Carouselambra’s Ecstatic Progression

There’s a beautifully strange Zeppelin tune on their last album, ‘In Through the Out Door’. It’s the first cut on the second side (does that even mean anything to anyone anymore in this mp3 age?) and is a ten and a half minute jam that is unlike anything else they ever did. Jimmy Page managed to get incredible sonic quality out of Zeppelin records that is rarely appreciated. When the very first Zeppelin album was pressed, the story goes that that the percussion and bass were so deep that record needles popped off of the track and the albums needed to be remixed; this is why the original CD’s that were released in the 80’s were so god awful-the record company just took the mix from the vinyl recordings and released them as CD’s. The result was a tinny mess. Page went back and re-remixed everything which resulted in the box set releases of the early nineties that sounded so magnificent.

At the time ‘In Through the Out Door’ was recorded the band was in bad shape. Robert Plant’s son had died the year before, Page was struggling with heroin, and Bonham was drinking himself to death. Plant and Jones were primarily putting the album together in the studio with Page and Bonham occasionally showing up to cut tracks late at night. Somehow the band produced a forward-sounding record with some of their brightest songs, like ‘Fool in the Rain’ and the classic ‘All of My Love’ (which was dedicated to Plant’s son Karac.). And then there is ‘Carouselambra’, which, in the key of C major and a tight 4/4 time doesn’t seem particulary unusual until you listen to it.

First of all, the vocals are buried deep in the mix. To this day I have no idea what the hell he’s singing about, and even after listening to the song while reading the lyrics I still don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. They’re dream words full of rhythm and melody that carry feelings rather than thoughts. The guitar part is even deeper down, and the keyboards are all over the top of it and the drums on the bottom are still Bonzo. The song sounds like early Gabriel-era Genesis blended with Duran Duran at their New Romantic best. It’s an echo from an alternate reality or an evolutionary freak (a sonic platypus perhaps?) but that’s what makes it special.  

2 Responses to “Carouselambra’s Ecstatic Progression”

  1. Love it. I am so rife with happy that I will add you to my blogroll. My readers will leak amorous gas upon discovery of a new blog with such devilish smartassery. Hey, check out me and add the aforementioned me to your Blogroll if you would like to be silly.

    Seriously. Great blog. Keep it up cowboy.


  2. nakederic-
    I like to be silly. Consider yourself added. Now we are both silly.
    Thanks, man.

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