Monday, September 23, 2013
Wu-Tang Clan and Van Morrison ... Where can we draw parallels? Well, both are deeply indebted to a specific place: For Wu-Tang, it's Shaolin/Staten Island; for Morrison, Belfast. Unearthing further correlations would mean citing falsehoods and misrepresentations and other assorted bullshit. Let's not do that. Instead, let's click on the above link. It features instrumental cuts of the best tracks from Liquid Swords. With the vocals pared away, the listener is allowed to fully appreciate the album's toxic beats. Your ears will ripple and shudder with orgasm. I wish some industrious YouTuber would do the same with Astral Weeks. I'm aware that such a request is borderline blasphemous. Morrison's vocal performance is nothing short of transcendent; he "plays" his voice as masterfully as any of Astral Weeks' session musicians play their instruments. But at the same time, how else could we wholly cherish: the swelling strings on "Sweet Thing" and how they melt into the heartbeat of Richard Davis' double bass; the sprightly harpsichord in "Cyprus Avenue" or how in the same track, Davis' bass lines gloriously enliven empty spaces; the wistful sound of Morrison strumming the G, C, and D chords to open "Madame George; the hiss of Connie Kay's hi-hat and the humming dirge of the cellos in the same track; or the shivering, itinerant soprano saxophone in "Slim Slow Slider."