When Drake put up his first Novel Soundtrack
, I thought it was a revolutionary use of the Rhapsody playlist form, and vowed to give it a whirl if I ever finished another book. Well lo and behold many moons and a couple hundred diaper changes later I done read me Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami.
Quite some time ago I stumbled on my first Haruki Murakami novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, on a shelf in a guest room. I fell right in and didn't look back. His novels offered everything I needed in a good read: ordinary people walking out the back door into heady spiritual otherworlds, hallucinatory dream sex, and preparation of plenty of great, simple meals described in exquisite clinical detail. I'm sure there were some characters, plots, and mind-altering metaphors in there somewhere, too. Who knows.
His other novels were frequently variations on the theme of searching for a missing someone who may or may not be found on the physical plane. Sometimes the characters and situations involved made for great reading (Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) and sometimes they fell a little flat (Norwegian Wood, South Of The Border, West Of The Sun).
Kafka On The Shore fell in the middle of this spectrum for me. It got off to a damn fine start and went down some interesting roads, but in the end just left me flat. Luckily for today's purposes, however, the novel incorporates music in some pretty remarkable ways. Some of the songs in this playlist, particularly Beethoven's Archduke Trio and My Favorite Things performed by John Coltrane were practically pivotal characters in their own right:
"Somewhere along the line Coltrane's soprano sax runs out of steam. Now it's McCoy Tyner's piano solo I hear, the left hand carving out a repetitious rhythm and the right layering on thick, forbidding chords. Like some mythic scene, the music portrays somebody's - a nameless, faceless somebody's - dim past, all the details laid out as clearly as entrails being dragged out of the darkness. Or at least that's how it sounds to me. The patient, repeating music ever so slowly breaks apart the real, rearranging the pieces. It has a hypnotic, menacing smelll, just like the forest."Kafka On The Shore Novel Soundtrack
Schubert Piano Sonata in D Major
Crossroads - Cream
Heigh - Ho - Andre Rieu
Mi Chiamano Mimi - Puccini (Maria Callas)
As Time Goes By - Billie Holiday
4th Time Around - Bob Dylan
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
Corcovado - Getz/Gilberto
Sexy MF - Prince
Archduke Trio - Beethoven
My Favorite Things - John Coltrane