venerdì 12 ottobre 2012
Intervista con Ultrasound
Forse non mi rendo ancora conto che alle mie domande ha risposto Andrew "Tiny" Wood.
Mi ricordo ancora (e penso se lo ricorderanno bene anche i miei compagni d'appartamento Fabrizio e Vanoli) quando ad Alternative Nation partì per la prima volta Stay Young...fu delirio totale! Una canzone pazzesca, un vero e proprio inno pop. Conoscevo già il gruppo per un paio di singoli precedenti, ma quella canzone mi cambiò la vita! In piedi sulla sedia a cantare e a dare di matto!!
Poi il disco, i casini nel gruppo, lo scioglimento: insomma un percorso classico che abbiamo visto troppe, troppe volte. Ma stavolta le nostre preghiere sono state esaudite.
Gli Ultrasound sono tornati, con un disco magnifico che si intitola Play For Today e ce li mostra in una forma smagliante. Che Dio li benedica.
Qui sotto trovate la mia recensione per Troublezine del disco e sopratutto l'intervista, in inglese (a breve in italiano su Troublezine) con...ebbene si...Andrew Wood. Roba che mi manca il fiato se ci penso. Andrew ti adoro!!
A voi. E come sempre grazie Claudio!!
La recensione per Troublezine...
E così anche gli Ultrasound tornano insieme, 13 anni dopo quella rottura che aveva spezzato non pochi cuori, anche alla luce dell’esordio "Everything Picture", che sarà stato pretenzioso fin quanto vogliamo, ma racchiudeva delle perle di inestimabile valore pop rock. La formazione è praticamente quella originale, manca solo il tastierista Matt Jones che ha preferito il conto in banca cospicuo suonando con i Beady Eye, ma gli altri ci sono tutti grazie a Dio.
Che abbiano abbassato il tiro? Che i 13 anni di stop abbiano portato ruggine a meccanismi una volta perfetti? Welfare State smentisce tutto questo, anche perchè è proprio Ultrasound al 100% quello che stiamo sentendo: glam, psichedelia, indie rock deciso, uno stop centrale che ci porta nello spazio per poi ricondurci al travolgente ritornello. Poi in realtà dare coordinate alla musica del gruppo non è certo facile, vista la varietà di elementi e carne al fuoco.
E’ giusto dire però che rispetto all’esordio il minutaggio si è decisamente ridotto e tutto sembra essere più a fuoco. Se gli Ultrasound dovevano lavorare su qualcosa, beh, forse era proprio su questo. Meno ego deragliante e più concentrati su un risultato preciso: "Play For Today" centra il bersaglio! Se Welfare State apre, Sovereign chiude il disco con un crescendo toccante, roba che i Coldplay ucciderebbero per una canzone simile. In mezzo a questi due pezzi c’è di tutto: l’organo anni ‘70 alla Who di Beautiful Sadness che gioca a intrecciarsi con le chitarre, il post punk di Goodbye Baby, Amen, la grazia di Long Way Home e pure l’oscurità di Glitter Box.
Nessuna fatica a trovare melodie e ritornelli che non si staccheranno più dalla nostra testa (Twins e Deus Ex Natura), proprio perchè giocati sul filo di un epicità “misurata” verrebbe da dire, riallacciandomi al discorso precedente.
Tornati alla casa madre Fierce Panda, che tanti anni fa pubblicò il loro primo singolo gli Ultrasound non deludono, grazie anche all’ispirazione mai sopita dell’asse portante Wood/Green.
Che poi si divertano ancora, inserendo addirittura gli adesivi del gruppo all’interno del cd, beh, non è altro che un favoloso valore aggiunto!
L'intervista con Andrew "Tiny" Wood
Ricky - 13 years have passed...welcome back Ultrasound! Let's start from that, it seemed the reunion was impossible to realize until yesterday, what happened?
Andrew - Tim Smith from the Cardiacs, who were a big influence on us and informed the beginnings of Ultrasound, suffered a heart attack, and brain damage as a result. We were asked to reform to play a benefit gig to raise money for his recovery and we felt we couldn’t refuse. When we got together we quickly realised that we should continue, as what we have is something rather special.
- Is there any regret in you about band end in 1999?
Perhaps we should have just taken some time out instead of splitting completely, but they were strange times for the band and perhaps we needed the time to realise this.
- Do you think the positive and negative experiences of the past will help you? Human partnerships, the relations with medias and press, promotion: do you think that all these things will be easier for you now? I think you probably see everything from a different perspective nowadays, am i right?
We are all completely different individuals so I can’t speak for the band as a whole here. During the course of life, good and bad decisions are made that affect the course you run on and no matter how much experience you gain, you enter into relationships with no real knowledge as to how they will work out. All you can do is hope for the best and trust your own instincts, and surround yourself with as much positive energy as you can.
- You also joined forces with Fierce Panda again, a label you had previously worked with. Do you see that as a "quadrature of the circle" or as a new beginning?
It’s more of a new beginning. Initially Fierce Panda offered us a one off single deal, because that was their policy, and we were happy to be involved with such a label. Now they have grown up and so have we, so I hope we can grow together.
- Everything Pictures is a great record, plenty of ideas, maybe too many. The spirit of that album is still alive in the new one, but you creativity is more focused and less dispersive. Do you agree?
The idea behind Everything Picture was to try and sandwich every ingredient into one album because we didn’t know if we’d get to make another one. Since getting back together we have concentrated our attentions on making individual slices of art and not tried too hard to get everything we want to say on one album alone, working in the hope that there may be more to come.
- Welfare State is a fabulous single indeed and is perfect as opening song. It's like a "visiting card", it announces the following album contents. Do you agree?
Yes that was the initial intention behind the song. It was meant as a state of play statement – like a rolling news item on the state of the band and the nation as a whole.
- Ultrasound trademark is clearly impressed on Twins and Deus Ex Natura. The only album you released has dropped seeds that make you unique and very recognizable! Do you feel "the magical" was re-created again, even after 13 years?
Yes, from the very first notes we played it was evident that we have something special that I don’t hear very often and I feel honoured to be a part of it. At the time perhaps we had lost sight of that or taken it for granted, but I think we’re all very much aware of that now.
Glitter Box is obscure and intense, it contrasts with the Nonsense "sunshine" pop or the delicate Long Way Home. How was that song born?
Most of our songs have a very simple initial idea, and most of them start with “ooh we haven’t done one of those yet” (which possibly explains our diversity!). This one was an attempt to write a song for Vanessa to sing, so obviously it had to be dark and smouldering, cinematic and emotional. Lyrically I was concerned with the current prevailing trend of the media and government to switch attention from the evil corruption that affects us all, to what they believe is our “real fear” of killers and paedophiles that seemingly lurk in all corners of our community ready to pounce at any time. In fact, most of the danger we have to fear comes from them in the form of local councils with their court appointed bailiffs – legal criminals. So I thought I would write a soundtrack to a stalk and slash movie featuring the local council as the prowling enemy.
- If we say Welfare State is a perfect beginning, we could also say Sovereign is a touching and struggling closure. It almost seems to me you were thinking of a sort of "film" and you had the opening and closing titles in your mind.
The very nature of an album is conceptual. Putting a bunch of songs together on one disc isn’t really enough. You have to be conscious of it being a journey of the mind, the songs themselves colouring the journey that the listener is being taken on. In that respect these songs are indeed the opening and closing titles of this journey. One would hope that after listening to it you feel that you have been taken somewhere, and that at the end you are changed for the experience you have had, and have learnt something from it.
Thanks a lot for your kindness. The final question for you is a little bit ironic and hopeful at the same time: shall we wait 13 more years for the third album?...
Well let’s hope you don’t have to wait so long for the next one. We have had discussions/rehearsals and have been writing towards the next one and, dare I say it, the one after that too, so it’s looking good so far.