josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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5 Jul '02 10:12:54 PM

Or maybe I just didn't notice that it was scratching.

5 Jul '02 10:12:32 PM

Listening to Aquemini for the first time in a while (I've been listening to less Outkast because I figured it would help me get more into other rap), I just noticed the scratching in the first part of the title track. Don't think I've ever 'heard' it before.

5 Jul '02 07:12:51 AM

And yes, I know there's not much left. I blame the Beatles.

5 Jul '02 07:06:12 AM

Today I started thinking about "My White Album". I really, really don't enjoy listening to The Beatles. So I thought that I could do the usual exercise that I wish people would do for multiple albums that they think are full of crap. (See here for a stalled thread about this for The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs.) So far all I have is a list of songs. I still need to get rid of the questionable ones and sequence them.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Happiness is a Warm Gun (first part) ?
Don't Pass Me By ?
I Will ?
Julia ?

Yer Blues ?
Helter Skelter
Revolution 1
Revolution 9
Good Night

3 Jul '02 08:29:37 PM

Tape I made for a friend's birthday:

A:

Busta Rhymes - Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check / Le Tigre - Get off the Internet / Faust - The Sad Skinhead / Jay-Z - Can I Get A... / M. Mayer - Hush Hush Baby / The Beatles - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / The Beta Band - Dry the Rain / Wu-Tang Clan - Rules / The Dismemberment Plan - Girl O'Clock / Gang Starr - I'm the Man / Sonic Youth - Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit

B:

Stereolab - Metronomic Underground / Eminem - When the Music Stops / The Avalanches - Electricity / Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out / Outkast - Ain't No Thang / Mystikal - Bouncin' Back / Fugazi - Waiting Room / Herbaliser feat. Latryx - 8pt Agenda / A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario (remix) / Pixies - Hey

Ha. The more tapes I make the more apparent the slow shift in what I tend to put on the tapes.

2 Jul '02 10:24:03 AM

Surely the ecstatic vamping has something to do with how effectively Jarrett is able to fuck around so much with the harmonic 'progression' in his improvisations. Set up a new key for long enough and you eliminate a lot of the 'requirement' that when you change, you've got to do something that fits in with the older harmonic material (like, the stuff from before the last switch, or before that).

2 Jul '02 10:15:22 AM

It's been quiet in my house.

My roommates went on a week-long trip, and as I expected, about three days in, the loneliness started to bother me. In the summer I'm pretty out of touch with most of the people I met this year, so I just don't have the usual ordinary opportunities to be around people. (Forced opportunities are not an option.)

Maybe suiting this, maybe unrelated: I've also been leaving the house more quiet, deliberately, in that I haven't felt like putting on much music. When I do, I don't feel like hearing anything else right away when it's over. And I'm having a hard time picking a record I think I'll be happy to hear, although once I get one playing I usually enjoy myself.

Instead, I'll just do whatever I'm doing - reading, writing, or nothing at all - quietly. The air conditioning and fans make lots of subtle sounds.

I've made an entry very much like this before but I can't find it.

Just now I put on Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert for the first time in a while. I don't remember the last time I listened to it, though I know it was more recent than what I wrote about over two years ago.

Sometimes when I listen to a record for which I have strong associations, I feel as if what I'm really listening for is to see if I'll have a new memory to attach to it, instead of constantly just referring to the old one. It's not automatic, but it can get in the way of things.

Of course, sometimes I'll just keep listening and not having those memories, only to find out down the road that I made some anyway.

2 Jul '02 06:56:22 AM

"a minute passes before the song even begins to make sense": what an odd thing to say. As if he's never heard the beginning of a song before.

29 Jun '02 06:03:33 AM

Ideas for an unwritten review of the new Tom Waits CDs: both records a lot more textured than his recent ones. I haven't heard Mule Variations in a while, so maybe that one is, but I don't think so. The texture is fascinating, like I can reach out and grab it. And so many of the songs are slow enough that it's like the palpable parts of the tracks are just hanging suspended in air. I think this helps his ballads. Since Swordfishtrombones they've been often done in his sad drunk persona, or variants on it or relatives of it, and when the production is flatter that makes me feel like the songs are more of an ordeal (cf. Frank's Wild Years), which is maybe appropriate given the songs and the whole theatericality schtick, but still. With the added texture in the new songs, when the forward motion and the melodic motion are de-emphasized to get that dreamy and defocused-gaze effect that can come from the sad drunk reveries, there's still something there to hang your interest in the song on, and consequently your emotional reactions. The songs help pull me along more. It also helps that the backing band's parts carry a lot of the standardly 'emotional' stuff, like violin solos and such. Those small details are much more important here than before. I listened to the trilogy and the two new ones today, on shuffle, and besides sometimes being a little confused about which I was hearing when (ha), I noticed that a lot of the bluesier or rockier (or carnivalesque weirdo variants on same) songs on the trilogy have pretty simple lyrics and harmonic motion, and tend to repeat themselves a lot. Those songs have sort of disappeared here - the faster or louder ones tend to be done in goofy German-derived rhythms and such, and only some of them, like Komminezuspadt or whatever, are as repetitive - others are in the clomp-clomp mode, like Belly of a Whale or the opener to Blood Money. The ballads on the trilogy are more pop-rocky too - the ballads here rely on delicate harmonic modulations, and lyrical subtleties. The first n many times I heard "Alice" I noticed the reference to ice skating at the beginning, and at the end, but never put them together and so thought both of them sounded a little lame. At one great moment when I put them together, I realized: these tie up the whole song, and they do so with an image that: a) requires attention (more than my usual amount ha), b) exemplifies innocent childhood activities, and c) cleverly ties these to the narrator's fixation on Alice, how it's harmful to him, and how he is oblivious to that harm because of the fixation (he fell through the ice because he repeated the name, following in her tracks (did she do it at the beginning?)).