(Public domain, hopefully? Let us know if this is a problem)
After the fact, he would simply refer to the performance as “beautiful” in an attempt to deflect accusations of controversy in the face of a divided nation. A few months after that, around the change of the calendar, he would roll out his true protest, the finest electric guitar symphony ever conceived, in what would end up being the only showcase for his talents that were actually on his terms. He would be dead within the year, nobody the wiser.
But in this moment, at 9 am the morning after the damn thing was supposed to end on the saturated grounds that were never as good as they looked on film long after the fact to the millions upon millions who were nostalgic for something that never was, he was free. He hoped only for as much as that for everyone else. Fifty years ago today, at right around the time this post is publishing, Jimi Hendrix played the longest set of his career at Woodstock, a sloppy, convoluted mess which nevertheless gave us an interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that has confounded and inspired ever since.
Reuters, July 4, 2014
Consider for a moment, if you will, the cumbersome plight of being the world’s best goalkeeper.
Flying Lotus performing at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
The idea of a producer/composer as we now know it is something that two decades ago might have seemed unnecessary or excessive. The rise of DJs as actual musicians rather than jukebox heroes, people who create rather than simply derive, has powered this century toward an electronically-driven, hyper-evolving state in which genres become all but irrelevant. People like Aphex Twin and DJ Shadow blazed a trail for computer-programmed, beat-driven music that incorporates samples and drum machines in experimental capacities. A flood of noise precedes a few identical bars before one element changes, soon leading to a fire sale of sound exchanged for something entirely different.
To call Steven Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus, simply a DJ is to miss the mathematical beauty behind the cacophonous waves he creates. On his first four LPs, as well as the handful of mixtapes and EPs in between, he explored rippled soundscapes which tore through the listener’s consciousness so quickly and maniacally that there was hardly time to breathe. On his latest release, You’re Dead!, Ellison finds himself delving further into the infinite influences which have surrounded him since childhood and molded the 30-year-old’s long view.
Courtesy of okayplayer.com
Disclaimer: Since about the age of 16, I have been under the impression, which many share, that James Marshall Hendrix is the single best guitar player this world has ever seen. His musicianship continues to astound me, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I like, with varying degrees, every single piece of music he ever recorded. His influence is such that, even 43 years after his extremely premature death at the age of 27, guitar players today cannot even begin to imitate anything that Hendrix did with any real success. For all of Clapton’s disciples (which, if you ask any of the guys with whom I was in a band in high school, they will tell you I am, to an annoying degree), all the wannabe-hip Django-heads and the legions who trust in Jimmy Page’s mysticism, it is Hendrix’s shadow which keeps everyone searching for the light.
“Anytime you thinkin’ evil, you thinkin’ ’bout the blues.” – Chester Arthur Burnett, AKA Howlin’ Wolf
Slowly, timidly, the sun set over the Hudson River. Thousands of people had gathered in the World Financial Center, soon to be renamed Brookfield Place, to see an 87-year-old, diabetic black man play a six-stringed instrument he had named “Lucille.” When the backing band took the stage and played its way through a few instrumentals, stretching out seemingly in an effort to prove its worth to the audience, anticipation growing to a fever pitch. The band’s tight transitions and familiarity with the changes in direction one member would make in leading the others, all the while acknowledging the formidable vacancy at center stage.