Wednesday, August 1, 2007

oh to be young again


Michael Fiday invited me up to the Headlands Art Center to see his Dharma Pops for violin duo last night. The music was absolutely gorgeous and the performance divinely captivating - as expected - as it featured the very talented stylings of Carla Kihlstedt and Graeme Jennings. I found myself enraptured, sweetly envying Michael's sure compositional hand. The tunes were very short and succinct, spiced with Charlie-Parkeresque bebop, interleaved with Jack Kerouac's haiku as read by Matthius Bossi. Each musical section commented on the haiku to come, sometimes word-painting or imitating the sounds evoked by the poem and sometimes being merely a beautiful perfect accompaniment. The last piece was a simple and sublime spiritual statement. Michael is planning to record the work in October with this group and I'm looking forward to hearing the result.

Both Carla and Matthius are in Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, an impressive arty rock and a bit industrial gothy and sometimes Art-Bearsy progressive band who coincidentally are starting their tour in Petaluma tonight. Carla says to wear earplugs. Which reminds me: I've noticed recently in bars that serve loud music a number of young hipsters stuffing their ears with shreds of bar napkins and toilet paper. This prophylactic tendency intrigues me. Is it now hip to protect yourself? Has there been a loss of the traditional youthful sense of immortality and invincibility? When I was young, there was a to hell with the lily-ears, a bravado and bold daring in exposing your malleus, incus and staples to the fearsome intensity of the onslaught of guitars and drums and noisy screaming distortion. I remember looking out over a sea of eager faces in my youth, happily entranced with the chaos of the seven guitars of Name, some wincing in pain, some holding their fingers in their ears to staunch the flow of blood, but all bravely withstanding the expected torments of their chosen entertainment. But maybe, like the misspent dissonance of my youth, those vibrations are calming now, losing their ecstatic grip, giving way to some possibly wiser, but slighter and waif-like feminine-in-music, Minerva replacing Ares in the aural pantheon.
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