Monday, December 17, 2007

Led Zep

“Kashmir” is as good an example as any of Zeppelin’s weird genius. The lumbering riff pits three guitar beats against two drumbeats, executing a Sisyphean march that cycles over and over without becoming tiresome; on the record, it is the shortest eight-and-a-half-minute song I know. Its minute-long breakdown is like one long drum sample, held together by the motion of John Bonham’s dancing right foot. (P. Diddy and Schoolly D have rapped over “Kashmir.”) The lyrics are allegedly inspired by the Sahara Desert—“the storm that leaves no trace”—and the combination of strings, guitar, and Mellotron keyboard has often been described as Middle Eastern. In concert, though, it became clear that “Middle Eastern” is just one way of capturing an implausibly big and eerie song that wanders through a spooky fog in enormous boots and could just as easily be about settling on the moon or diving to the bottom of the ocean..."