Song of the Week: “Spaceship” by Philip Glass & Robert Wilson

Repetitious songs ignite in me a deep urge toward habit & self-restriction, which can inversely/perversely prompt creativity. Bad examples smart like a nicked funny bone. Good ones leave you forgetting how to drive.

“Spaceship” from Einstein on the Beach delights with slight modulations that compound & subvert what first seems like incessant repetition, promising the possibility of transformation. Not an easy pill to swallow, usually, but this works. The piece is constantly surprising, & negates any tension I might bring to its listening, as it provides its own tensions, its own sense of rhythmic urgency, leaving just enough room for my wandering thoughts, absolved of desire & its forced relationships, as if trance were nothing more than the collapse of enervation by upshifting melody. It’s like sailing in a sea of rubber bands, constantly distending & relaxing. Here’s the birth of the universe experienced in just under a quarter of an hour. In the end, the spaceship’s light lasso sucks us skyward, where we’re terrorized operatically by numbers. This is what it’s like to flatline.

-Joe Pan

Joe Pan is not a yo-yo.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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