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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9 Feb '03 06:42:45 AM

Next to the other records I mixed it with tonight (Ella and Louis, Bodily Functions, part of a Sinatra comp, and Getz/Gilberto), 69 Love Songs starts to sound totally unaccomplished and slipshod melodically, especially in the melody as made by the singing: contours of the line, phrasing, diction, intonation, basically anything you can think of.

9 Feb '03 06:35:34 AM

Whether it's because she actually possesses some singerly control over her voice, or it's just further idiosyncracy, the fine, subtle variations in Astrud Gilberto's singing make it apparently impossible for me to sing along when coupled with her constantly flat tone - I can't consistently sing it off-key, even if my own singing isn't pitch-perfect (far from it ha). Yet: this is exactly her charm, because when I don't try to sing along, the texture of her voice and the way it moves around make her pitch sound more alluring, fascinating, slightly hypnotic. When I do try to sing along, my failure to keep up with the one aspect of the singing helps bring the other into prominence by itself, which can only be harmful to it.

9 Feb '03 02:43:19 AM

On "The Nearness of You", while Ella sings, Louis is obviously playing his horn from farther away in the studio. I thought I might be able to say that I appreciated that little detail, but I can't really tell if the contrast was intentional, since Louis plays his horn from a distance on other tracks - it's just a device for reducing his volume, or maybe just getting a sound generally more appropriate for playing under a singer. Oh well.

6 Feb '03 06:23:32 AM

"you'd be surprised / at my degree of uncertainty"

5 Feb '03 10:47:47 AM

I know someone with very definitely mapped-out tastes. We often disagree about music. Tonight we sat around for a while playing records at each other ("at" is the appropriate word) and panning them. Or, to be more accurate, I heard his records and thought they sounded OK but wasn't that interested in them, and he heard my records and thought they were crap, for the most part. He played me a lot of things somewhere between post-rock (the U.S. version, the kind with lots of guitars, not marimbas or something) and post-hardcore. I played him: Ice Cube, Basement Jaxx, Herbert, the Avalanches, and Stevie Wonder. (He approved most of the Stevie, but still didn't like it that much.)

Now, what happened was more complex than I've described it above. I just wanted to put it down to motivate this question. At one point in my life (very recently), I would have liked his music more readily, but more importantly, I could have more easily picked a number of CDs of my own that we might have agreed upon. Although I was deliberately picking music with beats, this no longer seems to me to be something I might have to go out of my way to do, as it may have been at, say, the time that I liked music more like his. I was just picking records that I think are wonderful, good, awesome, spectacular, great, engaging, fascinating, essential, perfect, well, you know - I like them a lot. So what this led me to wonder is: if you've been reading this page for a long time, you may have noticed this shift. I have talked about it more than once, at any rate. But in the past year I haven't written so much about new things I like, or even new things I'm trying or listening to at all. Does this give you the impression that, when I talk about music now, I seem to have unexpectedly started talking only about music you don't like? Or of music that I never seemed to like before? Or anything else you can think of? I expect that anyone nominally aware enough to catch the persistent trend toward catholicism in my tastes will think little of any of this. But, I don't know; today I was struck by how far I seem to have traveled, since I am now apparently significantly alienated from someone whose tastes once might have coincided a fair amount with mine. Or, not by the distance, so much, but by how incommensurable things became (even "Superstition" got only grudging acceptance!).

If you have anything to say about this, you know what to do.

4 Feb '03 06:45:35 AM

My favorite song of 2002, No Doubt's "Underneath It All", failed a little test today, if failed is the right word. (I don't know that I really would have expected it to pass, if I had thought about it in advance, so a test doesn't really seem fair.) This afternoon I turned in an application for a fellowship at the very last minute, late even. I was not at all happy with my application, to put it mildly. I thought I might "freak out", to use the parlance of our times. On the way back across the bridge from the fellowship office I put on Rock Steady and listened some and tried not to fall down in the slush and ice, and skipped whatever it's called between "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All". But "Undearneath It All" didn't really make me feel better, despite how wonderful it might make me feel in better circumstances. I suppose buoyant tranquility only goes so far.

It came on again over the house system in a restaurant I ate dinner at later on, and that did make me happy. But I mostly felt better by then anyway.

3 Feb '03 08:57:18 AM

At nighttime, at least. In the daytime I seem to be just fine.

As far as going to sleep goes, that is.

3 Feb '03 08:56:29 AM

This CD changer not working thing impairs my ability to go to sleep.

3 Feb '03 08:52:47 AM

Recently I have seen this page referred to as a "philosophy blog" and as a "poetics blog". I suppose this means I haven't been writing enough about music.