Monday, December 14, 2009
a manifesto of humanity
Ornette Coleman - The Complete Science Fiction Sessions (listen) What I think Ornette is about: total music, full barrel without concession to easy alliances, the raging mudslide meets the recently cleaved iceberg in the steaming waters around the volcano during a subway strike and bang! that's where life happens. I toyed with the idea of writing up something massive and comprehensive about this and then I read Robert Cristgau's massive thing about Thelonious Monk in the Barnes & Noble Review of all places. It says so much about music difficult to really discuss. I love how he and Chuck Eddy can elevate the most salesy rag to high ecstatic lit. It might be the final frontier.
But this record, jeez. I usually go to Ornette Coleman for sandblaster jazz, to power-clean my consciousness, and Science Fiction has plenty of those moments, but mostly Science Fiction feels like a manifesto of humanity, a stab at making us stop harboring our bullshit and come together in a glorious tumult, fuck pretty, we are going for Beauty manner. This is what we are about, not money, not wisdom, not the careful contemplation that occupies us. We are but the pennant of nature flapping wild in the breeze of the universe, as unimportant to Big Function as a flag is to the operation of a battleship, yet somehow the symbol, the encompassing meaning of the machine's efforts. Without the flag, the battleship is just another boat. It's a human-centric way to think, granted, but what else are we to do? Flap! Flap! Flap!