Mark Lanegan has just passed away. I just read his memoirs and despite the hurt of the loss I can’t help feeling he was living on borrowed time already. He told his audience so himself more than once. Still, 57 is too young to die, and I spent some time mourning him and listening to a couple of the many records he made. I love his voice, and I am grateful so much of his singing was beautifully recorded and preserved forever. Some of these recordings he did with his British counterpart and similarly dark voiced vocalist Duke Garwood, and today I listen to a contemporary record of his and feel solace; the torch of dark gravelly voiced melancholy is carried on.
On The Last Party On Earth Duke Garwood finds himself accompanied by the French art rock ensemble Hifiklub and a trio of modern classic artists subtly painting the musical postmodernist palette in ways reminding of arthouse movies, smoked out student’s coffee houses and empty squares, cleaned out by Corona. It is beautiful, atmospheric music that places the listener right in the middle of the global pandemic when it was released back in December 2021.
“There’s a party down there, the last party on earth…”
And then 2022 started, a shimmer of hope and Corona subsiding. Then Mark Lanegan passing, and now, at the time of this writing, bombs dropping on Kiev and the world holding its breath for the shitstorm about to hit our collective fans. It’s time to revisit this piece of music and reflect some of the peace and eerie calm it echoes from this not so distant past. How bored we were then by it, how welcome it feels now. The Last Party On Earth is a piece of recorded historic feeling of an era that shifted a lot of paradigms, rattled a lot of cages, and, like all times of adversary, showed human resilience, and the need to make beauty out of darkness no matter what.
It is an important piece of work, that does not seem to have gotten the praise it deserves at the time. Listen to to it and know this. Mankind is capable of many atrocities, but also of creating beautiful art like this. Duke Garwood carry the torch, and may you live to record many more pieces of importance like The Last Party On Earth.