Loren Connors – As Roses Bow: Collected Airs 1992-2002

lorenFirst off, I’ve got to say that you motherfucking audiophiliacs are absurd. “What did you just fucking call me?” Please, allow me to explain. Some think of the word “absurd” synonymically with strange, bizarre, or—more to the point—fucked up. I don’t. I love the word. I see it as a compliment. I wear the locution like a badge of honour alongside motherfuckers like Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, and Albert Camus. If I were trying to act normal in a world that seems driven by a thoroughly inebriated and blind bus driver with a death wish, that would be some seriously fucked up behaviour. After I posted that I’d be taking time off cause a doc said the one c-word you don’t want to hear in regard to your family, you gorgeous beasts reached out to support me. Like Don Quixote took to the windmill, you took to your keyboards. I was floored by this. I am floored. The floor and I are now one single being. It would be absurd to expect internet strangers to reach out across the void, to some other internet stranger, in their time of need. It’s not the way the world works. But you motherfuckers did it anyway. So the floor and I would like to thank you. Thank you for reaching out and inspiring me to continue on with this page. Thank you for acting uncommonly, unexpectedly, and strangely. Thank you for being absurdists. You are badass motherfuckers.

Now, onto the show.

Loren Mazzacane Connors plays guitar like smoke rises from a stick of incense, or wind blows through trees, or fog slowly crawls through cobblestone streets. It’s the soundtrack to late night existential talks, Sunday evenings as the sun sets, or those deep contemplative thoughts on the absurdity of kindness in a dog-eat-dog world. Sure, lots of guitarists can play chill. But nobody does it like Loren. His playing is so personal it feels like you’re inside his skull reading the inside of his eyelids. You sense the pace of his breathing. You feel the calm percussion of his heartbeat. Many of his songs can have a sombre feel, but they’re so open and free in style that you can’t help but throw a smile in there alongside a thousand-yard stare. And technique as much as you fucking want. To play like this you’ve got to know some shit. You’ve got to have lived. In short, you have to understand the Blues.

Check it. One day, back in the ’70s, a distinguished Blues historian named Dr. William Ferris was twirling his thumbs as he listened to some obscure recordings when he was suddenly taken aback by this one beautiful track. “What strange human could produce such seraphic notes?” he probably thought. He was listening to the Blues. But it was also something else. It swayed into, then unknown, genres like post-rock, ambient, or shoegaze. Dr. Ferris immediately took to the phone to call this heavenly creature and offer them a grant. And, no shit, this is the fucking truth, Loren was the janitor cleaning Dr. William Ferris’s office. Ya, Good Will Hunting was a pretty good movie, but this shit’s real. This story actually fucking happened.

Loren has released, and continues to release, over 50 albums. Get that? 50. And he’s not shovelling shittons of schlock either. Each one is uniquely beautiful. When I went to choose a favourite album, I simply picked the fattest one I could find. That’s it. The exalted John fucking Fahey even nicknamed the motherfucker “Robert”, which means a whole lot in the world of Blues. On Fahey’s final album there’s a track called “Red Cross, Disciple of Christ Today (for Guitar Roberts)” named after, and dedicated, to Loren. Dude is a living legend. He’s a guitar god. Yet, every time I listen to Loren play I don’t hear the glamour or the fame. I hear plucked tones floating slowly skyward, like sorrowful and thankful prayers, and spreading across this chaotic world. I hear personal trials and problems being hammered out by severely calloused fingered and made beautiful by vibrating strings. When you listen to Loren, you can hear his humanness. You hear his rawness. It tears down structures and clefs into their purest form possible until they’re no longer recognizable and classified as “standard”. Many even call this music strange, abstract, or absurd. And that’s just how I fucking like it.



 

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