Culture Rover

#142 - Echolocation #6: The Needle and the Damage Undone

Lou Reed, "Waves of Fear"

Robert Quine's guitar solo caps this twisted celebration of paranoia that only Lou Reed could write. The song finds expansive ease, even transcendence, in crushing anxiety and downright bodily pain. Implosion becomes explosion; the ego hurls itself outward, escaping its own vortex of suffering. The distorted guitars create waves of space, forming the pulsating rhythm of the tune, an ocean of breathing that one struggles to surf.

Quine arrives at the end of the song, pokes holes in the balloon of terrible sensations that Reed has described. He rides the crest of overflowing feelings as they escape from the built-up pressure now unleashed.

His guitar is a needle. It jabs and stabs with a herky-jerky randomness that belies the absolute surgical control of Quine's fingers.

There is an expressivity borne of the guitarist's seeming inarticulateness. His inability to complete a flowing phrase becomes, amazingly, a new kind of phraseology. It says, in a new idiom, "reach out in the darkness," scratch and claw, poke and prod, gasp and grasp, cling and fling, until you can measure the levels of your sentience, your aliveness, your existence, your durability, your continuance.

7 March 2007

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