Beats Don't Work in the Woods
Here you will find Charles Mudede's thoughts on the harmony of the produced beat and the city. "Music made with actual instruments is not my kind of thing. It's not urban, inhuman, detached enough." I edited his words last Friday. I am writing these words the following Monday morning. In between, I conducted a highly unscientific and incredibly subjective music experiment in the wilds of the San Juan Islands. Conclusion: Beats don't work in the woods. For that matter, even too strident a drumbeat feels off out there. This all may seem obvious, but being stuck in the city for so many years, I'd completely forgotten. Normally, I am into overamplified, impatient punk and rock scree. Such din just would not take in an environment so otherwise sedate in every facet. Hiphop (is there a hiphop record out there about nature?) or electronic music from my incredibly dilettantish collections rang flat in the otherwise calm setting, although I suspect if I had Edan's Beauty and the Beat available, it would have gone swimmingly. Brendan Perry's Ark had too much phony '80s synth sounds.
Things that did work: Bert Jansch, Six Organs of Admittance, and Fleet Foxes fit quite well among the chirping crickets at the grass airstrip. Similarly, the Cave Singers' No Witch, an album that does not speak my language in the city, hit the mark out in the islands of hushed tide changes and creaking docks. Earth's Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light at 8:30 a.m., while looking out over the fog-socked waterways to the sounds of distant foghorns, was a pinnacle. And the Fresh & Onlys by the campfire as the sun set over Lopez Island across the channel! Of course, the Fresh & Onlys' sound is what I'd have implanted in my brain if I lived here. This conjures the memory of late nights I'd spent in the skeleton of the cabin during its construction, namely My Morning Jacket's Acoustic Citsuoca: Live at the Startime Pavilion, i.e.: the only My Morning Jacket release I've ever played more than once.
Lastly, Don Caballero's 1998 LP What Burns Never Returns worked just fine after getting stoned and taking the golf cart out for a spin. Sledding too fast down hills and around corners, always keeping an eye out for oncoming carts—this is as close as I'll ever get to rally racing. Fall is almost upon us; conduct your own experiment before it's too late!