Friday, June 02, 2006
You Are Here. No, Really.
Bongwater - Homer
New York, sheesh. I know I’ll never go there. I have this fiction of the place that I don’t want to destroy with reality. Poker face Burroughs walking around with the last words of Dutch Schultz on a sandwich board. Charles Gayle and Albert Ayler playing the frozen holy asses off their saxophones. John Cale juddering through some cello/tape piece and being told to shut up by a member of the Fire Department (this actually happened). Tony Conrad with a bottle of mercury. Angus Maclise floating just above the streets, painted turquoise. Kramer is there, too, playing a song that sounds like three songs, all on different planets.
I was lucky enough to re-aquaint myself with “Double Bummer/Breaking No New Ground” recently. I bought this stuff back in 1988 when I was circling around The Butties and the Smack My Crack compilation, on the way to Nurse With Wound, Sonic Youth, and free jazz. I’ve wandered back into Kramer's neighbourhood, and it still looks like a great place to hang out.
Thing is, this time I look at the back cover and I see names that mean something to me. Hell’s Teeth, Gary Windo is on there. He’s on Robert Wyatt’s “Rock Bottom”. Don Cherry! He’s on New York Eye & Ear Control, one of the great free jazz albums. Fred Frith!! Flashback to my first exposure to Henry Cow. “Leg End”, Can’s “Tago Mago” and The Antigroup‘s “Digitaria“, all in the same afternoon. I was never quite the same after that.
Look, I know I’m rambling, but sometimes its good to wander around, pick things up, go back for a chat, fall asleep on a bench. “Homer” pretty much sounds like that, too. It starts with some advice you know you won’t take and then slips into a song that you can’t quite make out, like an out of focus photo of your own face. Maybe you’ll wake up on that bench just in time to see the turquoise guy drift past. A piece of patriotic song tries to sneak out but it can’t escape the dream gravity.
This is still a smart, funny, friendly, mind mangling album, like a fluffy psychotic attack. And the covers versions! I could talk at you all night. Best version of The Porpoise Song ever. Best version of Love You To ever. Yes, better than the original. And the knackering of Led Zep still makes me laugh.
I have to stop now, I’m feeling dizzy and I’ve got pins and needles. Where was I? Oh yes.
Buy: Double Bummer from Amazon if you have a spare 45 quid!