Mike DeCapite

Mike DeCapite grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and started writing his first novel, Through the Windshield—"a Whitmanesque hymn" to that city (Jocko Weyland, Rain Taxi) — after moving to London in 1985. DeCapite finished the book in New York, and excerpts first appeared in three issues of Richard Hell's CUZmagazine in the late '80s. Through the Windshield picked up a small cult reputation by way of published excerpts, readings, and word of mouth, and DeCapite published it with his own Sparkle Street Books in 1998. In his review of Through the Windshield for the Austin Chronicle, Harvey Pekar called it "one of the better American novels of the past several years." From 1993 to 2005, DeCapite lived in San Francisco, where he worked on a second novel, RUINED FOR LIFE!, excerpts of which have appeared in 3:AM Magazine and Sensitive Skin. DeCapite's short story "Sitting Pretty" appeared as a CUZ Edition in 1999, and was then included in The Italian American Reader (William Morrow 2003; HarperCollins 2005). During 2003 and 2004, he wrote Radiant Fog, a column for angle magazine. In 2005, DeCapite returned to New York. In 2012, he published the chapbook Creamsicle Blue ("a spectacular piece of writing," Karen Lillis @ Karen the Small Press Librarian). He followed it in 2013 with Radiant Fog, a collection of personal essays. DeCapite lives in New York.


Mike DeCapite's Liner Notes

 

 

Curlew's Bee

 

 

Nothing but dashboard light and the plow of sight pushing ahead of the Buick, the while lines leaping like fish off the road... I lit another cigarette and reached for the radio dial...Crazy noise from nowhere; I reached again to tune it out... Waited a couple seconds too long... and decided without deciding to let it go longer.

A point of light caught my ear, and then another... Sunlight off the leaves of a shadetree somewhere... Like if you took a Charley Patton song and tossed an M-80 into the middle of it...

This was music with roots crawling deep into the dark -- sprouting, blossoming -- exploding to scatter seeds which take hold again in giddy sly progressions...

Another started, same band. I reached under the seat and found a half-pint. Started hard and choppy like funk with mock-danger on its tail -- through the woods, until a friendly sax took my arm and led me towrd the clearing --

A mingling crowd, and then SAILING SAX! The barndance bursts into brawls and flames -- here comes East, here comes West -- a panicky violin exhorts the crows to action as bass and drums pick up a jerky determined rhythm of passing buckets --

And the saxophone says 'Well like I was saying," as the event finds its way back throught community to kindness...

I hit the parkinglot and cut the engine. Suddenly, the night was old.
A radio tower winked.

Clocked in, got my gloves and broom. The other four were already sweeping, with the rhythm of men condemned to life sentences. I fell right in with them.
The union guys had plenty to do: they rattled around on towmotors, loading and unloading the semis, laughing, shouting, eating snacks... For the five of us, there was nothing to do but sweep and sweep, endlessly pushing ahead of us the truck exhaust that collected in a barely perceptible dust on the floor of the dock... the rhythm of it got inside you and started eating its way back out again, and the dust became invisible, and after a couple hours I felt like I was working in pantomime.

I swept until 3 a.m. and then, no one watching, I jumped off the dock. The night smelled like diesel. The moon was gone. I made my way through idling trucks to my car, crawled in front so I could close my eyes for an hour.

For the hell of it, I stuck the key in the ignition and turned on the radio, soft. A radio tower winked.

Same band, another song. These people were certainly out there...

Reassured, I cut the engine and went to sleep.

 

Curlew's Paradise

Don’t Let the Glasses Fool Ya
 

 

George says the first time I saw Curlew was a gig they played on Times Square in the late ‘80s. I do remember seeing a show high up in the building where the news comes out in a ribbon of lights—I remember belly dancers, or anyway women who’d been made to dress like belly dancers walking around…some kind of sinister Indian bordello motif in a large room of big windows with a spectacular view of stark-lit cloud formations…also saxophones and someone wearing a fez. Whiskey was a factor. I enjoyed myself immensely, but can’t say for sure that Curlew was playing that night…

The first time I can conclusively say I saw Curlew was a show they played at CBGB, also late ‘80s. I want because I worked a day job with George- we were employed to test the patience of a painting contractor-and I felt sort of obligated to go see the band. You never really expect someone you know to be any good, so I was prepared to start thinking up polite things to tell George later on from the minute they hit the stage. But the minute they hit the stage I forgot all that and spent most of my energy trying to keep from flying out of my seat. I was like a kid taken to an amusement park for the first time. Excited, scared, ecstatic, violated, overwhelmed. Spills, shills, hairpin turns, that kind of thing. I didn’t throw up, but that would’ve been as good a response as any. The stuff they were doing was dangerous and troublesome. Dangerous because anything good is dangerous, and troublesome because A: I didn’t know how to classify it and that’s always troublesome , and B: because I didn’t know what to do with what they were handing out. I remember turning to the person I was with and exclaiming "But what do you do when you listen to this stuff! Go crazy! Run around in circles? Drive your car off a bridge?" I lived in Brooklyn and I was always driving over the Williamsburg Bridge-even now when I hear Curlew I imagine the thrill of that plunge…nothing but trouble all around. I’d been expecting some kind of jazz thing, which always sounds to me like people running up and down staircases opening and closing windows and doors. Curlew realigned my perception of what’s possible that night. Happens every time I hear something good. Anyway I never went to see them out of obligation again.

One time George paid me to paint his apartment. He was out of town, and I spent most of my time there digging into his records. Not just Miles and Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler, but Elvis and The Band and Bukka White.

Another time he invited me to open a couple of Knitting Factory sets with readings of prose I’d written. I did my thing, and after Curlew started up I asked a friend of mine what he thought of the. "Really, tight," he said "Too many eyeglasses though." I think I laughed and then winced at him for saying something so vulgar and hard-headed.

 You could easily spend a Curlew gig concentrating on any one of the band members-each is a world to him or herself. George creates these scrimmages among them-each of them comes up with the ball and runs with it. George just calls the play and steps in now and then to throw the long one.

 I’m out of New York these days and George is too, back down In Memphis, soaking up the mud. I think this is the toughest, coolest Curlew record yet. It all works in a lean way together like muscle, sinew and bone. think of driving a big Buick fast through he glare and lance of traffic, of a sad jerky train making its way through hills, of moonlight in a small graveyard, of bricks and reclaimed by graffiti and bricks receding into the wall of time; of the smell of the human hive and the smell of the river mud where things are still given birth; of the sweet scent of danger and the sweet scent of pork; of bridge girders and the shine on the water below. It's good to be home.

-Michael DeCapite
San Francisco, 1995

 

Meet The Curlews

 

Disoriented


______ High above me glowed a skylight. Late-night, snowlight, wet plum-orange.Shadows shifted across it, the shadows of bare branches. I tried to locate myself and what was left of me. Without moving my head or my eyes I took stock by a mental process of gingerly accrual. The place was large and dank. An icy draft cut my right wrist.Odors of manure, ammonia, brandy. Also a whiff of scandal. I had a vague sense of destiny befouled...that I’d been important once...that I’d held a position of undeserved respect. 
A senator? No. An extortionist? No. I lay calm and disoriented. An artist of some kind.I’d been a blockbuster novelist. Three-hour lunches, movie points. With no grasp of the immediate past and insufficient clues to my present situation, I lay awash in memories oftimes lost: of lofts and tenement apartments, radiator music, Avenue A where all is sinister
but friendly, cloudlight on high, hot whiskey nights, piano-shine of taxis down lower Broadway, the hum of an amp and its red eye glowing on a vacant stage. Those were jazzy times. I was reticent to look around me. By doing so I’d make it official and there I’d be.

What if you wake at the wrong moment, within a dream, and that’s just the way it is from now on? I turned my head and something crumpled. Delicately I reached behind me. It was a paper party crown. A darkness loomed beyond it. I focused past the paper crown. Sympathetic eyes watched me behind a protuberant snout. They regarded me dubiously. It was a tapir. So. There. It was late night at the pachyderm house, the end of December.

I sat up, rustling in the black plastic bag. Each night I slipped into a garbage bag to break up my shift with a nap. Three of them were watching me, a three-tapir family in doleful parade. They were pretty creatures in their way, nimble and trim. I lifted my pint of brandy in a toast to them.

"Life is no joke," they seemed to say.

I surveyed the echoey 1920s building, brandishing my pint at the cages of slumbering beasts: the hippos, the pygmy hippo, the rhinoceros. I drank toasts to them all. Lines of Lovelace and Herrick, lines of Shakespeare, great opening lines of novels recurred to me and repeated themselves in silence on my lips, while high above the shadows of branches clashed and strove. These times were not so jazzy.

The music of these nights was new, 
composed of varying degrees of silence. Stirrings and settlings. Groans and scrapings and grunts and snoresIn the distance was the elephant’s cage. Her name was Bathsheba. She looked like another animal trapped inside a bag, poor girl. She’d been acquired through the Asian

Elephant Art & Music Conservation Program. She’d been trained to paint, and several of her works had been auctioned at Christie’s to raise money for the endangered elephants of Thailand. She’d been a painter of the Northern Thai School, characterized by its bold use of color and emphatic gesture. So distinctive was her work that she’d been chosen as an ambassador or emissary and taken on a worldwide fundraising tour. Now here she was in a
Midwestern zoo.
My mother had died and I’d come home to oversee her funeral. Instead of selling off her possessions and closing out her apartment I stayed on and lived among her things.It wasn’t a decision but a lack of one which kept me there. Neighbors looked at me as though asking what I’d done with her.

My mother, by the way, loved elephants. A tiny, sprightly woman, she paradoxically identified with elephants’ long, ungainly passage through this world. She admired their patience, I suppose, and thought them soulful. She collected elephant figurines and in her apartment they surrounded me, in glass, wood, and stone, their trunks lowered or upraised,standing foursquare or taking a cautious step. She’d tried to be an opera singer, my mother,
but she didn’t have the bosom for it. Instead she married my father, a listless, taciturn man who cared only for his model trains, and produced me, her greatest hope. I lay down again.

My eyes drank at the blurred skylight and I imagined her above the clouds, among the brittle litter of stars, looking down on me.

My life was a wreckage behind me. Shadows intermingled and parted against the
glow. Lines of Shakespeare, lines of Marvell and Suckling returned. I wanted to be here and now, unencumbered, with no identity and no personal past.
Motion caught my eye from the far end of the hall. I ignored it and lay dreaming upward, imagining I could hear the distant clash of branches. The motion continued. I sat up. Bathsheba was waving. She was waving at me. I leaned forward, peering down the gallery. In a dim wash of secondhand light, she stood waving behind the bars. A branch of leaves rested in the curl of her trunk.

She swung her trunk this way and that. Carefully she stepped back and made a
slash, and then a wavering upward line as though tracing smoke.She was "painting". She was describing.

I extricated myself from my manger and got up to dust my broom.

- Michael DeCapite

 

 

The Memphis Years

Jeremy slung his book bag past the doorman and crossed the marble lobby to the elevator.
and a lovely afternoon to you too, thought the doorman. Poxy little bleeder.
Readjusting his cap, he moved out and lit a cigarette below the awning. He stood at the curb, scanning the grey October sky above the park.
Twenty years he'd worked for the rich in London and ten more in New York.
What's it add up to? An overcast afternoon. He had a wife, an eleven-year-old son, and a mortgage in the Bronx. But none of that was apparent. He was out on the pavement, below the clouds, in the same glacial light as usual. Jeremy rode the elevator, itching to get free of his school uniform. The maid let him in. He went straight to his room, dropped his bag on the rug and squirmed out of his blazer. When his parents moved in they had the whole place re-done. A crew of painters worked for three months to finish this room, skimming prepping and priming the walls, painting them white and sanding the brush marks and painting and wet-sanding with ever-finer grades of paper until they shone like white glass, and then chalk-lining and painting one-inch stripes of flat casein white from floor to ceiling. Like the Hoover Dam, the room swallowed several good men. Two resigned, one returned to Ireland, another took up the bagpipes. One went mad. But the finished room war perfection. The Swiss designer declared it "one of the truly great things" and compared it to the St. Louis Arch.
Jeremy threw himself backward on the bed and lay beside his basketball in boredom's sudden death. Boredom waited for him here. Every day, after school. There was no avoiding it. He turned on the radio and listened for a while, staring at the ceiling; turned it off.
He picked up the basketball and bounced it off the wall, caught it. He did it again.
He kept that up till dinnertime, enjoying the dirty halfmoons that appeared on the wall.
The doorman saw Jeremy at the glass and got up from his stool. His Royal Effulgence came through without a word and the doorman went out for a smoke. Workers were coming tomorrow to replace the awning and his son would graduate this year. As a senior in high school, Jeremy's afternoons were free. He get home around noon and kept to his room there was nothing to do.
There was an ocean of time with nothing to do but think about girls and the future and the value, to him, of his life. He couldn't come up with much. He was drowning in time. So he decided to kill himself. He thought about it for weeks and months. He imagined the shock among the maids and his parents and schoolmates and teachers. But those people, always, were far from the truth of his moment right now
Finally, and a little soon, came the chosen day. He'd left a note by the bed.
It said "The wide scarred smooth chest of the sky, pearly white pearly bluish grey, all day."
During the last period of school the big wall clock kept his attention. When the noon bell rang he cleared off his desk and moved through the halls with other kids flowing past him. From the outside steps, a grey afternoon opened in every direction. He was free. Step by step he followed himself down, and across Fifth Avenue, and into the park.
He crossed the park and the avenues and continued toward the Hudson. On a steep tangled slop he slipped and scraped and regained himself, tunneled through a drainage pipe, and picked way downhill to a rusted fence.
A fence hole opened onto broken concrete and a factory that he and his friends had once explored.
He moved among oil stains and disused machinery and chemical drums. Stairs let to a frosted-glass door. Inside, he wheeled an old swivel chair from behind a desk and removed his belt. One of his father's belts was coiled in this bag and he buckled the two belts together.
Cautiously, with his hands on both the arms, he stepped onto the creaky chair.
He looked around the room from up there. Immediately he stepped back down.
The office was hallowed with a pale afternoon light. It filtered through he glass brick windows, calm and indirect. The light was everywhere and nowhere at all.
Jeremy sat at the corner of the desk. His gaze landed on a scatter of papers, a dusty typewriter, the dark wooden chair arm. Nothing had happened in years, on one had been here. He sat in the unmoving light, staring at the file cabinets, the floorboards, a coffee cup…
Back at the building the doorman said "Where you been?"
Jeremy took a look at him for once.
"Yes?" the doorman said.
Jeremy said, "Where you been?"

*

Tonight Jeremy drops off a friend and drives away. It's late, the streets are deserted. A song from sixth grade is on the radio. He watches himself from then. What if someone showed you a movie dot the future? Would you be happy to see you're still around? At a red light he lights a cigarette. He lays a wrist on the wheel, puts a leather elbow out the window and blows smoke toward the night.
The signal changes; he moves on. The song means nothing to him except him watching himself from then. He tries to feel cool, savoring and inflating the kids' impression, but all he can come up with is that he smokes and drives a car and lives in a strange city and he's made it to adulthood. He's a big deal to the little guy, he surpassed his worries and self-suspicions and thought of What next? But to himself he's nothing. He wishes the kid could see all the places and times and a situation between him and himself, but none of that is visible as he steers the Oldsmobile toward home.
Impossibly, those empty high school afternoons led to others that led to others that led to others that dr4opped him here. There's so much more to time than what you expect! Imperceptibly, the glacier got him this far and then melted away. And here he is. Dumped on a pile of debris at the end of time. With a view.

-Michael DeCapite

 

8/24/97

 

As the man responsible for the "act of colossal incompetence" which you hold in your hands, it falls to me to inform you that somehow, in mastering this music to CD, I have mastered it backwards. For several days I have been holed up in my office, drinking whiskey and getting stoned on marijuana in an attempt to write this and to block out the gloomy prospect of my future and the complaints of the janitor, who’d like to get in here and do a little cleaning up. Can you imagine how fast, and with what relish, word of this kind of thing gets around? "Get rid of that nincompoop!" the president of the record label was heard to say. I’m told George Cartwright Accepted the mishap in a spirit of forgiveness and good-humor. That is, until the label head decided, "Well what’s done is done! It’s already been pressed; let’s just release the damn thing! No use throwing good money after bad." George asked for my head on a plate.

I choose to temper his reaction by reminding myself that George is known for a certain shall we say fastidiousness concerning his work, and also that an artist is as vulnerable as anyone else to the occasional lapse in perspective. Basically, the whole thing’s been blown out of proportion. It was such a simple mistake. Nothing like the charges leveled at me in a crowing, malicious Internal Memo, circulated here at work to my enduring shame. Citing my "glaring ineptitude", my "incomparable idiocy", the "manifest shoddiness" of my character, my "unpardonable inattention" to my duties "or even to the matter at hand", and noting that my grasp of the responsibilities which I am paid to fulfill is "rudimentary at best" the memo proceeds onward through a load of hyperbole like "never in the annals of recording history" to a declaration that I simply "lack…all common sense". The document is so thorough in its enumeration of my crimes that I’m considering having it framed as a sort of diploma of failure.

8/25/97

While I agree that I’m guilty of a moment’s distraction, I feel I must defend myself against the memo’s accusals of "sheer obtuseness where anything musical is concerned" and "shameless disregard for the band’s intentions". Actually I’ve got a pretty good ear, and although I admit this might not be the place to bring it up, I’ve got to say that I, for one, like this record as it is. I stand by it. Hearing it backward gives one a glimpse of the music’s precision and grace. It’s a reminder that the world is a wild, exact system of near-disasters. Time is interesting either way you run it. What’s the big deal? "Of all the wrong-headed slip-ups!" indeed. Curlew flings us backward through violent intersections to open squares and wide easy boulevards where things seem to be happening just as we want them to. Ann Rupels nimble rumbling Deuce-and-a-Quarter bass keeps us veering and rolling (backwards), absorbing the shock and inviting me to run an affectionate handover the dashboard. Kenny Wolleson’ attentive, slapstick drumming corrals us along, delineating our margins while suggesting ways to break through them. Davey Williams’ and Chris Cochrane’s guitars vie and slice at each other, they help navigate the(backwards, against traffic) trip, bopping each other with the maps, encouraging the horn, aggravating it, squealing for dominance, like a string section dragged through a small vortex in time. George has it hard in reverse, headed downtown full speed. On the way, he’s laughing, careering, steering, declaiming, scattered like manhole steam and meditating upward like moonlit rooftop smoke… He’s the3-D voice at the center of all this. Blue secrets have their say, night is falling down 2nd Avenue, the lights congest…and dawn breaks above East Broadway. He’s always got another valentine up his sleeve. Depending how you hear it, he’s either giving it or getting it back.

While we were still on speaking terms, George told me that the week he spent back in New York, rehearsing and recording this material, was among the best weeks of his life. And although his songs at least were written beforehand, Fabulous Drop is the document of an excited week of crashing around the city. Intended or not, it’s Curlew’s valentine to New York, Here it is, holographic. In other words, I do not agree that I am "the supreme fuckup of the music industry." Rather I think of myself as the man who brought you this music in all its (backward) majesty. I can only hope I’m not alone in this assessment. Nevertheless, I know where I stand, and for what they’re worth, I hereby tender both my apologies and my resignati

- Michael DeCapite

 

GloryLand PonyCat - Black Ants Crawling
 

George,

 


_What is this CD you sent me? It’s completely unmarked, no label, except for the words "Gloryland Ponycat - Clown Lounge". How can I write about this when I don’t know whether this is the Gloryland Ponycat CD by a table of ex-Ringling men (are you one of this bewigged gang?) or the Clown Lounge CD by some winged horse with a small furry head (are you that mystic creature, George?). >From what I’ve heard, it could go either way! Y’know, I’m just another guy in a cubicle here down at Lucky’s Liner Note Factory (and granted, in the quiet parts, which are many, there is some bleed from my neighbor playing The Stooges’ Funhouse at top volume, and I’m not always able to tell which music is which—great guitar solo there—whichever of you it was—so granted, the listening environment is less than ideal, but ) WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON OUT THERE IN MINNESOTA? I don’t know how you thought this was gonna stand up to Funhouse, one of loudest, bloodiest documents of self-destruction ever made. No, I don’t see this making it as a rock record. It rocks in places, and swings and crashes and does a little curtsy-pirouette now and again, but it just doesn’t have the all-out unilateral attack of Funhouse. I don’t see Iggy Pop losing any sleep over this, George. No, you know what? I hear this more as a jazz record.

_All the elements are there: the freeform style, the cerebral explorations that never quite leave melody behind, the inventive, highly-skilled, highly-sensitive musicians—it’s got saxophones, George. Yes, I know, Funhouse has saxophones, but it’s different.

_Okay. Just for the moment let’s lay aside your vision of this as the most violent, frantic heavy rock record ever made. Can you do that? Just as a hypothetical?

_It’s got all the earmarks of a really fine jazz record. It starts out with one of your by-now trademarked end-of-the-year laments, which frankly have always sounded more jazz than proto-punk to me. It’s alive, it’s always happening right now. The music is made of the listening of its players, that’s what you hear in between the notes. It has that keen sense of mood, the weight of atmosphere—

_Speaking of which, how do you expect me to write "happy" liner notes about this music? Was that the word? You said you wanted something "a little upbeat," for a change. Did you send me the wrong CD? Evocative, yes. The music has a memory. It gives you memories you didn’t know you had, from before your time, from other points of view. Sad? At times, sure! Playful? Okay! Plangent. Poised, stalking. Fleet and full of reverie and recriminations—all of these things. But I think your plan for this as a let-the-good-times-roll, rent-party, pass-the-eightball, kick-out-the-jams, burn-down-the-landlord, beer-ball anthem is wide of the mark. I just don’t hear this as a party record, George.

_Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a different music altogether. This music listens to itself, and finally listens through itself. It reminds me of the void surrounding each note, and yet taken together those notes do warm the void, a little.

_Not, I’m afraid, a realistic answer to the most titanic expression of ill-will ever committed to tape

_The bass and drums are as melodic as the sax. They comment on the sax, they sympathize, they harmonize with it, they mock and reject it, they create landscapes around it, and sometimes, for moments, they all dissolve into the cool night—Oh—now I see, a slip of paper falls out of the CD sleeve...

_Song titles, okay, and I see we’ve got Adam Linz on bass and Alden Akida on drums, and you, George Cartwright, on saxes. That’s a start!
By the way, I like the crowd noise and that confusion-on-the-bandstand business you edited in. I don’t know if it’ll fool anyone, but it really adds to the thing. As I said, the record definitely has a live "feel".

_There’s nothing else in your note, but reading between the lines of your heated scrawl, I don’t see this as "the most brutal act of unwarranted rage ever conceived."

_Biker meth party instant classic? No.

_Taken on its own terms, I love it. A third listening (now that my neighbor’s out) makes me want to hear each note again at the same time I’m hearing it. I’ve been staring at the notes in the air for a while when I realize they’re not in the air, they’re in the rough finish of the wall, which now, along with everything else, is made of them.

 

Mercury

 

Let’s be honest. Let’s start from exactly where we are.

For instance it would be artificial to start these liner notes

with the following paragraph:

The wet grain of the street is running by and someone else is

driving, thank God. A woman’s hand is on my leg as the driver shifts

up into fourth. I pull my head away from the window and stare at a

smear of blood and then past it at the rainy streets, BIALYS and

STETSON and MATTRESS FOAM. Where the hell am I?

It would be artificial because I know exactly where I am. I’ve

just moved into a new room. It’s right next door to my old room, in

the flat I share with four roommates and a golden half-wolf named

Juniper. The old room, now that I’ve moved my possessions out of it

and swept the floor, looks to me like a room where Vincent Van Gogh

might have lived. The walls are blue with busted patches and the

white ceiling, twelve feet up, is yellowed with cigarette smoke.

The room is taller than it is wide, and I spent three years in there

waiting for something to happen, as though living in a jack-in-the-

box. Then a roommate moved out of a room substantially bigger than

mine. I painted his walls a warm linen white and his floor a shiny

grey. Yesterday I moved some things in here and ordered them around

the perimeter, which leaves an expanse of grey shiny wooden floor. 

My desk is clean. The standing lamp casts a spray of light up the

corner. The boombox, which is playing the forthcoming Curlew CD, is

across the room instead of in my face, the music occurs in a context

of surrounding air rather than the context of my claustrophobic

thoughts, and a salt-crystal lamp hoards a mild orange glow at the

corner of the desktop. Wind outside the tall window rises and falls,

and the strip of night sky above the corrugated-iron fence and the

house next door is about to slip from deepest blue to black.

In other words, it doesn’t matter that The last I knew I was on

Ludlow Street, this is twenty years ago, at the one bar open there,

talking to a hooker. When I walked outside a guy was breaking into

my Buick. I ran up and he hit me in the face with glass and now

they’re taking me somewhere, block by rainy block, her pimp at the

wheel and spare, dissonant funk on the radio, and I want to get

there for their sake. They seem concerned. 

The world can mean everything or nothing. We look around us and

find meaning, and where we do, we apply it to ourselves.

Given that, and why we’re here, I’d like to say that my

favorite moment of this new Curlew record is when "Small Red Dance",

which starts with an outburst of Dean Granros’ guitar squealing as

though he’s trying to say everything at once and Golden’s drums

moving along behind him like a good friend who’s watching for

trouble and Parker’s keyboards trying to remind them, against bass-

player Fred Chalenor’s deeply-rooted skepticism about the whole

situation, to take things a little more lightly and have a sense of

humor about it all, before George Cartwright’s saxophone comes

trickstering along (the sound of it always makes me feel included in

the world) and leads them all to mayhem with a happy ending: my

favorite moment, as I say, is when the song stops and, after a

little grainy silence, Granros’ guitar starts talking to itself in

the corner, after the trouble’s over, in an old, old voice that we

all know, it’s the quietest, end-of-the-road, it’s the loveliest

voice, and pretty soon everyone turns to see where it’s coming from,

and that face in the corner cracks a smile, and we’re all marching

along to "A Song of New".

Forget the dirty wainscoting in the hall. Let’s forget about

what this music conjures up and focus on exactly where it finds us.

Welcome to your new room.

 

- Michael DeCapite