Every Record I Own - Day 245: Coalesce 0:12 Revolution in Just Listening
When I look at photos of expensive beautiful homes, I always wonder what the fuck people do inside of them. There’s nothing there—nothing to look at, nothing to do. They’re like museums: a chair here, a painting on a wall there, nothing else. I’ve begun to see it in some of my friends’ more modest spaces—quaint apartments with little more than a wall-mounted television or a few succulents to look at. We’re moving towards a minimalist society where everything that entertains you can be stored in a hard drive or in The Cloud, leaving your living quarters to be a blank canvas.
I’m not into it. I like to collect things. I like records. I like books. I like dumb knick-knacks from my travels. I like being surrounded by stuff that inspires me or triggers memories. Granted, my record collection sometimes makes me feel like a hoarder. I purge several dozen records from my collection every few years, but I also tend to hold on to a lot of records even if they don’t get any attention from me.
Case in point, I’ve owned this Coalesce record since its release 19 years ago, but I can’t recall the last time I listened to it. As I stated in my earlier posts about Coalesce, I’ve always been of two minds about the band. Musically, they were on the same path as my band Botch. But as is sometimes the case, the similarities only served to highlight the differences, and those differences could be obstacles.
0:12 came out a month after Botch released our sophomore album We Are The Romans. Botch’s writing process was long and grueling. We would often spend months on a single song, repeatedly jamming on it in hopes of capturing lightning in a bottle. We also had an allergy to melody, so anything that flirted with pentatonic riffing was verboten. Then out comes 0:12, a record that the band had written in a week to fulfill contractual obligations, and there’s all this drop-tuned pentatonic riffage all over it. I held onto the record because it seemed like an important document in our weird little corner of the underground, but given my previous reservations about the band’s political/religious angle and the rushed nature of this particular record, I couldn’t muster any real enthusiasm for it.
And so I’ve been carting this LP around for 19 years, from Tacoma to Seattle to New York and back, through however many apartments. I’ve purged a lot of records in that time, and this one often gets set aside as a possible sell. But I’ve stubbornly held onto it, and yesterday I listened to 0:12 for the first time in at least a decade and… I really enjoyed it. Even if the album was hastily conceived, it certainly doesn’t sound that way. The Eyehategod-esque devil’s blues riffage rubbed me the wrong way back in ‘99, but now it feels like a welcome dynamic shift from Coalesce’s standard bottom-heavy power-chord bombardment. The only other impediment would be Coalesce’s conservatism, which is still a little cryptic—should I waste my time trying to untangle lyrics like ”you’re just another p.c. jackass operation” / “how did you like that shaft straight up your ass?” / “you’ve used that grinning ‘no english’ crap for the last time on me”? Maybe it’s problematic, but I own Bad Brains and Burzum records, so I can’t get too sanctimonious.
I listened to 0:12 yesterday and gave it two spins this morning but now it’s going back in the collection. And while I was likely going to hold onto this record for years to come if only to have the spine of the album there on a shelf to help fill my living space with memories, I imagine it will now spend considerably more time on the turntable fulfilling its intended purpose.