Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Loudest Band in the Universe

I’m a bit of a latecomer to Sunn 0))), but I’m glad I’ve finally arrived. I’ve rarely heard music as intricate and quite simply massive as theirs before in my life. What I find really impressive is their patience in constructing their music, letting a theme repeat and reverberate for well over ten minutes, and letting that repetition actually be the song. There are so many instrumental subtleties in the music that I find myself discovering some new aspect every time I listen.

The slow pace allows a song to morph almost unnoticeably from one dominant set of instruments to another. “Alice” begins as a guitar-heavy drone and ends with a horn-dominated clarion. The transition between the two sets of instruments moves at such a slow pace that they literally melt together through much of the song, most of which consists of guitars and horns congealing together. I wish I lived in a larger house so I could play it at the fully recommended volume of as loud as possible.

If you know The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you might remember a band called Disaster Area, apparently the loudest band in the universe. I imagine a Sunn 0))) show would be about as much like one of their concerts as you could possibly get without actually causing severe structural damage to the city in which the show was played.

In Search of Lost Time has reached a somewhat frustrating point. I’m almost two-thirds of the way through volume five, The Captive, which I launched into reading after completing the 700 page Sodom and Gommorrah. Volume four I thought was the best book of the entire series, so good and so affecting that I immediately began the next volume. Lately, I’ve read another book in between volumes so as not to overdose on Marcel Proust.

The Captive has the narrator and his on/off girlfriend Albertine now living together at his house in Paris. And even though he was completely and stupidly in love with her at the end of volume four, by the thirtieth page, he announces to the reader that he doesn’t care about her anymore, and is motivated to stay with her almost entirely out of jealousy. So the first half of this book describes his obsessive plots and manipulations to keep her in his sight and under his control at all times.

Oh, I see! She’s a captive in his house, and he’s a captive of his own jealous impulses. How witty, my little Marcel!

Hell, now I’m even blogging like Proust. This cannot continue. I’ve borrowed The Unbearable Lightness of Being from my friend Johnny’s empty apartment, and will be reading it after I finish volume five, before I start volume six. It’s called The Fugitive, or as I’ve taken to calling it now, Albertine Finally Smartens Up and Dumps His Sorry Ass.

Not quite as poetic or French, I don’t think.

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