27 March 2005

Kahimi Karie's Drug Music


One theme stringing it's waves through my posts on An Idiot's Guide is the problems inherent in musics interrelationships with psychedelics, specifically the implicit idea that psychedelics are only ever experienced 1) lying on your back, eyes closed, saturated with dope or 2) doing 'big box, little box' Bod marching whilst wondering why everyone in the club is looking towards the DJ booth (clue: there never was anything to see, folks...)

It's with a nasty metallic taste in my mouth then that I figured it was time for Kahimi Karie, to my mind one of the best recent attempts to transmute the psychedelic experience through alchemical production techniques and inspired double guessing.

Habanera takes a liminal, slurred approach to Bizet's Carmen; blurring the edges with echoes, multi-tracked French sleaze and an orchestra that sounds like it's beginning to be sucked into another, very similar dimension. The track is surrealist in it's truest sense, a psychic automatism that never tries to push too far out, a compositional style that allows for reality while opening doors to other worlds; Max Ernst's children running scared of birds across the bridges of the Seine.


A track like this could easy dwell on ironical classicism or flip out into sucking chest wounds of noise and dead-end glitches. You can see how some would foster the original's steady impulsions into modulated mayhem Instead, understanding that the familiar can quickly turn into the unheimlich and thus send you away from cosy respectability to Red Windmills and bicyle chases; a musical equivalent of the spiced tweeness of Amelie or Delicatessen.

While others see bliss in indeterminism and jump-cut, Habanera is content to keep everything more or less together, enough that a casual listener might miss the siderreality, the lost moments, the bubbling undercurrents and the micro-melodies that dwell just under the surface.

Therein lies reason why Habanera is great music for mushrooms; it gives the sense of getting something extra, something gained (we all like free stuff, don't we?). It lets us kick back a little from the blase ho-humming of modern drug taking and it's associated Spotter's Guiding:

D'ya get demons?
Ya loads...
Three Christs already too. One without a beard.

How about everlasting eternity and a glimpse into the endless pulsing void?
Twice; you?

Just look at that guy... trailers are so 1991
It's embarassing... I mean, he must have taken less than 100g.
Lettin' the side down...
Big time; turn it up, I think I'm vibrating...

(SIGH)Here comes another one...

Listen and feel how Bizet must have felt; this version seems somehow a truer representation of how a late 1800s audience might have heard Carmen; steeped in exotica and longing and Theosophy.

No idea what the song's actually about - my French is about as shattered as my knees and no one could ever accuse me of over-researching my sources - but Habenera is an emotional time machine and, on this weekend above all, you ought to step inside.

Kahimi Karie - Habanera
a yousendit attempt so just press and go

Doctor Who was quite good wasn't it?

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