Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Phosphorescent - Aw Come Aw Wry

Matthew Houck gets it right - the warm, bleeding low-down supersaturated intimacy of late-night confessionals, early morning optimism, late afternoon, slanted-sunlight reflection. Euphoric, reflective, somber, he captures such a rich, deft tapestry of emotions, that arise when Love rears its head; hope, fear, pride, jubilation, sadness. Innocence smeared with experience.

I played this record in a friend's basement, when i was getting to know my lady friend. It simmers like a burnt-out campfire, and its melodies and poignant lyrics are nearly as hypnotic as a bed of embers. Warm and fuzzy; tender but passionate. Phosphorescent sings my soul, my heart-song, and while i am tremendously excited for life, at the moment, i am haunted by the shadows of experience, and while i am celebrating the new life of love, i am also mourning those who have come before. Missed chances, lost hopes.

I love how he mixes traditional folk forms with elegiac choral music, sub-textures floating, timeless. It is this sea of complex emotions that provoked me to share this with y'all, like on the organ dirge Dead Heart. This is music for adults, not for children, not for the faint of heart. If you truly give yrself to the ocean, to be lapped up by the waves of the sea of love, you cannot shy from the shadows. You cannot shield yrself, hide from its daggers, you cannot protect yrself from ANYTHING. This is living as a raw nerve, stripped-down, naked. This is the challenge that is presented, and it is synonymous with being an artist. Wide-eyed, stupified, terrified, exalted. This is not a hedonism trip, for me; this is straight-up battle, and nothing will bring up yr demons quite like a new love. I'll stare straight into the face of my Shadow; i will not blink or falter.

Pride is actually my favorite by Phosphorescent, but this is the one i had on my iPod, so i've been stalking the streets of Olympia, reflecting on life and experience, weeping from memories, from a life-time of repressed emotions. I feel that i must say, in the spirit of journalistic integrity, that Aw Come Aw Wry no. 5, is my least favorite track from Phosphorescent, so far; a bit too up-tempo, a bit too jubilant, a bit too reminiscent of Beirut. But the laid-back gorgeousness of the rest of the record is the perfect soundtrack to lie around in the grass, with yr nearest and dearest, even if that is yr very own heart and soul (very good company indeed, and well worth adoration).

So i'm sending you all a sunbeam. I'm lighting a campfire. I'm praying for peace. You all mean the world to me. Blessings on anyone who finds this music, who reads these words. Don't shy away from yr own heart; it is worth it, even in its poignancy. Even in its terror. Even in its glory.

"i am not a heel
but i will turn turn

i am not a seal
but i been learned learned

i am not a lamb
but i will sweet sweet sweet
and curl and sleep
all at your feet"
-Phosphorescent, Not a Heel

Aw Come Aw Wry

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