UK, 1968, singer-songwriter / chamber folk

Van MorrisonAstral Weeks

I love the conflation in music of sex and religious experience. That album opener is like standing in a violin downpour at night. The instrumentation on track 2 is actually quite experimental, demanding the listener’s ear. Then a walk in the wet garden after the downpour. If this music doesn’t speak to you, it’s because it doesn’t speak to your heart. Because that’s the only thing this album can speak to. The heart. I think this is the perfect album when you’re returning home after staying out all night. I love how the harpsichord goes hard then silent then hard again. If music were an embroidered object, it would be some of these songs. This album is about turning points—when the rain gives way to clear skies, when the night gives way to the dawn—standing on the cusp of love. “Madame George” is spellbinding, the last song you listen to as the dawn comes, when you’ve been out all night and are dead tired but still enchanted by the memory of the stars. This is falling in love, not with a person but with an experience and a forgotten but remembered snatch of some whispered line. Here’s that violin downpour again. Feel it on your face as you turn your collar up, as you turn your face toward home. This is an album detailing the life portals we must all step through, the last being death. I love that final moment of experimental dissonance. The music—like life—is over. The music is disrupted.

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