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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Comment of the Moment: VIDEO - David Bowie ‘Heroes’: Bridge School Benefit Concert 1996

David Bowie ‘Heroes’: Bridge School Benefit Concert 1996

Last week, we posted on VIDEO - David Bowie ‘Heroes’: Bridge School Benefit Concert 1996 (concert review).

Here is the Comment of the Moment by Ian (The Metamorphic Rocker):
I was recently watching the film "The Man who Fell to Earth" (1976), which stars Bowie as an alien undercover on earth as a businessman trying to get water back to his home planet where his people are dying from a drought.

Toward the end of the movie, Bowie's character releases an album titled "The Visitor", hoping the wife he left behind on another planet will one day hear his music "on the radio". Gave my a smile, to say the least.

"Like visitors from space, it's hard to find a place to blend in and go unrecognized." And the late Nicolas Roeg, who directed he Bowie movie, had an idiosyncratic visual style--much of it based on non-linear and associative thinking-inspired editing--that chimes well with Neil's description of "war inside pictures in my brain". Sequences of the film involve Bowie's character watching banks of TVs tuned to different channels--does this remind you of anyone?--while imploring all the people on the screens to get out of his head and leave him alone. It seems Newton, Bowie's character, has some form of alien telepathy that acts like a psychic Midas Touch throughout the movie, putting him into mental contact with people to whom he has only tangential connections.

Roeg's use of montage and fragmented inter-cutting, in turn, become an expression of this fractured and overwhelmed mental state. Imagine being directly, intimately, vividly hooked into every person, every bit of data the outside world throws at you on a daily basis. That's "The Man who Fell to Earth" and also, I would argue, what NY and other artists probably feel like at times. "How you change, how you change, and how you rearrange, everything that touches me." But I digress.

There are non-linear and fragmented aspects of Neil's songwriting that don't get discussed too often, but I believe Neil has obliquely mentioned that his songs tend to jump around in time and space: After the Gold Rush and Trans Am are two, far-flung examples that come to mind. But for me, Without Rings (quoted above) and AYP?'s title song are the two that may come the closest to directly grappling with the tenuous, organically-shaped, fever-dream stimulation of a creative mind. No Hidden Path is up there as well, and in fact the entire CDII album is so idiosyncratically and quintessentially Neil (as I know his work), I'd like to write an entire post about it some time.

Thanks, thrasher, for inspiring this little stream of consciousness (for lack of better term) on my part. I guess my theme is the receptive state of the artistic or creative brain. Call it the Muse or "your brain on art"--it can be something of a drug, the dizzying (over)saturation of ideas, emotion, and sensation producing a natural high, perhaps paradoxically akin to the radical shutting off of intellectual and sensory faculties that's the aspiration of transcendental meditation. "Nothing" is just as titillating to the neural pathways as feeling/hearing/seeing everything at once, because both states represent sensory extremes that can be simultaneously frightening yet somehow enticing, sort of like how all the information on a TV screen--if you could look closely enough--breaks down into millions of tiny dots of color and noise. Nothing and everything are the same quantity viewed from different perspectives, because nothing is anything until the "pictures in our brain" pull it into focus.

~Through the keyhole in an open door.
Thanks as always Meta Rocker! It's been awhile since we saw "The Man who Fell to Earth". Probably last saw a rep cinema back in the 80's?

"The Man who Fell to Earth" (1976) D: Nicolas Roeg

To your points here on Neil as time traveler. Your timing is impeccable as we're trying to complete a rather major TW post paralleling many of the themes here with Bowie, Nicolas Roeg, Neil and time travel.

As sort of a tangential preview on that, you may recall some our analysis on this last year on Zuma: Time Traveling with Neil Young which keyed off this 'graf:
In 1975, when Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe asked Neil Young about his forthcoming album, Young said “I think I’ll call it My Old Neighborhood. Either that or Ride My Llama.” That album would be released as Zuma in November of that same year, and as Young says in the interview, “It’s weird. I’ve got all these songs about Peru, the Aztecs, and the Incas. Time travel stuff.”
Well, not to get too far out -- or too far gone more than usual -- here's a few of our various ramblings on Neil Young and time travel for your general amusement:

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At 7/25/2020 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Another epic comment, filled with intention from Ian.

The idea of experiencing “everything and nothing simultaneously“ isn’t something exclusive to those with creative minds. I believe everyone has these disorienting experiences, which is probably why drugs and alcohol are so pervasive in our world. As the experience can be challenging. It is the people who have direct access to their own unique creativity who are able to share it through their perspective media in ways the rest of us can (or can’t) relate to.

I am constantly struggling with this phenomenon every single day of my life, and our current events are making it all the more difficult. Which is why I’ve been gravitatIng toward music and film recently to aid in my daily routine. Finding the right film or the right album can help ground my mind long enough to deal with these realities we find ourselves in right now. I’m not even sure this actually makes any sense.

Peace 🙏

At 7/25/2020 07:13:00 PM, Blogger Mister Henry said...

The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971-1973 is a great documentary that I recently watched. Released in 2010, it's currently available on Amazon Prime and IMDbTV.

At 7/25/2020 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

I'd rather talk about Neil and Bowie eating some BBQ together, quite frankly.

At 7/26/2020 11:37:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Dan Swan--Ironic that you should mention intention, since my original (conscious) intention for this comment--to point out another connection between Bowie and Neil via the "The Visitor"--spiraled into something else as I wrote it, the thoughts seeming to take on a will of their own. Sometimes it feel as though I write in concentric circles, or ripples, instead of left-to-right, linear sentences.

You're likely on to something though: art and creativity may be an effect, rather than a cause, of all this stimulation. Artists are just the people who find the most constructive, healthy ways to deal with the influx of data and feeling. Then again, many poets, painters, musicians, storytellers, actors, designers, et al, are also serial self-medicators, so it sadly seems that aesthetic, expressive outlets alone sometimes aren't enough to harness energy to keep the mind from recursing in on itself in the fight to make sense of, and limit pain caused by, external stimuli. Neither is this tendency a "post-modern"development, although the advent of the 24 hour news cycle and cultural saturation of seemingly ubiquitous "social" media can only enhance, or rather exacerbate, the daily sensation of being caught on a massive hamster wheel of manic consumption, one which seems to both demand and chastise instantaneous reaction.

@Richie Cruz--I cannot blame you. Although I worry about living in a society where people are more interested in eating BBQ than opening up critical insights (as if we can't do both...), I understand my approach is not for everyone. In fact, I envy people who can more easily get their brains to shut up when desired.

"Won't someone help me lose my mind?"


At 7/26/2020 12:03:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - in terms of self medication, try Colorado's "Won't Someone Help Me Lose My Mind?"

works like a charm, a real true Rocky Mtn high

Mr H - always nice to see you drop by here w/ a suggestion or 3.

Seem to recall this was a bootleg on YT for awhile that we stumbled across. Yes, that was some serious triangulation. Ever catch the recent Iggy doc? That seemed to touch on this.

btw, last night we were out and this guy across from us was wearing this shirt and I couldn't figure out the image? It said My Birthday Party and had this silhouette figure.

On the way out we asked about his shirt and he just kind of blows it off saying it was a 70s Australian punk band.

So I go Nick Cave & Bad Seeds, right? The guy almost falls off his chair. Like you've heard of them?! Oh yeah!

so gave him a recital "hey hey my my, king is gone but not forgotten, this is the story of Johnny Rotten."

the guys girlfriend & thrashette were suitably impressed as we flashed the peace sign on the way out.

@ Richie - sure.

David - so that film you made? Journey Through The Past? What was that all about Neil?

Neil - Well, David, glad you asked. Probably the same as Man who Fell to Earth.

so, with cheese or without?

David - cool. with.

Neil - next

@ Meta Rocker - the whole Space Oddity / "The Visitor" connection is intriguing and would make for interesting listening and discussion. hint, hint. :)

At 7/26/2020 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop...... Neil Young. At first glance it would be hard to make the connection here with Neil, yet they all share a unique bond. All four have had commercial success while always exploring the limitless possibilities of their craft. They have all confounded their fan base, while maintaining their artistic integrity. Staying true to themselves without regard to any and all outside forces, steadfast with their own vision.

Rare is the artist who remains unaffected by the response to what they create. Staying focused on the drive to push boundaries. These are the artists that leave behind something timeless that will inspire those who come after them to remain fearless in their own work. These are the artists who lay the foundation for what comes next. There are a limited number of artists with enough drive and integrity to stay the course throughout their career to leave behind a true musical legacy, and Neil Young is definitely one of them.

Peace 🙏

At 7/26/2020 05:22:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Dan Swan--Speaking for myself, I'd add Peter Gabriel to that list. He's been seemingly uninterested in releasing much new material in recent years, but his contributions have been titanic and he's always remained committed to his singular vision.

Apropos of ruminations on the overwhelming stimulus of the material world, check out:

Also featuring the immortal voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who was a renowned Sufi Muslim singer. For those not familiar with Sufism, it's where the popular image of the "whirling dervish" comes from.

At 7/27/2020 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Peter Gabriel would definitely make my list as well. Also Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, and Bob Dylan to name a few.

Peace 🙏

At 8/01/2020 12:28:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Dan--In my mind, Peter Gabriel's greatest contribution, in tandem with the work of Paul Simon and George Harrison (much missed, here in the material world) was in bringing world musics to a broader audience, introducing artists and sounds from around the world into the world of rock and western pop.

George did it primarily through collaborations and promotions with Ravi Shankar and other Hindustani classical musicians. Simon, of course, is known for featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Graceland. Gabriel founded Real World Records and WOMAD (World of Music and Dance), both major trading stations and beacons for those interested in diversity through music and arts.

Even if one has to be wistful about the fact that it took influential white men to jump start and popularize such cultural exchanges, one also must be grateful that it's happened at all, to any extent. Gratitude is indeed better and, yes, bumper stickers should be issued.

~Through the keyhole in an open door.


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