Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Perfect Hands

As I've said, the albums that became FSGBOC and Rodent To Rodent were recorded pretty much simultaneously from 1980 through 1983. In 1982 Arlene and I went to see Laurie Anderson in concert - we'd been introduced to her by downstairs neighbor ans fellow Rummie Bill Bergstrom.- and I was very much inspired by her minimalist approach. I decided to record a collection of songs that would be called The End of Medicine, in honor of Ms. Anderson's Big Science. Using my four track, the original plan was to improvise a series of short pieces that would include random noise, spoken word and off-the-cuff chord progressions. Bill, who was a big fan of all things experimental, was intrigued by the concept and offered his help (I remember recording a series of random drum and percussion tracks with Bill that were ultimately not used for anything). In theory I suppose what I should have come up with was a more controlled version of Le Bonx with an expanded instrumental palette. The project was never completed, but many of the pieces I recorded ended up on  to Rodent Rodent and a couple, "Perfect Hands"  and "Love and Concession",  found their way onto FSGBOC.

A vocal improvisation that quite obviously draws on my then-current romantic woes - the mystery of the disappearing lover - the lyrics are deceptively simple (one verse that is repeated with slight reordering of lines) accompanied by swooping, dreamy, almost woozy backing vocal arrangement.

(no chords)

Perfect hands touched my body
Perfect hands touched my face
Perfect hand are not forever
She and I are no longer together

Perfect hands touched my body
Perfect hands touched my face
She and I are no longer together
Perfect hands are not forever

I consider this song one of my most perfect creations - from concept to execution it stays absolutely true to my vision of it as a musical piece. It also very effectively expressed my sadness and confusion around the disappearance of my beautiful young girlfriend. By just turning on the tape recorder and singing the first thing that came to mind I managed to bypass any internal editors that would have prevented me from getting to the core of my feelings. Things were going to get a lot more complicated, but this song successively captures a moment of romantic uncertainty in a pure and more-or-less innocent state.

("Perfect Hands" is currently available as a digital download on Bandcamp)