INTO THE VOID… NO SUCH THING
Face Pollution. Played on the radio this morning by Mary Anne Hobbs… emotional stuff, can’t explain why this one did it. Other Soundgarden tracks have been played in the two days since we heard the news, and Chris Cornell has been an ever-present thought. Not every track affects you, but the fact that one of them – any of them – pulls out a physical response tells you that yes, this band or artist is one of the ones that really matters. You knew that anyway. But a shock loss means you know it in a different way now.
Soundgarden. A truly rare band, a truly SPECIAL band, and if you got them…well, they got you, and this is why we’re all a little fucking knocked this week. Chris Cornell died?
The music that that band made was almost too good. By far the most inventive of the scene they sparked, their records are flawless, beguiling, hypnotic and untouchable. Loud Love was my first exposure, when the video was on Raw Power (legendary small-hours TV, aka Power Hour/Raw Power/Raw/Noisy Mothers) and its sticky, gluey, dank heaviness part-crawled/part-raged from the screen. It was a new sound. Louder Than Love became the initiation record, and that’s when the Soundgarden fandom started, some 27 years ago. No wonder Face Pollution did a bit of a number on me this morning.
But this week, it’s been the less familiar and the non-Soundgarden that’s crept into play as a tribute. Music that’s a little less long-standing as far as personal music history goes – Echo of Miles, Cornell’s Carry On, Audioslave’s Revelations – but, having said that, here are two exceptional tracks that DO go way back….one familiar, one maybe less so:
Nowhere But You: this B-side from the Can’t Change Me single says everything about Cornell the musician, songwriter, lyricist and arranger, playing with a painter’s vision. Stripped, haunting, intense – hear it here.
Seasons: from the Singles soundtrack (expanded 25th anniversary version out yesterday… timing?). Remind yourself, and while you’re at it, marvel again at both voice and band in Soundgarden’s Birth Ritual.
Check BBC 6 Music for Cornell specials at 1am and at 6pm (Tom Robinson Mow Playing) on Sunday 21st May, #Cornell6Music
Not much more to say, still blindsided by the strangeness of it all but let’s hope, for the sake of Cornell’s family, that his departure was accidental. It seems hard to believe there was clear-minded intent.
The last words go to Perry Farrell, who said it best:
“A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul #ChrisCornell has flown into the black hole sun”
A shining voice in music. Damn right.
image from everyrecordtellsastory