Sunday, September 11, 2016
Adam Fieled: El Goodo (instrumental)
El Goodo has now joined the ranks of Soundclick hits in the world. What I remember specifically about the El Goodo session at Main Street West: it was the second or third session for Ardent. We'd just finished Bullett. It was the dead of winter in South Philadelphia. Matt ran his space heater, which worked intermittently. For some of the winter sessions, I kept my coat on the whole time. We were baked: who cared? What I brought to the El Goodo session was a loose outline of another instrumental. I imagined it sounding like early Fleetwood Mac: "Albatross" or "Before the Beginning." What happened surprised me: the song demanded rougher, grainier treatment. I applied fuzz pedal and began doing overdubs. The labyrinth led me back, as it often has, to Big Star. So that, once I had nailed down roughly what I wanted to do, Matt rolled tape and I did it. In, if I recall correctly, precisely three takes. The eagle-eared may note: I sometimes use scales outside the standard rock vernacular. The Dorian and Phrygian mode show up here. Thank you, Gene Pasquerelli, who taught me such things at Pro Drum Works in Glenside when I was a kid. The "outside" tonal vernacular and the Midtown Memphis overtones, I hope, make a unique composite.
El Goodo, as I mentioned, has done well on Soundclick. What this seems to be part and parcel of is a democratization of the music business. Who's to say that Soundclick, in 2016, has any less weight than YouTube, Google, or any of the more long-entrenched sites that have bearing on such biz? Not to pick on the YouTube-Google conjunction, but there is at work sometimes, as a remnant of century XX, an Old School Republican Regime around rock and rock culture, which insists, now against the grain, on its own centrality. The constituent feature of Psychedelic America which I have pointed out elsewhere- the failure of any one context or port of call to achieve centrality- democratizes the process by which rock songs, even rock songs from Philadelphia on the surface, can become hits in the world. Sites like Soundclick, Bandcamp, Mixcrate, Internet Archive, and even the mostly-lit PennSound float in their own space, while the Google-YouTube nexus, which does not deserve entirely pejorative treatment, floats in its. As we enter a democratized (Psychedelic) era, a song like El Goodo, which sits at an odd tangent to conventional rock, even to Big Star in some ways, can get a fair chance to be successful in the world in a way that it couldn't ten or twenty years ago. Wikipedia and standard print media outlets work as adjuncts to Google-YouTube; Blogger, Wordpress, and Facebook tend to favor the new, more heavily democratized regime. A truly democratic context has to be fractured; the human race does not tend to form cohesive wholes; and those who want simplicity around rock and rock culture are going to be disappointed by 2016 and onwards. But if you have a head that finds complexity and complex realities intriguing, where rock appears to me to be going should be right up your alley.