Thursday, June 22, 2006

"The Great Gig in the Sky"

When I first blogged this song, I said it shows how sex and death are opposite sides of same coin - I might have been wrong.
This song is The Passion, like something the classical composers of old would write, where they'd detail their passion as a kind of ecstatic liturgical trance - I remember seeing once a painting of Johann Sebastian Bach, sitting back at his desk and laying down his pen, eyes closed as if savouring the last vestiges of the Passion as it ebbs away.
And like those Passions from centuries ago, this music emerges from the ether into some cavernous cathedral filled with all the longing humanity can muster, channeled through Clare Torry's other-worldly voice, from the whispering, faltering huskiness at its weakest moment through to its raw, bleeding climax when her instrument touches the very limit of expression as if it were being stretched and crucified.
At times she seems to be searching, feeling in the darkness, as if terrified of the animal she's unleashed. Her sobbing, faltering howl seems to repeat itself momentarily as she waits for the next jolt of celestial electricity to transport her.
What scares me about this song is what it creates, what it generates within me; a visceral reaction that not only raises the hairs on my neck, but that almost convinces me that I could transcend this earthly plane. Almost. You can hear the song take over Clare Torry like some swirling witch-doctor's spell, hear as it pulls her away from earth, and imagine it doing the same to you.
The best part? This song doesn't have to be about anything in particular. It's about everything and nothing at the same time - the all-consuming love of a parent for his or her child, a feeling of superhuman power that comes from fulfilment, a celebration of life after death, or merely an acknowledgement that Life, the Universe and Everything is just so massively huge and wonderful that sometimes our efforts to understand it crash all our circuits and turn us into drooling, raging nerve-endings. And when we can't form the words, we have to resort to forming the sounds, just as Clare Torry does so beautifully here.
There aren't many songs that take us outside ourselves, somewhere pure and powerful. Treasure them when you find them.


Minerva said...

Anonymous said...

I m gonna to buy a electeric guitar,What you suggest?;-*