Thursday, 14 July 2011

Premonition 13 – 13 (Review)

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As a lay Buddhist my world view is informed by principles which sometimes need a little explanation. One of these is the concept of permanence. Naturally, I do not impose to speak on behalf of all Buddhists, indeed as Buddhism has spread across as many cultures and territories such a feat would be impossible. Further, some of my explanation may not even gel with or be counter to the received orthodoxy. Nevertheless, I continue to dare to speak from this position. At the heart of Buddhism is a principle of impermanence. That is to say, the only permanency in this world is impermanency. This is neatly captured in the Western context when Benjamin Franklin uttered “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” In other words, everything changes, everything passes, we all exist, we all bear the suffering of existence and then we no longer exist.

Nevertheless, we strive for permanency. Look around at the buildings, monuments, cultures, languages we create, watch the fervour with which we defend certain traditions because to not do so would loose uncertainty upon our lives. We struggle to attain and then maintain wealth, position and knowledge. Although only in my thirties myself, I cannot help but to flash forward sometimes to an imagined death bed, to think upon whether I really need to do something, have something and so on. From the perspective of death, or impermanence, what we have and what we want have their significance redistributed.

Is there a flipside to this? An optimistic rendering? Although a full discussion lies outside of this entry, I would say, “Yes”. I would call the best that we can do at permanency, consistency. Consistency is no silver bullet possessing some kind of immutable goodness. After all we can be consistently bad, consistently abusive, consistently violent and consistently incompetent. However, consistency can be one of our great virtues as human, even as it is underscored by uncertainty. To be consistent requires deep reflection, compassion and an awareness of context, a sensitivity to the subtlety of the world around.

To me Scott Weinrich (St Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, etc) represents musical consistency. From an opening note, that one is listening to Wino is a certainty. His guitar tone, so warm and distorted and his style from lethargic doom to psychedelic dreamscapes and white hot burning lead freak outs are unmistakable. That is all there is to say, really about a new Wino release. If you like what he does, you will like this. This new opus is more a return to the direction of Spirit Caravan, albeit with a little more melodic psyche and sonic space between the instruments, than anything he has done recently. One can only hope for more of the psyched out optimism and mysticism of the caravan. So here is me waiting for the second Premonition 13 album.

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