[Jim O'Rourke On Eureka's pop culture and musical influences, 1999]
"Like Ken Vandermark’s sax solo on "Through the Night Softly." If you take that out of context, you’re going to be wondering, "What is that?". I remember recording it and saying "No, Ken, stupider…stupider." He kept saying, "Aw Jim, come on." But what most people have heard is Pink Floyd’s "The Great Gig in the Sky" from Dark Side of the Moon, which I can understand because the drumming was purposefully supposed to sound like Nick Mason. But it is supposed to feel like "Saturday Night Live." That interests me partially because it’s a cultural reference taken out of its context but also because it’s just stupid. I like stupid stuff. I have to admit it’s also slightly a parody of a Gastr del Sol song for me. The cliched poignant piano on that song is just ridiculous. What is so poignant about a piano humping out a bunch of chords, you know? So that tune is mostly made up of jokes. But it had to work musically of course."
- Jim O'Rourke
I just played the two songs alongside one another. Obviously "Great Gig", the meter is slightly different, and chief similarity is in the piano chords and the drumming, and how they fit together. Also in he climax, with the soul singin' and saxophone being pretty comparable, as both act as the climax of the song....
But I think this is Jim both paying tribute to, and having a laugh at, the "poignant" and melancholy style of epic '70s rock.
So both songs are in the same key, and riff on the same basic chord progression, so they're rooted in the same series of notes. But Eureka is not meant to be taken as seriously as I often find myself taking it. That line about "no, Kim- stupider" is pretty telling. Insignificance and Eureka were both meant to be a little dumb. I know he says he's poking fun at Gastr Del Sol, but by splicing SNL and Pink Floyd, I think he's being a cheeky fuck and making a very blank-faced statement about how "stupid" trad rock music can be.
That's not to say he doesn't like Floyd. I'm sure he does. But this is Jim O'Rourke. It's a tongue in cheek tribute, if you ask me, and Eureka is a tongue in cheek album.