The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Monday, July 15, 2002
FASCINATION OVER MEANING - WHERE DO I NOW STAND?

Back in 1985/6 I took the "Tutti Frutti/Louie Louie" (Little King Baudrillard) vow that fascination predominated over meaning in music. The sounds engendered by the vowels and delivery, and their interaction with the music, were for me an unbreakable duality. And while I had no problem (quite the reverse!) with drivel sung over, or with, compelling music, the primacy of the lyric over the music always was a problem with me, when the music was reduced to a bare minimum - the paper upon which the words were written, no more - to highlight whatever "message" the singer was conveying. So I could never grasp the point of, for instance, Bob Dylan - that yowl might have been as radical a vocalisation as Ayler's saxophone, and the lyrics gently "surreal" (a kind of Sonny Stitt to Ginsberg's Charlie Parker), but the music was drear beyond endurance. And yes, I recognise that his voice as it is now - a sort of sub-Waits croak - has a kind of cheerful point in later works (especially the last album), but it's a barrier which I've never been able to vault.

Consider also that "Escalator Over The Hill" by Carla Bley, the greatest record ever made or ever likely to be made, lyrically consists of what could charitably be described as acidic hogwash. If you simply pay attention to lyrics, of course. Yet they work with the music; the words seem constructed to be contoured around the twists and turns of what is played and sung. Even the lyrics not sung on the piece (which accompany instrumental solos and/or passages) work with what you are hearing. McLaughlin's guitar on "Rawalpindi Blues" screams "It's again! It's again!" You know that instinctively. And when the piece suddenly desaturates and merges into Don Cherry's Desert Band mournful blues raga - when this already unsurpassable work of art ascends a step higher and becomes something which is almost holy - something very near "the truth" - there are no accompanying words. This music speaks for itself.

The music matters with Joni Mitchell, too, and with both Buckleys, and with Drake and Martyn - they are talking to the chord changes, which sympathise with and embrace the sentiments being expressed. Double bass rebounds like a sumptuous hammock (or cot - childhood wishes?). It is as one. If you are not looking for cardiac shocks every five seconds of your life, then you need to enter the environment which the music has created, even if you are initially put off by something because of its "conventions" or "traditions." Listen to how the strings are plucked, the precise timings of cymbals, the sigh which starts when the words have run their course and pure emotion takes over.

Fascination and meaning have to embrace. The seeming and the meaning, as Stereolab might have put it, give us the ability to transmutate.


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
OTHER MUSIC I ACTUALLY DID CONSIDER THIS WEEKEND

Tindersticks' second album - phenomenal and sad. Tracks with greatest punctum ratio: My Sister, Talk To Me (that ORGIASTIC string dissonance and squealing sax arising from it!), Cherry Blossoms.

Tom Waits miscellaneous, but mainly Rain Dogs.

Odyshape by the Raincoats - quiet was the new loud 21 years ago.

8 am on Sunday morning - Hissing of Summer Lawns. Feel free to interrupt the sorrow.

Its belated twin: The Magazine by Rickie Lee Jones -

These stars
No one else can see
Trapeze the height of thee
Vanish as they call

These blues
No one else can hear
No one else can sing
This one for you
Can they, dear?

Things that you do are always with me
When you're laughing
You're always here
What's the use in crying?
It won't matter when we're old

This tear will
Finally fall
Keep your eyes here
When there's no net at all

Where the Lord's face
Is an all-night cafe
There's a woman who will wait on
What you have to say
And your dreams are like marbles
In the pocket of a little boy
And they whisper when you hold them
Like a beautiful girl

Beautiful girl

("Deep Space")

Later: Boards of Canada Music Has The Right To Children
The track "Orange" - the count goes up to 36, before it goes random and haywire.
36. A life.

And the Armenian Navy Band's "Don't Go Too Far Away From Yourself" - the same piano figure as Dido's "Dai Can't Breathe" but used to regenerate music rather than destroy it.


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
Confuse forms, unleashing of passions
Confuse forms, by means of inversion
Emotions carried to the extreme
Orgiastic of chaos of supreme

Has to bring the world's dissolution
In a momentary disruption
And though the moment seems definitive
The urge to escape from time into pre-time

Opposites in juxtaposition
While the orgy lasts, ultimate fulfillment
Timelessness of eternal moment
The beginning, the end transmutations

ORGIASTIC by Stereolab

Off the first album "Peng!" which I also listened to this weekend. Such grace!

I think "Mars Audiac Quintet" remains their masterpiece but this isn't far off.


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Ohhh, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

You're too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clock waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don't eat when you've lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead so you hurry home
Don't let the sun blast your shadow
Don't let the milk float ride your mind
They're so natural - religiously unkind

Oh no love! you're not alone
You're watching yourself but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care
Oh no love! you're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone

Just turn on with me and you're not alone
Let's turn on with me and you're not alone
Let's turn on and be not alone
Gimme your hands 'cos you're wonderful
Gimme your hands 'cos you're wonderful
Oh gimme your hands

ROCK 'N' ROLL SUICIDE by David Bowie

I listened to this on Saturday and for the first time in 30 years it pierced me. This is the song they're singing to me, isn't it?


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
Despite the disappointing peter-out/cop-out ending, GIW has a lot in common with NP by Banana Yoshimoto - the same axis of a partially imagined, utopian summer, but with death always at one's shoulder (like the market square at Samarra), in the air, being breathed and exalted. But Sui does not kill herself. Everyone forgets the 99th story, casts the bone chip to the flames, is free to resume life.


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
Excerpt from Girl in Winter:

"For the world seemed to have moved off a little, and to have lost its immediacy, as a bright pattern will fade in many washings. It was like a painting of a winter landscape in neutral colours, or a nocturne in many greys of the riverside, yet not so beautiful as either. Like a person who is beginning to go physically colour-blind she was disturbed. She felt one of her faculties had died without her consent or knowledge, and she was less than she had been. The world that she had been so used to appraising, delighting in, and mixing with had drawn away, and she no longer felt she was part of it. Henceforward, if she were to be happy, the happiness would have to burn from her own nature. In short, since people seemed not to affect her, they could not help her, and if she was to go on living she would have to get the strength for it solely out of herself.

"Perhaps there was nothing startling about that. But she shrank from accepting it. It was the only thing she could not conquer by accepting, because it was not a fancy or a new piece of self-knowledge that she could fit to her own vanity, but true, true in a sense she found horrible, like a medical diagnosis. Life was not going to be as pleasant as it had been. It would be more cramped, less variegated, more predictable. She was not going to be surprised any more. She was not going to trust anybody. She was not going to love anybody. And when the time came for her to die, she would die not only without having done anything worth while, like most other people, but without having done anything she wanted."

This is Larkin accurately predicting his own life to come. Taking the safe option. Seeing the punctum but opting for the studium instead.

I WANT PEOPLE TO AFFECT ME. I WANT TO BE SURPRISED AGAIN. I WANT TO TRUST PEOPLE AGAIN. I WANT TO LOVE AGAIN.


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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