on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 8 Mrz

Mistakeism and fast fragments

von: Ian McCartney Filed under: Blog | TB | 1 Comment

The best stuff never arrives at your eardrums via reviews, recommendations, hype. It gets there via a process of mistakeism. And so it was with Edgeland – I pressed the ‚purchase‘ button on Amazon because I liked the record’s artwork. The late Anthony H. Wilson once said that you can tell when someone is of exceptional talent by their demeanour alone, even before you hear a note of their music. And the vibe Edgeland gave off, even before I played it, it just had to be a classic, somehow.

For me, the record works because of the way it balances the internal and the external. It’s not social realism, it’s not a criticism of the way things are. It’s just the fast fragments and mistakeism of the everyday. The song Shadow Boy is based upon observations the parts of town that film can’t really penetrate, unless it’s the backdrop for some kind of gritty crime caper. What we have here instead is something of far more value: a mix of psychogeography and time-travel. Watch how the song begins, in plaintive register, a broad brushstroke of pure luminous sadness, the kind we all feel, usually between about 5 to 6.30pm – the ‚long dark tea-time of the soul‘. A world watched ‚through broken windows‘.

The song begins its ascent. Weeds and dirt are ‚brand new‘, ‚whining electric trains‘ are music. Then – and this is the genius bit – the song’s identifier* then fixes the moment in time. ‚Broken eyes of factories have stared for generations at the rails / The rails have carried generations of bowed heads staring at the papers / as roofers perch on top of buildings looking down at all of us like day-glo birds …“ Wow. What we have here is decades of commuters on their way to work, observed by almost-human (Lowryesque?) factory glass, with construction workers above. The construction workers here are almost painted like accidental saints/angels: work as a sacrament, not a big money-machine, the high-vis jackets not-quite haloes. This song is like a snowstorm – one of them miniature worlds you can pick up and hold in your hands – and when you shake the fucker, it’s different every time.

The psychogeographical aspect of the song comes from the way it considers ordinary phenomena like broken factory windows, new-build breezeblock Babylon housing with its ‚barbecues like footballs perched on green glass balconies‘ – and then cuts right through these with movement – temporal and physical/psychological. The time-travel element comes from the momentum, as the song hits its cathartic moment, we’re all on the same fucking train, and the near future becomes the present.

I’ve never been to Essex. Visited Wanstead aged about 5, that’s the nearest I’ve been. We went to an Italian restaurant there. I remember being massively impressed that the maître d‘ didn’t view kids in a restaurant as a nuisance, and offered us free grissini. That’s my first ever memory of a trip to England. Whether or not it counts as Edgeland, I don’t know. But That’s mistakeism for ya.

*identifier is a term I had to make up. Roughly synonymous with protagonist, speaker, main character. But it’s none of these. At the risk of sounding like Jacques Derrida, it’s the vessel of spiritual acumen, an epiphenomenon of carbonicity. A you, a me, an everyone. Nobody. Someone. A partly-fictive super-verisimilitudinous spirit.

This entry was posted on Sonntag, 8. März 2015 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Fantastic. Shortlisted, this one or SLEEPLESS, for my next radio night. Absolutely awesome. For people who love Robert Wyatt’s Dondestan. And the English hinterland.

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