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September 4, 2006 | by  | in Music |
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John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

Album for all occasions. Get you closer to God.

Religion man. We, the dirty secular humanists at Salient, love pissing on it.

But isn’t it really flogging an extremely dead horse? As far as credible and dangerous opponents go, we are pretty safe in our ivory tower of blasphemy.

Sadly for us, science and philosophy do not really eff the ineffable, because religion at its heart is not an intellectual creature. It’s a matter of heart, soul and conscience, comfort in an uncertain and unexplainable universe. The cold hearts and quick minds of those who would argue away the spiritual miss the point that no religion is really about explaining anything, a mistake that’s shared by the dogmatic. Rituals and gnosis bind us together, make us part of something larger in a social and cosmic sense, they shape our lives and give them meaning, remind us of what we can aspire to and to what depths we could sink.

For the great majority of our history, Art has been religious. Only in the last century has music become secular, and we would like to think that our worldly music is superior to anything the God Squad could play. With arms wide open, I could invoke unholy names… but the easiest targets are far too easy.

Coltrane’s A Love Supreme is his paean to spiritual understanding, and whenever I listen to it, it gives me a little hope for all the religious musicians who don’t seem to realise that what they say isn’t as important as what they inspire in their audience. It’s a quick listen at thirty minutes and a legendary piece of Jazz (though I’m far from an expert in these matters). Does it nourish me spiritually? Does it make me feel part of something bigger than myself? That is what great music does. But just personally… not half as much as say, Slayer’s Reign in Blood. Strong Truth.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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