Stephen John Kalinich
A World of Peace Must Come
Light in the Attic Records (CD/digital download)
People throughout the world are taking in the results from yesterday’s election, discussing the implications of an Obama presidency on the economy, healthcare, and foreign policy. One goal I hope will be on the agenda in 2009 is promoting peaceful solutions. That’s why I’d recommend that president-elect Obama consider putting the recently released A World of Peace Must Come, by poet and musician Stephen John Kalinich, in heavy rotation on his Ipod; it’s been frequently playing on mine.
Recorded in 1969 and co-produced by Kalinich and Beach Boy Brian Wilson, the recording was slated to be issued on the Beach Boys’ Brother Records imprint. Somehow, it got lost in the shuffle. Nearly forty years later, Light in the Attic has given World of Peace its first formal release. Kalinich is well-steeped in the Beats; his combination of spoken-word and musical accompaniment shares an affinity with some of Ginsberg’s later efforts.
World of Peace is certainly a work of its time, with a trippy psychedelic aesthetic, countercultural rhetoric, and a questioning of business as usual and the powers that be. That’s part of what makes its long-belated release so poignant: Plus ca change… But in many ways, Kalinich’s poetry is fascinating in spite of the recording’s easily apprehended aural ‘carbon-dating.’ He eloquently espouses peace, compassion, and tolerance in a time when these virtues have been sorely tested both at home and abroad.