Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Drone Zone: Thurston Moore, "Elegy For All The Dead Rock Stars"

Like Sonic Youth? In the mood for frazzled, repetitive guitar noise? Got twenty minutes? Well, you're in for a treat. Thurston Moore's 1995 solo album Psychic Hearts came as a surprise—not because it's a solo effort; all the SYers are busy with various side projects. But most of Thurston's (and Lee's) extraband projects have been experimental free noise workouts. This, though, is a song album, with brief, punkish tracks about Yoko Ono and Patti Smith, and despite Thurston's singing and guitar, it doesn't really sound much like Sonic Youth. Until, that is, the last track, this 20-minute instrumental, which starts off with a simple, repeated strum that lasts for several minutes before gently reaching higher and higher and finally cascading down into a sonic abyss and back out to the stratosphere. It's tempting to see it as Thurston's tribute to Kurt Cobain, much like Neil Young's similarly elegiac and epic "Change Your Mind" from 1994, but nevermind. The track remains a gloriously spiritual use of the electric guitar, and is one of my very favorite pieces of music.

Thurston Moore, "Elegy For All The Dead Rock Stars":

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