NO SLEEVE: "NO SLEEVE"
After years of crate-diggin' I finally stumble over that impossibly-rare copy of "No Sleeve" by No Sleeve on Ember. The sky opens, angels descend, etc. Records like this you'll never, ever find if you actively look for them. You have to...just...let go...give up all hope of ever physically encountering them - embrace the sheer impossibility of them even existing, forget the idea of ever touching them, of them actually being there in front of you.
They are like...a mist, a state of mind, an idea. Something...impossible.
They. Do. Not. Exist.
What's it sound like?
It doesn't sound like anything. Are you stoopid? You can't...you can't play this.
It...it has no grooves.
Actually, No Sleeve is just one stepping-stone, a Glass Hammer-like Stopping-off Point in some Much Longer Game whose eventual terminus is the eventual attainment of "No Song" by No Artist on No Label (Year Unknown). The song - the track; the sound - that no one can ever have or own.
My own personal Zen-Reaper Encounter.
The End Game.
You pick it out of some mouldering box and the kindly-looking old lady - the charity-shop volunteer who was doing her knitting a moment earlier - is suddenly there, smiling down at you as you crouch over the box. Her face shifts, as if your vision has blurred slightly, and she says (a sweet-sounding purr more than a voice): "We've got some more records like that...out in The Back Room. Would you like to have a quick look?"
And she gently leads you through the bead curtain into a stock room that goes on...Forever.
But, No Sleeve...well, it's a different kinda deal to that Unfame Thing I was talking about recently - y'know, that gradual inversion of celebrity; that faded-product boot-shop infamy-leading-to-ubiquity - whereas: this is an erosive process, the gradual erasing of a cultural.object's identity until it becomes an Unthing - a What-The-Fuck-Is-That? Object whose provenence / history / content is uncertain...and that, my friend, is when I really start to get interested. The Not-Knowing-What-That-Is is what catches my eye.
I probably have some sort of DRD4 7-Repeat Allele Thang goin' on. And that...that will prove to be my eventual downfall.
The bead-curtain beckons inside my head - threatens to part - like a looooong string of nucleotide base-pairs.