Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie - 'Cygnet Committee' & 'Memory Of A Free Festival' from Space Oddity (1969)

First off, I know the album is supposed to be called "David Bowie", but I like calling it "Space Oddity" because it sounds more that way. Bowie really wasn't that good at being a hippie. Space Oddity is a great album, but it is hardly a program for implementing utopian bliss, as it is far too snarky and pessimistic about human nature, the limits of reason and imposed mass morality. If anything, Bowie was always more gnostically attuned to the voice of the god within, to interior illumination, in the quest for freedom from fixity and from dictatorial or mob rule. 'Cygnet Committee' is an absolutely terrifying vision of a Totalitarian Hippie Regime created in the wake of successful revolution, and how if love and peace cannot be achieved through persuasion and logic, than it must come from mind control and genocide. Bowie was never a political revolutionary, and was deeply distrustful of any sort of mass uprising or groupthink, but BECAME a perpetual revolution of the self, constantly overthrowing and remaking successive incarnations, never remaining too sure, too set in right and wrong, in truth and falsity. The propensity of the Hippie Dream to fall back upon empty sloganeering and propaganda, privileging simple easy-to-remember high concepts over the difficult task of thinking through problems from many sides, of thinking that deeply ingrained practices can be easily re-educated out of people, ready or not, is completely at odds with Bowie's programme of listening to individual instinct and following that wherever it takes you, whether successful or not, no matter what family, friends or neighbors might think or say. What might be Bowie's paean to the pastoral bliss-out idylls of Sixties Freedom Culture, 'Memory Of A Free Festival', turns out to be a hail to the Venusian Contact, to the arrival of an extra-terrestrial culture and the promise of a world beyond the simply human, one broadened and transformed by Other Intelligences, where the Voice Of The Gods Within meets The Sun Machine, descending from above. This is about freedom from humanity, not freedom in humanity, and these things are very different

No comments:

Post a Comment