I have a friend named Kevin who lives in Pennsylvania. He’s one of those people I send mail to who actually sends mail back to me. I guess you’d call that a pen pal. Though we’ve never met, I consider him to be a good friend and one of the most fiercely original, creative people I’ve ever been lucky enough to come in contact with. When CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN was new he made me an insanely intricate collage book that was sort of a review and a response to the album as well as an exploration of the themes it opened up. I talked a bit about it in a progress report video some months back.
Kevin will usually write his impressions when I send him a new album, and it’s always fascinating to read what he has to say. The guy has a way of writing that just makes your brain split open in wonderment. Today I was surprised to find I had mail, and it was from Kevin. It was his “review” of the latest album as a two-sided piece of collage art.
On the front is the main event.
And there’s a cool homage to LOVE SONGS FOR NIHILISTS on the back, with some of the album’s actual physical packaging repurposed.
A transcription of what’s on the front, in case you have trouble following the text:
There is music you play when you need to see. Sounds that define vision. Johnny West’s new record, “Medium-Fi Music for Mentally Unstable Lovers”, is a magic periscope into the brilliance of the present. This is music of the now, peeled back like an orange, full of flavor, succulence, and dripping excess. It is clay in the fingers, a melody running across the electric strings and sprightly piano, imprinting itself into the required form, particles colliding and forming something new.
Perfect love casts out fear as we make ourselves willing to love someone for who they are. Yet, this by far is the hardest thing anyone has tried to do. It requires communication, the ability to speak the same language and connect through collision and reform, allowing evolution to smooth out a finish over time. This is the soundtrack. These are stories told to drips of water. Tales of woe, of heartbreak stolen. These are pictures, smells embracing the one who comes home. A door open. A sun appearing. A night not as long as expected. This is music for the hopeful.
I turn music on in an attempt to understand who I am and what I have to give to someone else. I hear my own narration in these songs, as if I am under my breath contemplating the next step. What is next? It doesn’t really matter as long as I possess vision, motivation, inspiration, and experience. A sound which accompanies the effort is the hidden treasure.
That is so fucking perfect for my life right now, I can’t even put it into words. Thanks for that, my friend.
Also, on a completely random note, I don’t know if anyone who reads this is at all familiar with male adult film star Randy Spears…but it occurred to me that he would be the perfect guy to take on the role of Charlie Sheen if they ever made a porn film parody of his current bizarre career flame-out.
I can see it so clearly. I think it’s the part Randy was born to play, and the legacy Charlie wants to leave behind for us all.