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“Thank you, Mark”

July 3, 2009

The quote in the title is something that Dana Colley said after giving credits to the members of Orchestra Morphine on some show circulating through the internet about nine years ago. I think this show is still available on the HI-N-DRY website and I strongly recommend to buy it, it’s a fascinating recording.

I’ve choosen this quote because it expresses what I’m thinking today, the 10th anniversary of Mark Sandman’s passing. His music shaped me more than any other music I’m listening too. He had that idea of a unique sound, not to mention the great lyrics. It’s not easy to explain to someone who never listened to Morphine what this idea is about. It’s not even easy to explain it to people that had to hear quite a lot of Morphine the past ten (and more) years (many, many thanks to my family for their patience with my musical taste they call “a bit strange” from time to time :)…

There’s always something good about unique and innovative ideas: They make their way through time. Without a doubt, Mark died way too early. But his musical concept is still present today. Just have a look at Twinemen, A.K.A.C.O.D., Orchestra Morphine and many other artists and bands doing covers and claiming Marks musical ideas as a major influence for their own ideas.

I discoverd Morphine through a good friend of mine. He visited me after a travel to Canada somewhere in the late 90’s and had those records in his hand, just saying “Listen to this.” That fundamentally changed the way I was listening to music up to today. It was this mixture of blues, jazz, rock and poetry carried through a suprising soundscape of a 2-string slide bass, baritone saxophone and a straight and driving drum. Unfortunately I’ve never had the chance to see them live. We were about to see them in Brugge in July ’99, but that show never happened.

I’ve met a few people since that who found the Morphine sound and lyrics “so charmingly depressive”. But, hey, I’m not sure if they really listened… :) One thing I really like about the lyrics in Sandman songs is that there’s always something that spontaneously comes to your mind in certain situations. Here, it is to just say “Yes” (in terms of “get in your go-cart and go, little sister”).

A funny side-note regarding the lyrics: A few years ago I wrote my thesis about fortune in medieval Arthurian literature and after a busy day reading manuscripts, making notes und trying to understand the different concepts of fortune that can be found, I’ve put the B-Sides into my player and found myself laughing out loud, Mark summarizes them all in “Lucky Day”:

Now I’m down a little in fact I’m down a lot
I’m on a roller coaster ride that I can’t stop
My luck has changed but she’ll come back
That’s the beauty of a game of chance
I can’t loose forever but I’m doomed to try
Keep on hearing a voice inside
Players win and winners play, have a lucky day

There’s both the concept of being at almighty Fortune’s mercy and the concept of getting rid of her by using your own virtue condensed in a few lines while I was reading verse over verse to find a subtle phrase for it.

BTW, the version of “Lucky Day” found on the B-Sides is one of my favorites. The instrumental part preceeding these lines is incredibly powerfull and one of the most astonishing bits of music I’ve ever heard.

So, let me close with saying thanks too. Thanks to the folks at HI-N-DRY and the Mark Sandman Music Project for spreading a musical idea over years now, keeping up the memory of Mark Sandman and of course for the honest and good music they make. And thanks to Mark for giving his potion of uniqueness and sharing his thoughts and insights in an fascinating musical way. I’m looking forward to the first downloads on HI-N-DRY today featuring covers of Sandman songs, poetry and unreleased songs from the depths of the HI-N-DRY archive!

With mistakes yea mistakes and sudden inspirations
Edges corners explosions convections
All fast through a slow motion landscape

P.S.: The lyrics are copied from The Other Side, kudos to Ian Hadfield for keeping this site up!

One Comment
  1. July 23, 2009 4:22 pm

    Hi There,
    you may want to see this photos from the last concert of Morphine in Palestrina 1999 if you haven’t yet.


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