Friday, October 9, 2009
Pick of the Week #40: That's the Spirit
That's the Spirit's Staying Places has been on my computer since sometime around the end of last year, maybe early this year. Since then, whenever that was, I've put the record on roughly once a month and every time I've said to myself, hmph (or something like that) this is a pretty good record, and then I've gone about the rest of my morning/afternoon/evening. So, when I put it on the other day I figured being a (sort of) music blogger this is probably something I ought to write about.
Ironically, with an album titled Staying Places, Ben Wilson (That's the Spirit) was created that reminds me a lot of Harry Nilsson's The Point. For those of you that had parents did not make them listen to this cassette tape ad nauseum on family car trips (and are unwilling to check the link), The Point is a weird little tale about a boy who doesn't have a point on his head in a land of people who do, and he consequently gets banished from the kingdom, goes on a long strange sort of journey, and then, of course, he returns to his town to find that he does, in fact, have a point on his head.
That might seem like a strange connection, I realize. After all, Staying Places isn't a story or a cohesive narrative, but it feels like Ben Wilson is taking you on a trip of sorts, even it is sort of imagined, which, in my estimation, is more fun anyways. He kind of hints throughout the album at themes of navigation, traveling, meeting people along the way, but the instrumentation (and the cover art, above) on the album all hint that this is taking place in some sort of Point or Phantom Tollboothesque universe.
I guess the point (no pun intended) of all this is that, much like my experience with The Point -- which I now love -- is that it took a while for me to come around on it. Not that I disliked it at the beginning, but more that the more time I spent with it the more I came to really dig that whole universe. I'm having that same sort of relationship now with Staying Places, and the world that Ben Wilson has created, and I suspect if you are a fan of any sort of folk music at all, you'll feel the same way.
Now if you'll excuse me, someone has uploaded the entire 1971 movie version of The Point on youtube (narrated by Ringo Starr!), so, you know...
Update: I watched it last night and turns out Ringo's narration and the animation leave a lot to be desired. It really did not hold up as well as I'd thought. So, if you check it out, please don't hold that against Ben Wilson aka That's the Spirit...
[mp3] That's the Spirit - Orienteering
[mp3] That's the Spirit - Head for the Hills
Pick of the Week #1: Ketch Harbour Wolves
Pick of the Week #2: Rah Rah
Pick of the Week #3: Glasvegas/Animal Collective
Pick of the Week #4: Bruce Peninsula
Pick of the Week #5: The Antlers
Pick of the Week #6: The Darcys
Pick of the Week #7: Ohbijou (Swift Feet for Troubling Times)
Pick of the Week #8: Gentlemen Husbands
Pick of the Week #9: Chris Whitley
Pick of the Week #10: Alela Diane
Pick of the Week #11: K'naan
Pick of the Week #12: TOR/Sufjan Stevens
Pick of the Week #13: Timber Timbre
Pick of the Week #14: Justis
Pick of the Week #15: Hibiscus & Rosehips Compilation
Pick of the Week #16: Patrick Watson
Pick of the Week #17: Olenka and the Autumn Lovers
Pick of the Week #18: The Liptonians
Pick of the Week #19: Sunparlour Players
Pick of the Week #20: Black Hat Brigade
Pick of the Week #21: Howie Beck
Pick of the Week #22: Pink Mountaintops
Pick of the Week #23: Still Life Still
Pick of the Week #24: Hayden
Pick of the Week #25: Snailhouse
Pick of the Week #26: Dog Day
Pick of the Week #27: Ohbijou (Beacons)
Pick of the Week #28: Dog is Blue
Pick of the Week #29: Parkas
Pick of the Week #30: The Wooden Sky
Pick of the Week #31: Bowerbirds
Pick of the Week #32: Miss Maya
Pick of the Week #33: Ben Folds Presents ...
Pick of the Week #34: Mantis
Pick of the Week #35: Diamond Rings
Pick of the Week #36: The Wilderness of Manitoba
Pick of the Week #37: Asher Roth
Pick of the Week #38: Julie Doiron
Pick of the Week #39: Chad VanGaalen