dimanche 11 septembre 2016

We are in the pre-world dark again

Jason Molina (Songs Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co.) est décédé le 16 mars 2013. J'ai un peu peur qu'il soit oublié. Est-ce que la postérité en parlera comme d'un grand songwriter, ou bien son oeuvre disparaîtra-t-elle avec ceux qui l'ont écouté?

Qui se souvient d'Amalgamated Sons of Rest? Album regroupant Jason Molina, Will Oldham et Alasdair Roberts, soit le casting de rêve pour l'amateur de folk que j'étais (et que je reste). Les chansons ont été enregistrées dans le Kentucky, dans la ferme de Paul Oldham (frère de Will, l'un des "Palace Brothers", donc). En 2001. Septembre 2001. 

J'ai déjà évoqué le 11 septembre dans ces colonnes (cf. L'amour par tous les temps), je laisse donc la parole à Alasdair Roberts. Il se souvient...

Suivent le magnifique morceau écrit par Jason Molina au lendemain du "9/11", ainsi que ses paroles.

The late Jason Molina and I had met a few times in England (when Jason was studying for a period in London) and in Scotland (Glasgow, where I lived then as now), after being introduced to one another by Will Oldham in late 1995. The recording session by Jason, Will, Will’s brother Paul and me was Jason’s idea originally. The prospect of working together with these musicians whose work I admired, and who were also cool people, was very exciting; so that’s how I found myself in Paul’s Kentucky farmhouse that historic weekend in 2001.

Of course, what made that weekend historic was certainly not this humble meeting of musical minds; rather, it was the fact that it coincided with the unanticipated and awful events of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center. I am convinced that my memory of that period has been heightened by this coincidence; I have a strong recollection of Jason, Will, Paul and me recording on the evening of 10th September. I remember the warm southern evening sunshine (a particular delight for one accustomed to Scottish autumn weather), streaming through the window and infusing everything in the room with a kind of preternatural glow, as we recorded a version of Owen Hand’s wonderful song ‘My Donal.’ Will was playing a Nord synth and singing, Paul was on drums, Jason played bass guitar and I was playing Paul’s bright blue Telecaster. I remember walking by the barns that evening and seeing row upon row of tobacco drying, shining golden and lovely in the twilight. But none of us was to know that that would be, in some sense, the last twilight of an old world.

Jason woke me at about 10am the following morning with the words: ‘Ali, you should come downstairs. Something really bad is happening.’ My initial thought was that perhaps someone in the household had been injured or had fallen seriously ill. And so I went downstairs to confront the new global reality. Most of the rest of the day was spent watching the television news in numbed disbelief; in the evening we dined and talked together with some other members of the Oldham family. And then it seemed that the only thing to do was to carry on as normal – to pour ourselves a large Highland Park each and to make rock and roll, like we were born to do. So that’s how this piece of music came about – it was a spontaneous response from Jason’s soul to the unimaginably terrible events of that day, and it was one in which he invited Will (on piano), Paul (on Nord synth), me (on bowed mountain dulcimer) and every listener to cast their own offering.

That's all
That's all
Look what it got us
That's all
Look what it got us
We're in the pre-world dark again
We're in the pre-world dark again
We can hear them ringing the rescue bells

It's like a tempest
Hear the bells
Then nothing
Take ten paces out across the stark black earth

Ocean's face, city's face
Are the deserts' faces
Looks like shipwrecks on the moon
The moon earth-bound in flames
Then the pre-world darkness again
Then the pre-world darkness again
Someone tell me how
How to bring it down
Of the blue gospel flame

Let it burn above us
Burn right through
The shadows on the red, white, and blue
And red, and red, red
Someone cast an offering
To the weeping wind
Someone cast an offering
To the weeping wind
[Ali, cast your offering]
[Paul, cast your offering]
[Will, cast your offering]
To the weeping wind
Call in the flames
Blue gospel flame
Where are the blue gospel flames?

Jason Molina ft. Will Oldham, Alasdair Roberts - September 11, 2001

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