Lunch from December 18th to December 22nd 2017.
Our own house publication, providing an interesting look into what's what on our island and beyond...
A special column giving a high-five to worthwhile articles and opinions all through the year...
Monday, 13.08.2012, 20:20
oh what a night...
Dan Mangan (CAN)
It's his voice and words that creates images of deep, visual and musical beauty and it's no surprise he's been honored with praise like 'Songwriter of the Year' or 'Album of the Year'. Well deserved we say.
«There's no more powerful, single influence to the artist's work than his environment» Paul Gauguin quoted.  Dan Mangan lives in Vancouver, a gorgeous city pushed by snowcovered mountains towards the edge of the sensationally deepblue Pacific and he writes music with a visual impact, you could say he paints music. Famous for his live performances, it's his cd's, the much celebrated «Nice Nice Very Nice», but especially the new «Oh Fortune» we'd like to bring a little closer to you. «Oh Fortune» is simply a stroke of genius, it's way out there, wild, complex, kaleidoscopic. It dazzles with his forte: An expressive, resonating voice from deep inside his humanity, guided by superb musical intuition which in turn is made possible only by some pretty enlightened perspectives coming from years of struggle. «The last record did far more than I or anyone else thought it would...I felt like we stumbled by accident onto something that people liked. I feel now that if we tried to recreate something that already worked, I wouldn't like it...and then they wouldn't like it either» muses Dan, «it has to be sincere, and relevant, and whatever we're feeling right now.» And as previously predicted, the public felt him and picked right up on it.
Dan Mangan, who has toured with The Walkman, The Decemberists and Okkervil River, gets eyes glued to his lips that sing songs of passion, love and death. Live, his playground is first and foremost intimacy, although his line-ups can go from classic rock formation to solo or to the inclusion of brass, strings and contrabass. Again, it's his voice and words that creates images of deep, visual and musical beauty and it's no surprise he's been honored with praise like 'Songwriter of the Year' or 'Album of the Year'. Well deserved we say, besides here's a guy who really shows up time and time again on global stages, anywhere he performs. He's a musicpoet and that allows him to not only hit the nerve of time but go deep inside the being of every- man and woman, their struggles and triumphs.
Mangan's exceptional, colorful band is musically situated in Freejazz-Improv-Experimental territory what with musicians like Gord Grdina on guitar (Gary Peacock, Paul Motian), Kenton Loewen on drums (Mats Gustafsson, Jerry Granelli) and the incomparable John Walsh on bass (Brasstronaut). On «Oh Fortune» he also assembled an orchestra plus names like JP Carter (Fond of Tigers, Inhabitants), Jesse Zubot (Nels Cline, Mats Gustafsson), Peggy Lee (Wayne Horvitz, Veda Hille), Eyvind Kang (Bill Frisell, Beck, Mike Patton, Marc Ribot) and was produced by Coling Stewart (Black Mountain, Cave Singers). «The sound has been stretched in different directions by the players and how they've warped my mind over the last few years. I always simply aimed to surround myself  with people who were creatively inspiring. And yet with all of this amazing musical influence, I feel like lyrically and song-wise it's more than anything I've ever done.»
The organized chaos of «Oh Fortune» can reach you in part as dark and sad, but overall it's tough and wild, as is to be expected from Dan. Melancholic sequences alternate with glory and triumph. It's all real, honest, striving, longing and reflecting life with charm, prudence and universal charisma. And alternating with thoughts of isolation, desperation and mortality and there you have it. Performed with his forceful voice, it's everything your pounding heart and hungry emotions could ever hope for. The album title refers to a reflection by Dan about a ticker tape parade given in 1926 to celebrate Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to ever swim the rough English Channel. Hah, what willful mind and buns of steel. She sure was fortunate.
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