Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, June 12, 2008

John Cage

Carl Wilson has written a book about a Celine Dion album, and Jody Rosen has written a book about “White Christmas” -- terrific books both. I remember a couple of years ago a debate over the relative merits of books about albums versus books about single songs, in which Carl and Jody took part, in the comments section of Carl’s blog, Zoilus.

Now Kyle Gann is writing a book on John Cage's silent piece 4'33"!

Talk about a pregnant silence!

Cage is a big deal; this particular piece is paradoxically resonant; Kyle will bring the requisite erudition, insight, and skepticism to the book; it should be a corker.

* * *

A college student found this blog and emailed, asking me to name my 3 favorite Dylan songs, and say why, for a paper she was writing -- she was asking a lot of people.

1. "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," from Bringing It All Back Home, his first (half) electric album. A freaked-out beatnik satirical narrative, in which the America discovered by Columbus has always been fated to be exactly as it has become. Biting, exuberant, astonishing wit; compelling story; great exuberant beat-music noise from the band; and a charming false start left on the finished record, where Dylan stops because he's laughing, and then starts over again.

2. "Isis," from Desire. A medieval Romance quest for treasure and truth combined with a true-love Romance; a great story. Elegantly driving waltz music led by Dylan's piano; a song unlike any other I can think of.

3. "Odds and Ends," from The Basement Tapes. A tossed-off semi-novelty song, high spirits and goofy humor, with one of Dylan's great epigrams, "Lost time is not found again."

* * *

I've been thinking about changing the name of my blog to Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Not going to do it though.

I have been long enchanted by Isis as well. Def my top 3.

If I may, in no particular order:

Day of the Locusts
(w/ that great opening line "The benches were stained with tears and perspiration")
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

Today, anyway.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?