Song Of The Day 11/28/2016: Gary Wilson – “6.4 = Make Out”


The Art Of Giving Up -- For the last near-three years I've been doing theme weeks on SOTD I've been wondering when I'd have the chance to do a week of what's occasionally called "outsider" music. I don't like coming up with definitions for damn near anything, so this is what a Daniel Johnston fan site says about it:
Outsider music is music performed either by social outsiders, who have no or few associates in the mainstream music business, or by musicians who choose to live and work in seclusion, often due to compromising behavioral or psychological conditions. Outside music reflects these conditions in various ways. Lyrics are often bizarre or emotionally stark and songs show a great ignorance or disregard for structural conventions or popular trends in mainstream music. Also, outsider musicians frequently have no formal training and/or significant music skills in the traditional sense. The end result is music that is much stranger and more abrasive than more popular musical styles.
To be honest, not all the songs I have lined up so far this week are from marginal talents or socially compromised individuals. But they're all songs that don't belong anywhere. And if SOTD weren't going down in flames next March I'm not sure I'd put them up here. But as much as I adore you for visiting this blog, I, heh heh, just don't care. Which is why this theme week is called "The Art of Giving Up" (which was actually the name of an instrumental improvisation I made up in 1992) (don't ask, I have no copies).

First up is Gary Wilson. This gentleman from downstate New York made an album in 1977 called You Think You Really Know Me which I just listened to for the first time on Saturday night. It's an amazing piece of work, using every bit of Wilson's engorged insanity against a fairly solid pop/funk backdrop. Precious few heard it when it came out, but one radio station did, and I can't believe I'm giving you this information from freaking mtv.com:
Wilson was an indie pioneer, releasing a strange lo-fi record that eventually influenced Beck. Moreover, the LP inspired Olympia, Washington, college radio station KAOS to spin underground artists, helping to cultivate a taste for non-commercial music that later gave birth to K Records and Sub Pop.
Damn! Own that shit, KAOS! Why you wanna distance yourselves from that? Man! Anyway, the underground caught up with Wilson's brilliant album, and led to his career revival in the early 2000's. One order of business was to produce an actual music video for "6.4 = Make Out," probably the single most remarkable vocal piece on You Think You Really Know Me, more than 30 years after its debut. It's rather forlorn and evocative, I think you'll agree.

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