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.

newest | archives | search | about | wishlist | flickr | email | rss

5 Dec '04 08:11:23 AM

This article by Douglas Wolk about The Ex and their new record has some fascinating bits about the band's working arrangements. It seems to me that this is the sort of thing that ought to be just as important to absorb as the sound of a band, for other bands who want to believe in something like the original impulse of punk, and actually put it into practice.

I separated this sort of thing from the sound of a band, but I suppose that on a record like Turn you can hear the organization of the band, as an arrangement of people doing work, right in the music, in a way that might sometimes be obscured in another band's music by the familiarity of the musical materials. The Ex are austere, to say the least, down to the sounds of their guitars; the sound like they adhere to Sun Ra's principle for the Arkestra - every member is a drummer - including all the string players. They're rhythmically austere, too, with a lot of their songs basically extensions of the jerky, proto-riffy repetitiveness of hardcore. But by a little twist of principle - the way that the players combine these parts together - i.e., in the rhythmic organization of the music, they suddenly become an art-punk band. I'm sure it could be attributed to Africanisms in the rhythm section (they play an Ethopian song, as is noted in Douglas's article, but that's not even the most African-sounding thing on the record when you ignore the vocals), or to a more thoroughly democratic mode of organization, or something like that, but what's most exciting about it for me is that it's possible to relate the music to ideas like the foregoing, even while it doesn't sound like cultural misappropriation or repudiation of the austerity of musical materials that (however wrongly or rightly) is assumed to go along with the social and commercial ethics of the punk ethos.

It feels a bit precarious saying this at this point.

4 Dec '04 05:15:31 AM

Akufen's Fabric mix is far more boring than I expected, which is my first hopeful sign that it's actually even better than I expected. Or that it will be better.

3 Dec '04 08:34:05 AM

Someone submitted the Nirvana boxed set to the vast interweb CD infotron with the dates set for each individual track. All is full of love. Hug your neighbor and so on.

3 Dec '04 06:09:44 AM

A good interview at Government Names.

2 Dec '04 10:04:37 AM

This week in moments of respite from the endless toil of grading papers I'm reading: Minima Moralia, The Moral Collapse of the University, and Das Bild-Wörterbuch (pictures!), and listening to a stack of CDs splurged on: Nico's Chelsea Girl, four Muddy Waters records (Hard Again, I'm Ready, Real Folk Blues, and More Real Folk Blues), Keren Ann's Not Going Anywhere, and the Soft Pink Truth's hardcore covers album. With more in the stack yet!

Grading will never stop, ever, as long as I teach. But at least it's not torture anymore (maybe that was just a remnant of the depression?); it's just that it inevitably results in tedium.

1 Dec '04 11:53:48 PM

Somewhere Jess is grating his teeth at you, Sasha.

30 Nov '04 03:37:21 AM

It seems as if writing in fragments (such a poorly chosen word, thoughtlessly chosen), remarks, could be seen to make a work of thought more forceful than if it had been written in continuous prose, as a single line of argument; there is less exposure, greater intensity throughout. The parts do not depend nearly so much on one another for their correctness, validity, or significance; if one fails, or fails to take hold, it might possibly hardly be missed. (The relation between fragmentary - augh! - texts and networks is probably deeper than the glibness of that formulation implies.) And when this is so, it seems, somehow (I'm recording my impulses, hunches, here; regarded soberly the situation feels like it can be brought exactly into line in every way with that of continuously argued prose, by someone so inclined to argue), as if each remark gets to say more because it is allowed to presume so many other things have been said so securely.

(I am thinking of Wittgenstein.)

29 Nov '04 09:11:09 AM

What is it?
What is it like?
What does it sound like?
Why am I listening to it?
Should I listen to it?
Should I keep listening to it?
Why do I keep listening to it?
Will I keep listening to it?
Why do I want to listen to it?

I keep forgetting the simplicity of some of the basic questions.

29 Nov '04 09:08:29 AM

Each separate section - it looks as if they're meant to seem like separate entries not consistently dated, so that most are set apart only by the blank space - of Rilke's Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge begins, in the 1964 Norton edition of Norton's translation (no relation?), with a drop cap.

It rather detracts from the conceit that the thing is made up of Malte's notebook entries.