This blog entry is being put together to the sound of The Fall, in an attempt to understand why so many artists claim, or are said, to draw or paint to the sound of Mark E Smith’s timeless band.
Usual conditions for producing these musings are, for the record, a joyless silence. There seems to be a need to isolate thoughts in order to put words down on a page or screen, for me at least.
But apparently, not so for artists, and at least three reasons suggest themselves for choosing The Fall over the many thousands of competing soundtracks: lyrics, rhythm and modus operandi.
Smith says in the Tate film (above) that his lyrics are open ended, but the reverse should be argued. Fall songs are packed with concrete nouns, names and places. Things get nailed down and perhaps visual artists relate to that.
However, the band’s krautrock(abilly) rhythms can easily be understood to help with long periods in the studio. The Fall lay down some of the busiest grooves in rock. One imagines that disciplined, purposeful lines and brushstrokes are the result.
The other apparent reason to paint to The Fall is their anti-muso stance. As Smith says, he tells musicians what to do and constructs the tracks like an engineer. Who wouldn’t want to work with pictorial elements in the way he works with instruments?
So there you have it, the wide appeal to artists of a unique band, as written while listening to the music itself. I’m sure it could have been finished in half the time without this racket, brilliant though it may be.
Your Future, Our Clutter by The Fall is out now on Domino Records.