Monday’s Long Song

Robert Frank died last week aged ninety- four. In 1957 he published a book of his photographs called The Americans, a collection of pictures taken across the USA over a two year period in the mid 1950s. The photos showed a different US from the one portrayed on TV, in the cinema and the magazines, the brightly coloured, neon lit America of the Eisenhower years- Frank’s America was the lives of people at the margins and shots of the places most people passed by or through. Arriving in the USA in 1947, an immigrant escaping post- war Europe, the son of a German Jew who lost his citizenship in the 1930s. He began to see the USA as a bleak and lonely place for those excluded by poverty.

The Americans had an introduction written by Jack Kerouac, whose own travels across the continent mirrored Frank’s. He shot his pictures using only his Leica and the light that was available, and what his pictures show more than anything to me is that the key thing needed to take good photographs isn’t a piece of equipment but the eyes. Frank saw a different America and photographed it. He looked at it from another angle. He saw that he could frame scenes differently. An article at The New Yorker in the wake of his death said ‘ Frank’s nakedness to what was to him an alien land terrified us, and we were joyous. In a way, this amounted to a callow extension of American exceptionalism—postwar national hubris, only negative. Tragedy with its foot to the floor. We were special, all right. Also fucked. Sure.’ R.I.P. Robert Frank.

Anyway, back to the music- a long song for Monday and completely unconnected to the above. This is some lengthy progressive house from 1992 by The Aloof remixed by Fabio Paras. Paras was one of the original DJs on the London scene in 1988, playing in Ibiza and then at The Astoria and Flying. Fabio’s remix of On A Mission opens with drums and percussion, huge tribal beats building before the chopped up vocal comes in.

On A Mission (Fabio Paras Remix)

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