Sunday, December 6, 2009


So I can't think of a better way to end the weekend than on a cloud of other-worldly harp strings and dramatic orchestration courtesy of Alice Coltrane. The sinister interludes and occasional dischord are not helping my hangover but it could be so much worse and besides the state of my head is entirely my fault. I attempted to drink myself to a level of inebriation that would mean that my ears stopped working, that the cunts outside with their cigarettes and endless Germanic chatter, their laughing and joking would leave me be just for one night. It worked - The price is a hell like cranial throbbing that has definied much of my day. This aside I do feel all the better for one nights full and undisturbed sleep - I just try and see it as practice for fatherhood. The nocturnal interruptions that is rather than the binge drinking.

I have one question to ask. How the fuck did 'My Favorite Things' a song defined by gay Icon Julie Andrews in iconic gay film The Sound of (gay) Music become a jazz standard? There is I am sure a logical explanation but from here it just looks and sounds a bit random. Why did John Coltrane cover it? Why did his sister (wife - thanks SB) work it into the space like masterpiece that is 'World Galaxy'? It's as random as Wolf Eyes covering the theme from Annie. I don't mind it and it's given the 'pimp my showtune' treatment here but I still picture Julie Andrews somewhere on the rolling hills of Austria surrounded by Nazis (but not in a good way) every time it comes on.

Something that Alice does get right, here and elsewhere is this sustaining thing she does. It's like an orchestral drone, everybody just hovers, playing the same note until it sounds a bit like a tumble dryer on a heavy spin cycle. It's genius.  In other parts you wonder if this is going to turn into the music from the Hovis advert or if a mid 70's Japanese pop singer is about to pipe up and kill it all with her sweet but tone-deaf Japaneseness. This does not happen.

We do however get a look in from one Swami Satchidananda, he looks like a cult leader and sounds the same, I get an overwhelming sense that I should be writing him a cheque as the closing notes of Alice's take on 'A Love Supreme' fade out. A take that includes what sounds like one of those things snake charmers use. Is it a Tympani? I know Tympani is listed on the gatefold so maybe it is. This observation brings us nicely onto the sleeve - A colourful game of Galaxian or Asteroids around a bizarrely average passport like photo of our heroine. One that seems to have sprung up from a river of blue lines. What does it mean? Can you really see such things through yoga and chanting alone? 

'World Galaxy' is good I think I got this copy off my cousin.


  1. RE: My Favourite Things. I suspect it's precisely because it was a popular, highly melodic composition that John Coltrane elected to cover it – or reinterpret it. It's a melodic platform from which to dive off into improvisation and then return to the familiar riff. Like Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive. Don't really see what you're saying about Wolf Eyes covering Annie. I bet Coltrane really dug My Favourite Things.

  2. Alice was his wife, not sister. As Brian Eno said, "Honour thy error as thy hidden intention".