, culminating with Rowland S. Howard’s demise at the end of the year, and Harvey found himself thinking even more about what it all meant and writing more songs for what was now a fully focused project. He thought about the relationships you still have with people after they are gone. How different experiences bring back different memories and emotions; how scraps of information and feelings are what you take with you, and live with.
In August 2010, after finishing work with Polly Harvey, he returned to Australia. With three empty months ahead of him, he knew it was time to complete the assignment, finish the songs he had started and seal his tributes properly.
The project wasn’t about catharsis, he says. Nor was it influenced by the music he had just produced in England, although he saw the odd parallels between his work and Polly’s, steeped as it was in ideas of identity and loss. Instead, it was an attempt to write about things that are often left unsaid, a personal endeavour to sketch the faint shapes of lost friends and family. To describe what’s left behind, not what has gone before. It wasn’t a compulsion either; unlike other songwriters Harvey has known, he says he is not driven to quench the same demons that they are. But as he wrote, he remembered the great traditions of song stories – in folk music, in the blues, in the dark country of Johnny Cash – and knew that his songs had to carve their own forms. To set out not only the narrative but the experience beyond it, into an amorphous world of what remains after the story – that which lives on within us.
‘October Boy’ tells of a friend “born a little pointed…with a witty tongue”, who “wrenched and tortured” his guitar, and who asked Harvey to write a song for him. ‘The Ballad Of Jay Givens’ describes the chasm caused by missing information and lack of closure – “Jay Givens took a shotgun so his story can’t be told.”.
‘Frankie T and Frankie C’ talks of love turned to tragedy through misfortune and ‘That’s All Paul’ of “a stupid, useless end” caused by “a moment’s pointless game”; ‘Rhymeless’ sings the songs that parents never sang to their little ones, destined instead to be “ghosts at the end of their beds”.
The whole, however, is shot through with the recognition of our living’s presence. From the voices of those who are just still with us in ‘Famous Last Words’ through the haunting ‘How Would I leave You?’ in which the protagonist ponders what will be left behind at his passing. Of not wanting to leave in any season but confidently leaving those behind with the summer’s sunshine, the autumn’s colours, and the springtime flowers for comfort. A song imbued with the sadness of the inevitable but sending out hope and a wish for the will to carry on.
And then we hear Harvey, alone at last in ‘Two Paintings’ as he visits a house from his past, his car loaded up with the possessions of the former inhabitants -
“There was nothing left to see there”, he sings, “That gave me any sense/Of what once was, so I took your things/Back to the present tense.”
A present tense we all occupy with the memories of those who have departed.
This is an album containing an extraordinary investigation into a rarely scrutinized area of the human condition. Harvey has excelled himself and made a truly unique work to go alongside so much of what he has already achieved in his 30 years of musical creativity.
I Norge er det et relativt stort marked for mørk og melankolsk musikk, et fenomen som har gjort at artister som Nick Cave og Leonard Cohen har solgt ufattelige mengder skiver her til lands. Madrugadas suksess er også en del av dette mønsteret. Hadde verden vært rettferdig, kunne Mark Steiner nå også vært velsignet med samme tilbedelse, for her har vi å gjøre med en artist av et meget høyt kaliber.
Eksilamerikaneren er bosatt i Norge, og mange tror nok også han er norsk, da han med sin imponerende, flytende norsk har frekventert musikermiljøet i Oslo i mange år.
Mark Steiner høres ut som ei optimal blanding av Nick Cave, Stuart Staples (vokalisten i Tindersticks) og kultfiguren Kim Salmon. Det er mollstemte, fordrukne og mørkeblå kulisser, men det er samtidig råsterke låter og en artist som fremstår med hauger av troverdighet og autoritet. Broken er Mark Steiners steg opp til den musikalske rockeliten her til lands (hvis vi er litt bryske og freidige og regner han som en av våre egne). La oss bare håpe at også publikum får det med seg. Fy fasan, for et stykke mørk magi vi her har å gjøre med.
- Egon Holstad, Nordlys, 16.12.2009