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

Monday, August 05, 2002
After the looting

What about the sort of piracy wherein treasures are looted, only to be subsequently neglected, forgotten and then burned?

The eponymously-titled (or untitled) album from Boom Bip and Doseone seems to be a lantern-lit tour through relics. Everything is in semi-light; from the eye on the cover peeping through the hole in the wood (peering through his coffin?).

Vague atmospherics wander in and around the medium-pitched and curiously stentorial vocal familiar to us from cLOUDDEAD. But if the latter's first album was the Isn't Anything of pomo rap, then this new missive is the equivalent of that point, about midway through the third Loop album, where all the power suddenly shuts off and the artist is left with his own materials.

The work is bookended by the word "flame."

"One word" the voice continues. "Uncomfortable in my own skin ... I'm not going to be dancing here for too much longer ..." and then muses on the plight of the lonely if not sweetest boy:

"i will write forever and wonder why some men change lives
my ears go back and mouth runs dry
at how few
truly make friends amongst themselves
it's frightening
in all my daily routines
how few i've truly
a moment with

Then, on print, the words diverge into two paths, two parallel minds; and both visually and aurally I am reminded irresistibly of Cecil Taylor's poetry recitals, specifically his 1987 album Chinampas which may well be the truest and most honest record he ever made - more punctum in this than in all those 10-CD box sets. I do not propose to reiterate Mark Sinker's definitive comments on the latter, but the same elements are here; the same, oddly parched, highly responsible in its irresponsibility vocalise, those bells. If you read examples of Taylor's printed poetry - for instance, his extended piece in the notes to Mantler's Jazz Composer's Orchestra, or the "cauterised" piece on the sleeve of his 1977 solo recital Indent - the overlap will become apparent.

It is hard and unproductive to dissemble all 29 "marked" tracks on this CD - it has to be listened to as one continuous slow explosion. Rarely are standard bpm ever approached; the nearest equivalent would be "Town Crier's Walk" which appropriates/reproduces a Mahavishnu Orch-style workout - but compare the blunt baseness here with the palpable ecstasy when a similar moment occurs two-and-a-half minutes into El-P's "Truancy" (Fantastic Damage - about which a longer piece is forthcoming - is truly a record of, as well as in, colour). And just prior to that, we have ""open quotes" (the extra inverted comma is there) which dissects/expedites an old Charley Patton-style blues side with angularity of attack and chordality which could have come straight from Derek Bailey.

And with the extraordinary piece "Gin" we approach something very near Nurse With Wound/Coil territory - the 51st minute after death? High and slowly undulating string drones accompanied/echoed by distant percussiveness - reminiscent in emotion (both expressed and, especially, repressed) of Morton Feldman's "The Viola In My Life II" and some of Tony Oxley's string experiments (hear, if you can, 1977's February Papers on Incus for confirmation of this), and underlined by a strange whirring contentment (cf. Incus 33 Circadian Rhythm with Parker, Toop, Eastley, Burwell a.o. - excerpts from a continuous 24-hour performance). With brilliant architectural cunning, this is immediately succeeded by the most straightforward "hip hop" track "Goddamn Telephone" which uses the same martial undertow as the Streets' "Sharp Darts."

Flowing through all of this is the realisation that this record represents the direction which I hoped PM Dawn might have pursued after the ridiculously undervalued Bliss Album - reality truly reducing in the beholder's eye towards an opaquely-angled light in the distance which we are desperately trying to grasp. Track 28, entitled "this album was meant to be myself but somewhere along the line it ended up feeling more like you...yet..." is a PM Dawn backing track in all but name, albeit echoing from the self-imposed distance of the bottom of KRS-One's swimming pool.

"In one of Chesterton's short stories - "The Head of Caesar" I think - the hero remarks that there is nothing so frightening as a labyrinth without that centre. This film is precisely that labyrinth."
(Jorge Luis Borges on Citizen Kane)

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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"God preserve us from writers who regurgitate what they have learnt from books! It is people's secrets we want to know - it is the natural history of the human heart that we have been trying to put down for a thousand years and everyone must and can leave their contribution."
(August Strindberg)

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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