will oldham – happy child / forest time

happy child has to be the hardest song i’ve heard with will’s voice attached. it actually sounds like a soundtrack song to a blockbuster film, and if i’d only read that in conjunction i’d have concluded instantaneously that it would sound terrible. it doesn’t. it sounds vital and yet somehow decaying. it’s the most mechanical, indusztrial, slightly electronic and counterintuitive song with his involvement.

through this song, there are connections i would never have imagined and that i never realised to this point. it comes from an album by tweaker, the project of former nine inch nails and marilyn manson member chris vrenna. the weirdest thing so far in the trawl…

forest time, on the other hand, is archetypal will oldham. it’s there with the best of his songs in a way. it is the epitome of the folk aspect of his work, rather than the rock, and therefore of an earlier time. this is one of the simplest songs that i’ve listened to over the past six weeks, and yet one of the most stunning. you’ve really gotta focus on listening to it though. repetition without much variation in one song can result in tune out if the cats are play fighting in front of you and you’ve gotta step in to break it up. this, again, is from a collaborative work, instead as a kind of soundtrack to photographs. images are always in the foreground.

so there it is, a short theatrical piece; two songs that couldn’t be more different bar for the same remarkable voice.

[here is a middle ground between the two, a further collaboration with tweaker]

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