43. Devandra Banhart: Niño Rojo

From 2004, here’s Niño Rojo from Davandra Banhart; his fourth LP.

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a while. It seems like forever to me, too, I’d love to give you a long and exciting explanation, one filled with empty highways, broken carabiners and long nights spent in dusty bars, far from CD players. I can’t, though. All I can give you is this album.

Many years ago, another time, another place, this CD came into my life. I’m not naming names, but that person will hopefully read this post and have to sit, head-in-hands, and wonder. When I came back to it for this project, I remember thinking to myself that I only remembered listening to it a couple of times, always in the background, and it didn’t trouble me too much.

This time, right in front, it was a different experience, and one that I can only hope for the future that I learn from. I sat at my desk, trying desperately to figure out what I was hearing. Figure out what in the world was going on. It’s not that I found it strange, and unusual like Radiohead’s middle-period albums, for instance, where it was all stuff you’d never heard before but it was all worth it. The danger of it all was exciting and exhilarating. No, nothing like that.

This vocals, the music, the noise… the… the… the… This album is PTSD on a compact disc. It was so terrible, so miserable, that it stopped me in my tracks. The mere idea of continuing this project, even continuing to listen to music, seemed impossible. It’s been months, mid-April, since I’ve been able to think about continuing on. I couldn’t even write about other CDs by other bands. There were no words. Usually when I come across something this upsetting, I get angry and try to protect myself and my family. This album just made me sad; sad that this could exist. One day one of my kids might find this, and I’d have to explain this attack on good taste to them. What would I tell them?

Through my disbelief, I even thought about giving it another listen; that’s how committed I am to you, dedicated reader. But, not again. Not this time.

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