Sunday, June 8, 2008

Let Us Go Into the Trashcan of the Lord

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Apocalypse
Fusion, for me, works best when there is a triangle, like on this record. Jazz bounces off acid rock into the wild skies of modern composition. Swoons of strings meet clatters of bells in a warm pool of Spanish guitar but nagging constant tones rock the boat, and ultimately propel it forward.

I once found a Mahavishnu Orchestra record (Bird of Fire) sitting atop a trash can, among the other residue of a quickly vanished tenant in the boho apartment slums. Under it were two early Elvis Costello records, The Clash's Sandinista, and the ultra stellar Love Devotion Surrender by Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin.

It was the find of the century for a record geek like I was then. CD's were not quite ubiquitous yet and were reserved only for special records. It was a month before I even cracked open Bird of Fire, but it was like rays of light coming off the turntable when I did. I let took off all my half-hearted punk rock orthodoxy like a smell pair of Doc Martens and let this hippie drippy shit explode like a thundering herd of unicorn.

Carlos Santana & Mahavishnu John Mclaughlin - Love Devotion Surrender
Then I put the needle to this one, and wild haired angels appeared to slaughter the unicorns and revel in their rainbow-hued blood, erupting in fireworks and fairy circles of mushrooms, collapsing the universe into the coils of Carlos Santana's pickups. Really, listen to "Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord" at least once in your life and get cleansed for the dawn of The Next Phase.

These records, like all the records I had, are lost to the erosion of life, shed off like skins, jettisoned unceremoniously like rotting cargo threatening to capsize my ship and truthfully, I don't regret losing any of it. There is always a new stream of sound gushing in, and all the old things keep getting reissued. I suspect when I awake in a cryogenic tube in 2542, there will some sort of Led Zeppelin reissue box set available as a handy capsule, and new bands with the same haircuts will still be re-inventing garage rock.

This was inspired by this story that popped up on a Google alert irritated me off so much. A woman, pictured right, leaves all her vinyl behind while moving across the country and her mom sells it at a yard sale. The woman offers a reward because "Everywhere I go, I hear a song" from one of about 100 records, "and I go, 'Ack! I lost that! I had it!'

She, in fact, had nothing. When you cling to the artifact, you are missing the point of whatever attracted you to that artifact. Perhaps I am too unsentimental about things. I once filled a dumpster with all my old paintings after realizing that I had moved 3 times with out taking a single one out of its packaging - if I didn't want to look at then, it was a safe bet that history was not going to one day be clamoring for them. And if they do, i fit happens that some day an eager grad student interviews me bemoaning the loss of my whispered about "Beehive" series of paintings, I will get all John Cage zen about it and smile a cocky smile.

Once you have been inside The House of the Lord with old Carlos and John, you will no longer require all those old trashcan Elvis Costello records or even good ones like this one. You will see them as the fleeting things they are, mere vehicles for enlightenment, and will be able to let them slide away. Besides, Sandanista is really not that good of a record anyway.

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