There's something about the intense acidic beauty of the lead guitar tone in Elliot Smith's Strung Out Again -- it sounds like it is about to come totally unglued but remains intact and strong -- that made me go back and listen to the song three times on the iPod this morning. The feeling of -- shouldn't I be coming a little unglued under some dire but routine set of circumstances -- and yet I'm not? The tone is similar in spirit to the sound in Eddie Hazel's Maggot Brain guitar solo, but ends up in a different place. Hazel allows the substance of his tone to pull completely apart at moments, embracing a dissolving force of experience by channeling it into a kind of escape route.

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