Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ulaan Kohl I CD
Maurizio M Series mp3s
William Basinski "Disintegration Loops 1.1"
Neil Young After the Gold Rush LP
Shakey by Jimmy McDonough (section on "After the Gold Rush")

Ulaan Kohl is Steven R. Smith, who recorded some instrumental Eastern European-style avant-folk stuff earlier in the decade as Hala Strana, and a great dirgey more-or-less solo guitar LP under his own name that was called Kohl. He was also in the bands Thuja and Mirza. His new alias is pretty bad-ass and this disc looks cool in fuzzy digipak (on the Soft Abuse label) but on first listen nothing sparked. He's doing more of a noisy instrumental krautrock style on here and the sonics seem fine but I'll have to get back to you on it.... After the Gold Rush was calling me all day from the inner void so I put it on right when I got home... I've decided that it's my single favorite Neil LP, at least it is this month. While "Southern Man" was playing this thought popped in my head: "Best jazz guitar solo of the 1970s." I know that's a potentially absurd statement but I'm sticking to it, at least for tonight. The way the band is cooking does remind me of Coltrane... Nils Lofgren is making it happen on the piano... of course he's no McCoy Tyner, but cut him some slack, according to Shakey he had never played piano before but Neil insisted... the title track is one of the most over-the-top eco-psych numbers ever written, but yet it's as cuddly and calm as a lullaby... Neil in Shakey: "I love nature. To me, nature is a church." "Are all living things sacred?" "Everything. Every living thing. Smallest to the largest. The cancer cells, the spirogyras...It's all there for a reason, possibly because if it wasn't there, something worse would happen." "The 'silver seed' in 'After the Gold Rush,' it's like farming--" "Civilizations. Dropping seeds. Races. Blending. Species getting stronger. Like plants do. I see it all as the same thing. Who knows how big the fuckin' universe is? How can there be an inside or an outside or a boundary to this? I mean, this whole planet could be a fuckin' seed."

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