Monday, May 21, 2007

Tanakh Liner Notes

Tanakh is an incredible band from Florence. I was lucky enough to write liner notes for two of their albums.

one, 'Ardent Fevers':

‘Ardent Fevers’ slipped its way into my pocket at some point after the show in Florence, in the thick of my stomach working through the pesto lasagna I ate hours earlier, while my liver filtered the “whatever you’re having I’ll have” in my cup, after the virus known as politics ruined my chances with the previously intrigued Croat at the bar, before the party on the balcony at Pietro’s flat became the balcony at Pietro’s flat where there was once a party and now only sunlight, a swarm of mosquitoes, me, nobody else, a few birds perched in mockery, and fulfillment remained, after three weeks of tour, and before another three. It made its way out of my pocket and into the car stereo when I just couldn’t bare Colin Blundstone, Kate Bush, or Amerie’s voices any longer – thereby committing three Cardinal sins in a row – because in a frenzied rush packing for tour I neglected the importance of collecting a thorough assortment of discs to get us through. I chose quality over quantity and sometimes the maxim does not hold true. You know, I remembered very little about that first interaction with Jesse Poe when he handed “it” to me and told me about the San Francisco literary mag he wrote for. I remembered less about Jesse when ‘Ardent Fevers’ didn’t make it out of the car stereo while Alex and I drove along the Friulian seashore stopping the car only for a brief walking stretch around the palace of Miramare where we weren’t sure, nor did we care, if we were watching the sky or the sea(so mira "to look" + mare "the sea" here equals "see" + "sighed") . Then, when we pulled into the Reeperbahn and parked the car to grab some gluwein at the Wienachtsmarkt and ride the ferris wheel overlooking the city before the gig, ‘Ardent Fevers’ paused once again when I shut the engine off and I continued to remember even less about the two guys from Tanakh it seems I may have met in another life. Finally, I successfully remembered nothing of the people (dare I say peers!) behind the disc still stuck in my car stereo at five am while I drove across the Oresund bridge before the sun came up, while it snowed into my headlights, after I just dropped Young-Ah off at the Copenhagen airport and headed back to Sweden to continue tour alone. A week later I was in Glasgow and confident that I had purged Tanakh down to a pure ethereal happening, unmanly magic, so I shot a humble email into what I assumed was the dark, that is to say the address markered on the cdr, yet not only was it answered, but it came back with a copious set of tangibles you’ll find listed somewhere in the credits within. Avoid the burden they imparted upon me if you can, listener! They’re gonna give you names, dates, places, and instrumental breakdowns of how this thing came to be. There may even be a way to contact someone involved. Don’t let boredom take you there! Don’t investigate this any further than you need to. What I mean is, to say that ‘Ardent Fevers’ is an album by a band named Tanakh is already more grounding than I care to stomach. Both the words ‘Ardent Fevers’ and ‘Tanakh’ will leave you as they left me within a listen or two. You will lose interest in what chords it was they played, what city they’re from, and how many tracks you’ve listened to so far. Unless you bite the apple like I did you should begin to doubt the existence of a “they” at all in time. I am meeting Jesse Poe at a bar to hand him these liner notes in exchange for a margarita today and I hope to never see him again. Wish me luck.
With you always,

two, 'Saunders Hollow':

Piecing together Tanakh from Manhattan places me somewhere elsewhere. With every new album I'm losing grasp on which direction they're hitting me from. If though, they've come here from Italy as Giovanni Da Verrazano did when he named our harbor Lago Margherita; and if they've come to me from Virginia where the Indians once spoke a similar Algonquin to the one once spoken here, the language wherein those first Italians were referred to as "The Salty People"; and if they apparently also now come to me from Saunders Hollow, the ancient bog in Old Lyme near the Connecticut River, the river that separates remnants of two continents that crashed into each other forming a part of Pangea that then refused to part ways when the rest of Europe went back across the Atlantic; if it's fair then that in light of my excusable disorientation I'm allowed an invokation of the homophonic sum of Lyme, salt, and Margherita that slurs out another homophone by the bottom of the glass throwing me into the Indian from India debate of samay, the art of ascribing ragas to certain times of the day, seasons, and holidays, I appeal to my divided Carnatic and Hindustani masters that samay has neglected to ascribe ragas according to place as well and hence renders Tanakh free to continue blanketing us across all senses. For this time of day, in this year, at this place, Tanakh makes music in concordance with whatever harmony we may chose to argue for or against. I love this band.

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