By: Doc Jeffurious Higgason
Artist: Thurston Moore
Album: Rock N Roll Consciousness
There exists a universe in which music stills flows organically from the hands of the creator into the waiting ears of fans. A place where music is still intrinsically a language that can not only be spoken but also unspoken by all and more or less universally understood. There is a place where music is ingested not only through a pair of ears, but also through the heart and soul. Occasionally “messages” will escape from this realm and will punch through the encircling mundane boundaries of our own as a reminder that music in essence is a cosmic magic and not some sort of frivolous novelty. I am very happy to tell you that Thurston Moore’s Rock N Roll Consciousness has arrived from that place.
On Rock N Roll Consciousness, Moore once again confirms his place within the pool of talent that made up the NYC “No Wave” art and indie rock scene of the early 1980s alongside Kim Gordon, Lee Renaldo and Steve Shelley as the seminal indie darlings Sonic Youth. It also demonstrates why exactly he is one of the forebears of the grunge and alternative music scenes of the 1990s. While Sonic Youth is still officially on hiatus, Thurston Moore has still been writing and recording.
Guitarist James Sedwards, My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe, and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley return from 2014’s The Best Day to provide a brilliant supporting foundation for Moore’s passive-aggressive trippy bliss on Rock N Roll Consciousness. The opening track “Exalted” spreads out the light of the entire album in a sort of Genesis-type (Genesis as in,”In the beginning, not the band) sunrise; the guitars join in arpeggio and then unfold into a stoner rock Raga out of the fifth-dimension as Moore sings in his trademark single tonal voice.
“She is the future and a prophetess…”
The song “Cusp” feels like a rapid rover ride across an dusty alien landscape to leave to you in the capable embrace of fluctuating and dynamic “Turn On”, where Moore tunes in upon your particular frequency and tells you about it.
“I come believing in your light. A sweet receiver in your mind. I turn it up all the way. To hear you come and save the day.”
“Turn On” recalls a taste of Sonic Youth but maintains itself as it’s own engine inside this machine, it is also my favorite track, as it exudes so many of the flavors in music that I love to lick on. A simple, steady, yet expansive jam. Insightful and mellow lyrics and a hint of Lou Reed! “Turn On” is the point in the album by which the listener is yanked across the transom into the pining love letter to New York City in the song “Smoke of Dreams”.
The concentrated power of Rock N Roll Consciousness concludes with the song “Aphrodite”, it closes the album as a wonderful example of how Moore and Sedwards explore parallel tonal dimensions on guitar respectfully as pilot and co-pilot; the final measures of the song playfully dance themselves away from you to the end, leaving the impression firmly intact. Rock N Roll Consciousness is an essential astral journey across Thurston Moore’s multifaceted musical universe.