Do you live in a dream or do you live in reality?

Being a fan of the Kinks I could not resist buying the new Ray Davies album Americana. It’s helped along by the Jayhawks being the backing band.

My first take on the whole thing is it is a fine album. A reflection on Davies relationship with the USA, definitely a timely release as that most English of songwriters tackles his love of all things American. A love that has been evident in the past with songs such as Oklahoma USA from Muswell Hillbillies.

The whole album has caused my brain to start working overtime as I consider my own relationship to my adopted home, my reluctance to become a citizen and the current political landscape. Heady stuff at the end of the night. I am sure there is a lengthier post in this idea somewhere.

The record is however 4 sides of great songwriting that is related to Davies book of the same name in some way. Now I have to go read the book I suppose.

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Blip bleep swoooooosh…

I’ve had a strange relationship to the music of Tangerine Dream. It’s a music that really has affected me deeply over the years. There is more to them than the soundtracks but its so hard to know were to begin that I mostly stay with what I know.

IMG_6579I have a love for a certain type of Tangerine Dreams music. I cannot fully describe it but Atem and Alpha Centauri and especially Zeit capture it. Vaguely terrifying, threatening and all encompassing.

These three albums were the soundtrack of a summer in the late 80’s for me. I was living on a street near Sefton Park. Spending the days laying on the floor in the middle of the living room of the two room bedsit that the then love of my life rented, staying as still as possible and feeling the music. There was a coffee table a stereo and a some comfy pillows in the room as well as two lamps that had the shades covered with red gauzy type material.

We lolled around in the throes of young love and the strange bleeps, blips and drones of IMG_6578these three albums. For relief we would play Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht and stay as still as possible. Sometimes nodding off to wake to silence, other times hanging on waiting for the next change in mood subtle as it may be.

I remember the feeling that the air in the room was filled entirely by the music. The thought that you could not move because there was no room to move, every space was taken with those sounds. It was not and still is not a music you can easily share, people hearing it are dumfounded, disturbed and unsettled. It’s difficult all encompassing music.

For some reason a vegan diet and abstaining from alcohol was part of the experience. If it wasn’t my need for melody and a catchy song I may still be laying there drinking it all in man. The scent of patchouli and vegetarian samosas filling the air.

Zeit arrived today and I am a little afraid to play it so went with Phaedra instead, the sequencers and mellotron and sweeping sounds are more soothing and restful. I have a feeling that there may be an evening ahead with a red light and Zeit playing at volume. It may come in August as the total eclipse hits Oregon. I think it may be sooner though as the strange otherworldly sounds are already calling to me from the cover alone.

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I want more, more, more, more, I want some more sweet satisfaction to soothe my soul…

Long ago and far away before I became the enlightened man I am I was a little rougher around the edges. I was influenced no doubt by my peers who were of a crasser less refined variety than me and one young woman who wore an Italian combat jacket a Deep Purple t-shirt and leather mini skirt with combat boots. My guess is that young woman had more influence than my crass friends.

This influence resulted in me attending the Come an’ Get It Whitesnake show at the Royal Court in Liverpool. Little did I know this was the last time Whitesnake would tour as the sweaty blues rock band they used to be before finally morphing into something much more glamorous and acceptable to the US market and MTV.

I have no idea how good or bad the show was as I was distracted, nothing can compare to combat boots and mini skirts for distraction, throw in a combat jacket and long curly brunette hair and the teen male mind cannot pay attention to the Moody/Marsden guitar interplay, Jon Lords organ or the power house Ian Paice drumming, add the attitude of Suzi Quattro next to you and all hope is lost.

In fact to this day I cannot remember a single song played but when I hear the track Ready and Willing I have a very strong sensory memory. The smell of sweat, cheap beer and perfume mingled with the scent of marijuana. It’s a heady mix to be sure. Whitesnake play to most of the lowest common denominators in their lyrical content and once Coverdale traded in the working rock band for a collection of easier on the eye spandex clad musicians things got better for him monetarily and the image improved and the videos are legendary.

IMG_6536So this week I have been listening to the legendary in it’s own time Live In The Heart of the City which along with Ready and Willing is enough Whitesnake for one man. I still to this day have no idea why Mr Coverdale and the boys are so jaundiced in their appearance.

I can sit here and bask in the memories of that sweaty Royal Court show. I assume there was double entendre’s a plenty, suggestive thrusting from the stage and some stellar slide guitarring. It was for a long time the only way you could get to see so many ex-members of Deep Purple in one place, I really wish I had better memories of the music.

Luckily probably for me my combat booted siren later that month fell for the charms of a young man with a job and a Triumph motorcycle as I fell under the say of a patchouli scented Tangerine Dream fan. This brings me full circle to tonights listening pleasure of Tangerine Dreams Alpha Centauri which is definitely more terrifying than Whitesnake and may cause nightmares for the rest of the night.