seth – nowhere sometimes

sometimes you have no way of knowing what to expect. so before you continue reading, get this playing in the background (though, sorry, it cuts off just before seven minutes).

i really quite like how the first song, come down with me, moves along at a fair pace, oft repeating the same nine words, until it just stops. it’s an early sign that it will not be more of the same, paradoxically.

for the content of several of the songs gives me perhaps the creepiest experience of hearing a bloke sing about intimate things. he does sufficiently interesting things with the music to redeem it in almost every case.

take beat poets which employs permanent slide guitar and percussion that normally annoys me; literally up and down over and over again. there’s a little bit reminding me of a slightly lighter version of great australian band even who i may have previously mentioned elsewhere – and almost dan kelly. it references 1960s pop without actually sounding quite like it.

i think perhaps my favourite song is ironically the grubbiest, my trombone’s got no mouthpiece. use your imagination. the steel slide guitar is beautiful and proficient. again, music is the redemption.

meanwhile, this album contains one of the most interesting features in the collection. what is essentially a short story of ten paragraphs, about a man who dies from perhaps being hit by a car. but interspersed in the descriptions of his body giving up are the day-to-day elements of living; noticing smells, the heat, the longing for some kind of relief; hydration, alcohol or sleep. and one of the paragraphs hits me more than others:

the tired mind is a linear mind. a warm breeze is blowing as i lean back, slack-jawed, and close my eyes. but behind eyelids, nothing. no sparks, no patches of light. just skin. maybe it was the wine (chardonnay with an ice cube that i forgot to chill before dinner), but as the brain dulls cushion thread counts suddenly become very important and i realise just how tired i really am. in the one hour that i slept last night, i dreamt of a mid-air collision. the planes, each split in half, crashed on a hill behind my parents’ home. i spent so much time convincing anyone to go with me to investigate that the dream ended before i could reach the wreckage.

this is notable not only for its inherent vividness; and quite amazing backing using a toy accordion and the sounds of the man trying to breathe, a kind of similarity to david berman; but for a likeness to a dream i also once had that is remarkably similar to that described above. i was standing at my folks’ place in the adelaide hills, looking out over the back through the tree tops to see a low-flying bulgarian airlines plane that i knew was in trouble; it crashed over the hill causing a large fire ball. i didn’t know this memory was buried here.

the guy, seth thompson, now seems to make most of his living out of photography and filmography, though is still producing music as an aside, i guess. that’s perhaps why it was on cd baby where i found it.

and while this album feels a bit like a bizarre aside in the collection, it is far more remarkable than i would ever have imagined (and ends with a gorgeous song, one last thing, which is where we started). and in spite of some weirdness, it’s all worth being heard.


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