Friday, January 16, 2009

Mark Kozelek Paints in Song

Picture yourself driving down a long road. Wide open landscape all around. Fields swaying to the slowly driving breeze that pushes you forward in your thoughts and sounds. Mark Kozelek takes me here every time I listen to his music. Sun Kil Moon does nothing to dispel my thoughts of Red House Painters, and I think that is the way it is supposed to be. After all, Kozelek is to Sun Kil Moon what he was to RHP, the singer, the writer, the band itself. His influence floods the songs of Sun Kil Moon's recent release April.

Kozelek does with his words and slow repeating guitar riffs what an artist does with his brush. Throwing words onto a canvas, Kozelek puts music to them in a way that creates shapes and images. It's as if the words had no choice but to one day link themselves with the guitar that chose them and vice versa. Without the other, they are useless. Like art, however, too much of the same thing can eventually become mundane. This is Kozelek's flaw. His music fits certain moods to perfection, but eventually you have to set it aside only to return the next time you need escape. Despite this tendency to become restless, Kozelek puts me in places that I otherwise would not have journeyed. A snow draped farm, an opaque ocean view, a lavender field. Intertwining the emotions of life in rich themes of landscape and place, Kozelek comes away with something that few ever accomplish; creating image from sound, music from words, and unique feelings of place where everyone feels close to home.

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