Meer-dan-drie-akkoorden-song du jour: The Sleepwalkers

Ik geef het toe: ik haat progrock. Niets werkt me meer op de zenuwen dan rockmusici die denken de reïncarnatie van Beethoven te zijn, of gitaristen die Hendrix imiteren, maar nog niet over de helft van zijn talent beschikken. Op elke regel zijn natuurlijk uitzonderingen. In dit geval is Van Der Graaf (Generator) de uitzondering, al is dat dan volgens sommigen weer geen progrock. Geen doodsaaie gitaarsolo’s, geen gedoe over sneeuwganzen of elfjes en bovenal: geen technische krachtpatserij om een gebrek aan substantie te verhullen (are you there, Keith Emerson?). In plaats daarvan een originele instrumentatie met orgel en sax op de voorgrond en Peter Hammil’s donkere teksten over dood, verval en het verlies van onschuld. The Sleepwalkers is afkomstig van een van hun beste – en tevens meest toegankelijke – albums, Godbluff.  Zeer aanbevolen, evenals de wat meer experimentele voorganger Pawn Hearts.

At night, this mindless army, ranks unbroken by dissent,
Is moved into action and their pace does not relent.
In step, with great precision, these dancers of the night
Advance against the darkness. How implacable their might!
Eyes un-dulled by moon, their arms and legs akimbo,
They walk and live, hoping soon to surface from this limbo.
Their minds, anticipating the dawn of the day,
Shall never know what’s waiting mere insight away.
Too far, too soon.

Senses dimmed in semi-sentience, only wheeling through this plane,
Only seeing fragmented images prematurely curtailed by the brain,
But breathing, living, knowing in some measure at least
The soul which roots the matter of both Beauty and the Beast.
From what tooth or claw does murder spring,
From what flesh and blood does passion?
Both cut through the air with the pendulum’s swing
In deadly but delicate fashion.
And every range of feeling is there in the dream
And every logic’s reeling in the force of the scream
The senses sting.
And though I may be dreaming and reality stalls
I only know the meaning of sight and that’s all
And that’s nothing.

The columns of the night advance,
Infectiously, their cryptic dance
Gathers converts to the fold –
In time the whole raw world
Will pace these same steps on
Into the same bitter end.

Somnolent muster now the dancing dead
Forsake the shelter of their secure beds,
Awaken to a slumber whose depths they dread,
As if the ground they tread
Would give way
Beneath the solemn weight of their conception.
I’d search the hidden corners of all this world,
Make reason of the sensory whorl
If I only had time,
But soon the dream is ended.

Tonight, before you lay down to the sweetness of your sleep
Do you question your surrender to the drop from Lover’s Leap
Or does the anaesthetic darkness take hold on its very own?
Does your body rise in service with not one dissenting groan?
These waking dreams of life and death
In the mirror are twisted and buckled,
Lashes flicker, a catch of breath,
Skin whitening at the knuckles.
The army of sleepwalkers shake their limbs and are loose
And though I am a talker, I can phrase no excuse
Not to rise again.
In the chorus of the nighttime I belong
And I, like you, must dance to that moonlight song
And in the end I too must pay the cost of this life.
If all is lost none is known
And how could we lose what we’ve never owned?
Oh, I’d search out every knowledge that I could find,
Unravel all the mysteries of mind,
If I only had time,
If I only had time,
But soon my time is ended.