“Massive Bereavement” by Oceansize (Second Spring #8)

oceansize effl
Oceansize’s 2003 masterful, Effloresce.

I will admit, I find it rather hard to believe that this song is already fifteen years old.  Stunning.  For an all-too-brief moment, Oceansize was it.  The ultimate prog, space rock, space prog (labels!!!) band in the world.  Combining psychedelic and often nonsensical lyrics with heavy rock and atmosphere cords and walls of sound, Oceansize seemed far far removed from its namesake–the song of by the utterly bizarre Jane’s Addiction.

Oceansize jumped into the music without trepidation.  Nothing from the band felt forced or contrived, though the lyrics and the music shouldn’t have worked most of the time.  But, it always did.

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Second Spring #7: “Fear” by Sarah McLachlan

sarahmclachlan
1993, Nettwerk.

I’m honestly not sure what I could write about this song that I’ve not already written here and elsewhere.  I first encountered McLachlan back in 1993 when her stunning (to this day, one of my favorite albums) FUMBLING TOWARD ECSTACY revealed just how professional and innovative “alternative” music could be.  If there’s an artist who puts her (or him) self more into the music than did the younger McLachlan, I have yet to encounter that artist.

I remember telling some women friends of mine that I had discovered McLachlan, only to find that the really cool women in graduate school already knew McLachlan from her first two albums–which, I was informed, were far superior to this third one.  Admittedly, after purchasing TOUCH (1989) and SOLACE (1991), I had to agree that they were excellent.  They still weren’t FUMBLING.

Continue reading “Second Spring #7: “Fear” by Sarah McLachlan”

Second Spring #4: “April 5” by Talk Talk

tt colour of spring
One of the all-time great album covers.  This one, of course, by James Marsh.

I suppose one could accuse me of being just a bit too obvious regarding this fourth installment of Second Spring.  After all, it is April 5.  I even contemplated using another Talk Talk track for this fourth part.  Then, I put “April 5” on, and I realized immediately how right it is for today.  After all, it’s following yesterday’s Big Big Train track, “The Permanent Way.”

Big Big Train is as close to perfect as the world will allow.  Still, Mark Hollis joining BBT would make the band just a bit more perfect. . . .

Continue reading “Second Spring #4: “April 5” by Talk Talk”

Second Spring #3: “The Permanent Way” by Big Big Train

The seventeenth track, “The Permanent Way,” on Big Big Train’s ENGLISH ELECTRIC: FULL POWER (2013), might very well be one of the most important songs written and produced during what many call Third-wave Prog.

Spawton and Betjeman
Two masters of the word.

The album itself, of course, is extraordinary, especially in its building of textures–all of which weave in and out, away and to, near and far, above and beyond.

Not only is the weave exceptional, but so is the actual existence of time during the album, which, depending on how BBT shape the music, slows up or speeds down.  As the title suggestions, “The Permanent Way” considers those things that remain, those that stood strong and remain standing.  Thus, the song represents a still point, around which time itself flows.

The still point of the song is the profound British poet, John Betjeman, rivaled in stance only by T.S. Eliot in twentieth-century poetic achievement.  With brass, guitars, keyboards, bass, and a variety of other instruments, the band slowly approaches the poet.  Longdon’s voice gently offers a prelude as homage.  The moment Betjeman speaks, Longdon defers, treating the master with all due deference and respect.  The result is a majestic whole that brings together past, present, and future.  This is what Big Big Train does best.  And, frankly, no one does it better.

 

 

 

Past Second Springs:

  1. Kevin McCormick’s “Storm Front.”
  2. The Fierce and the Dead’s “Part I”

 

Inspired by Craig Breaden’s brilliant 104-part Soundstream, I’ve decided to post music that reveals that rock and jazz (and some other forms of music) are not the end of western civilization, but the culmination of western civilization up to this point in time.  A second spring, if you will.

 

 

 

Second Spring #2: “Part I” by The Fierce and the Dead

It’s hard to believe that I first encountered The Fierce and the Dead almost a full decade ago. They’ve been such a part of my musical life over the past eight years, that it’s actually hard to remember a time when I didn’t listen to them.

As I’ve had the privilege of arguing before, The Fierce and the Dead is, essentially, what might happen if Johnny Marr played with King Crimson.

But, labels.

Who needs them?  Just know that Matt Stevens and co. give theirs hearts, minds, and souls for the world of music.  And, we are all the better for it.

 

 

Past Second Springs:

  1. Kevin McCormick’s “Storm Front.”

 

Inspired by Craig Breaden’s brilliant 104-part Soundstream, I’ve decided to post music that reveals that rock and jazz (and some other forms of music) are not the end of western civilization, but the culmination of western civilization up to this point in time.  A second spring, if you will.

Second Spring #1: Kevin McCormick’s “Storm Front.”

Inspired by Craig Breaden’s brilliant 104-part Soundstream, I’ve decided to post music that reveals that rock and jazz (and some other forms of music) are not the end of western civilization, but the culmination of western civilization up to this point in time.

A second spring, if you will.

For our first entry, from our own cherished progarchist, Kevin McCormick.  This from his 1999 album, SQUALL.  “Storm Front.”

Immerse yourself.