As the clouds roll in and the humidity continues to rise, dip your toes into the sounds of these new folk sounds. Take a ride to the rugged coast of Kerouac’s Big Sur with the Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard; be mesmerised by the messianic tones of Cohen as he tames the crowd at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival and rug up in the snow storm of Bon Iver’s Blood Bank. You won’t regret it…
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard – Big Sur
Taken from the soundtrack to the new Kerouac film, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, this is a sweet slice of folk from the pages of Big Sur. And while Kerouac was more of a jazz man, I can see him driving along some mid-west highway, arm out the window, nodding approvingly. There is an ache in both Farrar & Gibbard’s voice that lends an authenticity to Kerouac’s words and the arrangements distill Kerouac’s bummed-out prose beautifully.
Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
Forty summers ago, Cohen stepped on stage at the Isle of Wight festival. His set followed Jimi Hendrix (touted as one of the best of Hendrix’s career) and the audience was close to rioting. Standing in the centre of what had become a political maelstrom, Cohen looking like a ragged messiah, stood undaunted and delivered a set of songs and poems that brought the crowd to a stand still. For the first time, this set has now been released along with DVD footage of the concert and a documentary by Murray Lerner. After his mesmerising tour earlier this year, this is on the must have list.
Bon Iver – Blood Bank
After the release of the much lauded For Emma, Forever Ago, many wondered whether Bon Iver mainmain, Justin Vernon would be able to capture the beauty of his lovelorn debut. Blood Bank puts all those doubts to rest… The warmth of Vernon’s voice sits somewhere in the chest cavity and reverberates, longingly. Images of stacked up cups of blood, snow storms and secrets that fuck with your honour are pieced together to create a song that sweeps you away. Breaking up has never sounded so good…
Lenore Kandel, shining light of the San Francisco poetry scene, author of the notorious, The Love Book has died aged 77. The Love Book, a small pamphlett made up of four poems, was seized by police in 1966 as hard-core pornography and book sellers were arrested for its sale. It was often said, Kandel saw the world with ‘peyote-visioned eyes’ and her work sought to translate these visions. A student of Zen, immortalised as Romana Schwarz in Kerouac’s Big Sur, her words continue to light up the minds of all who read them.
Here’s an excerpt from God/Love Poem:
there are no ways of love but / beautiful /
I love you all of them
I love you / your cock in my hands
stirs like a bird
in my fingers
as you swell and grow hard in my hand
forcing my fingers open
with your rigid strength
you are beautiful / you are beautiful
you are a hundred times beautiful
I stroke you with my loving hands
pink-nailed long fingers
I caress you
I adore you
my finger-tips… my palms…
your cock rises and throbs in my hands
a revelation / as Aphrodite knew it
(read the complete poem and other poems by Lenore Kandel)
There are many new films being made charting the life of The Beats at present (Ferlinghetti & Ginsberg’s Karma are two I have blogged about before). This latest film, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur is one that I am eagerly anticipating.
One Fast Move takes us back to Ferlinghetti’s cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur as well as many of Kerouac’s San Franciscan and New York City haunts. Written in the aftermath of On the Road, Big Sur is a haunting epic, charting Kerouac’s own slide into tortured self-doubt, depression and alcoloholism. Big Sur is compelling in it’s ravaged beauty.
One Fast Move is told in voice over by actor and Kerouac interpreter, John Ventimiglia (The Sopranos) as well as through the refelections and musings of Beat originals, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Joyce Johnson & Carolyn Cassady as well as many of the writers, artists and musicians who have been transformed by Kerouac’s lyrical gift: Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Robert Hunter & Aram Saroyan.
And to top it all off, the soundtrack has been composed byJay Farrar (Son Volt) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), with all of the lyrics taken directly from the pages of the orignial novel.
You can watch a trailer and listen to sample of the soundtrack on the website. So for all you Kerouac devotees and Beat followers, this film is bound to put a smile on your face.