a review Of Can's Future days
When I was a boy, seven, eight years old maybe, there was an old woman who spent her afternoons on a bench in the park. The consensus among the adults was that strangers are not to be talked to, so on a certain day when she motioned me to come to her, I stopped whatever I was doing and walked up to her bench. This was the park; I belonged to the park, the bench did too, an so did she; we were therefore acquainted, almost related. She had a plastic bag next to her, and she took something from it inside the palm of her hand and told me to look. It was a fossil, some sort of seashell, incomplete, grey. Inside the bag were dozens more, all different. She told me she had found them around town, that they were very old, and that this park, the neighborhood, the city, basically everywhere, used to be under the sea at some point before there were humans, all the way up to the mountains. She had on a black dress, her hair was done up nicely and slick, and something about her make-up seemed to relate to those silly jokes about dirty adult stuff that most kids had heard from other kids. Heavy stuff, then, but I saw no reason to doubt her words. She asked me if I wanted one of the fossils, so I picked one and put it in my pocket. I wondered if she was a real witch; she certainly looked like a city one, and seemed to know secrets. That knowledge of the lost sea stayed with me, and in certain circumstances, I caught a glimpse of a time when mountains were islands and stones were fish.
The sun is shining on my old neighborhood, where time stands still. It's only three streets from my friend's place to the bus stop, but they contain approximately fifteen years of my life up to that point.
I take slow steps on the ancient asphalt as I fumble with my portable CD player and earphones, I just saw my bus pass, twenty meters ahead, and I am in no rush to get to the bus stop.
Future Days emerges in slow-motion, a maritime no man's land at dawn, reflections, winds, a gentle cosmic drama, anthropocentric, no Big-bang. A whole kingdom of plants and animals evolves harmoniously, and when man's voice finally creeps in, it is not much more than a pastoral murmur, a primitive rumor. By the time "Future days" fades out, the creation has now been through multiple symbiotic rise and fall cycles, discreet climaxes and minute passings, all seen through a time-lapse of both intimate and vertiginous scale.
Damo Suzuki's vocals are crushed like rock into sand, nothing left amidst the granular sediment but an enigmatic filigrane forecast mantra, for the sake of future days, a seaman's curse.
I get on the bus, vacant seats, no one but the three of us, the driver and Sunday morning, on to the long bright journey to the end of the line, parental home.
I arrive in Kyoto during the rainy season, and I can barely breathe as I get off the airplane and on the bus, the air in Japan is ninety percent water. Seawater, rainwater, I can't tell, the iodine is everywhere, I quickly acquire a taste for it but where is the sea? People here live in caves, burrows, underground tunnels, they have recently evolved away from the sea. Sound waves, radio waves, human waves, heatwaves, so close from the ocean but the only waves you get aren't quite close to it, apart from the occasional senseless tsunami. I get rusty, I cough at night, my papers curl up into scrolls, my clothes never dry.
"Spray" is a languid drama without denouement, the rainy day which money is saved for. What for exactly? A dehumidifier perhaps...
There is a certain tension in the air, a build-up, occasional lightning, gusts of wind, but it is nothing compared to the slow erosion of salt, breeze and humidity. The Rock'n'roll riff machine surfaces briefly like a periscope, then disappears back into the depths, you can't possibly maintain a pompadour at sea.
Osaka Port looks more like a shipwreck bracing itself for the Sea's revenge, not much high-tech there, it all reverted to past technologies, wheels, chains, cranes, crates, ropes, sea horns. Transistors and processors look too much like crustaceans, the ocean would probably claim them back into greats pockets of water.
"Moonshake" is all dry, just a few drops of grease for the machine, the sailors waste all the hard-earned pieces of eight on tankards of foam and three minute fantasies of land but it's barely enough island to dry before the damp evening mist shrouds "Bel Air" in menacing moisture, the water is rising again.
I live by the underground tracks in Shepherd's bush, rats and birds look like they have a better chance of surviving the flood than the passengers of the tube stuck on the gun deck as the electrical wires spit out their last kilowatts in a flurry of sparks. Soon this will all be under water anyway...
It's early July in Kyoto, I run from awning to awning but the rain is too heavy, I embrace my lack of an umbrella and welcome the free shower, giving locals yet another reason to stare at me, casually swimming between formals and smarts, their ancestral fear of natural water got the best of them, crawling back inside department stores where it's always warm and dry.
Calm before the next storm, the birds and the bees of Bel-air sing their pretty song, it's time to enjoy, the next flood could be anytime, rainbows are the sign of the covenant between the sky and the sea and nothing else, man trapped inbetween, thinking he can make it on fragile rafts, assemblage of driftwood and cargo, it sinks all the same, fossils for the witch of future days, she's gigantic, dressed in black, enjoying the quiet submarine afternoon sunshine.
My sea legs get off bus 31, my partner the sun is still shining on the still towering alps, I could swear I heard a seagull.
The future you say? Time is water.