Monday, August 4, 2008

dry goods: reconstituted animals, thin white rope

down in the desert: dust bowl, dallas, texas; 1936.

What a strangely still hollow of quiet today has idled by in, coming after yesterday's unintentional flurry of activity. It is now approaching 11.30 in the evening and I am struggling, readers, to dredge up the ounce of motivation required to all but throw together some token post.
I woke up this morning and brooded over those comments which continued to trickle in after Sunday's unexpected influx. In all truth I was expecting to suffer at least some slings and arrows after my posting from Pink Floyds's "Animals" in the ill-considered flush of a final weekend binge.

Matt seemingly broached the subject, quite legitimately I felt, with a pithy one-liner in the mid afternoon: "Ain't but one cure for hydrophobia..." Indeed. Naturally, I assumed he meant euthanise the rabid cur, given the post was given over to the seventeen minute 'opus', "Dogs". Jon had tackled me previously on the very nature of the exhaustive epic, nodding "hippie" jam with a similarly reasonable raising of eyebrows, and with that in mind I cracked my knuckles resignedly and set to stabbing away at the keyboard with one arthritic finger and the agitated righteousness of one whose duty it is to inveigle and beguile.

Well, it would seem my eagerness to explain was premature. One hour later, and reading back a horrendously conflated comment possessing all the charm of an insipid first-year undergraduate's essay cum virtual thesis, Matt dropped by once more to inform me that no, his earlier comment had not been intentionally veiled or barbed after all. I looked at the picture illustrating Sunday's post. Those goddamn wolves appeared to be genuinely sniggering at me, all right, their long snouts twisted sardonically as the howling choked and died in their throats.

Here's my original long-winded rebuttal. It saves me from the tedium of wrestling with unvetted demons.

battersea power station: the jurassic car park of fossil fuels.

"Ha! I take it you refuse to confess the faintest degree of admiration for this incarnation of the Floyd, then ? Or are you referring to my line about keeping the dogs on a leash ? I'll put my money on the former.Well, it's a funny thing. I openly despised this album on release. It seemed the very definition of those pricks punk rock biblically engaged in kicking against. Turgid and overblown ; hopelessly pompous and self-regarding.
In short, onanistic wank. And yet.

Here I am, a little more than thirty years later, and it would be churlish - grossly hypocritical - if I were to profess to still cleave to the dogma of old while secretly harbouring a grudging respect for this choice morsel of progressive tomfoolery.
I like this LP.

There it is, I've finally admitted this mild herecy. Publicly, after decades of determinedly lambasting messrs Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason through the long dark years following the transmogrification of Syd Barrett into stuttering court jester and sacrificial lamb. It has been a long fraught and often bitterly waged campaign. You may well accuse me of having slipped unconscionably into flaccid decrepitude at the very last hurdle ; one more drooling casualty as the medics field-dress the dead. You may even be right.

"Animals", I think, is the last album of any merit the post-Barrett Pink Floyd would undertake. Sure, it's ridiculously grandiose in its intention to further conceptualize the basic premise of "Atom Heart Mother", but compare it to their next LP, "The Wall" and it holds its ground quite remarkably as a cornerstone of well produced restraint. The instrumentation and writing throughout is pleasant and noodly - perfectly in-keeping with the fashion for worthy older farts of their day - and while its potential to succeed is admittedly clouded by its simplistic themes of man's inherent animal nature, it goes a fair way in maintaining the innocuous level of navel-gazing first perpetuated by "The Dark Side Of The Moon".

I'm surprised to have found I've played this album in its entirety on more occasions than i'd wish to admit; I've caught myself tapping a foot wholly unconsciously while sipping a nicely beaded chilled beer or Pinot Blanc and fantasizing about "retiring to the South of France" with all the trappings of worldly success I've thus far somehow nakedly failed to obtain. If you unwittingly hanker after some easy listening while chasing a tan on a private beach, you could do far worse. It's as close to a pleasantly indulged mid-life crisis as I'm ever liable to get.

Pure and simple.
Turning to "The wall" on the heels of those Waters fixated "Animals" was like being slapped in the face by the realization that the concept album drudgery of yesteryear could only get much worse as the industry suits clamored to peddle the illusion of blockbusting narrative; that the road into the '80s would be paved with dry ice and mind-numbing amplified platitudes ultimately culminating in stadium skullduggery of Third Reich magnitude. Fuck that. If you're gonna take away any hope for revolution, at least give me back my inflatable pig."
If I get really sick of it I'll stick it with last year's safety-pin.

If you've made it all the way down here to the bitter dregs of this rustled post, you may be expecting me to serve you up a cold dish of "Pigs On The Wing". Some mutton dressed as lamb. Well, I have managed to restore a little dignity to these events ; to rein in the invective while keeping one last joke up my sleeve.

Just in case you really cannot bear to net the issue of low tide's last gasp, here's something completely different. I've even cheated a little and posted this one on the first draft's timeline. Just so's I make that fucking Monday deadline.

Guy Kyser's Thin White Rope are a different breed of animal entirely. I've been threatening to unleash them on you all for some time now. Enjoy.

THIN WHITE ROPE: WIRE ANIMALS from "Moonhead" LP (Frontier) 1987 (US)

THIN WHITE ROPE: THING from "Moonhead" LP (Frontier) 1987 (US)

THIN WHITE ROPE: MOONHEAD from "Moonhead" LP (Frontier) 1987 (US)



Peewit said...

See the thing is, you realise it is okay to like the music you despised as a teenager. In my case it was Elvis Presley. I used to go and play table tennis at my freinds house (over his dining room table) His parents were big Elvis fans so Brian would play Elvis whilst I would bring up my (even then eclectic) record collection of The Shadows, Abba, Mike Oldfield, Slade and the Beatles (This was 1974!)I hated his Elvis interludes as it was too "country" for me. Yet now I realise what a genius Presley was and his music is as equally valid as Pere Ubu, Thin White Rope The Incredible String Band or Dogs (which incidently is my favourite Floyd album. I have a Dutch pink vinyl pressing)

ib said...

When you say your friend's parents were "big" Elvis fans, do you literally mean BIG as in the king's latterly inflated physical size, or do you just mean they liked him a lot ?

When I was a pre-adolescent I hugely admired the rockabilly output of his early Sun Records output right through to the Hollywood movie cash-ins culminating at some vaguely defined point round about 1966. I loathed the Vegas era and was ambivalent - incredibly - to the 1968 Memphis sessions (although I do remember with perfect clarity that I was deeply impressed with the leather stage outfit - and "In the Ghetto").

Nowadays, of course, I love all that cheesy Vegas casino filler ; and all the rest...

My anxiety is considerably mollified by your informing me that I have an ally in my fondness for Floyd's "Animals"! It is a really enjoyable album, despite the revelation that even David Gilmour refuses to rate it even moderately highly. Thanks, peewit.

You have a Dutch pressing on dayglo vinyl ? I'm impressed.

Peewit said...

Yes, but it does make a strange noise just before the instrumental break in Dogs which is notably absent in your copy. It's just not the same!

And it was big in terms of having every album/ EP and single Presley had released up to 1974. I hate to think what that would be have been worth (The family gave (!) them all to Oxfam when they bought their first CD player)

ib said...

I almost groaned when I read your friend's mum and dad donated an almost complete Elvis on vinyl collection to charity!..

Jesus! They probably could have bought a top of the range BOSE or Linn and still had enough change for a mini-cruise if they'd boned up a bit on its market value.