Not as difficult as reviews would have you believe.
keefrob | Yonkers, NY United States | 12/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album, while a departure from Happy/Sad and Goodbye And Hello, isn't as difficult as some people would have you believe (from reading 30-year-old reviews by people who just didn't get it and believing that those reviews are gospel without actually bothering to listen to the songs and figure them out first).For instance -- the first two songs (the first side on the original vinyl) are *not* free-form. "Lorca" has verses, and is based on a descending pattern in 5/4 where the minor key and the locrian mode on the same root are played off of each other throughout the first eight minutes of the song, in a droning mode. Nifty pun there -- "Lorca" with the locrian mode. It's not hard to follow once you figure out where the actual verses are, and once you do, it seems a lot shorter than it is."Anonymous Proposition" actually has a proper chord progression, but it sounds like the gestures moving from chord to chord are scripted (much like so called "freedom jazz" or "fire music"), so that the chord changes are implied. The scripted gestures happen in the voice as well. It's not hard to hear it, and once you figure it out, you will find that this song actually has verses too. The final three songs *do* continue in the "Happy/Sad" mode, with strummed chords, verses and choruses and hooks, so if you like that stuff, especially the wilder stuff like "Gypsy Woman" this might be up your alley.All in all -- don't believe the morgue files that tell you this album is "weird", "difficult", etc. Remember that the people who originally wrote those reviews didn't know how to comprehend the musical language that Buckley was speaking on the first side, what with "Lorca"'s polytonality and "Anonymous Proposition"'s gesture based structure. In fact this record would be a fine way to demonstrate how "fire music" or "freedom jazz" works and open up an entire new musical world for you ... and any record that has that sort of power is worth checking out."
An Acquired Taste
Clifford Hodge | Wisconsin | 03/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A CLIFFORD HODGE REVIEW Tim Buckley was an enormous talent, and it was inevitable that he would engage in bold experimentation after brilliant folk/pop work like GOODBYE AND HELLO. He had more art than he could contain, and it forces its way out in LORCA, a jazz-influenced album which sounds like an artist giving birth to his transcendental masterpiece without anesthesia. It defies categorization, but it may be said that if you like John Martyn's SOLID AIR, and INSIDE OUT, and Roy Harper's STORMCOCK, and you find yourself wanting to add those albums and square the sum, you might like LORCA. Try to imagine scat singing by the sleep-deprived, and you might get some idea of the moody, floating singing style Buckley uses. Some will find it to be brilliant, others dull, when pursued over the course of an entire LP. This is not what you call "accessible". In the case of an album like this, one can neither advise someone not to get it nor eagerly endorse it. If you are curious, which you probably are, you will have to check it out for yourself. It is a progressive, experimental, very complex personal album, and beyond that, too hard to describe - but in a good way. "
Named after the mysterious LORCA
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 02/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been so often stated, what LORCA is named after, I would only be restating the obvious, to bore you with going back into that whole story. Instead, the real story, is the music. Of all the Tim Buckley music i know, this is my favorite album. Like all the really great masterpieces of art, you don't "understand" the peice, you just experience it, live it, enjoy it. When i play this, I don't hear heroin visions, jazz singing, or abstract melodies that no one today would ever DREAM of singing. Perhaps unusual music is best approached, as one reviewer does, thru analysing the modality, chordal changes, melodic shapes, and so on. For me, that approach would be just like disecting a rose to understand why it's beautiful. This is music that is made from dreams and visions, not theories and analysis. A sociological view of the music, would catagorize it as an expression of the Los Angeles hippie era. But it's not hippy music. It has jazz like structure, but I can't say it's jazz. The lyrics might have some zen/beatnik, free verse properties, but that doesnt define what is happening with these songs. It inhabits its own world, speaks its own language, and leads you thru its own landscapes. When that kind of music appears, you just enjoy it. And there is so much here to enjoy, to remove you from this world, and take you to another world more peaceful, more mysterious, and more adventurous, than the one you probibly inhabit now. Does it really matter if he sang it or wrote it on opiods, and psychedelics? Does it really matter, that the recording technology might be limited, in providing technologically perfect sound out of your speakers? THE MUSIC IS THE THING. LORCA is the name of a planet, and the language, which the people on that planet speak. Except it isnt spoken, its sung. Its a planet of peace, of love, and of dreams. So, go ahead, lay out the money for this trip to LORCA. Now, if we could only sail there thru the stars, with the STARSAILOR supreme on a BLUE AFTERNOON, we'd have the complete trilogy."
Self-indulgence with only a hazy sense of a self
Lloyd J. Peasley | Australia | 03/24/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The sort of thing that happens when record-companies cede total artistic responsibility to their artists on the mistaken ground that said artists are geniuses and will only blossom when released from the shackling confines of company dictates. A bloated, inconsequential mess of an album that cried out for a producer with the ears and balls to denounce it as rot and start all over again with a fresh batch of songs and a complete change in attitude on Buckley's part. But no, they went ahead with it, rock musicians were the new avant-garde and the pioneers of a new world, and how could any would-be progressive record-company try to withstand the winds of the coming Aquarian Age?
So we have five....er.....rambles in which Buckley lethargically and numbly plods over a few chords in the fond hope that repetition will lead to significance of some sort or other. Every now and then he lets out a yelp or bray to indicate his "experimental" aspirations. At around eight minutes or so the "songs" are faded out purely due to the time-constraints of the long-playing record: there is nothing inevitable or organic about the endings - they could just as easily have ended at three minutes or thirty. Fred Neil's influence is at its most deleterious here; the sense of futility and ennui is real fin-de-siecle stuff but without the sense of exotic decadence that that term connotes. It's just boring. Only "Drifting" gives off any sense of movement, however desultory, and it's no coincidence that that track sounds most like something from the far more disciplined "Happy Sad" album.
To be fair to Buckley, he could still write great songs. Within months he'd recorded the vastly superior "Blue Afternoon" album for his new record company. Perhaps this was a sardonic parting gift to Elektra; keep his best new songs for the new company and leave all the refuse to the old one."