WTF?! Wednesdays: Aaron Novik, “Earth as Dragon Egg” (2011)

Share this:

This week the weirdness comes less from the music than from the combination of music and situation. Me and TheWife™ were in the middle of a crowded plane flight, rushing toward the other coast to deal with a family emergency. I’m passing the time (read: trying the ignore the cramped and somewhat hot conditions in “economy” class) by staring out the window and listening to music.

I don’t really know where we were. The flight was from Atlanta to San Diego. Somewhere out west, after the clouds vanished, I became mesmerized with the view of the mountains, wilderness, and the seemingly random placements of things like grids of center pivot irrigation (Yes, I had to look that up). In the middle of this comes a pulsing cello ostinato, followed by some horns and then a violin, all playing in unison. Above this dirge an operatic voice appears, singing of “…drill to the bottom…” and “…fires at the center.” Then there’s something about a dragon and I’m struck by how add this feels — the flying above what looks like a lunar landscape, the claustrophobic music, the cramped airplane seating, the harsh realities of life.

It turns out that the album this song comes from (recommended to me by Spotify because I happen to like Captain Beefheart) was put out by composer/bass clarinetist Aaron Novik. The lyrical base for Floating World Vol. 1 comes from three outsider poets Novik met while working part time at Adobe Books in San Francisco. “Earth as Dragon Egg” was written by Swan, a homeless man who used to be a news reporter, filmmaker, and family man. He sort of lost his mind and with it, that entire life.

Learning these things after the fact somehow made that cross-country flight even more surreal. But hey, sometimes life is like that.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B004PVKBBS” container=”B000005JA8″ container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B004PVKAQE” container=”B000005JA8″ container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B003LJ43EQ” container=”B000005JA8″ container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
Share this:
Close