Tuesday, April 04, 2006

We've finally finished all the essential overdubs for the new album. I cannot wait to enjoy my newly found freedom to do NOTHING. Tonight will be the first night I spend at home for like a month! I'm gonna watch TV, eat potato chips, play with my son and not think about anything in particular. Except I have to figure out how to pay the IRS what I owe them, 'cause they're on my case and they ain't friendly - or patient. I'm officially super-broke. But hey, it's only money. Things aren't quite as bad as I thought at first - when I started looking around the house to see what we'd get if we sold all our stuff. Then I realized we don't actually HAVE any stuff... anything of value that we have, is not really ours. The car belongs to the bank, my beloved powerbook is on lease - and the only other things of any value I have are my guitars, and I'd have to be actually starving before I'd part with them.

Did I ever get around to talking about what I thought of Donald Fagen's "Morph the Cat"? I guess not. It sounds awesome - of course. But it sounds better than awesome - or rather, better than the last two Steely Dan records. They were sort of cold and hard sounding - just like the recent Becker and Fagen solo albums. Like it was a bit hard for them to handle the transition to all-digital recording, and they mistook perfection for sterility. That's all over with "Morph the Cat". There's still the ultra-precise beats, the ultra-clean signal paths and the super-tidy performances. But there's a warmth there, that I think stems particularly from the vocal production. It's rich in mid-range, and the harmonies have all the lushness of "Gaucho"-era Dan - and that's a very good thing! The tunes are pretty good, too - as always with Fagen solo, they're even jazzier than the Dan, and that's OK. It's not really rich in melody, but all the more so in harmony - and the grooves as simply silky. It flows better than either of the last two Dan records, song wise, but on the other hand there aren't any songs that grip me emotionally in quite the same way as the most poignant moments of "Two Against Nature" ("Almost Gothic", for instance) or "Everything Must Go" ("Pixeleen"), although there's plenty that out-grooves and outwits those albums ("What I do" is a standout). All in all a wonderful album, not as great as "The Nightfly" but way better than "Kamakiriad" - which wasn't a bad album either.

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