Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Music and Architecture Vol 1: Dirge

I think I took a little too seriously Zizek's opinion that pop music only really existed between 1965 and 1975, and also the advice of E-bay as it presented me with recommendations 'just for me'. I know you should not buy clothes on E-bay, but now I may have to include records, since my postman delivered two extravagant packages this morning, the live triple album Yessongs and the four significant Free albums 'Fire and Water', 'Highway', 'Free Live' and 'Heartbreaker' the second set provided by such a music lover as to promise 'they'd only ever been played on a Linn Sondek'.
Well I must like sets, and my brother, now sixty, assures me that Yessongs is really good. I certainly didn't buy it for the awful Roger Dean dreamscapes that occupied my attention as an adolescent, and I shan't put on a golden cape to play it. So, rather dreading Yessongs, I return to Free, and the anchor of a unique rock dirge (more of a downer for sure than grunge) since I'm trying to write a reputations piece on Albert Speer for the AR, and figure eight sides of Free might get me in the mood. We all need a little help sometimes.
Free aren't as bad as Speer, but they both are essentially ponderous and suffer from bad narratives and limited repertoire. Now there is a sound connection between music and architecture, much better than architecture as frozen music or buildings making you want to dance. Meanwhile Paul Rogers is sensitive, especially when I reach the first side of Highway, in a way good rock vocalists have to be behind the bluster, and Speer was just a calculating Nazi technocrat.  Also Free were undoubtedly melodic in sparsness in a way the classical canon might demand, and Speer was beastly clunky. Meanwhile Albert Speer looked like a calculating Nazi technocrat, and Free (by Free Live) looked like the muppets.
The live album, by side two, is sounding pretty good, and I'm certainly appreciating the archival qualities begotten by a Linn Sondek, and Speer could do spectacle too, horrible spectacle, but there's no archive of course, just some premature ruins in Nuremberg, some lampposts on Tiergarten gleefully pointed out by proto nazi taxi drivers, and the interiors, perversely, of The Royal Society here in London (which was the old German Embassy).
Yep, I'm ready, time to get to work.

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