on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 20 Aug

„The Dust Blows Forward And The Dust Blows Back“

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off



Everything is celebrating its 50th anniversary. We got that. From „Nashville Skyline“ to „Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere“, from Neil Armstrong to Manfred Eicher, from „Abbey Road“ to fuck knows. And, no doubt, Captain Beefheart‘s „Trout Mask Replica“ is part of the half of a century-parties. I don‘t know if Brian Whistler, our man from Northern California (who possibly crossed paths with Beefheart in earlier times), has a deeper connection to this surreal beast of a double album, but I know that Brian Eno more than once declared his love for „Safe As Milk“, the debut album of the musician / painter from 1967.

As a music nerd, I was open for all things and sounds strange, but I was not an idiot. So when the experts were talking sense or nonsense and deciphered the structure of magic of the holy grail of rock music‘s enigmatic peaks, „Trout Mask Replica“ had its place there, safe and sound. The pantheon. the gods. The heroes of deconstruction. Of course I followed those user’s manuals, and listened to it with my greenhorn‘s ears, and later, I repeated the exercise. And you know what? Nothing happened. I didn‘t get it. It left me stone cold. „Safe As Milk“, too. Now the masters of expertise and smart-ass deepness come out of their sacred holes again, and celebrate this apparently weird and wonderful masterpiece. Chris Ingalls, nice chap, for example:


In addition to the dense, noisy dissonance, one of the unique aspects of Trout Mask Replica is its eclectic nature. The more than two dozen songs on the album cover a wide stylistic range. The lo-fi a cappella number „The Dust Blows Forward ’n the Dust Blows Back“ lives alongside the raw guitar blues of „China Pig“. There’s the shuffling cacophony of „Pachuco Cadaver“ as well as the spiky, angular boogie of „Moonlight on Vermont“. At the conclusion of the chaotic instrumental „Hair Pie, Bake 1“, a field recording emerges, with Beefheart conversing politely with some young neighborhood kids who stumbled upon the noise in the Woodland Hills neighborhood where the band was holed up. The length of the album, under Zappa’s auspices, allow for a million unique episodes.“


Now this all sounds fascinating at least, but they won‘t get me, the blurb and the wisdom, the praise and the stories. Nothing will ever change my mind. This does not mean I would stand up and say, well guys, you might be wrong-footed and slightly over the top. I‘m quite sure this work will stand the test of time. Let‘s suggest we‘re all young and beautiful, and „Trout Mask Replica“ is about to celebrate its 50th birthday in a legendary place like a restored and rebuilt Fillmore East, with candles, bear, acid, flowers, and a gigantic sound-installation.

The songs would surround us from all sides and there would be loudspeakers at the ceiling, too, voice of god-like – and, again, it wouldn‘t change my perspective. Not an inch. I would simply look around for the most beautiful girl in the crowd, and ask her for a cup of coffee. Then again, she would turn out as a passionate groupie, a no-brainer with hot curves, and I would end up on the losing end again. Ah, think twice. Sometimes a hard fucking one-night-stand with a total stranger is far more rewarding than the illusion of a lifetime. So never mind to totally bang my brains out. Where the hell is Ian McCartney, by the way? Our Braveheart from Glasgow would definitely have his Beefheart tale to tell, but rumour says, he‘s a birdwatcher on the Orkney Islands nowadays.

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