Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Music is my Lifehouse.

Music is my Lifehouse.

I was listening to a 9:50 minute instrumental version of "Baba O'Riley" off Pete Townshend's Lifehouse demos from the Lifehouse Chronicles collection (sadly out of print and impossible to find?) and was struck by the man's forward thinking approach to music. That synth loop that kicks off the tune is extended between the opening half of the tune and the crashing close. The minimalist repetition creates a sort of phantom zone state of mind so that when the guitar and drums comes slamming back in it's even more powerful than in the recorded version. I'm sure if I was hearing both the final take and this original demo for the first time at the same time my view would be different. And it's fascinating how in the demo the second half takes a cue from free jazz and just kind of careers all over the place instead of maintaining the heavy chug in the finished version.

Are you following any of this?

I guess I'm musing on this because I'm grappling with how difficult it can be to get excited about music these days. I'm not saying there's not a lot of stuff out there to like, and I certainly am in love with music still, but I wish I still had that fresh life or death excitement a song could bring to me in my formative years. And hearing this demo of an old Who song made me enjoy that song all over again, and resurfaced the joy I felt when I was 16 and really discovered the band and just CONSUMED everything of their I could find.

But back to Townshend's genius. So I'm listening to this demo, recorded in 1970, and damn if it doesn't sound even ahead of our time. Just terrific.

Also, this same set of demos has the original version of "Sister Disco." Written in 1970. Now that is visionary.


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