30 April 2009


Photo by John Evans from the Dischord site.

I don't know about you but occasionally I find myself in the midst of a musical crisis, which is often coupled or symptomatic of a larger emotional, mental or spiritual crisis. In other words, I can't get the therapy I'm seeking from my existing collection of music. It is in times like these that I recently realized, I end up turning to one band, the one and only Lungfish.

I first found Lungfish in the early 1990s, as I was trying to expand my audio palate while also coming to terms with my mortality. I heard the song "Fill The Days," and was immediately hooked but it wasn't until a few years later that I would actually get my hands on a physical disc containing Lungfish music, arranged in some magnetic form or another that would eventually pierce my mind and take me on a never-ending/ never started journey. "Ten thousand years pass in a week."

The sceptical music critic insists that Lungfish is largely repetitive, drone-like, regressive music played by four white males in the traditional rock format of bass, drums, guitar and vocals while bringing nothing new to the table. While that is true, it is also true that Lungfish have spent over twenty years and eighteen albums writing the same song but holy Christ-Beast, as a long-time Lungfish fan and production collaborator Ian Mackaye once said, "What a song."

I can dwell on life's impermanence I can meditate on the connectedness of all things. I can search for The Tao. I can attempt to transcend linear time. I can attempt to transcend 'I.' I can seek Enlightenment. But I can also listen to Lungfish.

Daniel Higgs, lead singer of Lungfish, played the banjo and Jewish Harp less than ten blocks from my house a few weeks ago, when I needed to hear him most. He played in the basement of a cool little neighbourhood venue but I failed to attend. Maybe, there were tacos for dinner or something. I try not to have regrets but...

For more, have a listen to this NPR documentary on Lungfish, featuring a rare insight into the band.

If you don't have any Lungfish in your music collection, I'd recommend mid-era Lungfish, with the albums, "Indivisible," "Sound In Time," "Artificial Horizon" and "The Unanimous Hour." But of course, with this band you can begin or end wherever you like.
"Complete symmetry is impossible to achieve in sound or substance, yet the drive toward symmetry persists. This drive is prayer fuel.” Daniel Higgs.