Sunday, September 21, 2008

Almost Independence Day

I've just been listening to Almost Independence Day by Van Morrison for the first time in years, and I find it absolutely stunning. I'm amazed that it didn't register with me in previous listenings, because it's had such a strong impact on me today. As is my habit when I find music that intrigues me, I keep playing and playing it.

It's the intro to this song that really hooks me. It's clearly being played on 6 string and 12 string guitars, and I adore the sound of a 12 string guitar. It nearly always sounds slightly out of tune, mainly because it usually is. The high G string is an absolute bugger to get right, and you usually snap it in the process. But here the intro meanders in and out of a recognisable melody, the 12 string making it sound faintly Asian, and it's as though the tune is feeling itself into a mood. Finally it resolves into a deep chord of G and a strong melody is picked out by the guitars while a synthesiser starts to pulse out a rhythm. And then Van starts singing, and it's an almost surreal set of repeating phrases, going through a set of variations, swinging and slithering until it becomes something like a dream or meditation.

And when it's finished, as Steve Coleman would say, it's so beautiful you play it all over again.

1 comment:

Douglas Bruton said...

Just tuned into this... and slithering and twanging in my head so that it is beautiful... thanks for this Tom...