Author Topic: CUBE-E (Project of the Week for 6th of March)  (Read 237 times)

moleshow

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CUBE-E (Project of the Week for 6th of March)
« on: March 06, 2017, 09:01:11 am »
little note about this one- it'll be going for 2 weeks as opposed to the regular singular week. this is for 2 reasons. i don't want anyone to feel rushed, and i dont want to get to next December and end up with only like, singles to talk about. so we're trying out this! we'll see how it works. i would like to know what y'all think about it.

so, here we go! Cube-E: The History of American Music in 3 E-Z Pieces.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 12:08:51 pm by moleshow »
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moleshow

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 04:13:24 pm »
since i have a while to write this up but have a busy 2 week comin' up, i've decided that i'll do my review in 4 posts! they'll go as follows:

Buckaroo Blues, Black Barry, The Baby King, and how those 3 interact, and my thoughts on the project as a whole.

this would mean, of course, that this post is dedicated to talking about Buckaroo Blues!

---

the footage on the Equals E boxset was my first exposure to Cube-E as a whole. the Burning Love video was probably the first one i saw from it, but i'm not sure. while i found it pretty early on in my Dive Into Obsession, it clicked for me almost immediately. i like cowboys, i like The Residents, and i like things that leave me with an excited feeling with their eeriness. what struck me about it was that it was consistently and overwhelmingly beautiful. the glowing gazes of the Singing Resident and the dancers was, for the lack of a better word, perfect. the use of a minimalist stage setup is simply tasteful - a projected background and a fire. the viewer gets a feeling of peering in and viewing the group of cowboys simply sitting around a fire, paying no mind to their observer until they feel the need to do so.

the music, in all its MIDI glory, gave me chills. the transitions between songs was definitely something i took kindly to. the section flows seamlessly into itself. when there is a pause, it would seem that the Rz found the exact amount of time that was needed for it to feel right. it all plays very nicely together. i've heard that some people find the sound of MIDI to be cold or soulless, and i would have to disagree very strongly with that. the audio on  the saxaphone seems to be a Casio DH-100, which is a wacky looking instrument but the trenchcoat-sporting cowpoke made it work. i particularly enjoyed that during The Stampede, they went from that role to the role of the nester and back again.

when From the Plains to Mexico starts, the Singing Resident turns to us with a ghoulish, glowing smile with eyes to match. we are granted the privilege of hearing a short story - a little memory from the narrator. i like that this feeling carries on throughout. we are carried into the section with The Theme from Buckaroo Blues, with a peak of intensity residing in The Stampede (although it can be argued that The Stampede is only the peak of a suspenseful  and panicked energy, and that the real peak is in Saddle Sores.), and a gentle return to where we started.  but the slow return brings with it the song Bury Me Not, which brings out the strongest reaction in me from the whole section of the show. some of the things i adore about that cover are...

-when the other performers walk behind the Cowboy Cross of sorts in a sluggish and mournful way.
-how from the words "He moaned in pain, till over his head the shadows of death grew thick like lead." to "While the cowboys gathered to watch him die.", the cowboy in the cross position does a series of smooth, slow writhing motions and ends syncs with the Singing Resident to assume the cross pose once again.
-when the Singing Resident pulls the flowers out of his shirt (this always gave me chills).
-as the talking portion begins, the Singing Resident is beside the now-illuminated Cowboy Cross, almost as if presenting that image to us to observe, and then places the flowers on the ground.

it's really quite excellent.. the contrast between it and Saddle Sores, connected only by Cowboy Waltz (a track that lifts the mood set by the previous song) seems intentionally strange - we've heard nothing but stories of love, loss, terrible mishaps... and then we're met with idealized, imagined versions of lives lead by cowboys. it calls to mind the view of stereotypical cowboys shown in television and movies, and how someone could become convinced that the reality was anything like that. the cowboys all exert themselves with dances that are fairly silly, but they do so without shame; child-like wonder and awe have overtaken them!

of course, this playfulness wears them out, and they wind down. one pulls the campfire back as they sit around it with lowered heads. the trenchcoat cowboy closes off the section with The Theme from Buckaroo Blues (Reprise, giving Act 1 of Cube-E: The History of American Music in 3 E-Z Pieces a wonderful sense of symmetry.
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

CheerfulHypocrite

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 01:18:43 pm »
In 1698 doctor of physick Thomas Guidott popularised the waters of Bath, writing,  "A true and exact account of Sadlers Well, or, The new mineral-waters lately found out at Islington treating of its nature and virtues: together with an enumeration of the chiefest diseases which it is good for, and against which it may be used, and the manner and order of taking of it."

This still quite rural location became famous for both water and for music. More wells were dug and the exclusiveness of Sadler's Wells declined along with the quality of the entertainment provided. The clientele became, "vermin trained up to the gallows". By 1711, Sadler's Wells was characterized as "a nursery of debauchery."

By 1989, Saddlers Wells had a brief respite from the inevitable downward progress when the Residents visited before the departure of the Lilian Baylis Theatre. It was not a great time for Theatres. The Minister, Mister Luce, even answered questions about the ungreatness of the times in Parliament.


Quote from: Mister Vaz
To ask the Minister of Arts how many theatres he has visited in the last 12 months ; and if he will list them.

Quote from: Mister Luce

I have made 19 such visits since December 1988. In that month I visited the Apollo theatre, Shaftesbury avenue, and the Unity theatre, Liverpool.

In 1989 I have so far visited Sadlers Wells (on 18 January and 3 April) ;
the Old Vic (16 February) ;
the Royal National theatre (1 March) ;
the Tricycle theatre (8 March) ;
the Mercury theatre, Colchester (22 March) ;
the Derby Playhouse (25 April) ;
the Marlowe theatre, Canterbury (3 May) ;
the Theatre Royal, Norwich (8 June) ;
the Theatre Royal, Margate (30 June) ;
the Stephen Joseph theatre in the Round, Scarborough (12 July) ;
the Cricklade theatre, Romsey (14 July) ;
the Hawth theatre, Crawley (28 July) ;
the Theatre Royal, Newcastle (12 September) ;
the Theatre Royal, Brighton (27 October) ;
the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds (9 November) ;
and the Savoy theatre (28 November).

On 1 December I shall again visit the Unity theatre, Liverpool.

The Minister was not simply going to the Theatre for a night out. He was invited to each to hear why they should not have Arts Funding withdrawn. The list of Theatres provides a handy guide to what the Government hated about Culture.

The Unity Theatre, Liverpool,  was formed in the 1930s as the Merseyside Left Theatre. In 1944 it became the Merseyside Unity Theatre. It has maintained a radical and experimentalist theatre tradition. It is based in a converted Synagogue in Hope Place off Hope Street. The Minister was visiting because the Unity Theatre had put on some plays by Black Writers.

Liverpool does not have a great record with Black People; although, that may simply not be as true as the headline. It might well be an alternative fact of Black History in Liverpool. Take, for example, The Zong Massacre. The Gregson slave-trading syndicate, based in Liverpool, owned the Zong. As was common practice, they took out insurance on the lives of the slaves as cargo. 133 slaves were thrown overboard by the crew beginning on the 29 November 1781. In the resulting court case (Gregson v Gilbert (1783) 3 Doug. Kings Bench Matter 232) yielded the opinion:

Quote from: Earl of Mansfield
had no doubt, though it shocks one very much, that the Case of Slaves was the same as if Horses had been thrown over board ... The Question was, whether there was not an Absolute Necessity for throwing them over board to save the rest, [and] the Jury were of opinion there was ...

Lord Mansfield was very much interested in ensuring commercial law was upheld. The Insurers had argued that Captain Collingwood of the Zong had made "a Blunder and Mistake" in sailing beyond Jamaica; that the slaves had been killed so their owners could claim against the insurance premium; and that Collingwood did this because he did not want his first voyage as a slave ship captain to be unprofitable. The slaves were treated as property not people.

I had a ticket for Saddlers Wells. I could have gone. It was a present. I had stopped listening to music for a while. The world was in turmoil and it was not really possible to enjoy the world. My friends were invisible people. Even in Karlsruhe it was not possible. When I did begin to listen to Cube E: Live in Holland I realised I could have been in the audience but, once again, failed to accept a ticket from a friend. Sometimes people are practical in the moment and idiots in retrospect.

So, I manage to fantasise about what if I had been in the audience. The Netherlands are a marvellous place - what I have seen of them. I was told the night life and social scene was magnificent. Unfortunately, I was being practical. Which meant doing practical things and not enjoying myself. Which was fine. It made the fantasy all the more desirable.

The Buckaroo Blues and The King and Eye sections were marvellous. Solidly worthy and all of that. But it was the Middle Passage Black Barry that I really care for. The Zong navigated the Middle Passage which was the name for the eight to ten week journey across the Atlantic on slave ships. Maybe the Residents hate the Beatles because of Slavery. It would make sense. Black Barry crosses Buckaroo Blues and The King and Eye much like the Zong.

The King and Eye is a marvellous pun on The King and I the musical that took Yul Brynner to fame. Ironically, Brynner was also a UN Special Consultant on Refugees. The King and Eye is at two removes from the original story of Anna Leonowens, a widow with two young children, was invited to Siam by King Mongkut, who wanted her to teach his children and wives the English language and introduce them to British customs. Presumably, King Mongkut was immune to the British Idea of imposing a caste system onto the world; or, perhaps, Anna was a sultry woman touched by the Oriental. Her grandmother might well have been Indian - a faux pas on the part of her Grandfather. That kind of cultural shadow suggests The King and Eye owes more to the ideas of the Civil Rights Movement and the radical transformations of the 1960s than it does to adulation of Elvis Presley.

The King and Eye convinced me that the Residents hired an Elvis Impersonator to front the entire debacle. Not that I am decrying a debacle. Far from it. If I were imagining being in the Audience in Holland, a debacle would be the apotheosis of the performance. The Moment that the Narrator - the Ageing Impersonator - realises it is all over is the moment that the Beatles begin vomiting out their Scouse version of his class Blue Suede Shoes. At the other end of History to King George III, The King and Eye blunders into an ignoble death of another king. The end of The King and Eye section of The History Of American Music in Three E-Z Pieces is the perfect moment to begin to play Third Reich 'n' Roll making it the "End of History" in a Frances Fukiyama sort of way.

Buckaroo Blues is a bizzarely seductive foreshadowing of later storytelling works. The idea that MIDI music is somehow inferior fades with the first praire dog howls. There are hints of all sorts of cowboy poets from the New Mexican S. Omar Barker's  Buckaroo Ballads (1928) right through to Johnny Cash in Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie. The origins of Bury Me Not On The Lone Praire lie in the Sailors Song "The Sailor's Grave" or "The Ocean-Burial".

"The Ocean Burial" was written by E.H, Chapin in 1839, and put to music by George N.  Allen. As an adaption of "The Sailor's Grave" it not only connects the Prairie and the High Seas but the multiple sectarian factions that made America great by transporting slaves through the Middle Passage. The Sailor's Grave has several versions including some from Scotland which are anti-Irish and some from America which hint at the innovations that would be taken by the Cowboy Poets in getting to the lone prairies. The core of Buckaroo Blues is the kind of folk music that links working communities together.

In the delusional version of Cube-E there is little room for Buckaroo Blues as it simply sets the stage for the Middle Passage of Black Barry. It gives hints as to why the Residents hate the Beatles but not a full and expansive explanation. It simply ensures that the arrival of Black Barry is as radical as the arrival of Jazz was in the Dada Era between the last Imperial War of 1914-1922 and the first Liberal War of 1939-1948. History gets rewritten a lot. These may not be real wars or, indeed, accredited by actual historians.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Freddy "the Horsekisser"  Nietzsche, puts forward the fictional sayings of Zarathustra, whose namesake was the founder of Zoroastrianism. It also inspired the tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra  (Opus 30) by Richard Strauss. In the Delusional Version of Cube-E the whole of Black Barry is structured to begin with slave chants and end with an overture (Ober) that combines Autobahn by Kraftwerk with Also sprach Zarathustra  by Richard Strauss. Which then foreshadows the need to play Third Reich 'n' Roll after The King And Eye. It is a complicated delusion. The Autobahn hints and nods towards the late Philip Lithman while Also sprach Zarathustra hints at the turmoil and optimism of the 1960's. Even being told that Ober does not contain these tunes has no role in the delusion. The supposed twelve bar blues structure simply builds to a magnficient crescendo that proves everything is true.

On 3 January 1889 Friedrich Nietzsche kissed a horse. This was put down to tertiary syphillis but may have been manic depression. It was during this period his sister began to take control of his writings and Nietzsche became associated with the Hitlerian Fascism. The Horse Kissing Phase came after alleged brothelling - which may, or may not, have been with men or women. The Nietzschean argument that ideas of equality allowed slaves to overcome their own condition without hating themselves makes sense in Black Barry as the Middle Passage of Three E-Z Pieces. By denying the inherent inequality of people slaves acquired a method of escape. They create the new. Which is what Black Barry does. Freddy the Horsekisser went mad for the benefit of Black Barry.

Everything about The King And Eye that connects to Buckaroo Blues is created by Black Barry. The King is little more than a night soil gatherer elevated to monarchy by luck and transformed into an Impersonator of Black Barry or, perhaps, Elvis. The truly creative core of all three pieces is Black Barry. As lamented in Wonderful:

Quote
Life would be wonderful...
If our good friend Snakefinger
Hadn't had a heart attack
If we had a negro singer
Who could do some mellow rap

Everything seems to be about the immigrants - both voluntary and involuntary. Buckaroo Blues has wandering cowboys, Black Barry has people imprisoned by the ancestors of the Beatles and The King and Eye has the inevitable end of the King at the harsh hands of the Beatles. Which is really why the Residents hate the Beatles: Slavery.

The Unity Theatre is housed in a Synagogue. Which is where it arrived after being closed down by the Minister, Mister Luce. Take away the funding and they will disappear being the enduring theory of Arts under the Tories. Much like the Zong where the assumption was always that business could trump morality and people could be dumped overboard. For a century or two, the Beatles exported slavery to the Americas. Not personally. Then at the end of the 1950s, just as America was thundering into a tumult of Civil Rights and the starting of the final croakings of Slavery, the Beatles come along with a bunch of tunes they had stolen from Black Culture.

There is a rumour that, during the first Liberal War of 1939-1948, the Third Reich had two sets of powerful, directional, radio transmitters that transmitted Jazz. Not the anodyne, derivative  Jazz of the Master Race that was permitted within the Reich but Jazz with actual Negros and other Untermenshen. The two beams of transmission were rumoured to cross above Liverpool. Thus giving a powerful radio presence with subversive music over the City. Thus, the young Beatles would have been influenced - even prenatally - by the presence of Black Music. It might well be apocrypha; but the truth is Liverpool was always well supplied with music from America and the rest of the world through the Shipping trade. Perhaps the Beatles simply heard a lot of bootlegs.

Without a healthy hatred for the Beatles - dubbing them George Crawfish, John Crawfish, Paul Crawfish and Ringo Starfish - the Residents were always ready to summon the presence of Black Barry. Just as the Beatles were able to summon huge crowds to chant and swoon, somewhere the Residents had learned to summon demons of their own. Black Barry is that demon.

Before Ober Black Barry manages to live with a little bitty woman, in poverty with her big feet. Which led him towards a New Orleans. A feat repeated with the Loris Gréaud: Sculpt whose entire existence seems contingent upon the whims of a Voodoo Queen. Even in The Gospel Truth can be heard the rising tones of what might be the longest Shepard Tone experiment in history. By the time we get to Voodoo Queen everything from Church music to the erotic keyboard tappings of the likes of Little Richard. In stark contrast to Buckaroo Blues and The King And Eye - whose preoccupations are narrow by comparison - the story of Black Barry throbs with variety.

When What Am I Gonna Do sleazes into Organism it becomes apparent that Autobahn has been lifted. Not only Autobahn but a gamut of other tunes such as the theme to Born Free. This is not the same as the critique of the appropriation of Inuit culture in Eskimo this is North Louisiana's Phenomenal Pop Combo appropriating anything careless enough to stray within earshot. From Strauss to the Beatles to Partch, each moment slides yet one more musician into the mix. As if, in a single work, the Residents had decided to complete the American Composers Series. Perhaps the apparent presence of Autobahn was simply a sly nod to Snakefinger whose cover of The Model plundered Germany with equal facility.

And in doing so, the North Louisiana's Phenomenal Pop Combo summoned Black Barry the secret Vodoun deity behind all modern Western Music: from Blues to Jazz to Rap and back. Which is, to all intents and purposes, what the Residents achieve a survey of by the end of Ober. The History Of American Music is summarised in an eight note theme that recurs. When you listen to Third Reich 'n' Roll after hearing The History Of American Music In Three Easy Pieces then you hear the same motif sliding in and out of everything. Until, eventually, you hear whifflings of Vileness Fats and you realise the lesson that the old musicologist, Senada, had imparted to the Residents. At which point the overture of Ober becomes the retrospective culmination of the process begun in The Gospel Truth.

At this point the truth occurs: the whole of Black Barry has been the narration of the rise of something from deep within. Even Also Sprach Zarathustra becomes melded with that eight note motif and anything that follows will be merely a variation on silence.

When Black Barry ends there is a realisation that the whole of Cube-E continues the works of Stars & Hank Forever and George & James and, in some strange ways, completes the project without ever mentioning it to anybody. The History of American Music is part of the History of Black Music. Much as though American Composers might want to suppose an Exceptional American Identity, it is an illusion. Much like the uniqueness of the Beatles. There never were "Four Lads from Liverpool". There was always just mythopoesis. Which is what the Residents saw early on in their career. Which is where the idea that the Residents hate the Beatles comes from: the fact that making myths is hard work. Black Barry is an epic work of mythopoesis that constantly gives insight. It encapsulates the horrifying truth of the Zong Massacre: that slavery really did form the nation. Like it or not. It encapsulates the stunning truth that, History is not just about writing down a list of dates and people. It is about the accumulation of experiences - even if you have no idea who the people accumulating the experiences are.

The names of the people thrown overboard from the Zong are not, generally, believed to be recorded. When the Residents invoked Black Barry they were calling upon people more anonymous than themselves such as the Zong Cargo. The Cowboys of Buckaroo Blues and the King of The King and Eye have something of an identity. Whereas Black Barry was only accessible through the music that the Beatles has stolen. As a History, Cube-E bears as much thought as Third Reich And Roll. Which is, in a very perverse way, how the anonymity of the Residents connects them to the murdered slaves of the Zong: Anonymity.



« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 02:21:10 am by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.

moleshow

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 12:44:29 am »
the time has come for Black Barry.

this section of the show that, due to the fact that i had trouble understanding what it was and how to hear/see it, i neglected for quite a while. i can comfortably say that i have managed to overcome this. i can also comfortably say that the Equals E audio is the best for this section for a couple of reasons - the song Voodoo Queen isn't shortened and has a bit more personality because of that, it leaves in the screechy strangeness of the guitar on Engine 44 (i think thats the track with it?) as well as in New Orleans... little tweaks that make the section feel more honest. Live in Holland is plenty nice, but a little too polished.

The Gospel Truth is a wonderful beginning to the section. it starts with a repeating, sampled singing, with a tone that stands on the border of "crushingly mournful" and "hopeful". the instrumentation behind it rises as the 2nd section comes to life. a projected image of a tree, a field and a fence appears all at once. then, 3 figures in tattered clothes and glowing eyes (one of them bringing along a particularly familiar, ghoulish smile). they stand in a line, all very close to each other, moving wildly in a dance that we will, by the end of this section, come to recognize as one of worship. they rearrange their positions into a line where all 3 of them are fully visible to the audience - they reveal themselves while swinging from side to side, heads hanging.  then comes the sound of what seems to be children singing and rhythmic clapping sounds. the 3 figures on stage match this with what appears to be a game of patty-cake. they then step back in time with the music. they move in a stiff manner. very bizarre.

Shortnin' Bread rises up out of the track almost instantaneously. what i enjoy a fair bit about this is that the movement between tracks is so smooth and the dancing figures come toward each other as if they're being collectively drawn in against their own will. they reach out with desperation. they move between wild reaching motions and coordinated. my dear friend Horned Gramma described this track as being "like the winds of hell". i definitely agree. Black Barry feels like a sign on the side of the road as you travel toward your destination. and then we move into Fourty-Four, perhaps one of the greatest songs from The Residents. the narrator communicates an enraged, troubled tale of his life. his movements are wild, violent. but on a dime, he freezes in a pose each time he says "fourty-four" and resumes his desperate motions. he screams, begs to be freed from the number that simply will not let him be. the track ends, and they rearrange themselves once more.

Engine 44 is the track that splits Black Barry into two. i am not sure yet on what the theme seems to be with either of those is, but there is a different feeling in them. the figures are now arranged with their backs turned to the audiences as an increasingly chaotic tune plays. they simply swing lights, reminiscent of those used by the dancers during The Secret Seed for the Mole Show. then, all at once. it ends, they leave, and return for New Orleans. ghostly white hands are projected above them. the figures now wander drunkenly, perhaps limping, occasionally dancing or holding themselves together across the stage. they repeat the occasional dances of worship. two dancers wander off as the projection fades and Voodoo Queen begins. we will undoubtedly see them again. the Singing Resident is all alone. he tells no one all not to follow him and then begins a jaunty, bouncing dance. he almost seems to be luring in, inviting the ghostly figures in tattered dresses that arrive. with their shredded parasols, their movements can be best described as a haunting of the stage. they move in and out of sync, tormenting a frightened Singing Resident as they spin their parasols or spin themselves around the stage with dresses billowing. they briefly go down to the level of the figure that they seem to be tormenting before resuming their motions. one gives their victim a gift - a box. they step in unison as the track ends, uncontrolled organ winding down. the background light becomes pink, the ghosts stand stiller than they did before. What Am I Gonna Do begins. the tone is one of confusion dampening optimism. our Singing Resident is unsure of what to do with what he (?) has been given. the figures lower themselves to the ground. they all search for something "to believe in". this highlights the presence of religion in places where desperation comes down heavy and constantly. slaves were forced into identities and religions that were not their own. but they worked with what they had been given.

"Even if it ain't quite right, give me somethin' I can pretend. That might do me some good."

finally, through the open door of being willing to accept that which will give hope or create even the illusion of a light at the end of the tunnel, Organism begins. all figures leave the stage. fog rolls in before a pink background. the figures from the beginning of the act come out over, crossing white lights are projected. their hands are in a position of prayer. they are synchronized as the organ rings out. they drop to their knees. they praise, they pray, they worship. they make way for a tall, shadowy figure that drags itself forward. as the two worshipers leave the stage, it stands tall. a halo of sorts appears behind the black box-head (the box not unlike the one handed to the Singing Resident during Voodoo Queen), arms outstretched. two cowboys in tattered rags ride behind it. Buckaroo Blues and Black Barry have become one. a voice tells us in simple terms about the strange, god-like figure that has come before us.

"Two white horses, a-runnin' side by side."

"Me and my lord, we gonna take a ride."

through the suffering, desperation, confusion and torment of the section, salvation has appeared. it is vague, towering presence, but it is welcoming. it is loving. the voice tells us of the fact that this suffering has paved the way for a closer connection to their god. the image is one that strikes a certain chord for me. after the chaos and fear, the music with a terror and resentment that clings to the listener, that which is unknowable welcomes us.
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

eggoddleo

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 12:56:43 am »
All twins are connected, they say. Some twins are still born. Such is the case for unborn Presley, fated to become King of the Underworld while his brother became The King of Rock and Roll. Elvis said he felt connected to his brother. He also said that he felt as if a part of him died with his twin. Half of Elvis walked in the underworld while the other half walked among the mortal one. The loss of his brother imparted him with the gift to part the veils between this world and the next. We wouldn't have rock'n'roll as we know it without this gift. Of course, we wouldn't have it without Chuck Barry, either.

Even with two weeks to prepare for this piece, there is no way I can sum up my thoughts on Cube E in an orderly fashion. First you have  the evolution and devolution of musical motifs. The emergence of Also Sprach Zarathustra from the chaos of musical quotations in Ober is quite striking when you realize Elvis entered the spotlight to this very music. Then you have The Beatles reuniting him with his long lost brother to the tune of Blue Suede Shoes. Lets not forget the genius jumble of arrangements in Buckaroo Blues and Black Barry nor how the music of The Baby King seems to increase in sonority as the elderly Elvis impersonator's performance increases in confidence.

Secondly, you have the visual presentation of the performance. Small touches on the dancing cowboy's style of dress reveals an Eastern influence on Cube E revealing that the project is not only about reuniting the estranged siblings of black and white, country and blues, but of East and West too. You can even hear a slight Japanese influence on the music. Back on the topic of visual presentation, I'd have to say that Black Barry may be the most tasteful depiction of minstrelsy, tokenism and slavery ever rended by presumably Caucasian artists in the avant garde "tradition".

I'll gloss over how the procedure of thesis, antithesis and synthesis of Cube E mirrors a similar progression in God in 3 Persons and move onto my favorite moment of the 3 EZ pieces: What Am I Gonna Do into Organism. As someone who chooses to pretend rather than believe, the wavering sense of faith in these pieces speaks to me. I've always been taken by how these pieces are paired with the presentation and hefting of a black box. I think the blackness represents a blank slate. A perfect sky free from the imperfection of light. An empty canvas on which you can project all your hopes in dreams. It is the Big Unspeakable G. And to The Residents, I think that Unspeakable G sounds a lot like rock'n'roll.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 01:21:27 am by eggoddleo »
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moleshow

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 02:06:11 am »
unfortunately, i don't have as much to say about The Baby King. but i'll bring up what i find is notable.

the fact that it is all told  by an aging Elvis impersonator speaking to his children adds a couple of layers to a section about Elvis. the aspect of impersonating Elvis is fascinating. you have the aspect of the tradition of elevating a person beyond their personhood into a cluster of traits, and then into an idea. an individual is sucked dry of that which is not simple and then filled with air, ready to be filled with whatever and whoever wishes to fill the empty space for a period of time. they may not fit, they may leave open space, but they will try to fill it. our impersonator is aging and no longer trying to meet a desire of the culture, but still telling those who will not experience that phenomenon in the context of that specific person themselves.

the music in this section is just okay, in my opinion. it's so heavily visual and Live in Holland really disappoints with the addition of little "popping" noises to imitate old vinyl on it. i don't like it. (this is not to say that The King and Eye isn't great! i love their renditions of the songs, with the original concealing factors stripped away and the ugliness laid bare before the listener.)

but the Night Music version of Teddy Bear is desperate and depraved. the dancers entwine each other in a red string while our faux-Elvis holds it around his finger, observing. the dancers then become violent and entangled in their knotted string, unable to free themselves from that which they invited to hold them together. desire and disgust conflict so intensely, while the aspect of being unfortunately inseparable becomes visible. there is no resolution. the heart with the roses during Fool Such as I is lovely as well.

when the dancers get all their neon attire for Love Me Tender, it's enchanting. it's enhanced by the fact that the Elvis impersonator has shifted to mimic the tale he tells his children shortly after about The Baby, where he gets all old and fat. and dies. but our King has a snazzy belt and cape. he looks like a hero. he pleads to the audience, he begs, beseeches. for them to love him. to need him. after all, he is the King of Need, but always a Baby. the tune of Hound Dog is allowed to breathe fully as the lamp turns off. having shed the weight of the temporary identity's fate, our impersonator lightens the mood by dancing around a little with the puppets a little bit. it's precious and lighthearted. there is a similar childlike joy to his behavior that is also found in Buckaroo Blues' presentation of cowboys during Saddle Sores.

sort of touching, i'd say.
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

moleshow

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 02:14:38 am »
overall, the project seems unique in that it was their first endeavor in a primarily live performance that exists without referring back to a specific album or specific works from The Residents. it acknowledges that the American Composer series longed to be something more but never reached it. instead, it became something new. navigating disappointment and creating beauty from it is quintessentially Rz. Organism gives me just... the wettest eyes. the whole show is so, so beautiful.

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Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (6th of March): CUBE-E
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 12:37:41 pm »
OLD TALK ^
---
NEW TALK v

"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."