A jazz guy listens to Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” in one sitting

[Cough, coughcoughcough….]

No drums for nearly 3 minutes! Nice….

Cecil Taylor-ish; one note, and that one more about percussion than melody; recurring bass drum over snare is awesome. Funny that they’re only detuned to C (cello tuning); not really that far by doom metal standards… their use of, and confidence in, the musical idea of resonance, is wicked cool. They know the power of a open chord on a stringed instrument, especially if detuned, and they’re not afraid to beat you in the face with it….

First vocals at nearly 9 minutes… funny that they’re playing in C, the easiest key to play in… it’s like they opening their hearts up musically, to allow anyone to improvise over their riffing… a very generous sonic gesture… first solo at nearly 15 minutes… continues the generous idea, as they’re clearly not concerned with impressing you with music chops… of course, now we got a guitar solo that would make Kerry King wince at the simplicity….

“Proceeds the Weedian…” first lyric I could understand… these are like, lyrically, scary Dune-type nerds who also rock out… holy shit….

[Burning really thick, dense sage smoke…]

Holy God, I actually feel connected to you….! Matt Pike, you fuckin’ shaman…! Show me the netherworld…! The shadow world, that beyond the glimmering world… the other…!

[Now a restrained, subtle nag champa…]

Man, I fucking FEEL that low chord [C]…!

[From 39:00:]

Almost Clapton-y, just sitting way back behind the beat… fingering whatever comes along (hah)….

At about 42:00 everything goes away except the guitars, and once they re-enter, the Riff has changed… the phantasmigoric stoner….

[From 45:00:]

The Vedder-like vocals again…!

At over an hour now… that Riff has promised me more in its sheer power than any of the testaments… and in the end, it just stops. It just fucking quits.

Well done, man… well done.

[Amazon.com link to the reissue]

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