Monday, March 12, 2012

Song of the day

"Joseph Cornell", by The Clientele.

Joseph Cornell was an American artist best known for his "boxes", containers that he built himself then filled with, well, stuff. There are a few of them in the collection of the National Gallery in Canberra. You should check them out. I associate him with another American artist, Alexander Calder. They both made things that your uncle might have made. But whereas Calder's work is whimsical and inherently likeable, Cornell you could maybe have arguments with people about, along the lines of is this or is this not art. (Calling something art is like calling something jazz. The dividing line is both invisible and always moving.)

The Clientele are (or were, as might be suggested by their web site) a British pop group with a very distinctive, understated sound. All their songs are either in a minor key or feel like they are. The rain-refracted evening (or early morning) lights on the album cover of "Suburban Light" are about right.

Whatever may be the connection between the artist and this song, it says all that needs to be said, in two minutes and 24 seconds. How do they do that?