Saturday, July 09, 2011


SUI GENERIS

As addendum tangential to the aforegoing, I figure I must also have the largest collection of late 20th century western music on the mountainside, if not in the Prefecture, to say nothing of formats. I have actual vinyl, though I no longer have my turntable; the LP (for the museum-quality term: "long-playing," back from when things had duration worthy of mention) albums are part of my art collection. I have some remnant tapes, but also no player. I have instruments. I am the player. 

I am the only one on the mountain who has ever played Frank Zappa to this air, I am sure. RL Burnside too, and the Pixies, Chet Baker, the Feelies, Van Morrison, Radiohead, Concrete Blonde, thousands of songs... And when I play them, I play them loud, as befits the passion thrust into the notes in the first place, and in the summer with the windows open, the birds love it, especially the warblers.

As the local farmers ride their mopeds up to their greening paddies or come walking up the road with their paddy tools they pass through my broad airy wash of Zappa Pixies Concrete Blonde and although they never actually knock on my door to ask me What IS that album, where can I get it? Who is playing Plastic People or Snake Drive or It's Only Life or Where is My Mind or Still in Hollywood? That sonic baptism is a deeply cultural event for them, one to be found nowhere else in the Prefecture, so it is no surprise that they are muted by the experience. It is a big one.

When they walk into one side of that sonic flux and let it wash over them they do not run for their lives; rather, they walk toward their lives, as though all is now well with the world, if not in fact even better, and when they emerge from the other side of that torrent, richer than when they entered, they are transformed in some way, if only at the molecular level (which includes DNA). One of their progeny may some century hence thrill the world with his or her deeply inspired and unpinpointably original music without ever knowing why.

Like those farmers and their descendants, you heard it here first.


6 comments:

ted said...

I'm sure that "Monkey gone to Heaven" played at high volume must be particularly cathartic...

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I bet some may shake their head when they hear the music? or may think ' there goes that round eye guy again'. lol....I think that if I were there and heard it, I would feel at home...just like when I heard 'California Girls' played on a London juke box..

Robin said...

I play, loudly, Taiko drumming, which, I am sure, has somewhat the same impact on my neigbors her in CA.

Robert Brady said...

Taiko-- now that's volume. Cultural ambassadors are often loud...

Wonder if I play Monkey Gone to Heaven over and over really loud, accompanied by taiko, it will keep the hairy potato thieves away...

NJBiru said...

Is that Kyoto or Shiga? Because I, too, have played Plastic People and Brown Shoes and the like. I was all the way down the hill, though, not far from the lake.

Robert Brady said...

I'm up on a mountainside in Shiga, and loud as they are I doubt my speakers carry all the way down to the shore, so that area is all yours, except when the wind is right...