Dots the way I like it

Pasatiempo - - Sound Waves -

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

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