Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A PUFF OF SMOKE



[This story was originally published by Small Spiral Notebook in 2002.]

Midnight. We stare at the moon through rain trails on the windows of Scott’s VW Beetle parked behind the Fort Missoula cemetery. Violent Femmes blast on the stereo and the vinyl seat vibrates my back. Danny’s got three earrings and wears streaks of mascara. Scott’s got a short blond Mohawk. Anthea has hair the color of a ripe mango. She sits in back with me and her jeans rub against mine. Danny leans over his seat and pushes a joint at my face. I wave my hand through cobwebs of smoke.

“Come on, Kurt,” he says. “I care about you.”

“No thanks,” I say.

“If it sucks, you never have to smoke again.”

Scott nods like he too might never smoke again. His Mohawk scratches the dome light. Anthea’s red-orange hair sticks to the window. She’s already high and stroking my leg with her fingers. This would feel good if she weren’t gawking at gravestones. Spittle trails from her mouth and shines in the moonlight.

“Quit drooling, dope fiend,” Danny says. “Quit looking more freaky than you are.”

Anthea giggles and wipes her face with her sleeve. She smiles at me. “You gonna smoke, sweetie?” She puts a hand on my chest and says, “You don’t have to.”

I take the joint in my fingers. It feels like a dead moth. I suck on it. Nothing happens. Scott flicks his lighter and singes my nose hairs.

“Breathe deep,” Anthea says. “Hold it.”

I suck in till my lungs burn and I choke.

Anthea takes the stub of my left arm and puts it in her lap. Danny and Scott face forward again and we all sit there watching rain slither down the windows.

Danny turns to me. “Why’d your dad blow his brains out if he was such a great guy and all?”

Anthea smacks his head and says, “I’m hungry for Pop Tarts.”

“Cherry Pop Tarts,” Scott says.

Five minutes later we climb out of the car at Rosauers.

“I don’t feel high,” I say. “I’ll just crash by the fertilizer bags.”

They go inside. I sit on a pallet of Weed & Feed out front. The Coke machine glows red on the wet part of the sidewalk. The handicapped parking sign’s pole is bent. After a minute or two a bald guy with a white isosceles triangle mustache walks over to me. He has a box of chocolate milk in one hand and a pack of Dolly Madison buns in the other.

“Hey there,” he says. “How do you like this town?”

“It’s all right,” I say.

“How long you been here?”

“Three months.”

“Yeah? Where’d you come from?”

“California.”

He winks. He’s got a blue Oxford shirt like my dad’s. It’s weird to see Dad’s shirt on some bald guy.

Two jocks in a black Mustang cruise through the lot. The driver has a roll of fat like a hot dog bun around his neck. He tosses a cigarette at the pavement and cranks a Def Leppard tune. His arm hangs out the window and his fingers wiggle in the rain. The Mustang squeals out of the lot and heads south on Reserve toward the golf course.

The bald man chuckles. “What’s your name?”

I think for a second. “Kurt.”

“Hi, Kurt. I’m Roy.” Roy looks at me like he’s trying to remember where we met before. “Do you know Jesus?”

I take a deep breath and the pot hits me. My fingers go numb and my lips get all fat. “Not personally,” I say. I can hardly spit out the words.

“I don’t mean to pry, Kurt. I’m in town visiting my daughter.” He waves his cinnamon buns at the neighborhood across the street. “Just thought I’d come for a midnight snack. Couldn’t help but notice the questionable crowd you arrived with.”

“Yeah?”

“They seemed sorta wild, is all.”

“They’re a pack of wild animals all right,” I say. Or that’s what I try to say. I’m not sure Roy can understand me with my lips all fat.

He goes on about the Gospel of John and the afterlife and how good deeds aren’t enough because Heaven isn’t something we earn. Heaven is a gift given by the grace of God. Roy thinks I’m the reason the Lord brought him here tonight. A stick of gum is still in its foil on the sidewalk by Roy’s foot. I reach but Roy steps on it.

“You look like a nice kid. Tell me, Kurt, were you born without a hand?”

“No,” I say and hold up my right hand.

Roy’s white mustache curls up over his smile. “I mean, were you born with only one?”

“Yessiree, sir.”

“Well, maybe the good Lord will bless you with two hands in the afterlife. Would you like that?”

“I would not know.”

“You bet you would! Maybe he’ll give you three hands, Kurt, or four. What church do you go to?”

I tell him the first one that comes to mind. It was a place we went on Easter back in Cleveland. “First Methodist.” It had a brick fireplace in the back. All through the service some guy in a polyester suit tossed logs on the fire and for a while I forgot about the three feet of snow outside.

Roy sips his chocolate milk. “Do they talk about being born again at First Methodist?”

I scratch an itch on my ankle. “Don’t think so.”

“Well, you’re what? Fifteen? I was all of 33 years old before I figured out I was just warming a seat in church and not getting any closer to Heaven. Then, Kurt, I let my Lord and Savior into my heart and never not once did I look back. Every single day has been a gift, I tell you. Every day.” Roy steps closer and takes the last bite of his first cinnamon roll. “Do you have any idea what I am talking about?”

“Not really.”

“It can be the same for you. Revelations says Jesus is coming to separate the good from the bad. The goats will end up on one side of the fence, Kurt, and the sheep will end up on the other. If that happened tonight, Kurt, if Jesus came down to judge you, which side of the fence would you be on?”

“I try to be a good person.”

Roy crumples the empty milk carton in his hand. “That’s not biblical. When Jesus comes, goodness and niceness won’t have anything to do with it. The believers will vanish in a puff of smoke and the unbelievers will be cast down into eternal flame. You hear me?”

“I hear you.”

“You can choose the other side of the fence, Kurt, right here, right now. You know what day it is?” Roy raises his second cinnamon roll above his head. “Today is the day the Lord has made, Kurt. Today is the day you will change your life.”

It’s just me and Roy and a kid in a blue apron pushing a train of grocery carts toward the automatic doors. I’m standing but don’t remember getting up. Roy has his hands on my shoulders. His eyes are dark green and too close to mine. His breath is all coffee and puke and cinnamon and yeast.

“Kurt, buddy, you can drive a stake in the ground right now. From this day forward you can walk with the Lord. It’s simple. No need to close your eyes or anything. Will you take my hand and open your heart to Jesus with me, Kurt?”

Roy has splotches on his forehead. He looks happy and gloomy like he’s trying to change his luck but knows he can’t. And I want to make him happy. So I imagine having another hand. This makes me laugh and not because it’s funny but because all of a sudden I feel a hand on the end of my left arm. I clench the fist. I wriggle the fingers.

Now Roy looks worried.

“You look funny,” he says. “Are you all right, Kurt?”

I try to stop laughing. “Which ones are the goats?” I ask.

“The goats?”

“You said Jesus sorts out the sheep and the goats. Are the goats on the Heaven side of the fence or the Hell side? Because I don’t like sheep. I’d rather be a goat.”

Then Danny and Scott start making goat sounds or maybe sheep sounds. Bahh! Bahh! They waggle their heads and bleat at the sky. Anthea has one foot in a grocery cart. She rolls it in circles through the Handicapped Parking spot. I laugh so hard snot flies out of my nose and lands next to the stick of gum on the sidewalk. The gum still has Roy’s boot print in it.

I look around for Roy. He’s walking away with the bun I had hoped he’d offer me if I let Jesus into my heart. Roy cuts through the parking lot and stops at the streetlight. Scott and Danny tell me to get in the car. Roy jogs across the median. He doesn’t turn to wave goodbye. Then it’s gone—my new hand—as quick as it came.
_______________

Deep Thought for a Karaoke World #317

If everyone gets to be a Weird Al, then Weird Al no longer gets to be weird.

A Handful of Obscure Tom Waits Songs and Video Clips

I call them "obscure" only because they're new to me. Here are some live performances and animations culled from youtube's vast library of Tom Waits' music. Enjoy.

"Smuggler's Waltz" or "Bronx Lullaby"


"Take Me Home"


"Angels in Heaven"


"The One that Got Away"


"More than Rain" and an interview with Letterman


"Russian Dance"


"Edward"


"No One Knows I'm Gone"


"Lullaby"


G'night.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nina Nastasia, "Cry, Cry Baby"

This song's been out for two or three months, but the new album has arrived. So turn up the volume, watch, listen, watch and listen again, then go buy the record.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mimi Goese and/or Persephone, "Elegy"

I'm catching up with Mimi Goese of Hugo Largo (or trying to), but I haven't yet figured out whether Persephone is Mimi's new band or she's just guest-performing on this song. Either way, I love it.



Can't help wondering how much bigger Hugo Largo would have been if Mimi's ambitious singing and intense onstage antics had been paired with her more recent ability to stay on pitch.

No insult intended there, by the way. Mimi freely admits this, herself:

We used to be called precious, and I think it’s because we were full of shit. Our violin player, Hahn Rowe, was the only one of us who really knew how to play. He produced and engineered our stuff, too. The rest of us were posers. I listen to Hugo now and wonder why no one told me I couldn't sing on pitch.
Good interview all around, that one.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to find the story of how Michael Stipe ended up producing Hugo Largo's first album. I'm sure the band was asked this question in a hundred interviews around the time. And I'm sure I was one of those interviewers when Tim Sommer and Hahn Rowe came to see me at KSJS. But I cannot for the life of me find the tape.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sopping Up the Mildness

I enjoy the travel articles in the New York Times, but they address an entirely different budgetary scale than mine. Almost invariably, when I reach the end and the author offers up hotel and restaurant suggestions, I come away feeling deflated and left out.

Nonetheless, when I read a passage like this (from a piece on traveling Tuscany and Umbria in the footsteps of Henry James) it's hard not to start pricing tickets for a surprise, late-summer jaunt we can't afford:

By the time he reaches Arezzo, James has surrendered entirely to the charm of Tuscany. He mentions the museum, the “stately” duomo, and the “quaint” colonnades on the facade of Santa Maria della Pieve, but only in passing, in an apologetic aside, as if he knew that in the neighborhood there were monuments and artworks of importance to be studied, but, really, he’d rather just lounge around near the ruined castle that sits at the top of the town, just as he did in Assisi and Cortona, and sop up the “cheerful Tuscan mildness.”

No one who has visited Arezzo on a warm day in late spring can blame him — the settled, unforced, somehow inevitable beauty of the place demands unhurried, disinterested appreciation — though some would prefer to while away the hours in the lovely Piazza Grande, a sloping, comfortably enclosed space not unlike Siena’s famous Piazza del Campo, only more intimate.

Sighing, scrimping, saving...

[UPDATE: The editors at NYT kindly removed the hotel and restaurant recommendaitons from the James article. How very thoughtful.]

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Google Would Know

If a google search for the terms "Rilke" and "Scholar" is any indication, I suppose it's time to humbly upgrade my unofficial title from "America's leading Rilke scholar." Henceforth, whether interviewing me, quoting me, writing about me, or writing to me, please refer to me as:

the world's foremost Rilke Scholar.
And, by the way, I'm also America's best and most gifted undiscovered novelist between the ages of 41 and 42. This post makes it official, or will soon enough.

Bring on the googlebots!

Monday, June 21, 2010

We Interrupt This Silence

...with not-quite-breaking news: Laurie Anderson has a new album called Homeland. It came out a month ago.

Now back to our regularly scheduled public service announcement:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Found It! (Michael Stipe sings "Harpers")

I went looking for Michael Stipe's a capella, encore performance of Hugo Largo's "Harpers" a month ago, found nothing, and finally stumbled upon it by accident this afternoon (while searching for a live performance of R.E.M.'s "Moral Kiosk"):



UPDATE 2/7/13: Here's how I came to know the song, as a track on Hugo Largo's debut album, Drum, produced by Michael:


If R.E.M. ever reunites to tour, I'll be in the front row with these lyrics on a sheet of paper and a note requesting this song as an encore, for old time's sake. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ASK ERIC: How to Unspoil a Surprise Party

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Today we roll out a new feature here at Everything is Beautiful, and Nothing Hurts. It's "ASK ERIC"--an advice column open to questions about anything and everything. We hope to make this a regular feature, so by all means send in your questions!]

Dear Eric,

I feel bad. I've been planning a huge surprise party for my wife's birthday, but she walked up while I was reading a Facebook email exchange with one of her friends. Well, Facebook locked up (again!), and my wife figured the whole thing out in about three seconds flat. It didn't help that I entitled the email "Shhh! Surprise party!" I'm embarrassed and angry and disappointed in myself and the whole situation. I hate to give up on the surprise, though. Is there any way to pull the wool over her eyes now? Please help!

Desperately Unbelievably Magnificently Banal And Surprisingly Stupid

Dear DUMBASS:

Yep. That was dumb, and you're an ass for letting her suss out the surprise so easily--but your situation isn't hopeless. If you truly want to surprise your wife now, then steel your heart and commit to a course of action that risks permanently damaging your marriage. But in this case, based on the sad tale you've told me, it's a risk worth taking.

Here's what you do:

1. Tell your wife you want a divorce. I'm serious. Convince her you've met someone else, fallen deeply in love, and you can no longer bear to be apart from this other woman. And because you're an honorable, decent human being, you don't want to betray your wife. So divorce is the only option. Oh! And don't forget to snap pics of her reaction(s). You'll both get some good laughs out of these later and for years to come--maybe.

2. Establish a date to move out, and--this is extremely important--set the move-out date a day before your wife's birthday (but not more, because that would be cruel).

3. Reset your Facebook relationship status to "Single."

4. When it comes to divvying up belongings, play your cards close to the vest. Don't let her keep all the Tom Waits. Definitely don't let her keep the eighties discs. And for god's sake do not for one minute let her get her hands on the Bob Dylan. Sure, she loves Dylan as much and possibly even more than you do. No matter! If you want this plan to work, you've got to be a hardass for a while. But don't worry, that's what might make the surprise/reuinion that much sweeter.

5. Rent a truck and recruit several friends to help you move out on the appointed day--but not your wife's friends, you dolt! If you let them in on this little subversion, then they will be sure to comfort her with the truth when she comes crying to them. That would ruin the surprise.

6. The night before the appointed day, serve your wife a nice meal with a fine bottle of wine. Reminisce about the good times you've had. Tell her you will always treasure your time together, and add that someday you may regret this decision. Sadly, though, there's no turning back now. Kiss her, even make out with her, but do not sleep with her. You have to leave her wanting more.

7. On the appointed day, move out.

8. Store everything in the truck. Park it at a friend's house, and sleep there. That evening, call your wife to see how she's doing. Tell her you need to come by the next day to pick up a couple things you forgot in the garage. And set a time.

9. That night, prepare large quantities of your wife's favorite foods.

10. The next morning, arrange for your friends and your wife's friends to meet you around the corner from your old house. Give your friends the full scoop, but tell your wife's friends to meet you there because you're worried about your wife's fragile state of mind. Tell them you want them to stage a grand show of love, during which you'll slip out the door so she'll see how much love there is in her life without you.

11. OK, it's crunch time. When everyone meets around the corner from the house, tell the entire group the real plan, then--at the time your wife is expecting you and you alone--march the group en masse over to the house. It's your wife's birthday, after all, so urge everyone to look joyful.

12. Ring the doorbell.

13. When she opens the door, shout, "SURPRISE!"


I'm telling you, your wife will not see this one coming. There's a decent chance she will take you back with open arms and feel forever grateful for the tremendous effort you've put into orchestrating this elaborate surprise.

Best of luck, DUMBASS, and please let us know how it turns out!

-Eric

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Give Me the Ring

Neither rain, nor nuclear war, nor the devastation of civilization, nor creepy small children can stop the Sisters of Mercy from donning goth gear and rocking the hell out.



Of course, this is only a test. In the event of an actual apocalypse the band would perform the full ten-minute album version of this song.

GOD HATES SOCCER!

Like any adult heterosexual male who, in the misguided exuberance of youth, experimented with soccer, I feel deeply conflicted about soccer's coming-out-of-the-closet party:



As an American committed to social justice, I support soccer's right to be gay. I do. In fact, I would fight and die for soccer's freedom to live and love as it chooses. Far be it from me to interfere. You know? Love the sinner, hate the sin, and all that.

Which is fine and good. But seriously, people, why does soccer have to rub our noses in it? Why must soccer thrust its lifestyle in our faces by flaunting those faggy uniforms and all that prancing and high-kicking and sweaty hugging, when the soccer lifestyle clearly goes against the rules by which God has told us to live our lives?

You doubt me in this matter? Here are God's own words on the subject:

1 Cor. 6:9-10 - Do you not know that the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers nor attackers nor midfielders nor defenders nor particularly active yet limp-wristed goalkeepers shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

The Lord could not be more clear (and thankfully He refrained from being more explicit) in his prohibition of this gay sport. Look it up yourself if you still don't believe. Soccer is an abomination. Yet its proliferation runs wild like a herd of bareback stallions across a vast, extravagently decorated field of green.

Open your eyes, America. Soccer is everywhere. I mean, just today, while walking to work, I passed an athletic field teeming with dozens and possibly hundreds of young children--boys and girls!--all dressed in flamboyant neon jerseys, homosexual-style shorts, and those feminine black socks, and all participating in that scourge of modern youth sports: soccer camp.

Soccer camp! Can you imagine?

And from what I understand, soccer is even taught in public schools now. This mass indoctrination must be stopped. We must not let our fragile and impressionable little boys and girls fall into the grubby gay hands of this sinister homosexual sport that has taken hold of the rest of the world.

Once again, America is God's last, best hope.

So I say: Soccer, fine, be gay. But don't flaunt it. Get some decent uniforms or get out of our televisions. And get your hands off our kids. Restrict yourself to San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Little Rock, Paris, Central and South America, Africa, and other gay meccas. Go kick your little penalty kicks at each other in the privacy of your soccer-loving cities, and let decent Americans get back to wholesome sports like football and cheerleading.

Because if you don't, we will huddle up, we will bend over, we will reach our hands between the massive legs of our center, we will hike our oblong ball, and we will knock you on your ass.

Then again, that's probably what you've wanted all along. Isn't it?

-----

POINT OF CLARIFICATION: I said at the top of this post that I experimented with soccer as a boy. I should add that this happened when I was seven or eight, and I played goalie for a very strong team. In fact, that team was so good that opposing teams did not take a single shot on goal the entire season. I'm serious. I sat idly by and watched my team dominate those poor, submissive boys from across the city and throughout the region. It seems disgraceful in hindsight, but it's my inactivity then that keeps me on the up and up with God today.

Monday, June 14, 2010

O God of Car Repair

I bend and set my ass upon padded armchair at a Honda dealership's service department lobby and implore thee, OGoCR, to have mercy on my car. The CR-V has been good and true and loyal lo these eight years since we bought it in Colorado Springs. Ye have blessed us with repairs both few and far between, both quick and inexpensive. And ye have granted us safe passage from Montana to Kansas to Oklahoma and into Texas and Missouri (not to mention through Wyoming, Nebraska, and New Mexico). And now, as the CHECK ENGINE indicator alights, OGoCR, grant us please a code that calls for the most minor of repairs. We offer unto thee this $95 diagnostic fee as a token of affection and devotion, and we await your annointed representatives to bring us the revelation of of your Word and Will.

UPDATE: I do not take the flooding all around me as an encouraging sign.

UPDATE: Total estimate--$1,800. Fuck thee, OGoCR.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hammock

I spent a few minutes in our back yard hammock this evening, shortly after weedwhacking the edges of the yard, the patio, the swing set, the garden beds, the other patio, the sewer-sticking-up-thingamajig, and the water meter. Oh, and I had the distinct pleasure of disposing of the freshly killed body of a mole. The dog was proud.

A pair of toads live under my wife's elderberry bush. They are elegant toads, serene toads, not prone to over-reaction.

After a few minutes on the hammock, I wasn't alone. First my wife came and sprawled across my body. Then our son climbed on top. Then the mosquitos took flight. Then we did.

The sun has gone down.

Tonight's soundtrack...



"Shipwrecked" by Hammock

"Losing You to You" by Hammock

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Cure, "Underneath the Stars"

I've been rediscovering The Cure's last album (2008's 4:13 Dream) this week. I don't know why I ever drifted away from this band. The quality and beautiful strangeness of their songs have never lapsed. Robert Smith's voice is as good as ever. For whatever reason, I dropped out after 1989's Disintigration--probably their best album, and certainly my favorite. I need to circle back and reacquaint myself with Wish, Wild Mood Swings, Bloodflowers, and the self-titled album that came out in 2004.

Here's the first single from 4:13 Dream, and the last we've heard from Robert Smith and company:



Despite the intrusive logo business that happens two or three times throughout, it's a beautiful video for a beautiful song. Sounds better live, though:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Death is Just Another Path

Today is the fifth anniversary of the passing of my dear friend Paul Vaughn. My wife and I treasured that man long after working with him for a couple years at a residential treatment center. I have too many great memories of Paul to list them here, and I don't think I could bear to make such a list, anyway. Not yet. Paul was, for a time, my closest friend, and he and his wife Patti were our daughter's there-is-no-god-parents. Paul is still dearly missed.

Among his many passions (which included his wife, filmmaking, the Boston Red Sox, seventies rock, and intentionally offensive jokes), Paul was a movie lover. His tastes were not as European and independent as mine, though he knew a good film when he saw one. Paul loved big-budget Hollywood escapism, grand adventures done well--especially the films of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and, in the end, Peter Jackson. For the two couples (Paul and Patti, Rachel and myself), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy became an important bonding experience. We saw the first two films together, then watched the extended DVD versions together, as well.

Sadly, Rachel and I moved from Colorado to Montana, so we couldn't watch the Return of the King together in the theater. We flew down to Colorado Springs with the baby, though, and watched the entire trilogy in two days. Paul sat on the sofa, nursing the sore spots he had from the tumors that came roaring back a few months after the amputation that was supposed to keep them away forever. He had to tolerate the rest of us chatting, moving in and out of the room, taking care of baby Cora, but somehow we did it. And doing that--watching all three movies back to back in a marathon screening session on Paul's big, wall-mounted flat-screen TV--meant the world to us.

Rachel had the idea of watching The Fellowship of the Ring tonight in Paul's honor, and I'm all for it. We're inviting Paul's other friends to join us in this somewhat whimsical act in memorium. Paul would be tickled. I'm sure he went several times, with several friends, to each movie. Maybe you didn't see any of these with Paul, but no doubt you knew of his love for them.

No obligation, of course, but if you knew Paul and you want to do this, please let us know. And even if you're not up for this movie tonight, I invite you to share a memory of Paul in the comments below. And the invitation is ongoing. Stop by any time. Share your memories.

-----

I tried to find video for this, but embedding was disabled at youtube and the world over, no doubt for copyright reasons. So I transcribe. Here's what Gandalf has to say about death:

Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path--one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it.

Pippin: What, Gandalf? You see what?

Gandalf: White shores...and beyond. A far, green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: Well, that isn't so bad.

Gandalf: No. No, it isn't.
For obvious reasons, this scene meant the world to Paul.


A Promise: Some time this summer I'll bring The God Particle back online. That will include the restoration of an archive of Paul's writing--especially his journals around the time of the amputation. He essentially blogged us all through the traumatic experience, and his posts are invaluable. I will update this post with a link when the time comes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First Impressions of Brendan Perry's ARK

After eleven long years in the wilderness, Brendan Perry has finally released another album. And this one feels like a decade condensed into an hour. Ark is dense, moody, political, and cerebral. The songs are both finely polished and raw at once, as if Perry had labored long and hard over demo tapes then decided not to bother making full-on studio tracks. Nothing's out of place here, but something's missing.

Which is not a complaint. Perry does nothing groundbreaking in these long, dark songs. In fact, some of the music sounds a bit dated already. He emphasizes guitars and keyboards, and occasionally the rhythms sound less organic (and certainly less native and acoustic) than those of Dead Can Dance. But only occasionally. At least half of these songs are worthy of a DCD album, both in songwriting quality and in their musical aesthetic.

I'm still taking in the record, though, and if I write a full review (which I doubt I'll do) it won't happen until I've heard the album at least ten times. So far I've listened once.

With that in mind, here's a tentative endorsement, a hesitant yet enthusiastic thumbs up. Ark sounds good. And it sounds a lot more like Dead Can Dance than Perry's previous solo album, Eye of the Hunter (a record very near and dear to my heart).

If you're a true Dead Can Dance or Brendan Perry fan, though, reviews don't matter--Ark is essential listening. Let me know what you think.

-----

Here's a favorite song from my first glance:



-----

If you've read this far you might enjoy my earlier post on Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard Rarities.

UPDATE (8 June 2010): Another listen has gone a long way toward convincing me this is exactly the record I've wanted since DCD broke up in the nineties. Great songs! Some of the lyrics still feel undercooked, but the music and performance and production are all first-rate. I've missed this voice! He hasn't lost a step.

Hearkening back:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Joy Division, "Atmosphere"

I'm working on the book this week, as much as I can. Will return to blogging soon, when I feel productive and free to let my focus drift a bit.

Endless talking, life rebuilding, don't walk away....