Permalink for Comment #1313873932 by waxbanks

, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @TennesseeJed said:
Interesting contrast of Marshall and Hunter. @lumpblockclod, who wrote the song history for "Light", states that the inspiration for the song was "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Not exactly a book that I imagine Hunter would read. Hunter has many lyrics that reflect the same concept except Hunter emphasizes eastern enlightenment, or chemical induced transcendence. More along the lines of the book "Be Here Now" by Ram Dass.
My sense is that the 'Eastern' in 'Eastern enlightenment' is a merely historical term; there are non-Asian traditions that emphasize the radical other-directedness and self-dissolution of what's called 'transcendence,' within different practical frameworks. Hell, I seem to recall that there are radical psychotherapies aimed at self-dissolution, and it doesn't get any more Western than psychotherapy!

In any case, I'm given to understand that Tolle's book is meditation/consciousness alteration/ego dissolution/enlightenment stuff, and Marshall's titular 'light' is radical awareness of the gap between body/brain/mind and the projected/defensive/aspirational ego-Self. That's why 'Light' is such a perfect encapsulation of Phish's musical ethic/aesthetic: it's all about surrendering to a present without occluding time-sense or self-sense. Same with the 'hose.' Same with 'surrender to the flow.' Same with the oh kee pah ceremony. Same with the machinic minimalist clatter of Dave's Energy Guide, the head-clearing decentering circular structure of Bowie's second verse (what a gorgeous piece of musical construction), the dissonant-minor-to-blissful-major-release structure of Reba and Hood.

The songs are musical machines for altering consciousness by suspending self-consciousness. So few solos in Phish, so many four-handed 'jams'; that's the whole point. Not to be a note, but to join the chord, the chorus.

I don't think 'Dark Star' is lyrically profound; it's become something it wasn't through interpretation. It's nice, but somewhat Marshallese. But the music's structure - the rhythm flexible enough to accommodate slow 4/4, quick 6/8, swing, rock; the simple modal jam allowing the band to sway between chord pairings and implied progressions, to build relieving cadences almost anywhere along the chordal circle - is perfect for dissolving expectations. Playin' is the same kind of jam, versus (say) Morning Dew, which can only really go one place...


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