Saturday, December 2, 2023

The sounds that men make, when they're breaking down


It had been a number of years since Disaster Amnesiac played my copy of Candy Machine's 2004 CD before yesterday evening. For some reason, I just felt really compelled to do so and in fact did listen, at least until a scratch on the disc made it impossible after track ten. That being said, those first nine They are the sounds that men make when they're breaking down. Disaster Amnesiac must admit that I had befriended George Earth, the man behind this particular Candy Machine (and God knows, there must be at least a dozen musical projects with this same moniker over the decades), during the time of this recording, and was somewhat familiar with the dynamics within his life. These dynamics were mostly stressful as I recall, mostly alienating, mostly heartbreaking. When Earth sings longingly about an unnamed woman, I am pretty sure that I know who this woman is. When his verses document being broke and unable to participate in social functions of any nature, I recall his beat up car, used as a tour vehicle that he drove all over this country, hounding down gigs wherever he could find them. When he describes just generally being BROKEN, Disaster Amnesiac has a pretty clear idea about the whys and wherefores of that feeling that George had to endure for years.  Even when Earth has a female friend sing a few songs, several cuts deep into the album, the listener can still feel his angst through her intonations. Seriously, if you need a soundtrack to your breakdown (and I hope that it doesn't do permanent damage), seek out this recording from Candy Machine. Just try not to collapse permanently. 

A more subtle breakdown has been presented by Paul Simon on Seven Psalms. Mr. and Mrs. Amnesiac listened to it on Youtube, and we were both blown away by it. Just a bit over thirty minutes of sparse guitar and singing on it, and I swear I hear Jandek as an influence! As Simon gets into some WAY spiritual musings, the high lonesome vibes of his adopted Texas hill country are very much present. Paul seems to be documenting a much different type of breakdown than George on Seven Psalms, one that is characterized by the recognition of the lifting of the veil of mortality; Simon really does describe the beauty of letting go, of letting God be seen and felt within EVERYTHING. Its a musing and summing up of a human life that is closer to its final chapter. We all know how the breakdowns pile up during that phase, don't we? Disaster Amnesiac is not sure if he's accepted Christ as his Savior, but the possibility is indeed hinted at. So, the breakdown is quite different from the one documented by Earth. Still, a breakdown none the less. If you've not heard Seven Psalms, it's easily accessed, ad-free on Youtube. If for no other reason, check it out and then tell me if you hear the Corwood influence upon it. 

Are you breaking down? Have you broken down in the past? Of the myriad methods that a person can deal with a break down, music and art are among the best. Send Disaster Amnesiac your breakdown documents! I promise to listen and respond.

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