With this week marking the 20th anniversary of Oasis’ Definitely Maybe arriving in the world, I needed even less minimal encouragement to talk once more about the band. Because I do not own that outstanding album on vinyl, and because I’d need a book-length space (á la 33 1/3 Books) to fully articulate my thoughts, instead let’s turn our attention to Oasis’ last single, this surreal Amorphous Androgynous remix of the Noel Gallagher-sung “Falling Down.”
Somewhat predictably, I also own the 7” single release, which features the album version of “Falling Down,” and the b-side “These Swollen Hand Blues,” a moody, heavily-Beatles influenced tune that fits in nicely with all the psychedelic imagery used for the Dig Out Your Soul singles.
However, none of the music released in their last years together quite compares to the “A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind” remix. Some time in 2008, Noel Gallagher stumbled across Amorphous Androgynous’ compilation of the same name, and he more or less had a similar reaction to how I buy music sometimes: It’s too weird and wonderful to ignore. He first mentioned them in one of his “Tales From The Middle of Nowhere” tour diaries in 2008:
Talking of greatness, if you’re wondering what to ask Santa for x.mas, ask him for an album called “A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind (Vol 1. Space Rock)”. It’s a compilation album by someone called “The Amorphous Androgynous” (I’d hazard a guess that’s a made-up name). I’ve had it on in the dressing room for a month now. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever, ever heard. Go and find it NOW! It’ll blow your tiny little minds.
A few months later, he announced the “Falling Down” remix in another entry:
Remember that “Amorphous Androgynous” lot I was telling you about? Well, they’ve done a “Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble” mix of “Falling Down”. It’s 22 mins long. I’ll repeat that, TWENTY-TWO MINUTES LONG!! I fully expect 50% of you not to have the attention span to deal with something like that but the rest of you, I hope, will be blown away. It’s a staggering piece of music. Monumental even. All superlatives will apply.
“All superlatives will apply,” you may have noticed, is sort of the Standard Operating Procedure of my music writing. Friends, this is why I’m more of a music memoirist (or editorialist, at the least), not a music journalist.
So, do you have the attention span for a twenty-two minute sitar-filled, acid-soaked musical experience?
Catch the wheel that breaks the butterfly
I cried the rain that fills the ocean wide
I tried to talk with God to no avail
Calling him in and out of nowhere
Said if you won’t save me,
Please don’t waste my time…
The song is broken into five parts to facilitate flipping the 12 inch record, with one section featuring Alicia Sufit’s voice, as well as a rather beautiful piano and cello part. One could dance to this remix, but it’s ever-shifting ground. I love it. I love its massiveness, I love its unusual noises, and I love all the layers one can discover with a good set of headphones.
Though many point to Liam and Noel Gallagher’s arguments as the main reason for Oasis’ demise, what’s often ignored is Noel’s musical interests broadening beyond the scope of full-on rock ‘n’ roll with the band. Yes, the in-fighting hastened the break-up, but when you listen to Noel’s “AKA… What a Life!” compared to Beady Eye’s “The Roller” or “Flick of The Finger,” you hear musicians moving in different directions. Beady Eye, containing the remaining members of what was once Oasis, fully embrace their 1960s rock and soul inspirations, while Noel continues his magpie method of gathering all that interests him, whatever the source. Liam wants to blow off the roof with a too-cool swagger, staying close to Definitely Maybe‘s origins. Noel creates heart-swelling transcendence. Both methods are valid and have their place, but a larger part of me loves his unusual forays into remixes like this one. The monstrous bubble wants to be all-consuming. An experience. Let it be.