I’d like to introduce you to a dear and horny friend of mine. It’s shiny, sexy, complicated as hell and smoother than a television evangelist wooing a soap opera starlet at a Napa County winescapade. Sometimes it’s punk, sometimes it’s on a yacht. There are times when it’s jazzy and spacy and then it can veer off into different directions and smell like dank NYC basement and starch-addled suits. My friend can travel further along the evolutionary road and provide color, ambiance and sophistication in a house music setting. I’ve been in a sticky, tempestuous relationship with this particular friend for as long as I can remember.
Despite its imperfect legacy, my best musical friend will forever be the saxophone. Here in 2021, a lot of people tend to think of stupid hats, gyrating Moldovans and cloying, cocaine-fuelled sentimentality when they picture the storied woodwind instrument. They don’t take it seriously. And they don’t know what they’re missing. I won’t deny that listening to the sounds of the saxophone comes with its share of sleazy, schmaltzy imagery––that’s a central part of its rakish charm. But the simple fact remains that what is commonly known as ‘the devil’s horn’ plants a horn-emblazoned flag in our innermost human desires. This is why it rears its shiny head all over the musical spectrum from basic, shitty beer jazz to genre-expanding, intergenerational experimentation. It’s why Kenny G and Sun Ra are united in their common humanity over this one vital thing that defies the reductive, compartmentalizing ‘takes’ of the internet age. In other words, the saxophone transcends all that impermanent bullshit. There’s a certain timelessness embedded in its fluctuating tonality. An eternally relevant, distinct, yet elusive energy––a time-traveling, mood-altering tonic filled with uncontainable passion and yearning that I think you might just dig in 2120.
I would even go so far as to say that in a billion years when all is said and done, when our civilization fades into view and the Earth is restored to its natural equilibrium––that’s when the aliens come to visit the now untouched planet without a name and the most fitting monument to humanity with its infinite capacity for lust, love, pain, imagination, porn addiction and half-baked conspiracy theories would be: a blaring saxophone encased in a giant monolith made of indestructible silicone. A tad melodramatic, you say? This is a saxophone playlist.
Listen to Absolute Sæxophone, a playlist lovingly compiled by me. Music about fucking and fighting made for you.