Thursday, January 29, 2009

Listening Post


When I was a doe-eyed 18-year-old college freshman, I took a job at as a wage-slave at a Miami record store and somehow quickly became involved with one of the more seemingly untouchable of my co-workers -- a 22-year-old grad student. She and I spent quite a few nights hanging out in her dorm room with the lights off and candles lit, getting drunk, talking ridiculous philosophy, and fooling around.

Obviously I could never quite get my head around the idea that I was having sex with what at the time appeared to be a real woman, and typically found myself wandering back to my own place at four in the morning without my feet actually touching the ground. It was, I figured, every young boy's fantasy.

One of my favorite memories of that time wasn't really her, though, so much as her taste in music. She was a huge fan of Dead Can Dance, and would often play the band's stuff during our late-nights spent together -- dusting the entire experience with an ethereal sheen that made me wake up the next morning wondering whether I'd simply dreamed the whole thing.

Since those days, I've kept a place in my heart for Dead Can Dance -- which isn't really difficult, given that they're one of the few truly indescribable acts in modern music. The aural landscape created by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry can only be described as wondrous.

From their 1988 album The Serpent's Egg, here's the extraordinary, evocative video for The Host of Seraphim.

14 comments:

Tara Parker said...

It's been a long time since I've listened to DCD. Dallas - 1993 - to be exact. The first guy I ever "fell in love" with was a big fan.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy their music.

elizabeth said...

I knew the guy equivalent, but we worked at a coffeehouse in 2000 and he introduced me to Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Dom & Roland, Aphex Twin, etc.

I still can't listen to Baby Blue Sedan without thinking about sitting with him on his fire escape watching the dumpster rats. (I guess that doesn't sound as romantic as it was at the time...)

leovil said...

Chez, you do realize you were knocking Palin's daughter for what yourself was just one shot in the dark away from knocking up?

Chez said...

I love it when you think real hard, leovil. It's so cute.

Jeremy said...

But wait a minute Leo... the big difference is this girl HAD ALREADY FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL!
I also hope Chez had the good sense to wrap his rascal.

rwiawa said...

Alright! After a spate of classic/prog/Canadian rock and Hot Topic pop punk, you get back to real music!

Yay.

I was that record store girl - not yours, but the Camus-reading, Cocteau Twins listening, slips are too dresses record store employee.

Geraldine Fibbers and the Ghost in the Shell sdtk. were big faves back then.

Elessa said...

i have every DCD album released. i like to set the ipod to play all of the songs in random order for the soundtrack of my day.

Chris said...

Thanks for taking me back a while Chez. Must go home and dig out all my 4AD records.

tania said...

I got into DCD because of Lisa Gerrard's work on the soundtrack of 'Gladiator'.
I'd never heard anything quite like them.

Hope said...

Thank you Chez! I love this band, and the video is haunting. I haven't seen it in years.

leovil said...

Jeremy said, "But wait a minute Leo... the big difference is this girl HAD ALREADY FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL!"

Jeremy, its all about teenage Chez, and Palin's teenage daughter, and the things they did in common at the same age: 18.

Does your moral code excuse Chez and express disapproval for Palin's daughter?

(Stay on topic. The 22 year old girl was not the point, even if she had already finished highschool!)

kanye said...

This is one band that I never quite took to. I find that kind of odd because our tastes in music tend to parallel each other's pretty closely, especially the music of that particular era. A lot of criss-crossing going on there. I'm trying to think back to what really had my attention at the time: Bucky Fellini for sure; both Big Black albums; Frank's Wild Years...never get enough Waits; Wire; Pleased to Meet Me...that goes without saying. Oh yeah, my girlfriend at the time played T'Pau nonstop. I'll bet that I can still sing every damn song from that album. What else...? I know that there's a lot that I'm missing, I'm kind of drawing a blank right now...Oooh! Zorn. I played the Hell out of Spillane that year. I don't know, maybe that kind of explains where my head was back then.

BTW...your writing is always strong; but when it's revealing, like in this piece, it's always stronger. As a matter of fact, the best thing that you've ever written for this site ultimately amounted to little more than a string of simple, declarative sentences. And yet, it stands as one of the most revelatory pieces of writing that I 've ever read.

pknaack1 said...

I agree with Kayne. For a while I tried my hand at writing, and blogging, etc. What I found was just how difficult it is to produce things that people other than your mom and your wife want to read.

You are not a writer, Chez, you are an artist.

YoungLuke said...

Is this in Powwaqqatsi? or is it just footage from the movie?