“Damn These Shackles of Gravity!” is the title of the latest release from Portland’s DATURA BLUES – if we are counting correctly, their eleventy-hundredth release overall – and we are inclined to praise the strange, calming chaos of captivating inner-space rock contained within its two songs, alongside the sentiment expressed by the title.
If we define the “shackles of gravity” as all of the things that hold us back, that prevent us from reaching further, prevent us from extended exploration, the constraints – physical and mental – we both submit to and fall prey to, the triumph of the regressive, the dogma that weighs us down like so much ninety-eight-pound weaklings wearing million-pound Vans while attempting to traverse the face of Jupiter … then, yes, damn these shackles of gravity, indeed.
But then … gravity can be something more – something positive. Something that gives us the opportunity to stand upright. Something that keeps us close to the center of where we belong. In the words of writer, aviator and legendary psych-rock fan “Awesome” Antoine de Saint-Exupery “You could not liberate a stone if there were no law of gravity – for where will the stone go, once it is quarried?”
Listen: Something has kept us from orbiting too closely around Datura Blues – whose legacy of music and revolving membership and lack of gravity extends back to 1999 – until very recently. Now we are happily shackled to their shape-shifting soundscapes, and not to undermine the gravity of the situation, we have a lot of catching up to do. “Damn These Shackles of Gravity!” – soon to be released as a limited edition 7″ on marbled color vinyl – is a good place to start.
In the first thirty or so seconds, Datura Blues take us from calm waters to antsy synth stabs, after which their ambition is applauded by an imaginary audience, marking the core of their sound: the organic crest and crash of miniature waves of song, within an endless ocean of sonic possibility. It sounds something like the secular hymns of an alien race determined to outrun the gravity and ordinary expectations of their home planet in order to set up shop near Portland, Oregon, Earth, collect Guru Guru bootlegs and smuggle out schematics from the U.S. Air Force’s Special Projects Office, all in the service of providing you and I and The Apes with epic songs to listen to with the volume loud, the eyes closed. There’s also the occasional saxophone and wordless vocals. Shackling up and damning the past comes highly recommended.
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry, “Flight to Arras“