Malka Spigel: “European Weather”
Musician and visual artist Malka Spigel has lived the kind of life we here in the States don’t really get to experience very often. Spigel began life in Lodz, Poland, spent her childhood and formative years in Tel Aviv before moving to Amsterdam and then Brussels. These days she spends most of her time in London with her spouse and musical collaborator Colin Newman (singer of the very, very cool, landmark British punk band Wire). Just last week Spigel and Newman released a new record called Every Day Is Like The First Day, but more on that later.
Spigel began her career in Tel Aviv in 1981 as bassist for the post-punk/New Wave act Minimal Compact. The band uprooted from their home country soon after forming and moved to Amsterdam where their brand of Middle Eastern-inflected art-rock found a wider audience. By 1985 the band moved again, this time to Brussels. It was in Belgium where they made the album Raging Souls with Wire-member (and Spigel’s future husband) Colin Newman manning the producer’s chair. After Minimal Compact split in 1988 (there have been occasional reunions since), Spigel focused on her solo work and collaborations with Newman and others. She issued her first solo record Rosh Ballata in 1993. Newman also contributed heavily to the record, and the couple released the album on their very own swim~ label. In the mid-90s Spigel also became a visual artist, working in video and analog Lomo cameras. Spigel, Newman, electronic music artist Robin Rimbaud formed the band Githead in 2004 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of swim~ (former Minimal Compact drummer Max Franken also came on board soon after).
This month, as we mentioned before, Spigel is back with a new solo album. Every Day Is Like the First Day‘s 12 tracks are very representative of her entire body of work. There’s a little melancholic post-punk, some hypnotic art-rock and little flecks of Middle Eastern music care of a deliciously scratchy fiddle. The title of today’s song of the day, “European Weather,” really captures the mood of the album. The song gives the listener a very keen sense of place. With its low-tempo, electronic touches, throbbing bass, synth swells and Spigel’s aloof vocals the song evokes cold, drizzly days riding mass-transit through the crumbling outer neighborhoods of some huge, old northern European city. It could be London, Berlin, Prague, Brussels, Amsterdam or any number of cities. But it’s always the biggest cites that make you feel the most alone. Especially when you have to deal with the unrelenting European weather.