Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Rudi Arapahoe Echoes From One to Another This is the most beautiful thing. There are soft plucks and hints and smudges and perfectly aligned moments of melancholy all coalescing into some alluring feature of bliss. Take a spoonful and live to be 100 years old in a day, live your life in a song, here the majesty of tiny earnestness, a tender whisper, a gentle reminder to watch, see the wave before it consumes you. That's the first song, only a few moments stretched. A brief instrumental passage that opens the door to greater passageways hidden beneath the floorboards. Beneath the paving stones, the beach, as Ian Brown might say, I wonder why he didn't mention the gendarmes and their blue capes with lead sewn into the hem to keep the wind from roiling their flouncy capes about and to beat the protestors and their lemon fresh faces. Of course, Ian Brown would not have mistakenly referred to the French police as gendarmes. But I am not sophisticated. In the wake of rudi Arapahoe I fall apart. I don't actually, this is but hyperbole, but imagine if I truly meant every word I am about to type. I might. I have heart, soul, I just keep them hidden tucked in a box hidden within a paper box hidden within a box. Wordless bits accompanying tingled pianos and symphonies dreamed of by the wind or poured forth from bellows or a hand crank, you come across an orchestra in the forest and turn the crank and something close to this appears in front of you with minstrels and gymnasts and shooting stars all for effect. It's gorgeous. The poem bit was a bit Even As We Speak, oddly enough. "Just occasionally a whale song" indeed. Third song, To Gather Flowers, nature song=field recordings of a rain storm, bubbling underneath is something more sinster and lovely. A heart beating outside of a box tied by expectations, beating loud enough for anyone to pass by and be entranced by the sonorous rhythm. When your heart is tied and bound and held in wait it lies unaccompanied, alone, forlorn. The music is not morose or melancholic, it's beautiful. Normally I associate sadness with beauty, it is my natural inclination or mode of recourse but this is beautiful only for beauty's own sake, the goal is loveliness, a place where emotion is indefinable except in vague terms of sensory perception that can't be exposited. A theremin breeze, a harp's trail of softness, it is all mesmerising. I've had this album for some time. I never thought to write about it because it requires the right frame of mind, a state of being where you can listen to the music and simply allow for a jettisoning from the disappointment's in all of the hollowness of life. But then a moment, a sitting down, a kind word taken for what is actually said and appreciated for what is actually meant. And then the haunting aura underlying all of this loveliness. Rudi Arapahoe is a monster. The dream is insidious, you hear this record and the dream is that it can be this lovely, that two hearts can compete for hope. But it isn't real. One heart in a box, one heart served already to another ready to be eaten. Better to sign up for the pro-med mailing list and feel the whispering ache of sadness that reverberates across an ocean when a young man is struck down with Hendra Virus. A young man who may have awoken that morning and imagined all of the possibilities of what life had to offer and bounded forth into the day and then the ugliness in shadows slipped from behind the curtains, took hold of the day and turned it to blackness. But, breathe easier, the Ebola outbreak in Uganda is not real. A herd of sheep in the Levant with scrapie and a man allegedly testing positive for both Avian Influenza and Swine Flu with a possible scenario fitting some ridiculously written, best selling right wing spy novel about a sleeper cell making the Haj where biological warfare is being enlisted in his immune system, a breeding ground for sentient jihadist bacteria to be unleashed in an unholy land. The responses on the Pro-Med list are excellent as well, I rather love when smart people slap down less smart people. "Don't be silly that's Buffalo Pox and not Foot and Mouth you fool!". It is all very civilized which is calmingly serene when we're essentially reading casual correspondences about the four horsemen of the apocalypse in a test tube. Dionysian Birds has ben playing in my ruminations on tragic deaths and the fascinating microcosmos. When extinction comes to the human race I hope to be listening to Rudi Arapahoe. At least this is my choice for today, a perfect Sunday Morning. Soon my Sunday mornings will be spent somewhere else, a higher plain, ha, in Westminster the elevation from sea level is actually slightly lower than here, imagine the triumph of the lungs. Dionysian Birds is a respite track, field recordings and sparse accompaniment. Next a briefer interlude, a retiring from a respite, an insistent whistle and a poem. It's silly poetry but it works. "Every time I sleep my internal organs fall into decay, little by little..." then marvelous pluckings roust the soul. Next we move into first His Name is Alive record territory? It could be considered a modernist update of Livonia, honestly. The voices are more arch and the music is even more fissiparous. These might be the descendants of pencil guitars playing on these tracks. It's devastatingly gorgeous, it is wordless and the singing violin expresses the human emotional lexicon in much greater detail than the voice. I've been doing some reading on this album and in some corners it did reign supreme as the greatest album of 2008. Not in many. This is a travesty. I am one who slept on it, I apologize Rudi. Rudi is some person who probably isn't named Rudi but he's more the architect of this album than anything else by more superficial skimming, he did the field recordings and made the tea. He did a wonderful job. He's in line for a position with the EU I am sure. The EU has begun to ban incandescent lighting. Epileptics beware! The story in the New York Times without irony held up the idea that Cuba is in the vanguard of this earth shattering idea as a beacon of ope to the rest of the world. Cuba! Ha. Germans are hoarding light bulbs. Oddly enough the legislation that has passed banning incandescent lighting in the US by 2013 has had a huge effect on my current occupation. I am the Lamberton Lamplighter, yes yes "I really haven't got much time for girls...". That is me! Not really. I am the prince of Christmas. Will Germans establish a black market in incandescent fairy lights to counter my good faith adherence to the dictates of our rulers on the Potomac? Possibly. Next track, aching piano, a vague ambience stirred up in the distance. It's similar to the first tow His Name is Alive records and its density approaches that of the Mark Hollis solo record. There is more space than music and it feels like an invitation to the warmth of human reflection. It is just the most beautiful thing. I've said this. I love this album. In Cuba ill they be allowed to play the new Manic Street Preachers record? Or have they soured ont he revolution since Raul has taken over for his deceased brother? Fidel is dead. Know this. He's been replaced by a double recruited off of the streets of Tegucigalpa by the SDE. The piano is having a conversation with the room. A short poem and now so His Name is Alive. It's is titled Conversation Piece and I allege that she is singing in English but it is indecipherable except that it could have been an out-take from Home is in Your HEad, it's gorgeous and plaintive and resonant and dramatic. A softly spun melody on an acoustic guitar and heartbeat percussion with the occasional tinkling of a piano. Beautiful. Beautiful is the key descriptor. I have purchased a home. I may buy a stereo and play this album at skull crushing volumes and send a gentle tsunami over the neighbourhood and announce to all of my neighbours that I have brought them the enlightenment in the form of Rudi Arapahoe. I will conquer hearts without a single blow except for the overwhelming sadness of love. Vulture Phantasy, field recordings, the ominous clouds, the tempered shadows and a silly poem. I could live without the poems. it really is the sequel to Even As We Speak's adventures in literary adventure but it always seemed theirs was a journey with tongue in cheek. I imaging the Arapahoe manifesto is dreadfully more earnest and sincere. Dreadful is not the word. The music rises above such human foibles. Pleroma now, space and lightness of touch, repeating figures on a guitar. Are these merely tricks of the light? These pieces that reverberate with melancholy and seeming profundity, is it merely my unfamiliarity with the cliches of human manipulation? I don't know. The voice has arrived, wordless once more, pitched steeply, a cappella, the power of this lies in the hollowness it evokes. Born in a vacuum all sensory implications are provided by the listener and it is a thrilling experience. Truly. I am perhaps overpraising this record. Perhaps you should proceed with caution. Now to another mournful lament keyed on a piano. an ode to the current dilemma in the global milk market perhaps? have you noticed that Milk is practically free these days? Has Jim Jeffords, hero of the New England Dairy Compact, released the stranglehold on the free market? I don't know but a gallon of milk is now less expensive than a half gallon of milk and less than half of where it traded a year ago. This record could be a diary of a struggling polish dairy farmer who must contemplate euthanising his entire herd because he can't make a profit selling their wares on the open market and the CAP has failed him and he writes this gorgeous tune My Shadow while contemplating death from removal of subsidy. Government largess is an insidious thing. I am mainly a libertarian but the idea of my uncle Barack granting me an $8000 tax credit for purchasing a home has me all a titter. I would never vote for the man because he is an absolute incompetent but I've had my experience at a home depot change markedly because of the possibilities of free government money. Of course it isn't free. My taxes will be raised and so will yours and you will live less well as a result but your rulers will have you convinced otherwise. You'll need this astonishing record even more, to provide sympathy to your inevitable decline into egalitarian.