Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Astral Weeks possesses the solid foundation that Belfast lacks. It's a juxtaposition that's altogether coincidental and at the same time, fun to tease out: The album that is constructed on the firm bedrock of Richard Davis' upright bass and Van Morrison's vocals and acoustic guitar pays homage to a city that is built on a soft, dense mixture of sand, gravel, and boulder clay. Locals call this mixture "sleech." (Engineers have coined a less colorful term: "reinforced water.") It lies underneath the central part of the city in varying thicknesses and is notorious for its poor weight-bearing capabilities. The Albert Memorial Clock, one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, subsided into the sleech and as result, developed a well-known tilt.