Dots the way I like it
Boy, if you could see me now. I’m writing this in the throes of a bad case of the flu following a back injury. I’m lying on the couch with a pain patch wrapped around my midsection, snortling (if it’s not a word, it should be) back something that I hope is just mucus. Lying to my left is a heavily medicated roommate who just had major knee surgery. He hobbles around on crutches when he’s not drooling and mumbling into the pages of a mystery novel. If we weren’t in our pajamas, we might be mistaken for the Rolling Stones.
It reminds me of when I was younger, and a few stepbrothers and I had to stay home from school with the chicken pox. Since television was usually limited to PBS in our house, we retreated dazed, defeated, and feeling nauseous into our rooms and lost ourselves in the weird music of the day. Our tastes varied, and we all fancied ourselves eclectic sorts, so the exercise presented a veritable grab bag of musical styles: metal, punk, New Wave, electronica, goth rock, precursors to the industrial genre …
I think that experience broadened my musical tastes, either because I was part of a captive audience and the alternative to listening actively was utter boredom, or because I genuinely loved being exposed to new and unfamiliar constructions of sound. Of course, it could have just been the meds.
Anyway, here I sit today, knocking back muscle relaxants and powerful hot-liquid flu medicine that tastes like a slurry of rancid raspberries, dirty nickels, and welding flux, thumbing through my music collection hoping that some approximation of that feeling of auditory discovery will come creeping back. But I think it gets harder to capture when you’re older — and harder still if you get paid to have opinions about music.
To regain that feeling, I could spend hours on the Internet, hunting down new tunes or asking friends for recommendations, or I could just take a shortcut and rediscover the genre-defying who are presented by The Process at
at (401 S. Guadalupe St.). On tour to celebrate their 30th anniversary and to promote a new album, LPD got under my skin a few years later than the chicken pox did. Formed in 1980 in London and transplanted to Amsterdam soon after, they didn’t come to my attention until the release of their 1990 psychedelic, goth-tinged album, (by then, the band had already released 10 full-length studio albums).
I fell in love with lead singer-songwrtiter Edward Ka-Spel’s characteristically dark, melancholic lyrical imagery captured in songs like “I Loved You in Your Tragic Beauty” and “The Death of Jack the Ripper,” and I was mesmerized by the band’s haunting, richly textured electronic soundscapes. (Band members have come and gone over the years, but Ka-Spel and original keyboardist Phil Knight remain core members of the Dots.)
For some reason, I never seriously ventured backward to the records before Every album that followed exceeded my expectations and opened doors to new paths of musical exploration. I’m hoping my music-hipster friends will forgive me this oversight, and I want to assure them that, in preparation for Friday’s show, I delved deep into the Dots’ back catalog. I liked what I found. (I’m sure my prescribed chemical regimen didn’t hurt.) Advance tickets for the 21-and-over show are $8 and are available at The Candyman Strings & Things (851 St. Michael’s Drive, 983-5906) and at www.corazonsantafe.com. Admission at the door is $12.
— Rob DeWalt