Phish (피쉬) - Esther (Junta, 1988) 음악

패닉의 '밑'을 연상시키는 Junta 커버

90년대 흔히 말하던 '얼터정신'이란 게 있다면 어떤 걸까? 너바나를 필두로 시애틀 사운드가 내세우던 날것 그대로의 저항정신부터, R.E.M과 유투의 지적인 읊조림, 그리고 케이크의 재기발랄함까지 여러 음악형식이 떠오른다 (멀리는 피치카토 화이브를 필두로 온갖 짬뽕음악을 버무려내던 시부야케이와, 역시 실험정신이 충만했던 90년대의 영국 일렉트로니카 씬까지도 포함해서). 하지만, 그냥 '하고 싶은 음악을 내키는 대로 장르에 그다지 구애받지 않고, 또한 상업적인 판매에 신경쓰지 않고' 마음대로 표현하는 정신이라는 색감도 동시에 떠오른다.

그런 얼터너티브 락이라는 것이 수면위로 급부상하던 1991년 이전, 이미 이러한 움직임들은 언더그라운드 씬에서 오래전부터 꿈틀대고 있었다 (뉴욕언더씬의 대부격인 소닉유스등). 그러한 움직임중 하나로 재기발랄하게 연주해내던 실력자들이 있다.

바로 미국에서'만' 유명한 피쉬다.

직접 데모앨범을 들고다니며 공연장에서 팔고 다닌 데뷔앨범 [Junta] (1988년)을 필자는 가장 좋아하는데, 이들이 메이져로 올라선 것은 이른바 포스트 그런지 얼터시대의 시발점인 1994년에 나온 5집 [Hoist] 정도부터였다. 조금 다른 느낌이지만 예전에 소개한 '프라이머스'와 어느정도 겹치는 느낌이 드는 음악이기도 한데, 그쪽이 더 사이키델릭하고 서던락특유의 똘끼가 느껴지고 이쪽은 더 컬리지 락같은 지적인 느낌이 든다.

88년의 이 곡은 그들의 데뷔시절의 실험정신의 내음이 충만한데, 긴 트랙시간이 전혀 길게 느껴지지 않는 스토리텔링 형식의 곡구성을 보여주고 있다. 두장짜리 앨범에 이런 흥미만점의 사운드가 꽉 차있다.

Phish - Esther (1988년)

영상이 안될시 링크클릭:

길지만 "그건 마을 근처 놀이공원의 늦은 가을밤이었지. 에스더가 처음으로 아르메니아 사람을 보았을 때..."로 시작하는 이 기괴한 가사는 흥미진진하다.

It was late one fall night at a fairground near town
When Esther first saw the Armenian man
Who groveled toward her and stood by her side
With a bucket that swung in his hand

His grin stretched the folds of his pasty white cheeks
And his lips hurled a dollop of murk on the curb
And the lights from the rides showed a mischievous sparkle
That flashed in his hollow eyed stare

He said "Little girl, you can chop off my legs
And then peel off my socks if you want to.
But I'd rather you took this old puppet from me
That I hold in my pail as we speak."

And he stood looking down at the innocent girl
And she stared at the bucket bewildered
Til he lifted the doll for the young girl to see
And a giant smile grew on his face
She saw the doll's eyes and she couldn't resist
And she thanked the man quickly and ran to the church
And she burst through the door with puppet held high
And a hush filled the chapel, and the people looked mean

Esther tried in vain to pacify the mob
Quibble grew to spat, to wrangle, then to brawl
The frenzied congregation struggled desperately to fetch
The pretty puppet snugly nestled deep in Esther's leather sack
Through the window of the church a storm began to rage
And Esther knew the time had come to flee

She scurried down the aisle toward the doorway in the distance
And out into the rainstorm where she felt she would be free
But the wind was blowing harder
And her skirt began to billow
Until finally her feet began to lift

And she rose above the people and the houses
and the chimneys
And Esther and the doll were set adrift
Floating higher over the hills, and the valleys and treetops
they'd flutter and glide
Soaring and turning suspended on air
With the earth far below them they'd tumble
And dive through the clouds

And she began to plummet earthward till she
Landed in the nasty part of town

She glanced about the village sure to find the evil men
Who rob and pillage in the darkest hour of night
Nervously she fumbled for the pouch that held the
Puppet on her rump.

Feeling quite outnumbered Esther hid behind
A nearby pile of lumber, where she waited
Till the dawn
Cause it would have been a blunder to
Succumb to a hoodlum on the prowl

When the morning came, she wandered through the streets
Along the chilly lake that lay beside the town
At last a peaceful moment, but she thought she heard a sound
It was an angry mob of joggers coming up to knock her down

As Esther stood and shook her head
The joggers were approaching
And she knew she had no choice left but to swim
As the frosty water sank its bitter teeth into her hide
She tried to slide the heavy clothing from her skin

Naked now she made her way toward the shore
When suddenly she felt a tiny tugging at her toe.
And the puppet she'd forgotten wrapped its tiny
Little arms around her ankle and wouldn't let her go.

The waves seemed to open and swallow her whole
As the doll pulled her down through the eerie green deep
And the sound of the laughing old man filled her ears
As she drifted away to a tranquil
And motionless sleep.





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