Studies in Futility
A spectre is haunting the human animal -- the spectre is death. The most exquisite things in life are only so exquisite. It can only get so good. We are apes with limited capacities. Eventually ennui sets in, anyhow. We are guileful, murderous apes who make both love and war; the same hands that create may just as readily destroy. Drooling muts are capable of purer love than we. Even children for all their innocence struggle to keep their noisy, little egos in check, and so all the more must we adults mortify our ghastly, full-grown egos, lest hubris stifle all contemplation. Never before has it's global population density been greater and yet individually isolated more than ever, the human animal appears capable only of dull sensations of pleasure-pain at witnessing the suffering of his fellow animal, the pleasure and pain being indistinguishable and intermingled. Admittedly, there are moments when we find ourselves weeping over the human plight, but on reflection these are more or less the same tears we shed while watching a daytime soap or when our puppy pees on the carpet and we feel overwhelmed. We are tired and capable of little. Futility abounds everywhere and from all directions. Thomas Kushin captures a glimpse of this in his aptly titled album Studies in Futility. Indeed, Mr. Kushin embraces the futility with a smile. He wails incessantly on his alto sax deep in the mountains of New England for three extended if aimless improvisations: 'Glossolalia', 'Ennui', and 'Le Vin du solitaire'. The final track, 'Scuttlebutt', is an ambient piece and return to the chatter.