Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
historian Sean Wilentz on the recording of my favorite Dylan song "(Sooner or Later) One of us Must Know" & the rest of "Blonde on Blonde"--
"The lyrics are straightforward, even ordinary, tracking a burned-out love affair’s misunderstandings. Dylan experimented with the words inside the studio; the title chorus did not even appear until the sixth take. But the sound texture that makes “One of Us Must Know” so remarkable was built steadily, late into the night and into the next morning. After take seventeen, Dylan heeds the producer Johnston’s advice to start with a harmonica swoop. Crescendos off of an extended fifth chord, led by Paul Griffin’s astonishing piano swells (“half Gershwin, half gospel, all heart” an astute critic later wrote), climax in choruses dominated by piano, organ, and Bobby Gregg’s drum rolls; Robbie Robertson’s guitar hits its full strength at the finale. Intimations of the thin, wild mercury sound underpin rock & roll symphonics. Johnston delivers a pep talk before one last take—“keep that soul feel”—and Gregg snaps a quick click opener, and fewer than five minutes later, the keeper is in the can..."
Posted by Peter at 8:53 AM
thanks to Isola di Rifiuti for pointing me to
Lu Chi Wen Fu at an important juncture...
"Words may in time be exhausted, but not so that their sense is buried. A far-reaching thought attains its object only in the realm of the infinite.
The lyric, born of pure emotion, is gossamer fiber woven into the finest fabric;
The exhibitory essay, being true to the objects, is vividness incarnate;
In monumental inscriptions rhetoric must be a foil to facts;
The elegy tenderly spins out ceaseless heartfelt grief.
The mnemonic is a smooth flow of genial phrases, succinct but pregnant;
The staccato cadences of the epigram are all transparent force.
While the eulogy enjoys the full abandon of grand style,
The expository must in exactitude and clarity excel..."
Posted by Peter at 8:18 AM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Posted by Peter at 12:24 PM
nice interview with Peter Schjeldahl
"'A great critic,' according to Oscar Wilde, 'is susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.' So it is with Schjeldahl, a man burdened with the kind of sensibility that in others turns crippling. 'Give me a Rembrandt in a subway station toilet and a flashlight and I'm happy,' he told me over a diner hamburger. The owner of a contrarian, prickly personality a friend described as 'aggressively shy,' the 65-year-old critic has seen his share of difficulties: a bit of hard-earned penury, a divorce, problems with booze, a lifetime spent nursing his olympically formed doubt. About the latter, Schjeldahl quotes De Kooning: 'No fear but a lot of trembling.' Incredibly for a veteran of the trenches, his 'trembling' extends to writing at length. 'I'm a river navigator,' he told me later over a walk in Central Park. 'I need the bank behind me and one in front. Over 2,000 words and I'm toast...'"
Posted by Peter at 7:50 AM