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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's New Album 'Earth'

Neil Young

The Comment of the Moment is from the post PREVIEW: Neil Young's New Album 'Earth' by Barry Cameron:
The state of play as it stands is that we have our master and the master he is.

Neil Young has experienced creative riches that are beyond most artists. He has ploughed his own field in his own way in his own time.

Nobody is going to change that so what do we do?

We have to just go with the flow, the feeling the vibe the now and detach from constraints of modern living.

I think what Neil is trying to merge is perhaps his longstanding theme that has been running throughout his art since the move to the Ranch. So many stories so many instances but Neil has ALWAYS been in connection with Nature.

From listening to record playbacks in the middle of his lake, to recording Will to Love in front of fire, to incorporating his life with Ben into his early 80s work, to overdubbing Blowing in the wind on Weld tour and my particular favourite, watching him sniff and scratch and howl and Hammersmith in 2008 while playing Old King.

What i am trying to say i s that i think this Album is nothing new, nothing to be surprised about and nothing to be daunted by. He is taking environmental concepts like recycling his work and applying the juxtapose of nature into the thread of that work.

I admit... initially i was not so sure but this morning it completely clicked with me.

I was walking the dog out in the fields, it is 7am, its misty, its getting warm, its hazy. I started singing "No Hidden Path" to myself and i became aware that i was taking the song as it was meant to be listened to. Not in a room. Not on Pono. Not on £500 headphones but in the space of my mind ... i became aware of the trees, the birds whistling , the little burn (stream) trickling by the bottom of the slope and the dog snorting and sniffing in the grass....

as it was imagined by the guy who created it.
This is his gift to me - one that is mine - whenever and however i see fit.

I think that is the real value in the art Neil give me. I can take it apply in the context i feel works for me.

I think this is what Earth is created to be. I think it will take a leap of faith from most and a persons actual belief in being a nature loving and spiritually connected person to our planet. If you have this in you i think Earth will resonate deeply for a long long time.

If you dont' feel that way then you may struggle with this one.

Barry Cameron
Thanks Barry. Liked the part about walking the dog and singing "No Hidden Path". We think we may know that feeling you speak of. Oh yes, our EARTH will resonate deeply for a long long time.

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At 5/12/2016 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Bazzzzzzza said...

wow ! thanks thrasher, i wasn't expecting that to be honest. i was reading through the blog at work and just fired from the hip hence the terrible grammar and bad spelling !!! it was a speedy type job as always but one that captured how i felt about what i now think is going to be an amazing album.

but as an aside... what i was referring to is nothing new for me... i have grew to learn most of Neils work not be listening to all the versions and bootlegs over and over but mostly by singing the whole bloody album in my head as i am outside.

on my bike, walking on the beach, out with the dog, even between the car and work i can sneak in a song here and there... don't think i am mental or anything as its not like i am belting out verse chorus verse for all to hear, its all softly softly and and broke into pieces, fragments of the song.

but this particular moment down the fields i was singing and humming guitar lines and probably doing a bit of bass, drums the whole thing as i was the only one around for a mile or two. it felt good and made me smile - isn't that the whole point? :-)

each to their own eh !

Barry Cameron

At 5/12/2016 06:44:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

That's cool Barry. No worries on the style. It's all in the moment. As it should be.

Sometimes we see Neil catch flak for tossing off albums. Unpolished. Hurried. Concept gone bad. etc.

Anyway. We chuckle. When you run the lineup and play which one does not belong: Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young +POTR, Who and Roger Waters -- who wins?

The betting is NY+POTR. 2nd place to Roger W on least broadly well known outside music crowd. And so on.

But back to the more important things in life like biking, on the beach, walking the dog, we're tuning into the the tunes. Neil's or anyone else's ... like Stones, Bob, Paul ...

At 5/12/2016 08:43:00 PM, Blogger nick said...

At 5/12/2016 09:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always loved NY's songs Will to love, Natural Beauty etc just to name a few. It puts me in a special place where drugs can never take you. If you ever backpacked/camped and listened to NY's beauty songs, as I call them, they are all perfect in tune with each animal especially at a about daybreak. The sounds of the animals easily coexist with his music at that time. Thanks for your great article Barry.

At 5/13/2016 05:01:00 AM, Blogger Minke said...

Barry pointed to a fascinating phenomenon, all too recognisable. I find myself repeating Neil Young songs all along when hiking, biking, bathing. Sometimes they are songs, often only phrases, melody lines, just words even. I mull over obscure phrases, wondering how to get their meaning without NY’s quirky mind and recourse to pot. But however nebulous, the gist is often clear enough and if not, the song’s atmosphere does it. Sometimes fragments come like a mantra, repeating themselves over and over in my mind.

It is fairly primordial, I guess. We carry the songs with us as we subconsciously do the smell of our mothers. They provide a feeling of safety and warmth, of homecoming. They are our instruments to ward off evil, like religious people mutter pieces of prayers, fondle rosebeads, or invoke the god.

Being an academic – sorry folks, it is a way to get your daily meal – I wonder whether some songs would appear more often in our heads than others. (Yes! Can we quantify this, create serial data?) Some songs are more singable than others, of course. I rarely hum Welfare Mothers or Piece of Crap. Others pop up all too often. In my case, those happen to be Barstool Blues and On the Way Home. Why those? I wouldn’t know. The first is an absolute favourite, but the second not particularly so. Sometimes the songs shift and suddenly On the Beach is there, knocking on the Cortex cerebri and lingering there for some time. Often they are the Deep Cuts. Deep Forbidden Lake, Lost in Space, Mideast Vacation, TransAm, Unknown Legend. I am also sure that many of you also have snippets of guitar solos in your reservoir. There must be a lot of air guitar in our heads (Rufus Thibodeaux’s violin phrases also have huge sticking power!).

There must be an enormous reservoir of songlines, guitar solos, violin, banjo and piano notes up there. Our active memory happens only to barf up a tiny part of that huge reservoir once in a while, but it’s all there for sure, and we will hum them when we are senile and in our dying days.

I wonder why this is? How does musical memory work, and how does it relate to our personalities? On a simple level you could say, it is because we grew up on NY’s songs in our teens and twenties and they thus provide us with the soundtrack of our youth. Perhaps because many of us played those songs ourselves in our helpless, amateurish ways? But then why sing/hum/regurgitate Mideast Vacation? There should be more to this. Perhaps our cortexes show specific variations that make us receptive to his music or his mindset? And why are NY songs so successful in fighting off other music? We are colonized. His music (not the person) takes over, excluding that of others.

Barry pointed to something else; how our internalized albums have replaced active record playing. Some records I rarely play. I haven’t been listening to Harvest for many years. Why not? Because it has never been my favourite anyway, but also because it is in my head, on many different levels. I can play the entire album, if I would wish so. This has the fascinating effect that when you put on a record you haven’t heard for some time, you discover that the mnemonic versions have become distorted.

On another note: one of the pests of our time is that we take things too literally. This may be necessary in scholarly research, but not in our interpretation of the music, enunciations and activities of Neil Young. I am sure that one of the reasons why we love his music is that it conveys a feeling or an idea in an impressionistic, often romantic, and thus an intellectually very sloppy manner. This is the only way to savour his music. Approaching Neril Young (well, most humans) in a too rational way and judge him according to codified logic, makes him laughable and misses the point. When Neil becomes too litteral, he’s boring, uninspiring or worse, moralistic.

Sorry. Sure this is lots of nonsense, but reasoning Neilishly, it’s real enough. I was carried away by Barry’s honest and honorable confessions. Thanks for those.

At 5/13/2016 07:06:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Thanks for the great link Nick!


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