Monday, March 18, 2013

"... trying to hear it with some other ears that may have existed in another time"

Mark Richardson on Ummagumma and Romantic Warrior and the possibility that long-form musical composition may have been popular at a time of cultural scarcity and the consumer equivalent of sensory-deprivation - when people needed to get lost in and through music in a way they don't now:

"I think that some attraction to longer, more drawn-out albums in the 1970s [like half-a-million selling Return to Forever LP] had to do with the technology available at the time. There was no cable TV, there were no VCRs, to see movies you were at the mercy of the theater owners. To have these kind of weird sci-fi-ish experiences, you might consider just playing a trippy album at home and using your imagination.....

"Imagine it: 1969, Chicago, you are in high school, and you’re faking being sick to listen to Ummagumma. There is nothing on TV because you only get three channels and TV isn’t very good. But this Pink Floyd album truly feels like a portal into another world."

1 comment:

  1. Not so sure about this theory. Seems like it doesn't take much wading beneath the surface of the better-known jawns of the late psyche/early prog era to recognize that this was the standard modus of the day. Maybe you could blame Iron Butterfly if you were blame anyone, but it was common currency. (FFS, even Chicago -- the band, not the city -- were doing this, too. Grand Funk Railroad, King Crimson...EVERYBODY. It was some some "let us take you on a journey" type thing, until everyone switched from weed & acid to cocaine, at which point -- of course! -- the trend immediately ended.)

    From some interview with Harlan Ellison I read decades ago, I remember talking about how really long titles for sci-fi stories and novels were a trend around that same time, too. Which made sense, seeing how at the time he was giving his own stories titles like "The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World," and "Somewhere at the Center of the Universe, Someone Has Left the Bottle of the Universe Open and Its Memory Has Gone Flat," and other such biz.

    That and the way Joseph Heller and Thomas Pynchon would (over)write back in those days. It's like nobody had invented ADD yet.