van morrison will be playing his astral weeks album in its entirety later this year. i’m curious to hear how he’d interpret it today, but a bit of me would rather keep the seminal 1968 version in my head as the only one i’ll ever hear. it was one of those records i read about before i actually heard it, and it was the lester bangs article that moved me to buying myself a copy almost immediately. in that review he pronounced astral weeks one of the most significant records in his life, alongside the velvet underground’s white light/white heat – that’s gotta mean something, coming from the same guy who criticized the mc5 in his first ever review, and brought down many others along the way in his controversial tenure writing from creem and rolling stone. on astral weeks, he had this to say: van morrison is interested, obsessed with how much musical or verbal information he can compress into a small space, and, almost, conversely, how far he can spread one note, word, sound, or picture. to capture one moment, be it a caress or a twitch. i couldn’t say it better, and you can judge for yourself in the opening slipstream of this title track.
van morrison – astral weeks