the war on drugs – slave ambient

[apology for the rambling below – donated blood this arvo and in the process of recreating blood cells]

been released and torn apart
been inside the only storm that’s been raging

this is expanse. it’s coastal and mountainous all at once. it is complete in a way that’s hard to describe. that doesn’t mean homogenous or repetitive. it’s strong.

while he’s a minor character in this release, i don’t think i was conscious of kurt vile when i bought this album. but in context he forever endeared himself to me immensely with the following comment:

malkmus goes after stone temple pilots and smashing pumpkins on “range life”. i never really liked stone temple pilots. i did love smashing pumpkins, but pavement converted me. i know billy corgan was really bitchy about that. he’s like, “hey, people don’t wake up in the morning singing pavement songs. i give you the blood, sweat, and tears.” but i feel quite opposite, so fuck billy corgan [laughs]

there is something vaguely, or perhaps deliberately american 1980s rock about several of the songs on this album, especially your love is calling my name with its driving beat and constant up-and-down waves of guitars and synthesisers. wait, does anyone even refer to them as synthesisers anymore? the song has a slow-down like it’s positioned to allow you to catch your breath; you’ve been running all song and you gotta lean against a tree. then it starts again, running to wherever you’re heading. you arrive, sort of, in a haze.

that’s when it transitions into the animator that’s like a kind of rainy back-alley intermission – before reaching come to the city – the best song on the album. there’s irony in the title of that, and in the segue from the previous passage of songs. while the sound isn’t that different, the place it takes you most definitely is. you can see from the highlands as you roam along the range. if ever a piece of music was made for driving a long journey, this is it. it happens that the mountains and hills are the place i am happiest, and this song lifts me to soar closer to the clouds when i’m in them.

actually there are what appear to be a number of filler songs that follow a very similar pattern between larger stories. they don’t feel out of place. they perhaps are the slave ambient aspects of the album. slave to delightful cock rock by someone who should be called bruce or bryan or don? hey, it works! cf. baby missiles and it’s your destiny plus your love is calling my name as described above.

in reality this isn’t about kurt, but he has a way that i still see through this album via his slight involvement, and i guess through his creative partnership and friendship with adam granduciel. take as an example a comment he made about the dude from rtxthe guitar player totally blew my mind. i could marry him in another life. he’s a tall, shredding drink of water [laughs]

i love that a musician has a genuine humour that makes sense to me. i guess i’ll get onto the couple of solo releases of his that have a somewhat different sound. it’s clear i associate this with him even if it’s not his.

i also know that he lives around where my dad is from, and without ever having visited there, this music connects me to another home somehow.

lead me back to the one i love, all roads lead to me


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