A more obscure artist, even, than last showcase, Dirty Elegance is rather intriguing and one I can only attempt to explain, or at least describe. Again, first I will let those who know what they're talking about take a crack at it; the following except is taken from his LastFM entry: 'Dark, melancholy and hauntingly epic melodies interwoven with city grit and prowess into the human easel of emotional experience, Dirty Elegance's debut, Finding Beauty In The Wretched, takes its seat at the seminal table, innovatively capturing the depth of the human condition while maintaining a non-genre specific consistency. Passionately expressing a bountiful palette of emotional experience, Dirty Elegance introduces himself to the world with seeds of timelessness and gifts of audible ecstasies... Finding Beauty In The Wretched is not to be overlooked.'
That's a pretty good place to start. These are songs based, not on lyrics, but on sound. The genre is 'trip-hop', and they definitely aren't conventional. The voice is rarely used to sing lyrics, instead used as an instrument along with the other various elements of their songs. The artist often include excerpts of other works in songs that (I believe) work thematically with what he's aiming to achieve. There's a kind of beauty in his mysterious sound, and it resonates.
I'm quickly learning that this album is much deeper than I've given it credit for, and that it will probably go against the artistic intent to post individual mp3's. I honestly think, to get a real feel for it, it should be listened as a whole, not on shuffle. However, I believe that these samples will give you a understanding of what to expect, so you can get it and try to dig into its meaning yourself.
Dirty Elegance - Foreworld (Sendspace link)
The CD begins with a reading, one which I was not initially familiar with. Google identifies it as a cut-down version of 'The Perils of Indifference', a speech delivered at Washington DC on April 12, 1999 by Elie Wiesel, best known for Night, his memoir about his experiences at a Nazi concentration camp. The speech centres on the emotional aftermath of the traumas of war, and how they cause a sense of indifference. It's an intriguing opener, and backed with a melancholy, soul-aching tune that really nails home the essence of the reading. This, despite its oddness, is probably my favourite part of the CD, and I'm glad it steered me toward this interesting speech. This is hardly the last reference to this speech, as another track, 'Eternal Infamy', is named after the words he used to describe the particular camp his experiences occurred in, named Buchenwald; and Laurel Marty Scrapings (see below) also has brief excerpts from it.
In finally looking into these excerpts, which I admit I never felt I had reason to until now, I'm beginning to uncover a theme. for example, Jury and Hick and Engloutir both contain excerpts attributed to Charles Manson, though I can't uncover exactly where from. Here's the speech(?) in, I think, its entirety, with portions used in the songs bolded (any flaws kept from source):
"Remorse for what? You people have done everything in the world to me. Doesn't that give me equal right? I can do anything I want to you people, anytime I want to because that's what you've done to me. If you spit in my face and smack me in the mouth and throw me in solitary confinement for nothing, what do you think's gonna happen when I get out of here?Another track, Angelic Remedy, includes the quote from Malcolm X: "We love everybody who loves us. But we don't love anybody who doesn't love us."
Maybe I haven't done enough; I might be ashamed of that, for not doing enough. For not giving enough, for not being more perceptive, for not being aware enough, for not understanding. For, uh, being stupid. Maybe I should of killed four or five hundred people, then I would of felt better. I would have felt like I really offered society something.
You've got it stuck in your brain that I murdered somebody. What do you wanna call me a murderer for, I've never killed anyone! I don't need to kill anyone! I think it! I have it here!
This street is my world. I don't, uh, I don't pretend to go uptown and be anything fancy. I can, but I find more real in the world that I'm in than I do the tinsel. And the real world is the one I have to deal with everyday, ya know.
Believe me, if I started murdering people, there'd be none of ya left."
- Charles Manson
I haven't listened to this CD as extensively as I could have, so there are most likely more excerpts of the same fashion which contribute to what I believe will be the album's overall theme. One of these days, I'm going to sit down and really listen to this, as I feel there's a lot I'm at present unaware of in this album, a lot that could be mined from it. That said, those songs with these excerpts aren't my personal choices to include here, so you'll have to uncover these tracks on your own.
Dirty Elegance - Accouchement (Sendspace link)
This song, a piano and vocally-driven song, works without the thematic excerpts, giving an interesting listen with a lot of layers. It's quite beautiful, if unusual. Honestly, give it a listen, don't rely on my words because I cannot describe this music to you in a way that could do it justice.
Dirty Elegance - Laurel Marty Scrapings (Sendspace link)
More piano with different sound effects somehow making the song instead of ruining it. This also includes brief excerpts from 'The Perils of Indifference'. Again, impossible to describe; just give it a chance.
I'm still working my way through this album, but it's much more interesting to me now than it was even a few hours ago. Enjoy.
I have tracked down his official website, which had this to say:
The movement started with one Dirty Artist whose soul was touched by the Majikal Angelic One. They started down the road to Elegance together and paused long enough to find the Madman Genius from the Core. Together, with the Master Artiste, Dirty Elegance, as it stands today, was bourne.
Dirty Elegance is not music. Dirty Elegance is not art or pictures or clothing, though the emotions which comprise the movement may be reflected through these creative mediums. Dirty Elegance is an idea. An idea that beneath the soot filled superficiality lies a classic greatness. A re-instating of something that once was valued but has since been forgotten. An idea that it is still beautiful, despite is nicks, cracks, and tears. That it may be resurrected if it is truly seen. And truly loved.
"The rose which was nourished by tears, blossomed through love."~ Dirty Elegance
So, my idea of a theme wasn't far off, and it's just as mysterious and intriguing as before. Hm. This guy's use of language gives me the impression of somewhere between a mysticism- or mythology-based artist, a cultist, or a crock. Luckily, his music leads me to believe the former.