"Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait" -Longfellow

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Beirut "The Rip Tide"

Released August 30, 2011 on Revolver

To say that I have taken to falling asleep on the VIA bus while listening to Zach Condon's latest effort as Beirut is not necessarily the biggest compliment- on face. There is, however, something distinguishing about this Beirut album which is revealed by my tendency to doze to it. Namely; the fertile chaos, that gave past Beirut releases such an irresistible free-wheeling spirit, is neatly managed here. All the edges of Condon's genius, which has been called Beirut since before he was old enough to drink, are smoothed out into a kind of patient old world perfection. Songs like "A Candle's Fire", "East Harlem" and "Vagabond" are beautiful and subtle and refined, but are missing what Bob Dylan once called (in his own music) "that wild mercury sound". This is where it gets tricky. The Rip Tide shows growth and maturity- these songs are technically smarter, tighter and more precise than most of Beirut's previous tracks. And yet, they are somehow less gratifying; more comfortable and less gigantic. The songs flow and slink gracefully along through the caverns of your listening mind, rather than gyrating and bashing about with the particularly exhilarating wantonness of youth on fire with the power of creation. All critical observations aside; The Rip Tide is wonderful and intricate and deserving of your attention. Whether you are a devoted fan or an intrigued newcomer, this offering is a rewarding listen; dark and spacious, feeling wooden and musty, impossible to place in space and time- thoughtful in the meticulous way one might consider Marcel Proust or Charles Dickens thoughtful. The Rip Tide is, at its core, the work of an extremely gifted and original artist learning to do consciously what was once done in unconscious bursts.

For now, you can still stream the album over at NPR or (better still) buy it on AMAZON.
And, if you haven't, you really NEED to get to know The Flying Club Cup and Gulag Orkestar too.

Friday, August 26, 2011

For Feli

I wanna see all the cities before everything goes back to mad meandering molecules. I'm the first to recommend that we resist apprehending anarchy as it plays among the monuments, but my heart won't stop racing when I think of missing everyone's faces furrowed at the endless days and days. I just wanna hug the wind and write my name in the sand one last time before we have our heads consumed by the timeless womb. I just wanna hold your hand while we dissolve. I just wanna watch my breath and yours while I still have infinity to consider. I don't believe in death but, nevertheless, I just wanna think I'll have something to say while I still believe I have a voice. 

And if I am to echo ceaselessly or even for a single moment, I just want you to know that the sound I become is only for you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2 Pomes about Humans

feet and deadlines touch the surface of the river;
the mind making an actual weight out of confusion,
the body held lifted by the majesty and surprise ingenuity of dirt.
I send out a peasantly boom to measure the boundaries of thanks:
all the possibilities of forever exist in this moment and that.
what have
you made of those thoughts
that kept us laughing to ourselves
as children?
I cannot believe that we would dig the ditch so incredibly deep
just to barely struggle over drowning in the shallows
when it fills up.

how many times must humanity be forgiven its imitation of eternity?
never has ever been the same saving grace as always, in theory…
but the question we beg of our gods and galaxies is deeper than our senses, our theories
or our graces.

how sharp must the steel grow before it doesn’t have to bother piercing anymore?
workplace weeping stations and worship-faced followers
    can sometimes fail to successfully lead self to self, through self and to never-self.

will you loan me the chisel with which I’ll chip you and the other vast universe away?
I’ve just got to get back to tidy zero before I can truly love the messy multitudes.