[midlife 150] #122: slowblow “hamburger cemetary”

June 30, 2010

Album cover for Slowblow by Slowblow

#122 Hamburger Cemetary by Slowblow, taken from Slowblow, 2004 [buy from Amazon.co.uk]

A song of extraordinary poignancy, Hamburger Cemetary [sic] reflects on a tragic, accidental death that could have been avoided had the protagonist only chosen to buy a hamburger instead of bullets.

The lyrics are in fact the first 209 words of So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away (download it here), a semi-autobiographical novel by American poet and writer Richard Brautigan, first published in 1982. Narrated by a 44 year-old man recalling the moment destiny took a wrong turn 32 years previously, it is a meditation on childhood, fate and the barriers to healing and reconciliation. It should be read.

The music closely follows the trajectory of the story. The imperfect, haunted, distant production of the song’s first three or so minutes match the lyric’s analysis of regret, of what could have been, before acceptance and resolution win over in a gloriously emotive closing section.

Slowblow are Icelandic duo Orri Jónsson and Dagur Kári; it might be ‘were’ rather than ‘are’ as since this release Paris-born Kári appears to have concentrated on his career as a film-maker. One wishes that he returns to recounting stories without script or camera soon.

This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.

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