Back in the 1990s, I discovered the gentle, beautiful guitar stylings of John Fahey. Introduced to his best records, it was hard for me to deny that his music was anything less than a special joy, a fragile little secret only a select few knew. I hate obscurist-types, but I must confess to having suffered from such afflictions. Of course, addicts and people with problems have a way of finding those who will feed such afflictions, and as such I happened to be enticed by the shiny "super-limited edition" sign at a lovely little store called 33 Degrees. The record advertised was entitled The Mill Pond, by my new discovery, John Fahey. With disposable income in and a friendly demeanor that both disguised my snobbery and confounded yet charmed the posturing record store clerk, I purchased this double seven-inch delight. I left happy. I must admit I was a bit confounded by the music found in the record's grooves, as it certainly was not quite like my other Fahey records. I felt it had more in common with another band I'd recently discovered about the same time, Stars of the Lid. Droning, weird, and with odd vocals that sounded like a cross between Tibetan throat singing and an incoherent deranged homeless man's noises. It was beautiful, it was interesting, it was weird. I listened to it a few times, put it on cassette tape, and enjoyed it--never fraying in my preference of his older, more traditional records. I took pride in knowing that I was one of probably a thousand people in the world to actually possess and appreciate this record.
The record now sits, undisturbed, unheard, sandwiched peacefully between records by Unrest and Flying Saucer Attack, in what was once a box of Rolling Rock. I failed to remember that I owned it. 33 Degrees shut its doors a few years ago. John Fahey died. Life goes on. It happens that way. Important Records reissued this record on CD, packaged with a booklet of Fahey artwork, and once again the record is a limited edition release. I haven't bought the reissue yet. I may do so. WFMU had the EP on its blog a while back. I downloaded it. I coupled it with Ya Ho Wa 13's Penetration on iTunes. It segued seamlessly. It was good to hear it again. It's a beautiful record.
Listen To: "You Can't Cool Off In The Mill Pond, You Can Only Die"
Labels: important records, John Fahey, reviews f