Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Feeling The (Andromeda) Strain

Over on Unpopular Alistair asks: ‘I mean, does anyone remember words? Does anyone remember what it’s like to read poetry about music?’ I know what he means, although if asked for examples of poetry pertaining to music, as in reviews or opinions, I’d be hard pressed to recall any. That said, in his way, I think Lester Bangs achieved a kind of gonzoid poetics when he was really on fire.
   As we all know the info overload situation works against writing that isn’t news, so we have to force ourselves to stay still for a few minutes and read. I never thought I would get like that back in my early days of computer usage...now I’m as flighty with the mouse as the next person, whether it comes to reading about or listening to music online.
   It’s pretty obvious that someday writing about music will seem as redundant as the 8-track, which won’t mean people will have stopped doing it, more that those who are (or perceive themselves to be) at the psychodigital frontline will have dismissed the idea completely in favour of simply hearing everything for themselves. What does an opinion matter? The critic of old, who lead us all to the sonic promised land with his words of wisdom, has long since been replaced by...everyone who cares to comment.
   Further still, it’s obvious that we’ll all communicate with a click in the future, being micro chipped with the means to communicate. There will, of course, have to be some filter process involved to prevent people knowing what you really think of them, or the subject being discussed.

As I edge towards science-fiction I must mention the record that’s been thrilling me over the last couple of days, Gil Melle’s soundtrack to ‘The Andromeda Strain’, from 1971. It’s initial form is something of a legend in sleeve design, being a silver hexagonal shaped sleeve and record, which was notoriously expensive to produce. Apparently the director, Robert Wise, wanted it to be the same shape as the virus of the title. Gimmicks aside, the music, is astoundingly good. I won’t attempt to describe it, but you can hear four of the tracks on the clip below. Whilst the original album will cost you a tidy sum, it’s available as a download all over the ‘net.

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