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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14 Jan '02 03:14:43 PM
14 Jan '02 09:00:30 AM

Kelly asked me once whether I listen to what I write about while I'm writing. I think I said something like, I tend to write about more conceptual things when not listening, or things that have less to do with 'the music proper', and I need to listen to actually write much about the music.

I've been meaning to write about Kompakt Total 3 next, because I think that it follows nicely after what I said about Rooty, with the important difference that the former seems to suit my otherwise existing tastes much more easily - because of its mood, because of the sparse arrangements. I want to say more about it, though, so I haven't written anything yet because I haven't felt like replacing anything I've been listening to with that CD. And I'm realizing (re-realizing) that I really do need to have the CD on. What I usually do is listen to something, figure out that I have something to say, and then figure out how to say it. The last part involves lots of finding exactly (???) the right thing to say abou what I'm hearing right then. I need to be hearing it then because I can't come up with the words without the music, even if I can sort of remember the spirit of what I want to say.

14 Jan '02 07:26:02 AM

There's a lot less melody to the basslines on Silver Apples of the Moon, compared to Sounds of the Satellites. I'm not sure what difference that makes yet (I mean, I can tell, but I don't know what to say about it yet), except that the first record sounds more like dance music and the second sounds less like dance music.

12 Jan '02 11:38:02 AM

The realization that a place is home is never performative. The realization itself does not mark the beginning of the place's being home. That realization is the awareness that the place has become home over time, gradually. That's why it's a realization. Something like: oh, look at what's around me.

The feeling of home is a feeling of comfort. Perhaps that's why it seems like I only eventually notice that a place has become home for me once I catch myself in feelings I remember having before - comfortable, familiar feelings.

Tonight: hearing "Respect is Due" for the fourth or fifth time as the CD repeats, leaning against the wall on my bed, staring at the other wall, air from the ceiling fan causing a gentle breeze on my face. Just sitting here, listening, getting tired and not minding.

12 Jan '02 10:58:32 AM

Happy birthday to Ian's music blog. Of course, you know what I think about the necessity of music blogs... Keep up the good work.

12 Jan '02 10:24:48 AM

Jimmy wanted a quasi-religious context for the Plan's "What Do You Want Me To Say?". I'm not sure what to do with it, but there's a religious metaphor in the lyrics. How easy was that? Surely he can take it from there.

"And there's no eye to eye just Moses on the mount or I'm down for the count you need your man above or below you"

12 Jan '02 10:03:53 AM

Something I forgot to get at in that last post: the alternative to being so great at this style-clash problem solving is the bad kind of pastiche. Look! It's an indie rock band that does rap! Look! it's an indie rock band take on country-rock! Hey! Indie-funk!

So I guess what I'm saying is, one way to pastiche the bad way is to fail to solve those musical problems. Hopefully putting it that way will at least gesture at what I think is a technical way of thinking about this - nontechnically, the parts just don't fit together.

"But can't music where the parts don't fit together be valuable in its own right?" I don't see why not.

12 Jan '02 09:52:45 AM

I've liked a lot of it before (I wonder how many of my entries start out that way), but today I felt like I'd actually started getting the Dismemberment Plan's second album, Is Terrified. I bought it last year at a show, so I came to it after falling under the spell of Emergency & I, which I think wasn't the best order to do things in. So I liked it some, more for certain spots ("The Ice of Boston", "Respect is Due", "Bra", u.s.w.) than overall. And then I mostly set it aside, listening to it occasionally to see if it would grow on me. For some reason coming to like it quickly wasn't really important to me, even as much as I loved Emergency & I even then.

I think the interview I linked to below said something about Is Terrified being their hip-hop album - I don't remember if it was the interviewer or Travis, but either way I think that's perceptive. It's not actually hard to see, I noticed it right away (perhaps being primed with at least the idea that the Plan had something to do with hip-hop on Emergency & I helped) - there are big fat beats, and some vaguely hip-hop synthesizer parts, and Travis sing-talks a lot. But hearing their other albums and reading that interview tonight have led me to think that they were doing something a lot more nuanced than just being a spastic post-hardcore indie rock band that rips off hip-hop on a surface level. No: the Plan are very aware that to incorporate all their various 'influences' (special quotes just for Mark Sinker) into their base sound (assuming for the minute that it's post-hardcore somethingorother) involves negotiating a bunch of different musical languages, and solving the problems that result when the languages bump up against each other. And they're not just aware of that, they're fucking great at it.

None of this is surprising based on listens to their last two albums. I think their attention to these kinds of problems shows up on Is Terrified, too, though, and I just hadn't ever appreciated it in that respect too well before.

12 Jan '02 09:36:06 AM

Man, I don't really like those online someone-has-a-crush-on-you gadgets. I like email about josh blog much better.