Friday, December 17, 2010


I was about to link to Tiny Mix Tapes 'Top 50 Albums of 2010' (which is fairly insightful and packed with some surprises/upsets)...but opening said-link was delayed when I read the news (today, oh boy...)

Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet, has passed on...

"I'd always thought music was too formal and I thought, 'Well, I'll get in this and fix it.'"
-Don Van Vliet - -Oui Magazine, 1973

I, like many, point to Vliet/Beefheart as the embodiment (physically and musically) of an epiphany - a widening of the gaze - as to what was possible in the realm of music and within the confines of a song.

Mostly, he communicated to me, concretely, that even trying to perceive the 'realm' of music was futile, that music was, (or at least should be treated as) the wind - erratic, soothing, blustering, breezy - intangible yet impelling - give yourself over to this zesty, freaky, gale and appreciate its power to take you somewhere.

A seminal songwriter for the psychedelic movement, Beefheart was one of the first, if not, certainly one of the most dynamic, to blend/mutate/mutilate the twanged-out, cathartic cut of blues with the deconstructionist, shambolic rhythms of punk rock. But, enmeshed in all those guttural growls and haunting, hazy poetics, were indelible hooks and a bewitching jazz sensibility...fractured and freaked-up, to be certain...but still.

Enjoy this review of what might be his piece de resistance, Trout Mask Replica, written by Lester Bangs.

+ an Interview by John Yau, from 1991, detailing his foray into the art world.

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