by David Lackner

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A: In The Well Of Eternal Living and Dying

David Lackner: Saxophones, Rhodes, Flute, Synthesisers, VO
Derek Vockins: Drums
Dominic Cipolla: Electric Bass and VO
Gabrielle Muller: Lyrics and Guidance

B: Music For Regular People

David Lackner: Synthesisers, Rhodes, Saxophone, Sampler
Dominic Cipolla: Electric Guitar and VO
Mikel Durlam: VO


released August 20, 2013

There needn't be a god to whom we pray, although there always is. But that detail will always remain ambiguous and relative, and it's not all that important anyway; the who or the what to which we pray. It's the Why. And the How. Praying is a practice. Praying is practice. Praying takes practice. As the age-old saying goes, practice makes perfect. And so, with practice comes perfection. The "comes" is critical to our understanding of "In the Well of Eternal Living and Dying." The coming, the moving toward. It is in the act of prayer that we find ourselves approaching a kind of perfection, and the practice of music is the most readily identifiable, acceptable, accessible and pleasurable example of this spiritual becoming that I can recall. "In the Well of Eternal Living and Dying" is far from perfect. And that is precisely what is so perfect about it. The sprawling side-long work on the A-side of this record is a prayer. It is a search for meaning by way of a direct sort of sonic stumbling. Slow learning, an unfolding of discovery. A raga. A story. A pacing (back and forth). A chant, trapped within the walls of the music's making. An image and a feeling. One of both infinite darkness and incomparable joy. A premeditated meditation, yes — there are rules. There are regulations… let's say that there are guidelines, although there is nothing exactly regular about them. "In the Well of Eternal Living and Dying" is measured. And we measure it in terms of what we can say about how the music is constructed. The form. Three tonal centers —b, e, and f# — and their oblong cycle of 42, 16, and 10 beats, respectively. It is about the instruments that appear, about what is actually there. The bass, unrelenting as it makes its way through the harmonic rotations. The woodwinds, Lackner's many varied voices, fluttering about the audible space, lines toppling over one another, chasing the story's plot, answering the unanswerable questions. The drums, while free of traditional phrasing, there to provide a rhythmic underpinning to center the music; the lynchpin to which the splaying improvisations are constantly tethered. And so the practice is certainly conditioned, but the function is not. And that function is the float above the strict form. By restating the original melody between each movement of improvisation, there is a grounding effect that reminds us of our starting point and guides us to further possibilities. But those endless possibilities are still confined to a finite set of inflections which provide an overarching coloring. Though Lackner has found himself within the prison of his own composition, he has also found the key to transcend it, and the solos tell the story. They beg the questions, and if they don't provide specific answers, they are there to show us that there is no limit to the amount of right ones available. Drifting through themes, melodies unfurling with an immediate grace, intertwining, twirling one another around the walls of the well, spiraling up and up, and then out. And so we wear headphones and try to recreate the experience. We place ourselves in a cage of stereo, bound between left and right channels, tied by cables, shackled to our couch. And we close our eyes, and we breath, and we practice the prayer. And we are free.

Music for Regular People" is not a prayer.
--Crawford Philleo


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