Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Hazards of Love – The Decemberists [#571]

I once accidentally found a folder filled with illicit music on a hot desk PC at work. I’ve found over the years, the music I have self-discovered on the various platforms available, that have been left or lost by other people has become incalculable. Disguarded cassette tapes at the side of the road, mysterious CDs left in cars, abandoned MP3s on computers. So many different forms over the years and, like porn in park bushes, a form of discovery denied to future youth because of the controlled way that music is proliferated and consumed.

I suppose that is why I started this music project. A way to explain, not only to myself, that my music tastes have developed over the years but to also preserve for future generations a catalogue of music to discover for themselves without commercial interference and duplicity.

The Decemberists were one of those bands that I self-discovered via an abandoned folder of illicit downloads; Hazards of Love was a legitimate purchase made on the back of that discovery. But as we all know, downloading music illegally killed music, and this is why today, The Decemberists have to tour and continue to produce sound to feed their starving faces.

I’d not listened to Hazards of Love for some years after its purchase. Mostly because it languished in my collection out of reluctance to listen to it. Eventually, sometime in 2016, I plucked up the courage. My disappointment in having not listened to it before then forced me to reevaluate the whole purpose of the Music Project; this, curiously, took me a whole year to do.

Hazards of Love is a prog masterpiece. A true concept album and much more enticing than Crane Wife, Hazards of Love tells the story of magical beings that live in an enchanted forest and how falling in love in such environments is never a good idea. Some really catchy tunes with intricate lyrics make up this acoustic soundscape which will lure you in like a forest enchantress. Ideal as a first tentative step into the back catalogue of The Decemberists especially for those looking to later paddle into the shallows of post-pre-neo-revival prog rock.

Yes, I make up my own genres.

 

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The Crane Wife – The Decemberists [#318]

440px-Decemberists_TheCraneWifeI first came across the Decembrists when I worked at Liverpool University. Someone had left a handful of MP3s of some of their songs on the desktop of a shared PC. So I copied them over to my USB stick and so began my journey with the band.

During my journey, just like most people during the time, I snaffled some albums from the internet. This one being the first and purely because of the tentative and incorrect links to Wicker Man. 

So what about the album? Well, the Crane Wife is the bands fourth album and contains music inspired by the Japanese folk tale The Crane Wife and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I wouldn’t say it is a great introduction to the band but it does show what they’re capable of. Indeed, it did take several years and car journeys until I became comfortable enough to listen to the album without skipping tracks.

Of course, bearded people who wear half mast corduroy and know all about things before other people knew about the Decembrists before I did and it took me some time to realise that I had actually been working with one such person for some time, without actually knowing.

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