Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gentle Jams

The good Lord knows I like to get my face melted on the regular.  I have little tolerance for attempts at rock that don't make me want to twist around and screech all hard.  But sometimes you just can't get your face melted off because it might make you vomit.  Sometimes your body just can't take it.  Such times include:
  • stomach virus, strep throat,and other maladies
  • first thing in the morning
  • when the kids are screaming
  • that day of the month when your body is trying to purge all hard
  • the early part of a snow day when nature demands silence
  • hangovers not treated by further drinking
  • upon learning of the death of a famous internet cat
and so forth.  Unfortunately, these times have taken up a larger percentage of my life this winter than usual.  The good news is that it's allowed me to revisit some of my favorite gentle jams and to discover some new ones.

At our latest binge vinyl shopping up at Once Possessed, I picked up "Our First Record" by Oregon on a whim after listening to only a couple of songs.  It's not my typical thing, but something about the strain of bacteria colonizing my tonsils told me that I might be in the need for some new gentle jams really soon.  Also it's hard to say no to the classic combination of sitar, flute, and oboe.  Also it's hard to say no to some twisted looking hippie mens from the hippie capitol of Earth, especially when the percussionist is wearing a bikini top.  Here goes Oregon:

This record did the trick.  It is gentle and earthy, with plenty of Eastern vibe that makes a thing go right.  I listened to more on Spotify, and their next album, "Music of Another Present Era," works as well.  Sadly, it's downhill from there.  Oregon is actually still together and putting out music, but over the years it slowly morphed into Weather Channel jazz.  It's OK, Oregon.  Most people get lamer as they get older. 

Having said all that, I would be remiss if I didn't disclose my two all-time favorite albums to listen to during gentle times.  Dawg actually gave me a copy of the first one:  "Ponds and Flutes" by Das, who is apparently a nut job who makes flutes and can't seem to launch his music, possibly due to a drug problem, but this is 100% speculation on my part.  Let me just say this - every time I am getting a back massage I wish this album was playing.  It's really beautiful.  Also, when I get a massage, I only want to hear organic music, and this is the album that taught me what organic music really is.  It's free of synthesized instruments, for one thing, but to go even deeper, the man makes his own flutes by hand.  That's pretty fucking organic.  Here goes Das:

And lastly, my favorite compilation of gentle jams ever, "Elements:  The Island Anthology," which is technically a box set from 1995 of four albums by Jade Warrior, including "Floating World"(1974), "Waves" (1975), "Kites" (1976), and "Way of the Sun" (1978). This is probably my favorite album also that Kevs has introduced me to, with the possible exception of Pink Floyd's "Meddle."  The great thing about this album as a set of gentle jams is that instead of letting you go totally into a narcotics wave, it occasionally wakes you up for a sec with some kick ass guitar or Latin rhythms or some reasonless tympani.  Here goes Jade Warrior:

And a visual:

One last note about gentle jams...  No vocals, please.  Let the music speak.  Feelings that are complex enough to warrant killer gentle jams don't need words.  They need an absence of words.