About the Document:
The following series of drawings is based on the first 11 tracks of psychedelic UK band Salako‘s album Musicality (which you can listen to in its entirety here). The drawings come out of Document #0002: Lime Green Sketchpad. I was attempting to complete each drawing within the length of time each song on the album took to listen to. This is what I came up with over the next half hour.
I will be reviewing the songs and drawings the same way, as I listen to the album once again, here we go!
August 17, 2005 (Age 20)
“The Bird and the Bag” is an up-tempo, relatively accessible song about a bird that gets caught in a bag and then escapes. You can see in the upper right-hand corner how I attempted to establish that this was inside of a bag. The text, “Little words, little words, here are just the little words” are an attempt at hearing the lyrics. Listening to the track now, I hear “Little worm, little worm, give me just a little worm.”
“Green is the Colour of Evil” is a slow, haunting, electric-guitar heavy song about I have no freaking clue. The prominent sound of the guitar caused me to envision a band playing on a stage in spotlight. (“The dying of Mongolians put all our fears at bay”-seriously, this song makes no sense.) This drawing was done over the top of the highlighter pattern, which I had drawn previously.
“Come, Follow Me!” opens with a pleasant tambourine beat and flute solo. It’s very melodic and pleasant. This drawing, is terrible. I love that the sun is clearly stoned. I’m not sure what his problem is with rats though. I think he/I might have been thinking of snakes ala Saint Patrick. I’ve always loved stories that involve supernatural forces taking children away from their towns; they’re so creepy and interesting.
I’m not exactly sure who the “you” is, as I was not intending on showing this to anyone specifically.
“Truth in Me” is only 1:37 seconds long, so there really wasn’t much time to draw, or critique for that matter. It’s another upbeat song featuring acoustic guitar and synthesizer. What to say about this picture? If there is a truth in this person, it appears to be that he has to poop. Quick!
“The Cloning of Fudadeg Ulag” is where the album starts to get strange. It’s hypnotic and repetitive. I don’t know why I thought of an assembly line when I heard it, but I find that fact interesting, as I would later try salvia and see myself being constructed on an assembly line. I wonder why my subconscious focuses on this image?
“Arts and Crafts” takes the weirdness down a bit, though the lyrics remain strange and difficult to interpret. I’d consider the song “pretty,” and I think that’s why I was inspired to attempt to draw a woman. I love my own commentary on this drawing. But seriously, check out those eyes. That is not a healthy person.
Track 7, “Devil’s Feet Lullaby” was skipped for some reason, and so we jump right into “Look Left.” This is perhaps my favorite track on the album. It was recorded in a church with an organ and choir. The chorus: “Follow the light of the Lord,” would make me think of my own church experiences. Jesus is clearly disappointed in this picture, though at what exactly, I am not sure. I assume it’s “everything,” just the state of humanity today. I read a book in high school (My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok) about an artist trying to draw the perfect crucifixion, and I think I wanted to pay homage to that idea. I’ve done crosses many times over the years, but rarely does Jesus show up on them.
“Look Right” begins with the sound of traffic and an acoustic guitar. It is another upbeat song and features trumpets. There’s really not much to say about this drawing that I didn’t say 10 years ago. Now I see the drawing as someone (left) trying to escort some sort of alien around town; things don’t go well.
“Maybe We’ll Find the Divine Cult” is another one of the trippier sounding songs on the album. A lot of trumpet solo. You’re probably wondering what I am referring to when I write how I “really enjoyed the carrot.” Well, there’s another drawing in the Lime Green Sketchpad that looks an awful lot like a giant carrot. I’m sure it will make an appearance eventually.
For once, I got to the end of what I wanted to say and the song still isn’t ending. Hello, Internet! I’m having a blast writing this for-
“Do it Yourself” is a very narrative song featuring acoustic guitar. The song is terribly sad. It’s about two older friends. One asks the other for help doing repairs on his house. But when the friend comes to help, he finds that he is more trouble than he’s worth, constantly wanting to break for tea and breaking things in the house. Eventually, the man who originally asks for help tells his friend to leave. It is exceptionally sad and made me think of relationships ending, how a similar thing happens when people realize they’re not in love. Quote: “Though I still want to be friends, so please don’t take it to hard.” I actually think this drawing is okay for what it is.
The album has 6 more tracks, but I guess I got burned out because that’s where it ends. I assume I cheated on Track 11 and continued to work on the drawing beyond the end of the song.
It was either my sophomore or freshman year of high school that my heterosexual life-mate Tim discovered Musicality at a local record store. Clearly this was a time before smartphones and iPods. We would get high and listen to the album in his basement.
Musicality is clearly the work of drug-users* *(FALSE) (UDATE: I have since been contacted by a member of Salako who states that no drugs were used during the planning or recording of any of their albums. Thanks for setting me straight and the nice things you said about my drawings! Your music is still very dear to me; I’ve been listening to it since my teens and still find most of it indescribably incredible (every now and then you guys lost me). Sorry for the misrepresentation! My bad! ~Sean). To quote from “Colours Merge and Fly” off their album Re-Inventing Punctuation: “The time has come/ put out my tongue/ and lick the wet and warty skin/ adrenaline, the rush sets in/ and off i go into the clouds/ I yell aloud inside/ as colours merge and fly/ and faces spin/ the state I’m in…”
It is some of the best psychedelic music I’ve ever heard, so it’s not surprising that I would eventually try to draw while smoking pot and listening to it. I had started doing this with Pink Floyd in high school, putting in my earbuds and drawing the mild hallucinations I would have when I closed my eyes.
Given the date on the first drawing, I must have done this in my dorm room during my sophomore year of college. I’ll bet my roommate Joey was laying on his bed across the room from me while I was drawing. Joey was a much heavier drug user than me. I would smoke pot, drink on the weekends, and on very rare occasions take psychedelics. Joey liked everything, but his favorite was cocaine. His pursuit of drugs was also more urgent and constant than mine; he would steal and lie to get his fix. He was kind of a scary guy, especially compared to yours truly. Our roommate status would not last the year.
Drugs are a fascinating subject for me. I’ve always been fascinated by hallucination. When I was a child, I would occasionally get high fevers and begin hallucinating. At night, I would see 8-bit Super Mario running through my bedroom. I would see colorful patterns moving in the darkness. Once, I completely left reality and told my parent that I was in pain. They asked where and I pointed to the television. When my parents rushed me to the car to go to the hospital, the fresh air snapped me out of it, and we didn’t end up going. I wonder what the diagnosis would have been if we had…
Altered states of consciousness and the arts have a reputation of walking hand in hand. Hemingway drank, The Beatles did LSD, Hunter S Thompson did everything. Taking drugs can be an inspirational, life-changing experience… it can also completely wreck people’s lives, take them to dark places. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where Hemingway was sober and The Beatles spent their entire careers doing variations on “Love Me Do.” At the same time, crack kills. Alcohol kills. Marijuana… makes you late for stuff.
I still don’t know what to think.
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