Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost, verses the ether

People disappear.

They just do, and I'm not talking about the message-on-a-milk-carton, Daniel Travanti TV Movie kind of disappearance. In each person's lives there are people, maybe even groups of people, who just get . . . misplaced. And I'm not even talking about where I've been the last year. Yet.

Very often it's not even as if you miss them. Years go by. People age. Lives, as they tend to do, go on, and before you know it people who occupied a space in your life -- maybe even an important space -- are just gone. This is hardly revolutionary stuff.

And yet, it's something that bears repeating. Because it's not just that people have disappeared from my life, or your life, or the guy across the street's life -- that's a given, and well within everyone's control. It's that I've disappeared. And you've disappeared.

Our lives, in the process of living them, get compressed. Not just from the perspective of the longer we go the less time we have (theoretically), but also in the sense that the older we get the more responsibilities we acquire. Jobs get complicated. Relationships grow, bloom and scatter themselves throughout your life forcing, just by process of elimination, some of the more peripheral ones out. Calls become emails. Emails become Christmas cards. Christmas cards become thoughts. And so on.

I'm peripheral. You, all of you, at one time or another, with all of your important thoughts, funny moments and (I'd like to think) brilliant flashes of compassion and love, have become peripheral, inessential and, yes, forgotten. Call it practice.

Hello, everyone.

* * *

Welcome back. Or not. It's been, what, a year maybe? Some of you may be just happening by, bored blind on a late night, flicking through Blogger or however it is one finds a random corner of the Internet like this. If so, welcome. Come by again if you'd like. Others of you may have come here a couple years ago, when this was an active shop and MP3s were littering ramblings not far from those above. Most, I'd imagine, who did such crazy things have forgotten about me and this space. Because I've forgotten too. It's only fair, you see.

But I'm coming back. I don't yet know for how long, and I don't even yet know why. Some out there -- good people, people I'm grateful for -- missed this space and wanted the words (and maybe even the music) to return. I hope one or two of you haven't quite forgotten just yet and, eventually, find this.

Sun Kil Moon, 'Lost Verses'

Not much thought went into this on my end. The song, I mean. It just feels natural in this case, even though as of this writing I'm not entirely sure of whether or not I even remember how to do this little dance of posting the song somewhere and linking to it and whatnot. But really, I don't delude myself. The days of people coming by blogs and little shops like these with the promise of free music are long behind us (sorry, HypeMachine). There are bloggers upon bloggers out there who have moved onto posting entire albums worth of material for consumption -- Exposing songs, for want of a better term, is not the point any longer. Not while a Tower of Babel's worth of music is out there. But I like to think this song scores what we have going on here, if I may be so presumptuous.

For years I hated Red House Painters. Seriously, and everything about Mark Kozelek -- unless you count 'Almost Famous.' Years ago, in what seems like another life, I dated a girl who listened to and loved "Songs for a Blue Guitar" and all of its dramatic mopery along with cry-core favorites like Belle & Sebastian, His Name is Alive, Idaho et al. She and I were terribly incompatible, but being in our late-twenties we decided to argue with and annoy eachother about this for months before finally, mercifully parting ways.

Years later, I discovered -- rather, my by-now wife discovered -- Sun Kil Moon, a seemingly indistinguishable yet to me very, very different side of Mr Kozelek. I think it was the big guitar, or the nod toward folk and in some instances Southern Rock. A balancing of Red House Painters' certain mewling melancholy ('Mistress' aside) with noise, dissonance and visceral guitar excursions. "April," his new album due, appropriately enough, April 1 doesn't as skillfully balance these two sides, but still merits a listen -- and maybe so much more for those who, like the girl a paragraph prior, who like Red House Painters.

But the matter is his this song, and the beauty it conjures. The small touches of detail outlining and setting the scene for San Francisco (Mt Tamalpais, to name one pleasant touchstone that both me and Mr Kozelek share), the warmly strummed acoustic -- it all should score a drive on a two-lane blacktop country road somewhere far from where I am now, the kind where you're not in the driver seat, but someone you love is. You're the passenger, watching as the sun slowly creeps down in the sky and you head, unstoppably, toward where ever it is you're going. It's someplace good, but at this point it no longer matters. The light flickering through the leaves of the massive, forgiving trees along the side of the road is overwhelming at times as it pierces the shade, beautiful, flickering and strobing in the periphery of your sunglasses. You're not speaking, but you don't need to. The song will do that, and you'll get there in time.

(Pre-order Sun Kil Moon's 'April' from Caldo Verde Records -- download available now!)