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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25 Nov '01 06:27:55 AM

Blankness. Maybe that's a suitable subject for something about "Twenty". In truth there's a lot going on, even from the beginning if the first five minutes of burbling and bass thumping counts as the "beginning". But let's gloss over that. "Twenty" drifts along on slowly evolving burbling and bass thumping and then watery digital-clear Morricone guitars and twwzrrrtchchrrrp and woosh noises, and because it's slowly evolving (if that's even the right word: maybe better - things happen, and then other things happen; sometimes some of the things keep happening when other things happen, and sometimes they don't - this remains to be seen though) it's like blankness, like when you're laying on the couch, not sleeping, no TV, just laying, your mind drifts slowly, sometimes thinking about the same thing for three minutes, sometimes having a new thought.

No no no no no. There's a difference between boring and blank.

And anyway the bass thumps (what a terrible word for them, they don't especially thump, but they're so measured and low that they need a special name, and not "pulses") are propulsive enough that if nothing's happening, it feels like it's happening fast. Relatively speaking.

I'm trying to write about at least one song every day now.

So, here it goes.

21 Nov '01 07:02:37 AM

Mail from Jon:

Tommy Flanagan died this past weekend. You should listen to Giant Steps sometime this week.

Yes, yes I will.

21 Nov '01 06:56:26 AM

I sort of wish these two didn't write so much (they both have sites elsewhere), just because it makes me feel guilty about not writing enough.

19 Nov '01 07:01:21 AM

What I have been listening to to go to sleep lately (incomplete list):

Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right to Children. Labradford, Fixed:Context. Kid606, PS I Love You. Miles Davis, The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions (Disc 2). John Coltrane, Crescent. Goldfrapp, Felt Mountain.

Listening to the Boards of Canada tonight because I noticed it laying in the living room and realized I hadn't heard it in a while. I've listened to this a lot in many places, particularly my last two apartments. So why don't I have any place associations with it?

"Twenty" is the longest song on Fixed:Context, so it's not surprising that it's the song I wake up to most often. I have problems setting the volume on this CD: the Morricone guitars are distracting when I'm trying to go to sleep (Alexandre said in a recent email that they added drama at the live show he saw, which seems apt), but if I turn it down then I can't hear anything for much of the CD. In contrast, it's been a long time since I've played the disc really loudly, which I did shortly after getting it, when living at 103 Stanton. I don't play much loudly any more since I'm never in my room any more - except for things on my headphones, and those tend to be faster than Labradford, and only played away from home. Less chance for "deep listening".

Sometimes I think Kid606 has something good going, but then sometimes I just want to put on some Aphex Twin instead.

The unreleased tracks on the Davis box are strange to hear. The music was generally improvised in significant ways, but I think that just the fact that it sounds very similar to the released music makes me judge it very strictly, so that there's a tiny bit of disappointment when something like "Ascent" doesn't sound exactly like "Shhh/Peaceful" - my expectations are continually thwarted. This is a really minor thing, though, one that will disappear with time. The music is still good, I think.

19 Nov '01 06:47:21 AM

I bought a cheap boom box to use in my office, since sometimes I need music playing but I get sick of being encased in my headphones. So I finally started making some tapes I've been meaning to make, beginning with one for my roommate Murph to use in his jeep. In keeping with my almost non-existent tradition of tapemaking, it seems this is a tape I'm more certain to like than he is.

I've only done side A so far.

1: Tom Waits, "Chocolate Jesus". 2: Howlin' Wolf, "Spoonful". 3: Fela Kuti, "Buy Africa". 4: Kardinal Offishall, "Maxine". 5: Charles Mingus, "Moanin'". 6: Wilco, "Forget the Flowers". 7: Magnetic Fields, "A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off". 8: Velvet Underground, "What Goes On". 9: Outkast, "Liberation".

19 Nov '01 06:09:49 AM

Andy sends a quote (below) from Poe that he relates to this recent Wittgenstein post, but which also makes me think of this older entry.

"When music affects us to tears, seemingly causeless, we weep not, as Gravina supposes, from 'excess of pleasure'; but through excess of an impatient, petulant sorrow that, as mere mortals, we are as yet in no condition to banquet upon those supernal ecstasies of which the music affords us merely a suggestive and indefinite glimpse."

17 Nov '01 05:35:07 AM

One of the most appropriate search requests I've seen to lead someone here: "intimacy isolation".

14 Nov '01 06:59:43 PM

610. Describe the aroma of coffee. --Why can't it be done? Do we lack the words? And for what are words lacking? --But how do we get the idea that such a description must after all be possible? Have you ever felt the lack of such a description? Have you ever tried to describe the aroma and not succeeded?

((I should like to say: "These notes say something glorious, but I do not know what." These notes are a powerful gesture, but I cannot put anything side by side with it that will serve as an explanation. A grave nod. James: "Our vocabulary is inadequate." Then why don't we introduce a new one? What would have to be the case for us to be able to?))

(Wittgenstein from the Investigations)

12 Nov '01 05:25:39 PM

I should say that the way I put that last post is due in part to an idea Frank Kogan shared with me; I had been thinking about it before but he's got a nice way of putting it that changed the focus on what I was thinking about.