Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Vasant Rai / Collin Walcott / Paul McCandless / Glen Moore / Dilip Naik – Spring Flowers (USA, 1976)
Here's another record that should, like the previous entry, prove highly popular. This time we are dealing with eastern music played by Vasant Rai, who is the composer for all tracks, backed up with such jazz luminaries as Colin Walcott and the amazing Oregonian Paul McCandless, the prime reason I bought this record. Also I really loved the cover, which is odd but quite surreally gorgeous in that typical mid-seventies lsd-drippy way. It's funny how that coleopteran, new-agey taste for sitar and indian music has dissipated in today's world -- is that good or bad? I believe those spring flowers of which these meditation-mad maniacs spoke are now merely dried up flowers crumbling into dust in the hands of those of us who are attempting to perpetuate this musical legacy somehow into the future. Will a delicate and beautiful, hard to appreciate album like German Iviron survive somehow into the coming upheavals of the future? With uncharacteristic pessimism I don't see it as possible, though I would love to have a heart-to-heart with one of those dandelion-common optimists who believe in our future techno-success extending into colonizing other planets and even galaxies. For my part every time I take my kids to the park with clearly marked "dogs must be leashed" signs and every five minutes someone laughs as their off-leash dog charges at my little ones and terrifies them, or every time I get in my car to drive to work and am cut off after each mile by some idiot with no regard for anyone else, I find less and less reason to believe in humanity's future. As I've said so many times before, there are signs all around us that our society is on a breaking-down course at the moment, if one really cares to look instead of ostriching about: in the obvious financial senses, or socially, not just ecologically. Is it really possible to reform our old democracies so they are not all riddled with parasitic bureaucracies, bankers and lawyers who serve no purpose other than to drain money from ordinary people? On a global scale, can we really make enough food for the expected maximum population of 9-10 billion, when there is barely enough room to grow food for 7? Can we really hope to solve the climate change problem when there is such incredible pressure in India and China to modernize to middle class for all? I really really doubt it-- and that's only on the larger telescopic scale of things. Going down to the small scale microscopic it's even more bleak. Everywhere we look there is a reason to be worried.
A couple of years ago I mentioned one of the most shocking scientific arguments to take seriously for the more pessimistic outlook. For those who understand Bayes' Theorem, the application of probability to the question of why we are alive now, as opposed to a hundred, a thousand years ago, or the reverse: a hundred or a thousand years hence, is most likely due to the fact we are in the middle of a population bell curve. The conclusion is thus obvious. Of course this is a probability argument and thus impossible to properly quantify, depending on so many guessed-at variables. If one is certain humanity cannot go extinct, automatically you can't apply Bayes' Theorem to the question since it amounts to dividing by zero (though no biologist would make such a statement, since every single species must go extinct eventually or has gone extinct). And unfortunately-- Bayes' Theorem is so useful and practical you can't just ignore the actual argument... ( the doomsday argument of astrophysicist Brendon Carter)
Back to the music. From rateyourmusic's brief review: "Oregon meets India (again). Tastefully done. McCandless, as usual, can fit hit oboe playing seamlessly into any composition. "
Sample track, Spring Wind, featuring Paul's amazing playing on oboe:
at 5:57 PM Posted by Tristan Stefan