Saturday, May 30, 2009

Crazy Diamond

Very Important: In case you haven't heard Shine On You Crazy Diamond, don't think about reading this post. But, But. You can read this post while listening to it. Not hearing to it. Listening. Get the hint?

I have been listening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond since (which implies on repeat) last night and I actually thought of a story for that song. It primarily dwells upon an alien invasion which overpowered the one on Earth with their superior music. The face-off starts with the aliens challenging the earthlings with a lovely synthesizer sequence, followed by a painful and surreal guitar riff. It is as if they don’t want to subjugate us but simply can not help doing so. The regret in the music is almost tangible and you can feel it on your finger tips if you reach out for the vibrations. The guitar often cries.

There’s a strange console music (one generated by computer consoles) playing in the background all the time, signalling the arrival of someone far superior to us, both intellectually and technically. The paradox of having to do something without even wanting it in the first place is very well represented by the twin sounds of the weeping guitar and the haunting background score. The score is coming from somewhere far away. Light years away. Then there’s the sound of water flowing down in ripples (if you care to hear closely). Music, from primordial times, which has somehow been lost to senseless slapping of electronic guitars and electronica. The entire experience is not overbearing. It’s soothing. Mellow. The aliens finally arrive in their majestic spaceships.

There’s silence for a few seconds. Then we are challenged to combat by a guitar solo. A sign of power. One. Two. Three. Four. We reply to the challenge by intimidating them with the sounds of drums and an impoverished guitar sequence. The aliens call us to a jugalbandi session in order to win freedom and we accept, not realizing that the battle had been lost no sooner than it had begun. The jamming starts and we put up a tough fight. The war cry is oft repeated and put to good use by the extra terrestrials. Sometimes it’s them on top. Sometimes it’s us. Both giving each other the respect that is deserved, and commanded. But, in the end, they are all over us.

Why do we lose? The lyrics come to the rescue. The alien invasion respects the one here but confesses that it has degenerated beyond redemption and must be overcome. That is the only way out. It’s a submission that’s amalgamated with respect. Somewhat like the one between Porus and Alexander. Porus fought bravely and lost. But he was respected as a fellow king by Alexander. The guitar sequence just before the lyrics start almost talks to you and tells the story of a flawed genius. A genius whose tale had been lost in yellowed pages, none being able to tell fable from fact. The snigger just then might be us, still not ready to accept to what is staring right in our face. Hence, the inevitable downfall.

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun / Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky / Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light / And well, bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph, and sail on the steel breeze.

Come on you boy child, you winner and loser, come on you miner / For truth and delusion, and shine! / Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

The stand-off ends with them aliens going back in their spaceships to where they came from. The sound fades away into empty space, with the earthlings eventually accepting their submission with a blues number on a saxophone. It is only fitting that the less advanced of the civilization goes back to its African music roots and signs off with a saxophone sequence. We are done for here. Long love Martians!

So long, and thanks for all the music.


  1. this is not a fitting comment.. and after reading your post, i realize that even listening to it isnt enough. I will feel it (listen to it in solitude, not when i'm in a house full of people)..
    will comment after that.
    but whether my imagination agrees with yours or not, i like the way you felt the tactility of music. cheers to that

  2. Well its good to know that you are finally off to the floyds best works ( comfortably numb, wish you were here and the like are the worst works of floyd in my viewpoint). Dogs (from the album Animals) is still far better than Shine On, owing to the superior guitar play and more melodious and creative scales being employed. The story is a bit funny (for i know the real story behind the song :) ) but well its a democracy (in the wierdest terms) so its allowed. Good one then, keep up the creative mind-riffs.

  3. Zinque: When will you FEEL the song? I am waiting.

    Jezuz: Oh dont worry. I know that story alright. This one came to me under the influence of solitude and cigarette smoke. And if truth be told, I have never heard Comfortably Numb apart from the concerts and performances :| O I have a way of disliking all the hit numbers from any band. I always tend to go for the lesser known tracks. They seems like orphans, left to fend for themselves.

  4. Oh well yea, its the underdogs that have the highest level of details. The big guns are simply cut out for the crowd, verse verse chorus verse verse solo chorus, thats it. Boring. The line aboout the tracks being orphans is simply amazing, really true but I may just add - Orphans sore high, with a fewer alibi. :)