Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dragon Turtle and Eric de Jesus on La Societe Expeditionnaire Records

Got an email from La Societe Expeditionnaire, a label I'm just finding out about today based in The Delaware Gap, PA...it's funny how something like this would come across my desk right after finishing that Love Rock Revolution book, reading about that period of K recs that included Slim Moon going off to start Kill Rock Stars and releasing his own and other artists wordcore singles. That's exactly what's going on with this single from Dragon Turtle and Eric De Jesus. It's a combination of atmospheric instrumental tracks from the geographically separated duo of Brian Lightbody from Brooklyn and Tom Asselin from PA and poet Eric de Jesus. This isn't the first time these three have collaborated, in addition to working numerous times with Eric live, the two Dragon Turtle tracks are actually outakes from a split full length also from La Soc, the Dragon Turtle / Goodnight Stars Goodnight Air Split 12". They reworked these outakes from a couple years back, while Eric put together two story/poems from 1988, the perfect setup for a single, the cast off orphans without a home, coming together on the lowly format.
On "The Second Summer of Love" a heavily looped picked guitar in a higher range melody is looping lazily over rolling electronics, a hazy layer of fading in synth. This abbreviated rhythm is subtly changing as Eric comes in. He's slowly delivering a story of what I'm guessing is a kind of stream of consciousness walk through New York? But that could be my own interpretation of this city he keeps talking about...and all I know. The whole scene is laid out, change to a punk rock girl, it's one of those seemingly perfect moments, stopped in slow motion...not even perfect really, just everything coming together in a way you suddenly appreciate. An epiphany that no one else is having. It's sounding like a melodic, flowing Gastr del Sol, June of '44, or Godspeed You Black Emperor when they revert to context and narrative without the distraction of tunes. That's the best entry point for me listening to this. I have no idea about the contemporary state of poetry...it should be a part of more things like this. Spoken word should be combined with more accessible arts? Not that spoken word shouldn't be the most inherently pedestrian, but all I can think of is the Nuyerican Cafe and the way Slam poetry is typically delivered. It's my fault, but it's maybe been pigeonholed to this particular kind of framework that seems to be holding it down. But then again, I don't know what's going on in the world of poetry, but here it doesn't seem like it's coming from a place of trying to prove anything, or shock the audience...it's even a little bit buried at points, allowing for those interesting moments of misinterpretation and re-listening, catching a new phrase or memory. The percussion that rolls in after a minute is hugely mic'd, adding to this giant, epic lonely landscape feel, the only thing that would make sense alongside the inner thoughts from Eric wandering around streets and tall buildings.
"The Leaves on the Trees were Green with Youth (The 20th Anniversary of Paris '68)" fades in already humming, a new dense construction of flickering rhythms, a tight snare marching along. There's even an acoustic sound, or at least the capturing of metal strings unamplified. Eric this time has a slight echo on his vocal, like he doesn't need to carry a tune, or cleverly rhyme words with one another, this gets to a more primal place somehow, this chaos of instrumentation rattling behind him, while he calmly wanders in a perfect straight line of memory. Now past the 40th anniversary of Paris 1968, it's even more interesting how things haven't really changed. Sure, we can do cool things with our phones and blogs, but you walk around and have a day like the leaves on the tres green with youth.

On marbly plum colored vinyl, Get this one from La Societe Expeditionnaire Records.

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