Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wake Up And Shiver

Wake Up And Shiver features the Eris Temple EP by Adam Fieled followed by Third/Sister Lovers by Big Star. Photo by William Eggleston.

The “slice-and-dice” rigmarole, when applied to the right rock music talismans, can create subtle effects and ambiances that elevate rock music past its prior limitations. To put together the Eris Temple EP and Third/Sister Lovers, as I have done here, is a way of creating, to borrow a term from pictorial art, chiaroscuro over chiaroscuro, blended light/dark effects over blended light/dark effects. Both albums are heavy on shadows, and on crepuscular shades of blue in general. Eris Temple also works as a salty hors d’oeuvre to the sweetness of Third’s baroque instrumentation and arrangements. Third has a weird sense of sweetness running down the middle of it. The most pronounced, and warped thing about the juxtaposition of the two pieces, however, has to do with the two protagonists who animate the two respective albums. The protagonist of the Eris Temple EP is in an eerie place, clearly, but is in earnest, and makes an attempt to be as transparent as he can be about both what is happening around him and what he is experiencing on an interior level. He also instills the shadows with a sense of practicality of both how things came to be this way and what the options are as to how to get out. The ironic, smart-assed protagonist of Third/Sister Lovers sounds like, for one thing (and as was the case), he’s on a lot of drugs. The drugs warp his perceptions, both of people and of situations. How would these two protagonists deal with each other? Does the baroque sense of pristine production values redeem the brutality of the Third-head? Wake Up And Shiver lays down a gauntlet around these ambiguities, and about ambiguities in juxtaposition in general. It’s a puzzle, and the fun for the listener is supposed to be in attempting to put the pieces back together in any way you deem fit, and for whatever purpose.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Death By Moonlight: The Complete Fieled Sequences (Big Star)

Most people who maintain a modicum of cultural interest consider rock a form of popular music. Most rock music is, indeed, forcibly hinged to popular culture; but whether the best of it belongs there is another question. There are possibilities opened up by the Internet, of arrangement and rearrangement, for a higher form of rock music to emerge from the existent morass. The process I would choose to call “slice-and-dice”— taking pieces of old rock tapestries and making new wholes of them— has been facilitated as a new mode of creativity on the Internet. Why I consider Big Star, and the three major Big Star collections, to be el primo real estate for this kind of treatment, is simple— in terms of pure rock music that I find “lingering” or “haunting” in the right way to justify preservation, Big Star have always been at the top of the list. Moreover, Big Star’s ostensible masterpiece (Third/Sister Lovers) has never been sequenced in an authoritative way. The Internet has allowed me the privilege of turning in my sequence, which angles Third not only in a musical but in a literary direction. The idea which animates Death By Moonlight is an extension of this— because Radio City and #1 Record, in their heretofore accepted form, are both uneven, but with gems scattered both on and beneath their surface.

Friday, October 2, 2015