Addicted to Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek

To understand my addiction to Mark Kozelek, we have to go back to art college, 1998 Minneapolis, when I was in a terrible relationship with the wrong girl…

I had just met a fellow student (and the woman who would become my wife), who took me in and let me stay in her studio apartment. Her old roommate had left in a huff, with all of her cats, and it was just us. Life went from deplorable to perfect in a matter of days, and there we were, alone and happy.

When we finally moved from that studio apartment, out to Silver Lake, Los Angeles, we accidentally took a box that my wife’s old roommate had left behind. It wouldn’t be for another nine months before I looked in that box and found an old Canon 35mm still camera…and a series of CD’s with beautifully sparse photographs on the covers. I was intrigued, but for some reason I put them all back inside that box.

It wouldn’t be for another two-and-a-half years, however, before I ever put those CD’s in the player. In between that time, I had left a dot com start-up in LA, tried my hand at owning my own company in San Francisco (and failing), and moved back to Chicago to work for a motion graphics company. We were low on cash, and living with my wife’s parents, when I decided to open that box again.

Mark Kozelek

Red House Painters – Mp3

I remember the day clearly; I was laying in bed, reading Danielewski’s debut novel, “House of Leaves,” and put all five of the CDs into my multi-disc changer. I hit shuffle (I never hit shuffle), and the songs began to play. And I fell in love. Night after night, I just left it on shuffle. The songs bled from one album to the next, indiscernibly so, and for weeks I would enjoy the songs each one as if it were the first time I had heard it.

So, after a long, fleeting acquaintance with Mark Kozelek (nearly four years), his songs had finally connected with me on a nearly spiritual level. The more I listened, the more eerie this connection became. Not only was the music itself the perfect depiction of who I was at the time (and still am, to a large degree) but the lyrics, once I started to listen, nearly tracked my entire life’s story.

He sang about family gatherings in the Midwest; about Silver Lake, and LA in general; about a girl who drew him pictures; about a park named after my wife’s grandmother (and now my daughter); he even wrote a song for his cat (remember my wife’s roommate?). This was me, a living narrative of excerpts from Kozelek verses. A part of me existed in his words… and now his words live inside me.

Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek (Solo) –ย Mp3

Since that night in bed with my book and the songs on shuffle, I’ve followed his every move. I’ve followed the delayed release of Old Ramon; his split from 4AD; the solo records in-between; the forming of Sun Kil Moon; the importance of “Carry Me Ohio,” as one of the greatest songs ever made. I’ve seen him four times in concert, and I’ll continue to follow his work and watch his shows until he stops making music.

Mark Kozelek

Sun Kil Moon –ย Mp3

I don’t think I need to sit here and explain the sleepy style of music Mark Kozelek makes, or the skillful guitar work, the exquisitely simple and poetic lyrics, the perfectly sparse vocal deliveries, none of it. For if you have read this far, you’ll surely feel some obligation to discover him for yourself.

p.s. The album covers here are, as far as I know, a complete catalog of all of Kozelek’s official releases (not including any compilations).

8 Responses to
“Addicted to Mark Kozelek”

  1. MW December 26, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    i love sun kil moon, i had to wait ages to see them live in europe ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. tim December 28, 2008 at 12:49 am #

    how did you like “house of leaves”?

  3. invertebrae December 28, 2008 at 12:55 am #

    i thought it was great. weird but engaging, and played with the narrative structure, not only in the storytelling, but in the typesetting as well.

    my friend told me: “dude, you have to read this book, it’s about a house that is wider on the inside than it is on the outside!”

    he was right, and i highly recommend it. i recommend red house painters even more though.

    …ryan

  4. chas January 12, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    what a wonderful discovery/story of discovering mark’s amazing work. my introduction came from a friend and i’ve been addicted for years. he is such an under appreciated artist with such a spectacular voice/sound. another artist i warmly suggest you check out is j. tillman.

  5. Tyler January 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    mark is amazing as is house of leaves. give a listen and a read.

  6. Katy March 30, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    After one of my friends told me to listen to Have You Forgotten, I fell deeply in love with Mark’s music which pulled me out of a heavy eight month long depression. His music has made me truly appreciate myself and the world around me. Since discovering Mark, I notice all the small wonders and beauties in my everyday life. I now write poetry and draw, some things I never thought myself capable of before, and music plays an even bigger role in my life than ever before, both playing and listening to it. He has, through his magnificent music, shaped me into something greater than I thought I could be, making me happier than I believed possible because of those awful eight months. Thank you, Mark.

  7. Ryan Dunn March 30, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    @Katy

    Wow. Then I would imagine “Katy Song” meant a lot to you (if your name is indeed Katy)!!

    …ryan

  8. Katy March 30, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Ryan,

    That is indeed one of my favorite songs of all time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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