Luna – Lost In Space. “You know there’s something more, but you can’t give it a name”
So, towards the end of my time in the States, I go to go on this crazy, unexpected trip across the country. I was asked to help drive a car from Philadelphia to Santa Fe, a journey of some 2,000 miles. Once done, I was put on a plane back to New York, where I met my sister, with whom I travelled up to Cape Cod. Then I crossed over the Canadian border for a conference in Hamilton, Ontario. Back across the border after that, to Chicago, via Ann Arbor. Then a greyhound bus to San Francisco to see a college friend, and then finally another greyhound bus back to Philadelphia, in itself a 3,000 mile trip.
I hadn’t even expected to leave Philadelphia, apart from short trips out across the state. It was an odyssey that, thinking back I can hardly believe happened to me. A fortuitous series of events that I took in my stride and that just built up, one after the other, to make up the marathon it became.
Many memories along the way, but when I am linking it to music, the first place where it was significant was in Cape Cod, where I picked up a promo cassette copy of Luna’s Penthouse album. I knew of them from Dean Wareham’s time on Galaxie 500, so I was intrigued. And it was an album that stayed with me ever since.
Understated, simple songs with slightly fey lyrics, and sweet melodies that are almost catchy, but decide to fall apart before they really hit home. What really sold it to me was Dean Wareham’s guitar solos. Not showy, but fluid and ecstatic, like the rush to the head that comes when the whole world aligns into synergy while doing something completely normal and banal. How can this happen, this sudden awareness of pattern and meaning. both in life and in songs like Lost In Space?
The sense of the ineffable is so sweet to me. The depth of life is not to be spelled out, but to become aware of over time. Climb the mountain and then look back at the view. A confident comfort in the simple words of Mother Julian – all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
As much as it is the resonant drops of sound that peal out from Wareham’s guitar, underlying that is the reassuring presence of the bass and the ticking clock of the drums. While you are listening to the basic words, and hearing the guitar, your body is moving in unconscious rhythm to the bass, a swaying, a feeling that is like the movement of a boat over the waves.
Comfort music, even if I don’t know where I am or where I am going.