Archive for January, 2016

Radiation City

Synesthetica

Polyvinyl Records, 2016

Review by Kent Manthie                                                 radiation city pic

On their fourth full-length CD, Synesthetica, Radiation City have shown that they are no fly-by-night, “here today, forgotten tomorrow” band. Originally formed in Portland, OR by the boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Cameron Spies (guitar/vocals) and Elisabeth Ellison (vocals/keyboards), the two eventually hooked up with three other Portland-area musicians, Randy Benrose on drums, Matt Rafferty on bass and Patti King, who also plays both keyboards and bass; and, by the way, all five contribute vocals as well. The latter joined the band just in time for the follow-up to their much heralded debut album, The Hand That Takes You, with an EP, entitled Cool Nightmare, in April, 2012. A year later, their second full-length CD, Animals in the Median came out, also garnering positive reviews.

On February 12, 2016, Radiation City will be releasing Synesthetica, it’s fourth overall release and third full-length album. There’s already buzz going around about this new album. It’s ethereal atmosphere shines and shimmers all through the album and with Elisabeth Ellison taking the lead in the vocals, her lush, satin voice breathes a lovely air over the lovely, candycoated music. Dominated by synthesizers in places and catchy guitars which complement each other quite well. The bass and drums, coalesce together quite nicely. The rhythm section doesn’t come on too strong, but it’s one of those elements that, if they weren’t there, you’d notice it. No bombastic drumbeats and no dominating bass arpeggios, Radiation City uses the keyboards to express much of the emotion here.

Some songs worth mentioning here include the opener, “Oil Show”, which comes on like the musical equivalent of a “come hither” look; catchy guitar riffs crunching, great pop hooks that have elements of disco and soul. “Juicy” utilizes synthesizers to bring off a cool, chilled song that has some interpolating guitar jams within as well. “Milky White” comes off as a kind of trip-hop crooner, with Lizzy singing her heart out in what is a great, memorable tune which will have you humming it in your head, hours after listening to it. Synesthetica closes with “Fancy Cherries”, a slow, but shimmering beauty of a song. It sort of takes the grandeur of the album and for its finale, wraps it up with a nice, pastel bow on top.

For more information on the band or on how to get a copy of Synesthetica or one of their three other releases, try http://radiationcity.net/ or https://www.polyvinylrecords.com for more. They’re also on Facebook, so those of you social media-heads out there, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/radiationcity. -KM.

radiation city - hanging out

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Don’t Swallow Those Things!

Posted: January 28, 2016 in New Indie Music

Pillar Point

Marble Mouth

Polyvinyl Records, 2016

Review by Kent Manthie                                         Pillar Point Marble Mouth Cover

Seattle-based Pillar Point are back with Marble Mouth, their second full-length album. If you happen to be an of Montreal fan, you’re going to like Pillar Point, which is really just an outlet for Scott Reitherman’s creativity and musicianship, as Scott is the only member.

Marble Mouth is the latest album by Pillar Point. It is a full-length, fun-filled, frenzied, frenetic, bacchanalian, circus after the fashion of the of Montreal school. On a previous tour, when Pillar Point was opening for of Montreal, one night between shows, Kevin invited Scott, who had been planning on recording this album at a Seattle-based studio, to come down to Athens, GA, instead, and record at Kevin’s own studio. Scott took him up on it and the result was that the two worked together on this album which, to die-hard of Montreal fans will, no doubt, have some similarities to oM: the vocals (I believe Kevin made an appearance on the album, singing some background vocals on a few of the tunes.

Don’t worry, however, it’s no carbon copy, though. There are plenty of differences as well. Enough to distinguish Pillar Point and not put them in the shadow of Barnes and Co. “Strange Brush”, for example, has a lush, danceable, pop flair to it, one that – and “Dove”: there’s another tune that really stands out as a funk-flavored dance number. It grooves to its own beat and the great thing is that you can’t say it sounds like “this band” or “that band”. Scott Reitherman has crafted a really fine work of art here, with Marble Mouth. “Lafayette” is another remarkable song worth mentioning: while, in the background, I can hear what sounds like a familiar “ooh-ooh ooh-ooh-ooh”, not unlike the 2009-era sound of of Montreal, there’s no way you could mistake Marble Mouth for Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer? or Skeletal Lamping. One other gem on here is “Gloomsday”, which, I’d say, comes as close as sounding like one of Kevin Barnes orgiastic spectacles as it gets. “Playtime”, now, there’s a different kind of electropiate atmospheric air to it. The slowed down beat has a tinge of something which really catches you’re attention and it just won’t let go, permeating whatever it is you’re doing; it cannot be ignored. The ethereal synthesizers, the French-like club glitter-glam just flows out of the speakers, continuing the spark which, at first, started out, hopping on the arm of Kevin Barnes, so to speak, but by the time you get to “Lafayette”, Pillar Point seems to have settled on their own two feet. The same goes for the rest of the album: “Gloomsday”, “Playtime” and “Underground”, which all have a great, infectious dance aura; a slinky, sexy and ethereal wondrous Pleasuredome Decree.

The finale, “Dance Like You Wanna Die” is a great way to close out the album; on this tune, Scott chills things out a little and, like a club’s closing minutes, serves to wind things down, while not bringing you down, rather, just popping a Valium in your mouth to give you that funky, warm feeling of bliss which, simultaneously, keeps you from crashing and burning after jumping and gyrating all night, sweating and screaming for more and makes you feel comfortable, feeling groovy, ready to go to your favorite after-hours place and finish the night.

What I’m trying to say here is that Marble Mouth really surprised me: with all Scott’s close association with Barnes, I half expected this to be somewhat derivative; picking and choosing things he’d absorbed from his time with of Montreal, both spent on the road and at Barnes’s studio. Instead, what I find is an exceptionally groovy album which has set its own course and only has a tiny bit of Kevin, filling in some of those distinct background vocals here and there. Otherwise, he left Scott alone to do what he wanted to do and to let Pillar Point grow and evolve into something unique, something stylish and something that has some incredibly indelible hooks. Whether you’re an of Montreal fan or have never heard them before, you’ll still appreciate Scott Reitherman’s Pillar Point and his new album, Marble Mouth. To find out more about the album and to order a copy, just go to this link: http://polyvinylrecords.com/marblemouth   –KM

Tunnel Traffic

Absolute Dreams, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                               tunnel-traffic cover

Absolute Dreams marks the debut of former Meesh co-founder, Adam Hachey’s new musical project, Tunnel Traffic. After several albums with (and one without) Mitch Chisholm, Adam’s co-founder, Mitch has decided to engage in other pursuits and Adam, wanting to keep making music, decided he’d make a fresh start, picked a new name,Tunnel Traffic and the result is Absolute Dreams. It’s a full-length album, containing 12 songs, all averaging about three minutes, with a running time of about 34-35 minutes.

Anyway, Absolute Dreams is a concept album that takes us on a personal journey, wherein Adam explores his relationships with songwriting and how it relates to his work as a performer, playing his music live, as well as performance in general. That’s how he explained it to me. “Monster” is a good song to mention as a particular song which delves into this area: “I played a chord that could fit the sound/I found the words and then I wrote them down”…This sounds like a good description of one who’s in the throes of getting a song off the ground. The whole idea of just sort of noodling around on one’s guitar/piano, etc over a time and suddenly hitting upon something that sounds like the perfect sound, the perfect beginning for what it is he’s searching. Then, after, I suppose, going back to where he got that “chord” so he can figure out what it was he inadvertently came across and write down the notes/chord, he then has at least somewhat of a tune with which to start out so he starts to think about what it is he wants to write. Maybe he already has a certain theme he wants to explore, which would mean, he knows, somewhat, where he wants to go, lyrically. Either way, he may play around with words in his head, try to fit a loose idea to a new chord and/or basic tune and then, when he finds the right words he writes them down. Next, in “Monster”, he mentions how he eventually starts hearing this tune playing in his head, incessantly and that he wishes “it would disappear/and return as something more sincere”. He finds that, the music may be the right way to go, but as for the lyrics, well, after going over them in his head a bunch of times, he realizes that they just won’t do. There’s something trite about them, maybe something he unwittingly picked up from a composite of plastic pop songs, maybe because the words were so easy to think of, so now he’s come to regret this course of action, decides he needs to work harder, try to come, off more sincere.

It’s all a part of the meticulous work done to get things just right for Absolute Dreams. After writing, re-writing, stopping to brainstorm and think, focus and locate the right words to fit the ideas in his head, the ideas, concepts, etc. that express what each song is supposed to get across, Hachey finally settled on what came to be the finished products that make up each tune on the album.

And…speaking of the “finished products”, there’s much to like about Absolute Dreams.  It opens with “Long Night”, a sparse, melancholy tune that quietly opens the album, just Adam singing and playing the ukulele for about the the first minute after which there’s a little bit of synth playing underneath and some keyboards popping in and out.  “By the Hearth” is similar; it’s got a mellow, reflective affect to it.  Then, on “Space Out”, things start to get a little heated up.  The first 40 seconds or so is a mixture of the ukulele and synth setting up a song that really lives up to its title!  It also shows just how well the two instruments:  ukulele and synth can go together.  I think the use of the uke is a great substitute for a guitar.  The atmospheric “Space Out”, after a tad over three minutes, goes seamlessly into “Lost Time”, which, if you’re not keeping tabs on the songs, watching your music player and seeing when one ends and the next begins, you barely realize there’s been a song change.  In fact, the next tune, the aforementioned, “Monster” seems to complete a kind of trilogy; all three songs have been perfectly placed.  All three songs are wonderful in and of themselves, but, when listening to the album as a whole, this section of it is a great place to get lost inside the atmospherics laid down – not just by the synths, but the ukulele too; he’s got a great way of calmly utilizing the uke; caressing it, picking it in a careful, twinkling way and when strummed, it exudes a lush, colorful garden feel.

“Sleeper” is a great, lovely song.   Once again, the ukulele is used with great skill; not in a campy, trying-to-be-funny way, but as just another instrument that has a distinct sound, a stringed, guitar-like way to it, but, as with, say, a banjo, mandolin or even a lute, when played well and in a relatively understated, yet, not unheard, way, can add something new, something exotic, even.  After “Sleeper”, it slips into “Is This Longing?”, which continues in a similar vein: that lovely picking of the uke and lush keyboards swirling about, producing an interesting sound which easily go together and bring about a kind of synergy that keeps you enthralled, spellbound as each song goes by.  It’s on “Is This Longing?” that Adam shifts gears a little and explores some different moods.  Then, when you’re not quite expecting it, “I Need This” seems to express a frustration that is not angry or bitter; more of a quiet angst with a bit of wry, acid tone; but it’s all the better for it.

One of my favorites on Absolute Dreams (then again, it’s hard to pick out a single favorite amidst all this blissful stuff) is “Pain”, another fantastic keyboard covered balm, over a lightly strumming ukulele.  Like a lot of songs on Absolute Dreams, it’s got such a gentle translucent, iridescent quality throughout most of this bittersweet song that has such a seemingly passive, slow burn that when you get to the last 40 or so seconds of it, is like having been bottling up ones pain so long that he’s been, unconsciously, as a nervous habit, pulling on a scab that eventually gets torn off and blood comes oozing out from the uncovered wound.  In other words, finally, after trying to tell you “I’m hurting, please leave me alone” for most of the song, suddenly, that pain gets to be too much to contain and it can’t contain itself any longer so, the synth just, at about 1:45, starts to meander and look for a way out, then, in frustration it just pulsates, screams a “WTF” rage and then, abruptly dies out, seamlessly going into “Wooden Devices”, the sounds of which are somber, quiet, turn-the-lights-out and close-ones-eyes.  It’s like a bridge in itself:  instead of jumping from the plight of “Pain” right to a more light-hearted, easy-going, uke-strumming with a light synthax(e) (to coin a word), which is what “Channel” starts out as, but the more it goes on, the more you realize it isn’t all sweetness and light but that there’s a hint of loss or regret to it, which is what “Wooden Devices” is for:  to stop the throbbing and give the listener, who by now, probably has some personal connection to Absolute Dreams, which, itself, is a gift for one who, like myself, enjoys the wonders of indie music and understands that when the topic of “indie music” is brought up, knows that it isn’t merely another subgenre of rock.  Yes, when you boil down all the many, many types of music which is popular with all the kids and those in their 20s, are all subgenres of rock.

Indie music is not a subgenre.  It’s really a way of life, at least for the ones who are involved in indie music.  It’s about shunning the crass corporate commercial lies to which  too many musicians try to aspire.  It’s about writing music that is personal, reflective – maybe; introspective? Maybe.  Whatever it is, it’s about writing what you want to write.  It’s about making the music you want to make.  It’s also about not compromising that idealism you had when you started out and you said you wanted to make great music that would connect with a certain group or people, etc.  It’s also for those who have ignored all those cynical, no-good, only-can-bring-you-down voices who tell you that that idealism you’ve been talking about is only a youthful phase; that, in 10 years or so- that is, ONLY IF YOU LET IT – idealism will turn into cynical “realism” which is actually redundant, if you think about it.  Another thing:  right now, that is, now, in 2016, you are living in one of the most fantastic times; sure there aren’t “flying cars” like they all said there’d be, back in the 70s or 60s.  Sure, there are still wars, despots, people dying everyday, mindless violence and too many problems to list here.  But there’s also the internet and the myriad things it has brought us in the past 20+ years and which is going to keep growing.  One of the things about this is that, for the indie musician(s), there is very little obstacles to getting your music out there.  There are so many platforms on which people from around the world can hear your music that, pretty soon the question is going to come up (if it hasn’t already): What do we need record labels for?  Or to put that in a better way, what do we need major labels which are owned by gigantic conglomerates whose only aim is to make more profits this year than last?   They are fast becoming, if not already, anachronistic.  The only thing the biggest media conglomerates have over us still is their control of the infrastructure of the internet.  In other words, most people who have internet access at home have to pay a monthly charge for it.  Otherwise, the sky’s the limit!

Well, I’ve been digressing, as for the music, Adam’s been experimenting and with that, evolving. On Absolute Dreams, one can hear various styles, but he doesn’t try to not be Adam, which is always good. He just gives us his own inventive takes on music ranging from so-called “alt-pop” to a blend of folk which shows off more of his poetic side, but there’s also a bit of electronica in there and at times all those things -and more, come together in an idiosyncratic way, one that has a refreshing, crisp – and never bitter(!!) “taste”. I should also mention that, he brings in a ukulele as a guest feature and it really takes off and adds a great ear-pleasing ring. So, there’s an inventive musical offering here as well as some great reflective, introspective lyrics here which he uses to mold a conceptual portrait.

Also, now that he’s doing Tunnel Traffic, after closing up the Meesh shop, metaphorically, and working on his own, i.e., without Mitch Chisholm, which is a big step; or, at the least, a new step, and with a new identity, band-wise, he seems to have come out swinging; he’s standing on his on quite well. The important thing is that he is keeping on with the music, not hanging it up due to any setbacks. That’s great. Another way to look at it is that, it’s a new year and, with it comes changes, challenges, but new chances, the ability to take things his way and run with them. That’s quite an apt thing to mention, since Absolute Dreams is a concept album of sorts, where Adam expounds on his life of songwriting, performance; the creative relationships which have led him down that path and with Tunnel Traffic being somewhat of a turning point; a new twist in his relationship to his muse.

Hope it continues to inspire and bring many more happy returns! To get an earful of the new material, make your way to https://tunneltraffic.bandcamp.com/album/absolute-dreamsor, for Soundcloud, https://soundcloud.com/meeshartists/sets/tunnel-traffic-absolute-dreams . Enjoy! -KM.

bowie heroesWhen I read on the internet that David Bowie had just died, well, the first place I saw it mentioned was, of all places, the comment section on You Tube, where his new video for “” had been posted.  It had been up there for a few days, so there were already comments.   Then, on Sunday, it was late, about midnight or after, and I was jumping around, checking stuff out, which is not unusual, when, for one reason or another, I was returned to the “” post again because of a previous comment I had written.  Being a member – or signed up to it, or what-have-you, to Google Plus or “G+”, when one writes a comment, gets in on a “thread” on something on You Tube or some Google-affiliated site and someone replies to what you’ve written, you get notified, e.g., up in the right-hand corner, there’s an icon of a bell, and when you have waiting messages, there will be a number.  It could be 1 or it could be, well, I suppose, 20 or more, depending on how long it’s been since you’ve gone through them.  It’s a shame because 90% of the messages one gets on this platform are just plain garbage:  whiny trash from trolls.  Now and then one gets an intelligent reply to something you wrote or even a reply to someone else’s comment from a thread which you happen to be a part of.  So, the point is, there was a reply to some comment I wrote about Bowie in reference to this new release (). I don’t even remember what the comment was or what the reply was.  Whatever it was, I read it, then wrote a reply, which eventually brought me back to the original thread at the “Blackstar” post and, seeing some new comments posted, I scanned some of them, then I read one – a rather short one which just read, something like “He just died”.  Not a long post, just a concise, brief statement.  But, you know, when I saw that first comment, I didn’t take it as meaning Bowie, the man, had actually, you know, died.  I thought, maybe, the person was either being sarcastic and just writing that or possibly it was some sort of commentary on his new music.  But then I saw another similar comment, then another one and after I saw one more, my blood started to run cold.  “Wait a minute”, I thought to myself, “Is this for real?” So, I went to my Yahoo home page and, not necessarily expecting to see any news right on the front Yahoo page, the first thing I did was to type in the search box “David Bowie Dead” or something like that and up came a plethora of responses to the search query and my worst fear (at that moment) was realized:  Bowie had just died!  For a minute or so I was just frozen.  I didn’t know what to do.  I’m not really an “emotional” person.  For instance, I rarely ever cry.  My girlfriend says I don’t “feel”, but, to be fair, she only does that when she’s mad at me and wants me to show some sort of emotion.  So I don’t cry, the way some do.  In fact, there are lots of people who express their grief or sorrow, etc. in different ways.  I happen to be Norwegian and a typical trait is stoicism, which is to say, not the type to show emotion,  be it overwhelming joy, ecstasy or conversely, sadness, extreme anxiety, even panic, but there are always exceptions for all those- I laugh, I smile, I can articulate the way I feel about a particular thing.  I’m not a friggin’ automaton.  I just don’t show outward signs of sadness or the opposite.  But I do feel those emotions on the inside.  Hence, that moment after I verified the news of the loss of Bowie and was frozen.  I mean, I was up at my PC, my girlfriend was asleep already, so I had no one to respond to if she said anything anyway.  But I just sat there, wide-eyed and just went numb, more so mentally, than physically, but I was sitting, so I don’t know, like, would I have fainted or lost my balance had I been standing?

Anyway, it was like being punched in the stomach, but without the pain of getting socked hard in the gut – you sit there, absorbing the punch.  In this case, it was mental “punch in the gut”.

What made Bowie’s death, which was tragic beyond belief, actually somewhat bizarre, was that, not unlike when John Lennon (another superstar, in the truest sense, not some modern-day unoriginal pop-star who is famous but doesn’t really deserve the accolades) was gunned down just outside his apartment building in Manhattan, December 8, 1980, there was a new album just finished – in Bowie’s case, he had just released it, two (well, it was actually, officially Monday, since I read this after midnight, after Sunday night, so technically, three) days earlier and, on his 69th birthday, no less.  In Lennon’s case, what was very tragic besides his unexpected, totally senseless death, a complete waste committed by a mentally deranged loser – a loser in every sense of the word.  I really and truly wish, when he was serving his sentence at Attica that some inmate- say, a murderer serving multiple life sentences with nothing to lose – had stabbed him, over and over again, until he had no chance of being revived.  That would never have brought Lennon back, but it would’ve at least given some people the sense that justice had been done.  OK, so, a forgiving soul I’m not.

I digress…I was only putting out the comparison that both singer/songwriters, residents of New York, among other places, had brand new albums when they died.  Bowie, at least, was lucky enough to see his new album,  [Blackstar] be released.  In John Lennon’s case, the album he had just finished, which was also special because, in 1980, he and Yoko Ono, who had had some turbulence in their marriage:  in the mid-70s, when John was using a lot, drinking, etc. he started to be, well, let’s just say, not the most perfect husband (or father, to his then, young son, Sean), so they separated for a while.  These were the so-called “lost years”, when Lennon went West, to Los Angeles, living it up, partying with a wide range of artists, etc.  This was around the time when David Bowie recorded Young Americans and who do you think came together at this juncture?  The two legends I’m writing about!  The last song on Young Americans, “Fame” was written by both David Bowie and John Lennon and you can hear Lennon’s distinctive voice on it as well as you can hear Bowie’s distinctive voice singing background vocals during the ending bridge of Lou Reed’s classic, “Satellite of Love”, from the album Bowie worked on with Lou (credited as Producer; he also plays the sax solo at the end of “Walk on the Wild Side”; but that’s another story).  “Fame”, the song itself, is a great song.  It’s a jaded, but not untrue, song about how fame is, at best, a double-edged sword.  It has been a way for people of real talent, with artistic vision, whether in literature, poetry, music, painting, sculpture or even those involved in theater and/or cinema.  In short:  men and women with a pure, unvarnished, unyielding vision.  Idiosyncratic archetypes who set the scene which is then stylized, improved upon, in the best of cases, sometimes challenged, other times merely adequately followed, as in footsteps and after this paradigm has about worn out its usefulness, you’ll see it become a part of advertising, cheap, pret-a-porter chain store commerciality, et cetera.  Of course, I could go on and on about missteps and/or mistakes Bowie made, say, during the 80s and maybe a couple in the 90s, but, hey, when you’ve been doing things, almost always staying a couple steps ahead of the pack since at least 1969 (when David Bowie, his eponymous debut came out), and you’ve managed to produce a library of peerless work up through 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – meaning, from Space Oddity to Ziggy, through the Berlin Trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger), with Brian Eno as well as help bring another good friend, Iggy Pop, back from the dead, so to speak, after the implosion of The Stooges – Bowie produced and co-wrote two of Iggy’s works that remain among his best and catapulted him into a new “self” (his debut solo album, The Idiot, and Lust for Life) you can be forgiven a few mediocre, at best, albums in the mid-80s.  The man had given his life for art and sublime music all through the 70s.  Not just his own, but for others, as well – there’s the aforementioned Transformer he “produced” with Lou Reed, there’s the song-you-can’t-get-out-of-your-head he wrote for Mott the Hoople:  the title track to the great All the Young Dudes album and, not least, the friendship he had for Iggy Pop that included a trust and a belief in his, obviously, manifest talents, which shone brightly on those two solo albums of his (Lust for Life even contained a song, “China Girl”, which Bowie liked so much, he used it on Let’s Dance– I’m not even going to say which version I like better; that really isn’t that relevant:  I’m not reviewing his music). I will say this, though, about ★, the title track is simply sublime.  But just to make sure it wasn’t a one-off shot of greatness, there’s “Lazarus”, the name of an Off-Broadway play he’d written and recently staged in New York.  “Tis a Pity She Was a Whore”, “Sue (or in a Season of Crime)” and “Girl Loves Me” are some examples of the fact that, indeed, this album is, in my opinion, undoubtedly, the best thing he’s done – and I’m loath to say this, but, to be honest, I’d have to say since Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), even though Scary Monsters is – well, dammit, there’s the rub:  I can’t really say which one is better, because that is not the point.  It’s not a friggin’ competition.  It’s just a different album, but, I would say, in a heartbeat that it’s much better than Let’s Dance or the forgettable Glass Spider or the already forgotten other albums he did during those dark days of the 80s – dark days for whom, you may ask?  Certainly not for indie up and comers, like Sonic Youth, or the great, sorely shortened (by the tragic death of D. Boon) Minutemen, or the groundbreaking swirling, cascading bliss of Husker Du and others who refused to play the corporate music industry game, which, at that time was stagnant and spit out a lot of awful stuff.  Was Bowie a victim of this era?  We could play the “what if?” game for hours and wonder “what if” Bowie had gone through different avenues and, instead of  (well, maybe he had some kind of contract to fulfill for a major label, which by then were on the way to becoming total, dispassionate businesses, who only cared about increasing shareholders profits) doing what he did.  What if he had teamed up with some of these younger bands or singers.  What if he had done a project with, after Bauhaus had broken up, either Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins & former Bauhaus roadie Glen Campling’s band, Tones on Tail??  That wouldn’t have been any worse than “Never Let Me Down”.   Or, when Tones on Tail was active and Bauhaus bassist David J (Haskins) played with Jazz Butcher for a couple years, what if Bowie was involved in that project?  There are so many great possibilities!!

But, he did do some, now that I look back at them, pretty tight stuff in the mid-90s:  there was OutsideEarthling and Black Tie White Noise.  Of course, I think Outside really was a solid work – something on which he worked with Brian Eno. But the real capstone that topped even his last release, on which I really can’t comment, since I haven’t heard it (The Next Day), was his unexpected (or – wait a minute, listen, I mean really listen to the lyrics, especially to the title track (“★”) –are those lyrics not a subtle prep for death?  I mean, hell, Bowie was fighting cancer for the past 18 months, so it wasn’t as if his death just came out of the blue, say, the way Andy Warhol so very tragically died:  he goes in for a routine gall bladder surgery – something probably 1000s of people do all the time – and winds up dead due to an incident involving the anesthesia!!   August, 1987, another sad event that I remember only too well.

Well, OK, it’s been about six days now, so there’s been a little time for this terrible, terrible news to sink in.  But there is one thing from which I can, at least, take solace in; and that is the fact that David Bowie, over the last 48 years, made a huge bounty of wonderful music.   Music that will, in one form or another stay with us as long as there is something on which to play the music.  Not only that, but he made his mark in a number of cinematic pleasures, including Nicolas Roeg’s, The Man Who Fell to EarthThe Hunger, which he did with French beauty, Catherine Deneuve as well as Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence, a small part in David Lynch’s movie version of Twin Peaks:  Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me as well as a role in Labyrinth.  I know there are some others as well, but I can’t mention every single one right now.

Anyway, to sum it up, there’s really now way to just stop -maybe because I don’t want to say “good-bye”.  But what can we do?  Death comes to all.  When it takes you or someone close, all you can do is grieve and then try to console yourself with the fact that in the grand scheme of things, you and whomever the dearly departed is, at least you and they shared the same space and time when you stop to consider how long there’s been life perpetuating itself.  Also, whenever you start to miss Bowie, and you are one of the lucky ones who happens to have at least some of his music – however much or little – you can always comfort yourself by listening to the greatness he left behind, by which he is immortalized.   RIP, DAVID BOWIE, You pretty thing!  (“Ashes to Ashes…”)        -KM.