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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15 Nov '02 05:53:12 AM

III. Finally, one opens the circle a crack, opens it all the way, lets someone in, calls someone, or else goes out oneself, launches forth. One opens the circle not on the side where the old forces of chaos press against it but in another region, one created by the circle itself. As though the circle tended on its own to open onto a future, as a function of the working forces it shelters. This time, it is in order to join with the forces of the future, cosmic forces. One launches forth, hazards an improvisation. But to improvise is to join with the World, or meld with it. One ventures from home on the thread of a tune. Along sonorous, gestural, motor lines that mark the customary path of a child and graft themselves onto or begin to bud "lines of drift" with different loops, knots, speeds, movements, gestures, and sonorities.

14 Nov '02 09:05:44 PM

Deleuze from "Whitman" in Essays Critical and Clinical. It suggests loads of things, I think.

With much confidence and tranquility, Whitman states that writing is fragmentary, and that the American writer has to devote himself to writing in fragments. This is precisely what disturbs us - assigning this task to America, as if Europe had not progressed along this same path. But perhaps we should recall the difference Holderlin discovered between the Greeks and the Europeans: what is natal or innate in the first must be acquired or conquered by the second, and vice-versa. In a different manner, this is how things stand with the Europeans and the Americans. Europeans have an innate sense of organic totality, or composition, but they have to acquire the sense of the fragment, and can do so only through a tragic reflection or an experience of disaster. Americans, on the contrary, have a natural sense for the fragment, and what they have to conquer is the feel for the totality, for beautiful composition. The fragment already exists in a nonreflective manner, preceding any effort: we make plans, but when the time comes to act, we "tumble the thing together, letting hurry and crudeness tell the story better than fine work." What is characteristic of America is therefore not the fragmentary, but the spontaneity of the fragmentary: "Spontaneous, fragmentary" says Whitman.

14 Nov '02 07:29:37 AM

I think Alex is probably right: it's not the loved one's fault, either (though perhaps sometimes we end up looking to blame it on them). It's nobody's fault. But still I feel the notion of fault floating around under the surface.

13 Nov '02 04:51:20 AM

I am pretty sure this Einsturzende Neubauten track is about the nature of existence so I'm not quite clear why they said something about marzipan in the lyrics. I probably just didn't hear it right.

12 Nov '02 07:26:29 AM

I wonder if this reveals anything.

THE SCENE: midnight at a record store on new-release Tuesday.

CLERK (to white guy): The new Pearl Jam?

WHITE GUY: Yep.

CLERK (to black guy): Jay-Z?

BLACK GUY: Yeah.

CLERK (to me): What can I do for you?

11 Nov '02 07:12:37 AM

Lately it's been no lightning flashes and no thunder. More like a constant crackle of static electricity. By itself this is frustrating. I constantly find myself thinking, if only I had the time to... or if only I could.... But this is probably a mistake, anyway. Most things I'm interested in aren't announced with meteorological activity of any sort.

10 Nov '02 07:34:50 AM

"I can't help falling in love" should be somewhere in here, probably with "fooled into love". What a strange idea, that we can't help falling in love. Well, not strange because it's foreign. It's painfully familiar. (I cannot emphasize that "painfully" enough at the moment.) But the relationship to any "should" that might have a bearing on a relationship is obscure to me, and that relationship to a "should" is, I suspect, what makes the idea strange.

("I can't help falling in love": its being inexorable, ineluctable is part of the pleasure, part of the joy, something to be appreciated.)

("I can't help falling in love": it's not my fault; implicit recognition that there's something wrong with it, or something that might go wrong.)

(This applies to records too, as if that were more important.)

10 Nov '02 05:16:07 AM

The aptness of some of these is hilarious and chilling.

10 Nov '02 05:06:30 AM

I found the text below sitting around somewhere. It must be from before this day, sometime in the summer. I probably never posted it here because I wanted to keep going with it, but I've since forgotten what I wanted to say. It looks like it was going to have something to do with how, even though Secondhand Sounds was the first record I heard to sound more like my mental picture of this kind of music, it leaves a lot of the possibilities I refer to unrealized. (Also, it turns out I was right in the first paragraph, but with a caveat: I love the second disc, and while the first seems good to me, it sometimes makes me feel like I'm listening to anonymous mid-90s female-voiced "electronica" (probably because of the basslines, somehow, the way they mix with the singers), which I don't like feeling as much.

I'm so, so happy that I ran across Herbert's Secondhand Sounds while in Madison last weekend. I can already tell that it will be one of my favorite records of the year, come December. This is, outside of buying a new album that I am basically fated to love, one of the most viscerally exciting things I can think of about hearing a new record.

I still have, really, very little exposure to dance music. So in some sense I'm probably poorly qualified to appreciate what a good record this is. But with the records I have heard and come to love, I've basically beem primed for this one - it's the kind of thing I've been waiting for since I started hearing about clicks, glitch, microhouse, anything with those kinds of affinities.

I am sure I must've gotten this idea from reading something somewhere before ever hearing a single such record, but the very idea that manipulation of rhythms and sounds on such a precise scale will be a major constituent of a style of music makes me excited for the possibilities for syncopation, polyrhythms, time manipulation, uh... lots of things. It's hard to articulate the good things I thought I would be able to hear before I heard them, because the kind of made-up music I occasionally hear in my head is always much better in an ideal sense than music I can talk about, if fatally flawed for being the kind of fuzzy mental image that I can never make resolve convincingly.

Anyway. This is the first record of the admittedly few of this sort I've heard that sounds like it does the sort of thing I expected. Oval - too floaty and post-everything. Matmos - too IDMy. Kompakt Total 3 - wonderful but not enough clicking glitching etc. Prefuse 73 (which Ethan tells me Scott Herren pronounces like the word for garbage, but I guess either way he gets the double reference at the expense of mispronouncing the other word) - too pretty. And above all too slow. I have something specific and probably a bit different from 'slow' in mind, though.