Greetings friends both new and old, it is I, Terrence American Buddhist back with a new music review.
Of late I have been embracing deep, all-consuming meditation, spending my days working on my calligraphy, taking long walks, contemplating the nature of the universe, and consuming large amounts of extremely potent cannibas sativa.
Recently I have also been listening to an excellent new record by LCD Soundsystem. Combining dance grooves, hard rockin’ guitars, big beats, wasted vocals, and cow bells, this record really has it all. The other day I was in town, listening on my new IPOD, thinking of how nice it is to eschew material pleasures, when I felt compelled to do an impromptu dance to the track “Disco Infiltrator”. I didn’t care that people were staring at my orange robes swinging in the breeze, because this is the kind of music that delivers ineffable pleasure in small and sublime ways. It reminded me of a parable Buddha told in sutra:
A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!
The meaning of this Sutra, for me, is that one should find pleasure where it exists and enjoy it fully. LCD Soundsystem’s album is one of my latest pleasures. The record includes two discs, one a proper album, the other some singles and remixes. Both are outstanding. The regular album starts out with “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” a rather boastful track it would seem, but since I’m also close with Daft Punk (through emails we trade bits of wisdom) I let it pass. This song is a good intro to the sound of the album, as it has rock n roll, dance beats, fun lyrics, and various bells.
Zen Master Unmon said: “The world is vast and wide. Why do you put on your robes at the sound of a bell?”
LCD Soundsystem do not put their robes on at the sound of a bell, they take them off and dance naked around the room, shrieking and banging more bells, and adding keyboards, guitars, and pretty much anything else that can make a good sound. They’re not bound by conventions, they create new conventions and then make fun of those rules also. It’s great stuff– nothing to meditate for hours about, but like Buddha said, sometimes you have to stop and eat the luscious strawberry.
Last night around 2 in the morning, I woke up some of my neighbors, rolled them up them some crusty, resin-soaked, neon-green local produce, popped LCD Soundsystem in my boom box, and we partied until well after dawn. Exhausted, I walked back to my house desiring nothing, wanting nothing, and wearing nothing, as my robe had accidentally wound up in the fireplace during a particularly ecstatic moment in the song “Tribulations”. I have told you many times that life is suffering, and the life of a Buddhist monk is that of denial and nothingness. Nothing has changed.