The Landslide Hook: Mahavishnu Orchestra, “Dawn” (1971)


I’m partly thinking “landslide” as in “political landslide”:  it’s as though everyone is finally going over to the position that really must be taken.  There’s been a build-up of fascination with X, of doubting the alternatives to X, of rubbing shoulders with others eyeing X, and this attraction as mere potential has become so urgent, so irritating even, that when something finally gives way, some fence falls over, we all run madly in that direction along with our kids and dogs, dadedadadiddly dadedadadiddly dadadiddly, pausing every twenty yards or so to join hands and rhythmically confirm we’re together in our surge, doon-DAH-doon, while the  earth rumbles encouragingly beneath us (as it may have rumbled in Tahrir Square).

That was fun!  What I’ve just written makes sense only on the basis of Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Dawn”—specifically the transition from its ever-more-loudly beautiful slow first section to its joyous-riotous middle section, 36 seconds into this clip:

“Dawn”

Fat chance I’ll ever be put in charge of an election victory party, but this is what I’d play.

[Do you see the person in the landslide?]

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About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College
This entry was posted in Arrangements and Sounds, Rock Aesthetics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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