178: When the Lights go Down

The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale (1999)
A couple of years ago I saw Stan Douglas’ film Luanda-Kinshasa in an art gallery. Or at least I saw part of it. The full thing is six hours long and consists solely of a jazz-fusion funk band jamming in retro garb. The film’s music was captivating – no peaks or troughs, just a simmering, Escher groove that could unfold forever. Musical manna. If the gallery wasn’t about to close I could have easily lasted the whole 360-minute duration. When I listen to the smokey lounge jazz of When the Lights go Down I feel similarly in awe. I just don’t want it to stop. The intro is two and a half minutes long (four of The Vault’s ten tracks will have already finished by this point) but there’s no rush – It’s a delight to bask in the sound of a band at the top of their game. And when the vocals do arrive it’s like the loving embrace of a long lost friend. Some of Prince’s creations floor you with their otherworldliness and others hit you with their virtuosic flawless execution. When the Lights go Down is a textbook example of the latter.