Saturday, September 6, 2008
SOMNILOQUISTS OF THE WORLD UNITE!
I am truly enraptured by the surreal nocturnal monologues of famed somniloquist Dion McGregor. Released in 1964, The Dream World of Dion McGregor is a strangely engaging recording that captures the limitless bounds of the human imagination through our capacity to dream.
Whoever the person was at Decca Records who had the imagination to release an entire record of one man's dream speak is a hero in my book. Kudos also to McGregor's roommate who had the foresight to record his surprisingly lucid night time diatribes.
It is oddly engaging and perhaps a bit spooky to hear these subconscious verbal meanderings that cover everything from sticking fruit in various human orifices to lecturing an imaginary three year-old around birthday party etiquette. The opening piece "Val" is about a woman with a single steel eye who wears concrete boots, drinks rusty water and looks "tired all the time". This could easily be a character in a Tom Waits song.
The dreams that end in loud screams are a little jarring, though they point to the complex web of emotions, ideas and primal human fears that lay just below the surface. This is not for everyone I realize, but there is something very compelling about McGregor's ability to narrate his dreams in an audible and surprisingly coherent matter.
McGregor may not have been the successful songwriter that he aspired to be, though he literally left us with some strange and engaging dreams that can take us to another place. It only makes one wonder about the fantastical landscapes that exist in our own minds, just out of reach but always present, playing on a tape loop on some barely audible frequency that on rare occasions, if we are lucky, we get to hear.
(Link here to listen firsthand to some of Dion McGregor's nocturnal tales via a myspace page that was set up in his honour - Also, I would be happy to send some more tracks for anyone who is interested)