Friday, October 19, 2012

Natural Life - All Music (USA, 1976)

We'll continue on with their discography with this record in which Bill Berg is no longer credited to percussion but is still doing the covers and artwork, which in this case are just stunning, with the mauve watercolours on the back particularly beautiful. The music is the same chamber-fusion with a light touch of flutes, soprano saxes for colour, etc. Let me introduce this with some fine a-propos words from our very own apps:

" Very melodic US jazz/fusion with some smooth sax work,delicate electric piano and ethereal bass lines not unlike the softer side of RETURN TO FOREVER."

Well said. Again, it boggles the mind that these records are so rare, not a cd reissue in sight, when the quality both of composition and of musicianship, are so utterly top-notch. And that, of course, is why I indulge in this bizarre and time-consuming hobby, it's a kind of community service to rip these old records for posterity, in the hopes posterity will respect the astounding work that went into them and give them a higher spot in the musical-quality scale of things than oh I don't know, the latest Britney Spears cd, perhaps. And for those like me who do believe we are heading towards a post-industrial world of blackouts and brownouts, it is quite imaginable that the manually-cranked record player may yet make a comeback, a hundred years from now, when electricity is sporadic, and people want to listen to this virtuosity from the past -- on the other hand, we are more likely to see manually-operated computers and cd players anyways if that comes to pass, so forget that fantasy.

I particularly love the last track, Elysian Fields, in which the musicians really pour their hearts out in their improvisations, with a gorgeous evocation of the paradisaical title. Why is music so tightly connected with emotions? As I said, it's the pre-eminent mystery of arts, because of the highly abstract nature of music. Is it a byproduct of the construction of the human mind? A byproduct of the necessity of creativity for intelligence? (Intelligence is half creativity, since solving new problems with old tools mandates that ability we describe as such.) Is it purely a social construct to foster strong groups in a shared enterprise? Is it possible to understand purely mathematically, in the terms I used earlier, for ex. as a simplicity of processing power in the auditory computing areas releasing a pleasurable sensation? Is it as some psychologists have discussed, a kind of pleasure-technology along the lines of a cheesecake, which doesn't exist in nature, has no greater purpose but is created solely for taste pleasures?  Let's first understand the delineation of the problem: The amount of time and energy some devote to music (such as [cough] some of us bloggers)  is such that it cries out for explanation in terms of how it must have enhanced the survival prospects for proto-humans. For sure music, as well as menopause, menstruation (both of which do not exist in almost all other animals with a couple of exceptions), homosexuality (which does exist in other animals), and the female orgasm, are the pre-eminent mysteries of human evolutionary theory. I will not mention the beautification of females as opposed to males (the reverse of what is seen in almost all other animals) since this is relatively well understood both in terms of the fact men must be choosy when they are so invested in their families and children (vs. other species in which the men donate their sperm and then abandon ship forever), and also of course the cultural effects of living for the most part in patriarchal society where powerful men are highly sought after as household heads. In this regard it's interesting to reflect on the fact that biologically in humans, both men are women are equally drab or equally beautiful (say, to a discerning chimpanzee it's hard to say who is more attractive), however, there is huge cultural pressure on females to improve their colours and looks. (Just think: why were women not born with bright red lips, not needing a lipstick industry?) Thus, the idea is that patriarchal society has not been around long enough to enhance the actual physical beauty of women. (And of course, I promise in a future post I will delve much deeper into these female evolutionary mysteries including the large mammary glands, female attractiveness, and female orgasm, probably much deeper than really necessary.)

Elysian Fields:


Tristan Stefan said...

Buddhabreath said...

Thanks again Tristan - I like this band and was unaware of them previously.


Anonymous said...


DoKtor Alphonzo said...

Have enjoyed all the Natural Life albums posted - always a treat to discover something new!
Many thanks indeed

Enlightenment said...

nice post

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these albums by Natural Life, I have never heard about them, they are so wonderful!


mattunes said...

Tristan, the link is broken. Would you please re-post this recording? Thanks!

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