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doncbruital on 07/21/2009 at 12:53PM

Satellite Epistles (from Past the Curtain)

Was Ezra Pound right when he wrote, in a 1915 letter to James Joyce, that theater was “a gross, coarse form of art,” one which “spoke to a thousand fools huddled together”? Is there something inherently crude about the stage, where the rich expanse of human experience is reduced to crass pantomime of life-as-usual, stilted cartoonery, off-putting simulacra? The whole thing is, at the very least, a little creepy—people walk about, but only upon the confines of a shallow stage; they speak, but in polished nuggets of rhetoric; they regularly ‘cheat out’ to the audience and seem to look we real folks, we huddled fools, hmm, right bang in the eye—gah! Who are these fakers, and what do they want with us? It all begs imputing, you know? as surely there’s some intelligence dictating this, some parameters of rhyme and reason by which one might codify all the ghoulishness. Surely a band can help sort out this mess.

Nautical Almanac, the reigning rulers of mercilessly crackling noise sputts, brute shufflings, and outer space satellite squeals have, of late, done quite a bit of performing from behind screen/curtains upon and through which are projected similar cruel hints of life’s daily dissimulation: human silhouettes, highways at night, and tendrils branching fern-like, fractal-like. From behind the screen, from the other side of that kreeptown, from within that miasmic middle ground just past the perceptual confines of our day-to-day, they issue sonic missives which unfailingly seek to unseat our fragile stage-conceptions, ghoulishly undermine our staid comfort zones, and, Pound-like, make fools of us all.

They’ve been at it forever, these folks, and have blessed the Free Music Archive with tons and tons of free recorded material--particularly an expansive and extraordinary set from Brian Turner's show. Sleep on Nautical Almanac, maintain the illusion, hold fast to your flimsy patina of reality, at yer own risk, knowing all the while that just beyond the curtain's waiting all manner of gloriously coarse forbidden knowledge.

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