August 31, 2010 § 1 Comment
At first fleeting glance, you are instantly concerned. (Yes, I know what you’re thinking because I’ve been there.)
“Oh no!” is the initial knee-jerk outburst. It’s followed immediately by a veritable avalanche of rhetorical questions. You’ve backslid into the sloughs of outrage. There is a terrific profusion of interrobangs:
“What?! Are you kidding me?! Album names like, Innertones, Coalescence, and Sky?! Cover art consisting of funerary fonts tugged gently into liquid nautilus vortices, transparent sepia monoliths superimposed on sepia silver linings, and the last whispers of autumn refracted in tranquil streams?! Tracks with titles like, ‘Noctilucent Clouds‘, ‘Nuage‘, ‘Primeval Forest‘, and ‘Heartbeat to Avalon‘?!”
“Wait.” Now, you’ll try to be funny, but it’ll come off cruel. “I know this guy. He’s some kind of warlock right?! Or maybe a prophet of Baal?! What’s his side project again?! ‘Cradled in the Arms of Moloch’?! ‘David Koresh and the Ouija Priests’?! Something like that?!”
Instincts recommend flight, so you shift strategies, resorting to tact in order to lubricate your exit. “I bet it’s cool. I’m personally just not into the whole Age of Aquarius thing. Agree to disagree?”
And away you go, unscathed. Close call.
Incredible, isn’t it, the intensity of that reflex? How suddenly it overtakes you, almost as if you’ve always been angry at curly letters, ripples, and clouds, almost as if the decision to hate this stuff was hardwired/socialized in the core of your mind long ago. Strangely, you’ve not heard a single note.
Yes, this sort of automatic prejudging may very well be an inevitable by-product of our inductive faculties. But need we give in so completely, so easily?
If you could withhold final judgment for a moment, you might actually grow to like this, you know? How about telling that grumpy little magistrate inside you to mellow out for two seconds? How about listening to a couple of testimonies before condemning the defendant. (By the way, if you are entering our little hermeneutic here already a fan of the whole ‘Age of Aquarius thing’, this admonition is not for you. You are definitely going to like this.)
Click here for part 2.
June 29, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Gavelstruckgongblast! And already the riptide dragging you away from shore far far out into shining Zildjian seas. You are the sax, struggling against pounding whitecaps, squinting beneath roaring light, flailing as a newborn babe set adrift with neither basket nor swaddling clothes. Your Second Birth. This time naught but circumstantial syzygy hath borne you, and naught but infinite holiness is here to greet you now. Confused and throbbing, you will cry aloud in hopes of sympathetic ear, in hopes of mutual intelligibility, in hopes of echo or, at least, resonance. You will strive against the piano’s contrary windgusts. You will squint in search of landmark, in search of some stone jutting into the air from deep seafloor moorings to help you judge how far? and for how long?
You will grow weary, and you will lose hope. All’s left to do is float on your back, ears submerged.
Move only to breathe.
Listen as momentums beneath you divulge secrets in sound: The Bass… The Foundation… The Core… The Source… The Groove. Yes, at last, the Voice from within the whirlwind answered you. Of course, really, the voice to will have been being always answering… and asking.
Body falling quickly into rhythm; mind will fight ’til utter exhaustion. Body merging with wind, sun, and sea, with drum, piano, and bass; mind will burn with forgetfulness, with curiosity, with doubt, with holdings on.
You, deceived wretch, are the sax, a stubborn slick of oil aflame on the water’s surface. Pathetic effrontery held there between ocean and sky.
You demand whens and wheres. You exclaim you don’t much like the way the metronome beats pile up on top of one another here. You say you don’t like the way everything seems to happen all at once and that you don’t much care for the way happenings superimpose the way sedimentary images superimpose on film re-exposed, re-exposed, re-exposed.
Crawl back through the Gongblast if you so crave time!
These, the palindromes of Coltrane, of Messiaen, of breath are as vertical wind-shear blowing down onto the surface of the Sea of Dirac. Vast ripples rush away from the center in all directions. Were there shores, the storm surge would surely overcome them.
God, in the cool of the evening:
Listen now and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me.
Where are you?
Who told you you were naked?
What is this you have done?
Where were you when I laid the foundations?
Interrogative God is improvising, asking the Universe evermore to be something-rather-than-nothing.
At last, penitent, the sax singing:
A Love Supreme