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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8 Nov '01 12:04:28 AM

On the loneliness embedded in hip-hop culture...

... would be a nice way to title a longer, more involved version of this idea. Or alternately, "The loneliness of the headphone wearer" in reference to "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" though I wouldn't use that since I don't even know why that thing is called what it is. Ha.

"turn my headphones up" sez Kardinal Offishall somewhere on Firestarter Vol. 1. Similarly Jay-Z on The Blueprint - "turn my music high/high/high/er" - and all over hip-hop in general, at least as far as I've heard. The idea of turning it up is not new; it's probably an idea borrowed from rock, maybe even one new with rock. But the emphasis on the headphones (not in the Jay-Z line but other places that I can't remember right now) interests me. Headphones have plenty of other associations, definitely, but doesn't it seem like they've picked up an even stronger association with hip-hop now?

I think this says something about the way people listen to hip-hop, at the very least. That it shows up in the music says a lot about the connection between the people who make hip-hop and the people who listen to it, and more generally, the connection between making music and listening to music. But not here.

Look at it: all these people, listening to music by themselves. Often in places full of other people that one generally isn't supposed to talk to or interact in very involved ways with in the first place - a socially isolated arena, one that reinforces a certain kind of people-as-atoms thinking.

How does this show up in the way the music is heard? Made?

The other month a guy on the bus was listening to the new Jay-Z on his headphones. I could tell because he was shouting out the lyrics to "Renegade". But he had friends with him. So in some strange sense he wasn't alone.

6 Nov '01 06:37:56 AM

I think maybe Idiology loses a little momentum in the little. It seems like there is a run of songs built around noisy synths and DSP, all with very knotty rhythms.

5 Nov '01 08:42:34 AM

I suppose even if it did nothing else for me, I could say that Hawtin's mix tests my perceptual apparatus. "Tests" meaning plays with in strange ways that makes me unsure whether I can trust what I'm hearing. Did that beat just get louder, or is it just that I started noticing it after feeling it for thirty seconds while I spaced out? &c

5 Nov '01 08:37:31 AM

This Richie Hawtin album is a good deal harder than I bargained for. Where's my Kompakt Total 3 gone to?

4 Nov '01 08:47:49 AM

And it always did sound like sitting on a train anyway. Moving but sitting still.

3 Nov '01 07:12:23 AM

The notes to The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions say that the original title of "Shhh/Peaceful" was "Mornin' Fast Train From Memphis to Harlem". How great is that?

1 Nov '01 12:00:38 AM

Everyday I Write the Book: A Bibliography of (Mostly) Academic Work on Rock and Pop Music

31 Oct '01 08:47:50 AM

Grading, ugh.

If Mogwai's new single/EP "My Father, My King" is to be taken as programmatic (because of the prayer inside), to what extent should that suggest that we start to take their other music as more programmatic in the relevant senses?

31 Oct '01 08:45:51 AM

Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio seems to slowly be shifting from sometimes annoyingly thin and angular to "differently melodic".