Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cremation, Ashes to Ashes

Yarr, there's music on this here blog. I found, and was very nicely suprised by just how many songs they have on there. The controller is in the sidebar, so if you're not into the auditory experience, hit pause.

This song is a bit morbid. Cremation, Ashes to Ashes by Lou Reed, but I have been looking for this song since November 1997, so, um, go along with me for a moment.

Way back when, I saw Time Rocker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. Robert Wilson (direction and design) and Lou Reed (songs and music) put together this rock opera, the third in a series. First two were The Black Rider and Alice, collaborations between Wilson and Tom Waits.

Overall, it was kind of like watching clips of music videos loosly strung together by the premise of the pursuit of a time traveling villain. There were bad parts and good parts, and I've been singing the first three lines of this song to myself for nearly nine years.

The scene this song is from is set during the Civil War, where outside a house, a mother reads a letter (Bixby Letter) sent to her by Abraham Lincoln regarding the death of her five sons. She then sings Cremation. The lightwork made it appear she was drowning. What had been a frantic pace (scene cuts, unnerving use of colors and visual effects) was halted during this scene. The lights went low, the set was suggestive but spare, the costumes subdued, and it was quiet for the first time in an hour. For me, this scene resonated because of the chaos that had come before it, and because it so very well distilled grief, and at this time in my life, I was grieving.

Other songs from that show that I can think of off the top of my head are Future Farmers of America, I'll be Your Mirror, Into the Divine, Turning Time Around, Why do you Talk? I've been looking for 8 years for a cast recording, but I don't think they happened. But Lou Reed started singing some of these songs decades ago, so at least I can recreate the show in my head.

Now, off to an end of Summer party at the lake.

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