Amoeblog

Astral Weeks

Posted by Miss Ess, April 15, 2008 02:11pm | Post a Comment
For someone who works in a record store, it's been a surprisingly long time since I've sat and just listened to a record on my headphones.

van morrison astral weeks

Astral Weeks by Van Morrison is the kind of record that demands close attentiovan morrison liven like this.  The playing and imagery on the album capture the feeling of that pinnacle moment we've all experienced at times in life -- of love, of hope, of desire.  There's a tinge of loss to the record as well. 

The album sounds miraculous to me, and when the circumstances surrounding its recording are revealed, it becomes only more so. It was recorded over a mere 3 days in 1968, when Morrison was, incredibly, only 23 years old.   He used jazz musicians he had never met before to record, and a great deal of each song was improvised.  It's one of the only records I find almost impossible to sing along to-- the phrasing is incredible!  As for tvan morrisonhe musicianship on the album, the bassline in "The Way Young Lovers Do" alone is like nothing else on any rock record I've ever heard.  It's insane.  Each musician's work elevates the sound to a place of complexity and also cohesion.  Together they create a sense of otherworldliness, and that is what makes the album so special.

I can easily bring myself back to a very particular time in my life when I hear this record, and it's funny but even now, the more I listen to it, the more I hear, and the more I can sink my teeth into.  I guess what I am trying to say is that the album brings more pleasure with each listen, even over a period of many years!   When I hear the first few bars of the starting track, "Astral Weeks," I can't help but grin and sink down into the couch or wherever I happen to be sitting.  It's like revisiting an old friend.  The tracks gracefully amble along and I recapture things old and discover things new as I listen.  This record has the ability to gut you on first as well as each subsequent listening experience.

Continue reading...

Lester Bangs

Posted by Miss Ess, April 13, 2007 06:13pm | Post a Comment
lester bangs
So I don't know if you all are fans of Lester Bangs or not, but I am a huge fan. Lester Bangs kinda sorta "invented" rock journalism as we know it today. He was a passionate and talented fellow, who took his inspiration from the Beats and from nyquil, among other things. In his pieces he rambles from one brilliant point to another, all the while insulting everyone possible and tearing down your eastral weeks van morrisonxpectations. He's also incredibly tender about the things that have really moved him.

My favorite piece he ever wrote is, not coincidently, about one of my favorite records:  Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. You can check out the entire piece he wrote here. (And you should.)

Lester's writing style can't be beat in my book. It's so upsettinglester bangs that he died so young, pretty much burned himself out, cause it would be so fantastic to have him here today, railing against the dull- as- tombs stuff that passes for music writing these days. It would be so interesting to hear his take on the world we have now, a world in which the internet (here we are) means that anything, any bit of information or connection we want we can have at our fingertips, instead of that long, weary and ultimately rewarding search we used to have. I think if he was here lester would still see and point out the beauty in that brand of now- old-fashioned journey.

Continue reading...