Buck Carran, the American from Bergamo who composed the lockdown soundtrack

There are two solutions. Or give up or fight. There are two ways out of a hallucination. Or you are in it, you lie down like a fetus, a big drone, and you die. Or you squeeze out what you can, the pain you know, the fear that eats you, and you return it to something. Something beautiful, something that explains something. Buck Curran is a long-time songwriter, an American folkman married in Italy: at the age of 53, he found himself in Bergamo, the epicenter of an unpredictable tragedy, without more work, without concerts, without resources together with his wife Adele, teacher without more students but with a small son to look after and another in training: outside people died of not knowing what, and hospitals did not know who to save, and black vans with corpses paraded for mass graves that nobody deserves. Here, either you lie down in death and wait for it, or you break free and do what you have to.

An artist has to play. This is what it does. Buck is a minstrel and from the enveloping death he has extracted new words and melodies and sensitive images. On his own, recording as he could, he accumulated songs for a long album, "No Love Is Sorrow" , a concept that could also overturn: if no love is pain, every love can be it, or perhaps no pain is love: do as you wish it seems, what remains is this Covid-19 soundtrack; of the pandemic, of isolation, of dismay.

It is always difficult to define a work, and it is difficult to tell it: stripped folk? Post folk? Psychedelic Gothic? Forget it, suffice it to say that the 16 tracks of "No Love Is Sorrow" dilate the feelings, as if looking out the window, towards an unreachable and threatening world; suddenly, beyond the glass there is only absence, mirage; there is nothing but poison and at night the black sheets of horror stretch out, cover the moon, stir within the soul or perhaps in the womb of your wife who is creating new life. Adele sings with Buck. They sing abandonment, the absolute nothing of a life that is no longer. The album is all desolate guitar sounds, stretched echoes, vibrations in the sick wind, it seems the impressionist scenario of a desert, of a fiery desolation, instead it is Bergamo, Italy, in its plague winter. Every now and then there is a plan like a cry, as hijacked, there is a raga and the stripped despondency alternates with melodic cues of exhausted will. A few words, no more use, are the sounds to say it all: to say what cannot be said, "No Love Is Sorrow" is not a disk that thinks, it is a disk that hears and the isolation of death is something that clears thoughts, you can only perceive it, in bones and blood. In the mind that falters.

So, while our local singers were busy showing off with the usual moralistic messages, begging for state providences (all, even those with a swimming pool in Los Angeles), to engrave sturdy that adds insult to misery (the Social State of Lodo Guenzi, the milk brother of Sardina Mattia), an American in Bergamo composed the soundtrack of the lockdown . Of course he won't get rich with this, he won't solve the problems of a family that grows in the height of a sickle cell. But an artist, if he is an artist, composes what he lives in the moment, puts it on the right sounds, leaves it in memory: it is something you have to do and there is no more urgent, more sincere testimony than this long painful humble record full of sincerity to understand, when everything will be clouded, what it was like to live in the timeless time that ate life. When we looked up, to a more distant moon and she did not answer or pass a car, a thief or a dog. All that silence, so infected, so bad. So eternal. We were suffocating and worst of all was not knowing how much apnea we could still afford. And we would have needed a heartbreaking symphony to listen better to us in our abyss of bewilderment. We have it now.

Everyone should know this precious little album, "No Love Is Sorrow" , which speaks of us, capable of bearing the unspeakable and still wanting to get out of it. No love is pain, but love comes from pain. Buck Corran wanted to tell us playing an American desert Bergamo; we learned this by breathing in our cloister until one day we saw ourselves going out, still getting on the vehicles, returning to the offices, cleaning and ordering the shops, removing those signs of the decrees that ordered the end. There we understood that life does not depend on us, it is we who depend on life and that perhaps no night really is infinite even if the trauma is eternal, destined to be transformed into confused images of an ever more distant, ever more present fear. Distorted like the sounds of this "No Love Is Sorrow" , elegy of disaster, the soundtrack of our imploding full of sick hope for something, perhaps to understand, perhaps to flee, to return or maybe just to hear, here, to feel that we are not fetuses after all .

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/cultura/buck-carran-lamericano-di-bergamo-che-ha-composto-la-colonna-sonora-del-lockdown/ on Wed, 17 Jun 2020 03:54:00 +0000.