Sunday, July 22, 2012
An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music
The two main members of Spacemen 3, Sonic Boom and Jason Spaceman, created as much a rift between fans as they did themselves later in the year (which was 1988, now that I mention it) and even further in the future with Recurring. I for one am thoroughly in the Spaceman Camp, though Sonic Boom's additions to the record that came shortly after (the masterful Playing With Fire) are not to be dismissed. (They're even given added importance with this album's closing tracks, the glitchy "Ecstasy in Slow Motion" and "Spaceman Jam".)
But for unwavering, heroin-like drone-out bliss, you have to look to Dreamweapon's most druggy, eye-rubbing wonder, "An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music". A single forty-four minute track, it buoys and wavers like a phased Rhys Chatham piece, and indeed is based mostly around guitar, completely repetitive but also mystic in its execution. [I have to note that while it isn't necessary, listening to their then-contemporary recorded output before this helps in its "narcotic tug"; familiarity warms the soul, ya know?]
The musicianship and dedication to completely tonal catharsis are enough to bring this high up in the order of Spacemen 3 recordings, but the ambiance of the recording itself captures the live feeling perhaps better than any other live album. It's not for everyone; people close to mic chat away (though no actual conversation to distract you with can be heard), a baby cries in the foreground and the house phone can be heard behind the bar a couple of times, amidst the bustle of drunken Brits and smashed glasses inside of a trashcan. None of this can be heard individually of course, though it's worth noting, seeing as how some detractors prefer the "real" Live album better than this. About half way through, a man (one of the band?) coughs and announces over the P.A. that the wet bar is "now open, so you can float away." Or at least that's what I imagine I hear as I completely surrender myself to this complete Eden of drone music—primitive and esoteric all at once, when it ends it's hard to think of a way to bring yourself back to terrestrial roots. Like chicken soup for the cosmic bowl, yeah?