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Elemental Favourites

20 Jun

As a follow up to my previous post, I want to now outline my all time favourites bands, as I see them align to those four sacred elements. They fall in no particular order. I have in this case, included the Spirit Element.

Earth: My four Earth gods fell to ( or emerged from the depths!) of Earth at the end of the 1960’s. The bombastic brand of blues that Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham produced under its guise, Led Zeppelin, would seem to  influence more rock n roll bands than any other. The swagger and swoon of  Robert Plant, the immortal riffing of Jimmy Page, the versatile genius of John Paul-Jones and the destruction of John Bonham’s drumming are a tour-de-force of music. Emerging out of the earthen blues, it would be on their third outing simply called III that Earth would show its face in the Led’s music. A calm, folksiness, an ease off of the loud riffs, and mature heartfelt songs, deliver timeless classics like That’s The Way and Since I’ve Been Loving. This style, merged with the original blues style on their seminal album IV. No one in rock would ever forget that climb from Earth to Heaven on the timeless tune, Stairway to Heaven. But my personal favourite tune, one for the diehards, came on the next album Houses of The Holy: The Rain Song. Truly a majestic and elemental ballad, where all four members merged into one unforgettable song.

Personal Favourites: The Rain Song, Stairway to Heaven

Fire : The serpentine charisma of Jim Morrison lightens his band The Doors in an eternal flame. Morrison oozed sex, poetry and onstage shamanism, working his fans in a Dionysian frenzy. Dark lyrics, crooned over bluesy riffs from guitarist, Robbie Krieger. Ray Manzarek would signify the Doors sound with his carnival-like keyboard sounds, atop John Densmore’s kit work. The Doors produced both seminal pop songs ( Light my Fire)  , uneasy listening experiences like the Oedipodian The End and the manic When the Music’s Over. The latter song brooded apocalyptic as Morrison epitomised in song, the disgust of the Vietnam War, amongst the youth culture. His words hung heavy over a generation, like the Earth would explode in flame from the greed of the power hungry. And on the otherside of The Doors, was a man in love, a man wanting to be adored as more than rock star, a man who would inevitably self combust from the burdens of stardom.

Personal Favourites: L.A Woman, The End 

Air:  Air for the most part is unseen, mostly being felt amidst the turbulence of windy days. And like the enigmatic wind, Pink Floyd would soothe us and disturb us within a single sitting. Emerging from the progressive London scene of the late 1960’s, the Floyd were a band that became a beacon of strange and eerie sounds, both beautiful and confronting. Having songs that would reach up to 25 minutes, shows faith in their fans for hearing what they have to say. Listen to one such song, Echoes, not as a pop song with licks and chorus, but as a movement, a statement, akin to classical pieces. Be swept away by its poetic lyrics from bassist Roger Waters and the effervescence of David Gilmour’s Stratocaster. If I have a penultimate album to recommend to anyone its the Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon (Personal album review: It garners the word masterpiece and should be listened to meaningfully, as its ethereal sounds swirl across your mind and never leave you.

Personal Favourites: Echoes, Time, Entire DSOTM Album

Water: Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu said of water :

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”

The essentiality of water springs to mind what is essential to me musically. If I had to keep one discography and one only it would be that of The Beatles. Much has been written of the Fab Four (as has all of my other elemental bands) but my appreciation will be voiced here and now. The Beatles flow from Please, Please Me, with all its head wagging pop innocence, to the psychedelia of Revolver, the bravado of Sgt. Peppers right out to the mouth of the ocean, finishing serenely with Let It Be. A generation of people grew up, imitated and followed the Beatles, experiencing their journey alongside them. From do-wop (She Loves You), to intelligent love songs ( Michelle), to far out (Tomorrow Never Knows) and straight simple rock (Get Back). For me its the pure experessions of love and beauty that will always make me love The Beatles. Its their endeavour into eastern mysticism ( Listen to Harrisons Within You, Without You), that made me respect them. Its their humour and silliness that keeps me amused. It is a discography that is flawless, sustaining, enlivening, durable, soft and strong. And immortal.

Personal Favourites: Dear Prudence, Its All Too Much

Spirit: including spirit in this one had to happen. There is one band that lies beyond the visual, the conventional, breaking patterns and touching somewhere immaterial. Tool. They leave the listener with a feeling of surreality, like a hard drug, like a profound thought, like a deep meditation.  Amongst the heavy, advanced riffs from Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor, the layered, powerful drumming of Danny Carey is a  deep and powerful messaged delivered from singer Maynard James Keenan.

Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition leaving all these opportunities behind.

Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line.
Reaching out to embrace the random.
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.