Psychedelic science, Britpop, Dennis Franz
Last week, I read this profile of psychedelic research scientist Jason Wallach, by John Semley at Wired. Wallach used to show up on Hamilton’s Pharmacoepia, and I always thought, “who is this guy and why are we listening to him?” But he is a compelling case study of both privatized scientific research and the increasing cultural legitimization of altered states, for not just medical, but also recreational purposes.
Here’s a fine bootleg of John Fahey in 1968, playing some of his longer, more raga-esque compositions from the Vanguard era.
I was reminded by Steven Hyden’s ranking of Oasis songs at Uproxx of the 1998 b-side “Rockin’ Chair,” which at the moment seems to me like their best tune. I’m not sure why—perhaps an involuntary outcome of an adolescence in the ‘90s—but the sweet melodies and boneheaded lyrics of this ridiculous band remain permanently irresistible to me. “Oasis were bricklayers who eschewed nuance in favor of slathering noise on top of noise until it felt like downing a dozen pints at once.” That’s pretty much it.
The jazz pianist Mal Waldron’s birthday was last week, and I reread this survey of his career by Adam Shatz. His duets with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy are justly lauded—easiest to track down is Sempre Amore, a program of Duke Ellington compositions with grace and grit. But to really hear him do his thing, you might try the 1981 record What It Is (with Clifford Jordan, Cecil McBee, and a rare non-Mingus appearance by Dannie Richmond), which I was first hipped to in a post by Ethan Iverson.
Must have been a good year? The Criterion Collection has just added Brian de Palma’s 1981 masterpiece, Blow Out, which is Blow-Up for the ears rather than the eyes. Starring John Travolta, and with scene-stealing moments from Dennis Franz.
Time for a drink: here’s a brandy cocktail, with the imaginative name “Brandy Cocktail.” If you’ve ever picked up Peychaud’s bitters for Sazeracs and don’t know what else to do with it, this is the only thing I’ve come across worth repeating.