deLillos “The Brain Is Alone”
December 20, 2018
In the series with presentations of Norwegian album classics in the yellow zone at Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek, we will visit Lars Lillo-Stenberg and Jørn Christensen on Thursday 15 June, in conversation with Kent Horne, to talk about DeLillos’ “Brain is Alone.” We have asked 4 music mediators about their relationship with this bauta of a double album.
What is your relationship with “The brain is alone”?
To me, deLillos means band more than what individual albums do. I think they are completely raw and deliver time and again from the disc and the stage. In addition, there are so many songs on various releases that have been important to my entry to Oslo. After over 20 years in the capital, I still associate districts, places, streets, parks, moods with songs of DeLillos. I have a special relationship with the music and the songs have been affixed in a totally unique way.
I really discovered “The brain is alone” only after “Next summer” came out in 1993. I was fascinated by the predecessors “Suser departed ” and “Before was it fun with snow”, especially Tough in pajamas and S’il vous plaît , they was funny and funny, but I was too young to understand how good the albums really were. In the village where I grew up, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, AC / DC and Metallica went more than deLillos in the late 80’s. And then the green and the British came and took over. But on a autumn night last year, I heard Chef Tor from “Next Summer” and was torn by the rifle, the vowel, the text. It inspired me to listen properly to the previous albums. I was completely put out of the title track, the brain is alone . A bit anxious. It was damn scary, the whole soundtrack, the kind of horror movie-like guitar hit, the dark loneliness of the text, as if someone drowned.
“The brain is alone” contains so much different, so many layers. It’s quality in every aspect. It’s a dynamic album that grows the more you listen to it. It’s post-punk to me, I’m digging the varied beaten, the small industrial guitar game, but also the soundtrack and lyrics, which at one moment are happy and uplifting, but in the next gloomy and disgusting. As listeners, you notice that DeLillos challenges themselves, exploring both the album format and its own visions like songwriters, musicians and bands. Øystein Paasche slips straight and the trio seems almost complete.
It’s not easy to draw favorite tracks from the album , but I love the leaning fast song , the joy of Spring , but also the dark, jazza ballads of Beckstrøm, like the Ballad of Kåre and Nelly and Woo Doo , with Sigurd Køhn’s fantastic saxophone game. Or grooved and the heavy guitarist in Waiting for the phone , and the messy rifle and the rhythm of My peanuts are not good .
And the sad, but still so liberating in sleep over the city , the west side’s here comes winter . “If you’re so tired of life that nice weather makes you sit inside, I know how you can, it could be me.” Nice and smart also made an impression, I remember. The uplifting, solidarity in the text, about helping, washing the stairwell and watering flowers, but also the complacency of being just that kind and smart. In addition, the line about reading Dostoevsky in bed, it hit something. I read Mykle’s “The Song of the Red Rubin” in the same period and remember I dreamed of having a bed in an old villa, a loft full of books, plates, a typewriter. There I would have to read, be a kind of safe and secure figure of Ask Burle Foot, yes, nice and smart simply. I have to laugh when I think about it, but such influences had deLillos and the songs on the album, they became a kind of wizard in trying to find themselves in Oslo, or in life as a young boy.
When the deLillos album “The brain is alone” was released, I was two years old. Therefore, I can not tell about the big moment when it was put into the store shelves on the hot spring day in 1989 (as I see it). Nor can I tell that it was an important part of my musical education in the upbringing. I listened to the Jazz radio with my dad, and instead of singing to Sveve over the city , I guess which jazz musicians played the different instruments on the songs we listened to.
But I realized that it was something I missed.
My very first meeting with the album was already in primary school, but my first proper meeting was not until I graduated.
Twelve years ago, deLillos was playing at Norwegian Wood. The band had 20th anniversary this year, in 2005. I worked as a volunteer there, and at that time I was exploring Radiohead’s back catalog. While wondering if “Pablo Honey” was something tess or not, I decided to understand DeLillos – and go to the depths of “The brain is alone.” This album all talked about as the most natural part of their upbringing.
How about Jack Teagarden, I always thought.
But then I realized “The brain is alone” references, I too. I realized that “OK Computer” and “Kid A” were better than “Pablo Honey”, and I realized that “the brain is alone” was important. The tracklines on the title track were another way to express the Thom Yorke song on “Paranoid Android”. So different, but at the same time the same. So strong.
Lars Lillo-Stenberg and Thom Yorke therefore hang together a bit for me – and were in each of their ways, and at the same time important for the musical education I made on my own.
“The brain is alone” is important. A lovely long double album that you can listen to forever. Is it allowed to say a cornucopia? Norway’s answer to “the white album”? Or “Tusk”?
“Lebestift” was probably one of the first songs I heard with DeLillos , think it was like 14-15 years around 91/92 I became aware of the band. As a 10-year-old I had to move from Oslo to Stavanger, and I had no special ties to Oslo anymore than the dialect – nobody would make me speak spell-dialects – I talked like I had learned. Therefore, it became a good revelation to find DeLillos, who became my band, who came from my city and sang on my dialect. With lyrics I could understand and tunes I could like.
I went to the library in Stavanger (Children’s Department!) And borrowed “Brain is alone” on the cassette. Copied it onto the recording tape of course, so I could hear it over and over again.
The record had and still has everything:
Lebestift – the immediate heat
Soar over the city – the dream song
Spring – simple and cute and as I even managed to play on the guitar myself
The brain is alone – took a few years before I realized what it was about, but it made an impression
The ballad about Kåre and Nelly – oh yeah
The fact man – rock n roll
Outcast – as we realized was almost illegal – deLillos had self-censored it on the CD release
.. And all the strange songs in between: Sandwich sandwich , Dark Mathilde , My peanuts …
Hare Krishna mantra: mysterious!
And unbearably beautiful What have you thought in the end.
“The brain is alone” became a companion in confused teenage years , and a record I have always returned to the page. It survived all my identity periods. I would absolutely claim that it is the best deLillos record, and one of the best poppets made in this country.
“The brain is alone” is definitely the deLillos album I’ve heard most about. It will probably be a pretty clear 6th place over the Norwegian album I’ve played the most. When the “brain is alone” came, it was still 80’s, I made music radio at the Student Radio in Bergen and was simply speechless about how good it was to be. Remember, 1989. Not exactly the golden year in Norwegian music. DeLillos was so far ahead and forth, musically speaking, they scratched all the other Norwegian bands, although Raga was more rocky and Pompel & the Pilts were much tougher. But deLillos made music from somewhere else. And then suddenly a whole DOBBELT album came full of nice, harmonious, acidic, weird, rhythmic, intense melancholy … deLillos music. It was not going through the first time I played it and played it on the radio. It was so completely … deLillos. Carnival and epic and slapstick and deep drama at one time. Kåre and Nelly, Peanuts, Voodoo, Parks, Tapping, Phones, The Real Man, Soup Sandwiches. Lovely What have you thought ? And then the title track then. I never imagined that it was possible to make such powerful music in Norwegian. Words and music in a new device. In Norwegian. There was no point in being embarrassed anymore. The brain might not be alone anyway.