Wednesday, February 18, 2009

on humility

Hermeto Pascoal - Ao Vivo (lala) Brazilian jazz innovator with which I was shamefully unfamiliar until I read Carl Wilson's brilliant YouTube annotated The Secret Love Affair of Speech and Song: A History posted in his blog. I think I know a lot about things and am somewhat skilled at articulating my thoughts on them, like I have intimate knowledge of Harry Partch's US Highball and Alvin Lucier's I am sitting in a room and Kurt Scwitters' Ursonate and am familiar with a few other of the things on his list, but he spins his thread in succinct, taut, lively prose.
Morrissey - Years of Refusal (lala) On this first listen, he sounds a little frenetic (and production-wise, a little thin) for an elder statesman with a baby about to fall off his hip, but dude, Morrissey is the Last Great Gentleman Pop Singer, and can do whatever he wants. And he knows it and busts out the chest hair and the oh-oh-ohhhhhhhhhs and even the Herb Alpert fonts (and on "When I last Spoke to Carol" horns to match) for this latest bout of jagged folly. He might even be a bit of a has-been at this point, but he actually Has Been, if you dig, and bears that glory masterfully, and that is humbling. Bigger review forthcoming since we at outsideleft are duty bound to report every Morrissey development.
Antony & The Johnsons - The Crying Light (lala) It is difficult to not be humbled when Antony sings. Antony sings from that deepest part of humanity, the part there on the floor, weary of life's humiliations staring up through that imagined hole in the ceiling toward the infinite. His pleas are as close to prayer as I'm generally comfortable getting.
Bon Iver - Blood Bank (lala) - I think the Bon Iver guy kinda knocked every one down a peg, even and especially himself.

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