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89. Loose Fur – Chinese Apple

26/09/2009

90

That something this simple holds its own for nearly eight minutes is disconcerting – the hook is short and unfussy, the instrumentation sparse, and the lyrics cryptic to the point of meaningless, but Chinese Apple would only be half as beautiful if its running time was sliced in two. Sure, it helps that Jeff Tweedy’s guitar figure lends itself to pretty descants, but actually it’s the song’s repetition, not its variety, that makes it successful. With every additional layer the loop becomes more hypnotic and soothing, so that when the same chord is held solidly for two minutes while the skittering acoustics and organs build around it, the result is neither boredom nor even ever-increasing tension but simply one of peaceful undulation, like watching hills roll by from the window of a train. Even when the drone subsides and the hook returns for the coda, accompanied by another unflinchingly repetitive motif on the piano, there’s no sense that the band have run out of imagination, but just that this is the most appropriate way to end the song. And it is, eventually, how they do end it – even though it could easily survive another eight minutes of quiet mutation.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 27/09/2009 10:14 am

    A beautiful Sunday morning song (which is when I’m listening to it…).

  2. 29/09/2009 10:54 am

    I love the way it gathers energy three minutes in and doesn’t let go.

    Beautiful.

  3. James Keeley permalink
    27/10/2010 12:57 pm

    This is an extraordinary song – I never tire of it. Great choice!

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