Heavy Rotation

4 06 2011

‎”If I’d known I would be this happy in my personal life at 65, I’d have got older quicker.” — Robert Fripp on his most recent birthday.

Our flounder.

Speaking of whom, Six-String Genius ranks its top 10 Fripp-works here. Quirky list and sincere. David Sylvian’s Gone to Earth at No. 2? Really, it’s hard to argue with any of these choices. But let the breeze rearrange the titles & rankings and it’d still be an inspiring list of energy and ideas. As a sound manipulator, Fripp is extremely hard to underrate. Head-shakingly creative music.

Here’s another positive NYT review of Rob Young’s Electric Eden. “The visionaries here, in broad terms, are folkies who drew their inspiration from the music of a bucolic past rooted in the land — the nascent Britain of long-ago Albion, with a millennium or two of fairies, druids and whatnot to pick from. These artists rejected the decaying industrial England they saw around them in favor of a simpler pastoral one that enlivened their yearnings with mysticism, (really) retro clothing and mannered vocalizing. Young sees this as a search for an “electric Eden”; his vast travelogue encompasses novels, films, poems and BBC documentaries; reams of folk, religious and spiritualist scholarship; tales of public flamboyance, festivals and hippie-dippy explorations; and, first and foremost, music.”

Reviewed by Bill Wyman. No; the other one.

Speaking of reviewers, Greil Marcus continues to fox. The NYT sez: “His recent scrapbook compilation, ‘Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010,’ shows him in a decades-long game of chess against the man who is his favorite subject, bugaboo, muse, hobbyhorse and intellectual crush object.”

So then, it’s not crap. OK. If you insist.

Marcus continues to be truly out there, somewhere. It’s tough to ignore him but hard to completely buy in. Whenever it becomes too easy to trash him, read Real Life Top 10 in Believer magazine. That’s the beauty of art criticism– there’s evidently no right or wrong, only options.

You’re reading the voice of jealousy here, by the way.

Heavy Rotation

21 05 2011

Classic Rock Presents Prog: Newest issue is in and as yet unread. Excellent photos, text, editing, story ideas, and thoughtful reviews no doubt. The free disc will also certainly be enormously hairy.

Celebrating Bob Dylan at 70 with Photos from the 1975 Rolling Thunder RevueVanity Fair: Pancake makeup. Sara Lowndes. Hours of Renaldo & Clara. Larry “Ratso” Sloman. T-Bone Burnett. Scarlet Rivera. Desire. Sam Shepard. Allen Ginsburg at Jack Kerouac’s grave. Ronee Blakley. The sublime and out of focus on parade.

The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock by Charles Snider: A chronological history of prog with summaries & reviews. Open it anywhere and find something interesting. Page 173? Focus, Hamburger Concerto, May 1974. Excellent!

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1952): Interesting ideas written badly. These thematically linked short stories share a compelling thread of logic and science, but imprecise writing unintentionally and consistently skews the narrative. A mediocre editor could have elevated this material. Did Asimov care? Doubtful. It all worked for him.

Return to Forever and Zappa Plays Zappa: A package tour. Cock your head like a dog who’s heard a funny noise. Un-pass-up-able.

Amgen Tour of California. Proggy enough.

Heavy Rotation

9 05 2011

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

— NYT: The Scientific Revolt Against Death

Z by My Morning Jacket

Sun Sessions by Elvis Presley

— WP: Obama’s Team Sharply Divided Over Raid