Monday, July 15, 2013

The Rain, The Park & Other Things

Joseph Cornell- Celestial Navigation c. 1958
It's raining today, an increasing rarity in Central Texas, and it's as good an excuse as any to post videos of the Clientele, a band with a well documented lyrical fascination with precipitation and a sound that conjures the soft explosions of opiatic daydreams on an overcast, rain-soaked day. The Clientele were probably the last band I felt passionate about, they lost me after their first couple of records when their sound started to veer more towards standard indie-pop fare, but for a period of several years they were quite magical indeed. And their preoccupation with Surrealism and specifically with Joseph Cornell added an additional attractive framework to their overall aesthetic, similar to the effect of early REM's Southern Gothic fascination.

On a recent trip to my hometown of Houston, Texas I had the pleasure of viewing several of Joseph Cornell's boxes at the wonderful Menil Collection which is right down the way from the Rothko Chapel (see pics after videos), easily my all time favorite area of Houston and where I received quite an education as a youth. The enchantment of those Cornell boxes, especially when viewed in person, finds a definite aural parallel in the sound of early Clientele.  In celebration of the rain I also couldn't resist including Scott Walker's "It's Raining Today".  After which we have a film by Larry Jordan (one time assistant to Cornell) inspired by Cornell which I first saw at an avant-garde cinema screening by the Austin Film Society and lastly a documentary on the man himself, Joseph Cornell. That should keep you busy for a spell on this rainy Monday!

If you are ever in Houston boy, don't argue, gamble or fight just do right and stop by the Menil and the Rothko Chapel, they are both beautiful and free. And speaking of beautiful and free, here's a live show of the Clientele for your listening pleasure.  Recorded on May 13, 2000 at the Notting Hill Arts Centre, London. This recording comes courtesy of good ol' Alistair of Unpopular/Tangents fame. I hope he and the band don't mind me posting this, if so just drop me a terse note, and our respective people can talk, you know "industry" style!

The Menil Collection

Inside Rothko Chapel

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