Thursday, April 2, 2009

Up to my knees in dust

Last night was a fine night. The cold rain and cloudy skies set the perfect stage for the perfect performance. The flier listed only three artists, but to everyone’s delight, a very nice and talented girl whose project went by the name of Stellar OM Source was added last minute to the bill. The show started around ten p.m. A banjo-playing heavily tattooed man took the stage. His hair and beard were loud and grey, as were the sounds he made his banjo produce. His name was Robert Ryan and his act was definitely a compliment of what was to come. His vocals were harsh, deliberate and cold. Another bearded man playing flute and saxophone joined him slightly off stage. The music was meandering and mysterious, trance-inducing and tantalizing. Thirty seconds into his set I knew it was bound to be a fantastic show.

Stellar OM Source was next. She played dark, empty, atmospheric music using a small synth and several effect pedals. From a rich chorus, to a subtle delay, to brain-warping dimensional D sound, she took me on a flat, treeless journey through a windy, barren land.

Bill Nance took the stage with his guitar. He placed it flat on its back and switched on his amp. He plucked and picked and pulled at the strings. From what could have been a take on the soundtrack to the epic 1973 French sci-fi film Fantastic Planet, to sounds resembling an amplifier with heavy reverb being dropped from a great height, the intensity certainly captured me.

Then came Mr. Daniel Higgs. He had been pacing outside the bar, rolling his own cigarettes just moments before sitting down with his accordion. His beard was wild and large, as was the little hair he had left on his head. He dressed in a long black coat (which he removed before performing) and a plain dark work outfit. His music was mind-blowing and as real and honest as I’ve seen in some time. His accordion emitted a droning aura of low intense noise while his poetic words fell perfectly atop. Daniel’s words depicted ornate imagery and exquisite excitation of Christianity and metaphysics.

Glowing crosses, sweeping laughter, and decorative anatomy were just a sample of the embodiment of his vocal efforts. I felt as if I were staring into an old black and white photo, trying my hardest to imagine the sensations of that very second in time. I spent the majority of his set with my eyes closed, accepting his ideas. He picked up his banjo and the magic continued...

Some of my favorite lines were as follows:

“Each successive universe is but a syllable of the name.”

”You will return. You must return. Even now you are returning.”

”Up to your knees in dust.”

”Upon each atom my initial is engraved.”

”I am a door you pass through for a lifetime and perhaps a lifetime more.”

”This is how I sing when the lord has struck me dumb.”

When the show was over, some of us stayed and waited the rain out. Daniel was friendly and offered me a hand rolled cigarette, to which I declined. We spoke about Déjà vu and what he called Déjà vu vu – when you have déjà vu of a time you had déjà vu. He was also the second person I’ve spoken to recently about visiting a place and remembering a thought you had at that very place in the past. I bought an LP from Stellar OM Source, said my goodbyes, and headed home. It was two a.m. when I arrived home. My roommate had fallen asleep on the couch with his headphones on, listening to records through his new tube preamp. I woke him up and said goodnight. My cat slept next to my head while the sounds of Stellar OM Source filled the room. I woke up just a few hours later and dressed for my court appearance. I was surprisingly calm.

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