Current Month

July 31, 2000

8:59 PM
This is the last entry I'm going to make, hopefully (willpower weak though), before I am finished packing and left only to wait for 9 AM. But I just wanted to share this special message:

If you are one of the select few who reads josh blog regularly, you rock. I realize it can get confusing at times, especially since I don't pay too much attention to citing what I'm talking about, or where I got a certain notion from, so either you are especially brave or an uber-music geek like me (in which case, cool). I started doing this site for me, but now I also do it for you. Thanks for reading. You rock.

Drop me a line if you never have - I love to hear from my readers.

7:53 PM
What the man is doing to put the smack down on free-music traders. This guy sounds like such a tool.

6:12 PM
As evidenced by my old review, I didn't like DJ Spooky's collaboration with the Freight Elevator Quartet very much, but this review of the new FEQ (sans Spooky) at Splendid piques my interest.

2:14 PM
Holy shit! I wasn't actually expecting anyone to buy me anything from my wishlist, except of course my parent. Nevertheless Music from the Morning of the World showed up in the mail today, thanks to Mike, who has got to be the most generous person I've ever known. :)

So far it's really cool stuff. Not exactly what I expected (the shimmering and resonance are there, but because of the different harmonic ideas (i.e. non-western), it sounds kind of de-tuned to me, like they're beating on old, dented-up instruments) - but what ever is? The rhythms are very intriguing - often I hear something that, in western music, would be considered a trip-up. But there are many sudden cessations and odd little rhythms, that as far as I can tell, are intentional - so as I get more used to it I'm sure the "trip-ups" will begin to sound more natural.

After hearing "Ketjak" I will hear Mr. Bungle's "Goodbye Sober Day" in a whole new light. Er. Air?

Thanks for the awesome gift, Mike.

2:40 AM
I love Bach but reading some of the stuff about him online (like the FAQ or this page) pisses me off more often than not. Is it possible, do you think, to write about dead white guys who left us with some good shit, without rolling around on the ground in epileptic frenzies?

Incidentally the missing function asked about here seems to be stretching in the y direction - g(t) = kf(t) for some non-unit k. In Gödel, Escher, Bach Hofstadter dubs it "intervallic augmentation" (p. 157) to contrast it to the canonic device of temporal augmentation, where a voice in a canon is a sped up or slowed down version of the theme (g(t) = f(kt + s) for some non-unit k; nonzero s translates).

Speaking of GEB, I don't have time to complain about it, but the discussion of the "location of meaning" in chapter VI really sets me off. One of Hofstadter's devices is setting Bach's music against John Cage's, in order to make analogies about messages with intrinsic meaning, and those where "the meaning is mostly contained inside the listener to begin with" (cultural context in which Cage's music was written, Western traditions it responded to, etc). But the arguments he makes are so utterly biased in favor of Bach that he apparently can't see that his attribution of so much of Bach's music's appeal to its structure misses ENORMOUS chunks of important parts of the meaning-bearing process. Grrr. More later.

2:23 AM
An analysis of the canons in Bach's Musical Offering.

2:10 AM
I was having a nice time sitting not listening to music (I do that occasionally...) but I was forced to turn on whatever was in my stereo to drown out my roommate's singing, which is... off. Sorry, Paul, but it is. I didn't want to listen to Giant Steps right now but oh well.

July 30, 2000

3:25 AM
"Josh Kortbein is into chaos."

- beginning of a 1996 Des Moines Register article about my nerdy exploits as a high-school-level computational scientist. Which I found while cleaning out filing cabinet drawers tonight.

I shall henceforth be ever vigilant in holding on to this quote, as it could potentially be used in many of my possible future endeavors. Such as...

  • liner note blurb for the 20-years-later reissue of my first album of avant-skronk improvisation
  • liner note blurb for the first issue of my first album of avant-skronk improvisation (think DJ Spooky)
  • press kit blurb for lazy critics to use in their reviews of my first album of avant-skronk improvisation
  • cute historical tidbit for "news journal" television programs looking back on my storied past upon my incarceration for some heinous crime like attempted murder or releasing albums of avant-skronk improvisation
  • business cards
  • rental applications
  • marriage proposals
  • tatoos
  • Nobel Prize citations

Also, I found my high school diploma. How useless is that? My kitchen table's been wobbling a little, though, so maybe... hmmm... or, I can just wait to get my MS and then use all four to elevate the table, to make it easier to sit at while I work on my next degree.

12:08 AM
Black Steel bit is amazing.

July 29, 2000

11:56 PM
I think they missed the Tricky
sample (Leon saying "I'll tell you about my mother..." before he kills the proctor), but I can't go digging through all the boxes to find the CD to confirm which song it is.

3.31 PM
The Napster injunction stay verdict.

3:15 PM
I think the AMG's similarity-thingy is
broken. Sunny Day Real Estate? Like Goodbye 20th Century? Or even Arab Strap? WTF?

3:02 PM
Woo hoo! They called on a Saturday and approved my lease! Josh = exuberant.

3:11 AM
The Mind/Body Problem.

2:16 AM
Some Klezmatics info and reviews - doing research because I noticed I mixed up some of my Jewish roots names and terminology. Oy vey.

A good review of Hasidic New Wave's Jews and the Abstract Truth (love the reference).

The Klezmer Shack is the new official josh blog klezmer headquarters. Check out this article about klezmer. In fact check out all the articles.

1:32 AM
Napster granted reprieve from Patel's injunction.

1:18 AM
Mike linked to this article which has this interesting thing in it:

As much as Maximum Rock and Roll and the so called 'East Bay Ideology' may condemn groups like Nirvana and their major label friendly, upwardly mobile brethren in every college town north of San Francisco, there was some substance to Nirvana's claim to be real punks who weren't in it for the money. They just wanted to democratize taste preferences, to make cultural alternatives possibilities for people who otherwise might never have known about them. That's what punk is really all about.

It may just be me revising my own history, but I think this gets at exactly what I got out of Nirvana. More generally, out of the whole explosion of "grunge" as a pop cultural phenomenon. Certainly, closer to that time, I may have had more elitist ideas running through my head (in a rural school dominated by nu-country, this doesn't seem all too unusual to me). But since then, I've come to see Nirvana at the roots of my now-broader tastes - mixed in with much music that is admittedly not so, I like lots of things which openly present alternative possibilities, which attempt to challenge existing musical values. This leaves behind the democratization aspect somewhat - I don't care all that much about making these possibilities available to people who otherwise might never have known about them, at least in the takes-over-popular-culture sense - but then we can't all be punks.

I can say, definitely, that none of this crap about punkness went through my head when I started listening to Nirvana. That happened because I thought they were the fucking greatest thing I'd ever heard.

July 28, 2000

11:37 AM
Recommendations for Greg.

And a reminder: there's a list of old notes I (or sometimes friends) have written, related to various musical topics.

10:39 AM
Jon Katz on Napster and copyright at slashdot.

Also, industry types react.

4:08 AM
Man, that was a lot of CDs. I think once I hit 4000 like Ned I had better plan on just never moving again.

1:49 AM
Artifact of days gone by: my Sony Classical reissue of the Budapest string quartet's late Beethoven quartets performances of 1940 is done with mock-LP style packaging. The discs fit into little sleeves on which are pritned replicas of the advertising of the day, then on the LP sleeves. The ads are headed, "MASTERWORKS THAT SHOULD BE IN EVERY HOME." The present-day de-emphasis on that "SHOULD" is what many classical fans spend their time lamenting, when the topic of classical's fall from the public ears comes up.

Speaking of classical, the last two spots have been claimed (see below) - by my 2-disc Bach issue, The Art of Fugue / Musical Offering. The Offering is one of my favorite classical pieces, favorite music overall even, but I never listen much to the Art of Fugue. I am paying more attention to it now though because I'm reading Gödel, Escher, Bach, in which Bach and Bach's fugues and canons figure prominently.

July 27, 2000

8:30 PM
List: of the CDs I saw fit to save in a folder while packing away all the rest for the Big Move next week.

Henry Cow, Legend. Lamb, Lamb. The Beatles, Revolver. Massive Attack, Protection. John Zorn, Circle Maker (Issacher). Low, The Curtain Hits the Cast. Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde. Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante. Spiritualized, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Slow Riot for New Zer0 Kanada. John Coltrane, Giant Steps. Yo La Tengo, Electr-o-pura. Sleater-Kinney, All Hands on the Bad One. Stuart Dempster, Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel. The Uri Caine Ensemble, Gustav Mahler in Toblach. Mogwai, Ten Rapid. Sonic Youth, Washing Machine. The Dismemberment Plan, Emergency & I. Miles Davis, Bitches Brew (1). Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones. Autechre, Incunabula.

There's space for two more to be unearthed while finding the appropriate cases for the rest of my CDs, stacked precariously naked next to the stereo. Who will the lucky winners be?

This is of course of the utmost importance, because (a) this is all I'll listen to until I finish unpacking, and (b) this is the first thing I'll listen to when I get there, while unpacking. I don't like to rest on ceremony but there are some things that are special to me.

By the way, I bought the White Album and it's terrible. Why didn't anybody warn me? More to come later.

11:50 AM
This perceptive
Feed article about The War Against Silence gets at exactly why I read TWAS. And Freaky Trigger. And why I do this stupid thing, here. [link from In Review which looks cool]

July 26, 2000

10:36 PM
Preliminary injunction against Napster upheld.

10:27 PM
Salon article on the merger of the US's largest concert promoter and radio station owner.

Also, key men and record business politics.

6:01 PM
Just what I love (not being ironic here) - debate and controversy unlikely to be resolved.

1:14 PM
A Derek Bailey fan wrote to offer this top fives list page, surely the bane of Hornby-hater everywhere.

9:31 AM
Johan pointed me to this nexus of European improvisation - stuff like the ICP, Derek Bailey, usw. Lots of news on new releases, artist and label information, and articles on free music.

3:01 AM
I am still reading Mike's awesome retrospective (latest installment) but am too busy to respond or talk about it or anything. Trying to get my shit together so I can move in a week.

2:45 AM
I heard some ICP Orchestra tonight, and was pretty impressed, but can't find any really good links. So I'll tell you: The ICP (Instant Composers Pool, not Insane Clown Posse) is a mostly Dutch group headed by piano player/composer Misha Mengelberg. As the notes to the CD I heard, Jubilee Varia, point out, the ICP works in a spirit similar to that of the second Miles Davis quintet - only outlines, sketches, of pieces are brought in to the studio, or better, to concert. The ICP are more hardcore, though; Misha often doesn't tell the band what they're playing until moments before the show, and they play things then they've never played before; players are told when to play solo, in duets, or other small groups, possibly with instructions as to how to interact with the people they play with; band members often intentionally derail what's going on (Misha being the prime saboteur, but everyone gets involved; on one track a cello player heckles the rest of the band) - playing a melody oddly, or suddenly inserting the saxophone player's line from ten minutes ago, only backwards and slow. This works! Really! It was some of the most accessible music I've yet heard that could be labeled "free" (jazz), but also totally fucked up in so many good ways. Everyone in the band is excellent, and most of them have played together for over 20 years, which explains why they are able to maintain such high standards while basically attempting to not play in "normal" good ways (Misha cites Duchamp as probably his greatest influence, and thinks surrealism and dadaism are two of the most important 20th c. developments). There is piano, of course, and also: drums, bass, clarinets, saxophones, trumpet, trombone, cellos. Maybe more, I can't remember. The music ranges from totally free (though not lacking structure) improvisation, to slightly damaged group jazz a la Sun Ra, to Jewish- and circus-music, to angular "difficult" jazz reminiscent of turn-of-the-c. classical (like in the second movement of the title suite, a cello soli feature). "Fun" is involved. And the band is terribly under-documented on record: thought they've been in existence for 20 years, there were long periods where nothing was recorded, and then tend mostly to play concerts. The record I heard was their first since 1991.

On hAT records, their hATology imprint.

Also heard some of a 2-disc set under Misha's name, something like 2 Days in Chicago - similar motives and intentions, but different musicians. Misha's solo rendition of "'Round Midnight" is wonderful, and one disc has 27:00 of solo piano that the notes tie to Monk and Satie.

July 25, 2000

6:42 PM
They couldn't get anyone besides
Nick Mason to drum?

July 24, 2000

The Eminem fan on bus story making the rounds made me think: maybe the most powerful thing about Eminem, what makes him such a phenomenon, is the lack of associations. Unlike lots of gangsta rap, he doesn't rap all that much about "blunts, 40's, and bitches"; there's not much of a posse or other guest presence on the record; he's white, so he already sticks out, separate from much of the group he'd otherwise be associated with. There's much less a sense of community here than on, say, Doggystyle, where Snoop is definitely an individual, but also part of a group. This lack of group associations and affiliations is what makes Eminem seem so nihilistic - because all of the violence and bile are no longer supported by a sense of community, a "We" system to be set against the "They" system railed against in the music.

July 23, 2000

2:09 PM
I'm waiting for the reissues.

1:52 PM
How dumb I am when it comes to songwriting credits...

Just today I realized, from reading the liner notes, that "Turnaround" on Nirvana's Incesticide is a Devo cover.

1:09 PM
Wow, thanks, Mike - great stuff.

2:06 AM
Splendid's got an interview with lots of people from Of Montreal, YAE6B (Yet Another Elephant 6 Band). I must confess, before the "Songles" album I'd never heard of them either, and the one thing I've heard from that sort of makes me think the former state of affairs was for the better. To hear that they have some "proper" albums as well makes me feel less closed-minded, though. And speaking of the E6 phenomenon (reviewer sez: "This is another record from the Elephant Six collective..."), the band have some interesting comments on it.

2:00 AM
Is it a reference to symbolist/acmeist Russian poet Aleksandr Blok? Cuz that would be so kewl.

1:41 AM
I've had lots of rewarding listening experiences over the past few days, so I'm going to tell you about them.

The more I come back to Henry Cow, the more I like them. Today In Praise of Learning was... I'm not sure, even better. It's hard to say what it is that does it for me, with them. I've never really disliked any of it; it just takes time for me to grow to love, rather than find interesting, dissonant Sprechstimme (is that the right word for it?) singing about the proletariat and album-side-long slabs of SKRONK. As with many things, this is better louder; too bad for me because it's mastered so low that I can turn my portable player up to 10 and still want more. It's got to be the highest I turn my home stereo up for anything, though, which is somehow fitting.

In related news, Weezer's Pinkerton is still pretty much perfect, and I probably make myself a little deafer every time I listen to it now. I had better not listen to this too much in the next year or I'll be utterly devastated when the third Weezer album finally comes out and it doesn't measure up to me, of course, impossible expectations. Most of my listening to this, this year, has focused on how intensely fucking raw this is, being an album full of heartwrung pop melodies and all. There was a moment today in the first track, right before a big hit, where the guitars were just sort of whining in a holding pattern, this eerie, shrill blissful buzz of a noise. And I was thinking to myself, my sister likes this? A couple years or so ago, last time I was "home" and before my sister went to art school, she listened to this all the time on her little boombox; she repeated the final track a lot (you know, the sad acoustic one...), but knew all the others quite well, and the lyrics much better than I did. I'm guessing she doesn't really know what it sounds like (like I do because I am, like, so wise and stuff, up here in my listening tower) - like I said above, LOUD helps a lot. And she just can't (probably wouldn't) hear it as loud as me. Quieted down and squirted out two little speakers six inches apart, the music sounds much more safe, more standard chart alternarock. Less "My Drum Set Wants To Kill Your Mama" (oh, man, what beautiful drum sounds). Oh well. Now I have something to talk about next time I call my sister.

What else? Oh, let's see. I have nothing much else to say about them, but a changer full of Autechre on shuffle (which works and doesn't - the sound-worlds of each individual disc sort of seem to like to be separate), some Flaming Lips, both copies of Mozart's "Dissonance" (to compare - the Emerson still wipes the floor with the Melos), the "Hymn to the Almighty" movement from Beethoven's Op. 132 string quartet very loud, to try compensating for the cramped sound of my mono recording, Mingus's Black Saint, which sounded strangely passionless on my walk home, Tricky's Pre-Millenium Tension, on which I took more notice of the Erik B. and Rakim cover than ever before, and... uh, some other stuff.

1:37 AM
I'm sure he's already heard it, or it's not appropriate to his request, but Tim asked for minimalist dance music so I have to mention Plastikman's, uh, stuff (what is it hep to call them? minimalist acid house? I think last time I used "acid" in reference to Plastikman Tom spanked me) - particularly Consumed and artifacts [bc]. But I suspect their "minimalist" is on the wrong side of the "dance" fence. Just barely. Except for slow dancing.

12:44 AM
When I first moved into my apartment more than three years ago, I once played a game with my then-roommates Rob and Chris. While we played I played my favorite classical music at the time, Mozart's "Dissonance" string quartet K. 465. Rob was only around for part of the summer and moved out pretty soon after I moved in. He took my CD with him, because I left it out in the living room near his. For a long time after that I didn't even know it was lost, but my hard drive crashed and so I went through my CDs to type in a new CD list. I noticed that the Mozart was missing, and finally figured out why, but it took a long time to get it back from Rob, then in San Fransisco.

That long absence changed my listening habits a lot. My copy was performed by the Emerson string quartet. When I finally got around to buying a replacement, I couldn't find the same disc so I went with a similar recording (same label, somewhat same selection - "Hunt" and "Dissonance" quartets but no contrasting Haydn's "Emperor") from the Melos quartet. I certainly didn't listen to it that much, still haven't, but initially it just didn't do it for me because I didn't like the performance. Much lighter, thinner sound. So I listened less and less to one of my favorite pieces of music.

Eventually I got my CD back, but by then things had changed, and I didn't spend much time with it. Which is a shame, because I'm listening to it tonight, and it's beautiful.

Reading in the liner notes, I am happy to find some actual discussion of the quartet's forms, in composition-speak. Despite classical music's exaltation of form, the liner notes often fail to enlighten listeners in that area. There was also this comment:

All six quartets were first heard on 14 January 1785 in Haydn's presence. Another hearing of the last three on 12 February was also witnessed by Leopold Mozart: "Haydn said to me: 'Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition.'"

I think about it sometimes, but reading it this way struck me: composers write compositions. So I put on my Wittgenstein hat. What's a composition? Well, in the Western art-music sense, it's a set of rules for how to perform a piece of music - instructions for which sounds to make, when, and how. You can tell that lots of these things are compositions because they have all sorts of other stuff associated with them that's usually associated with composition: music theory stuff - harmony, counterpoint, ideas about "development", etc. So why take pains to point this out? Because the word means different things. James Tenney wrote a "composition" called "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion" (you can hear one version of it on Sonic Youth's Goodbyte 20th Century) which is basically just a little diagram - a picture to tell the performer what to do, as opposed to a traditional score (though it does make use of some traditional notation, sort of pathologically - the fermata and the note, etc.; the creschendi are the meat). There are more abstract examples, called such because they're more divorced from traditional music theory stuff. We use the word "composition" in other ways, too - there are many things we call compositions, which were perhaps never composed, never written down, never formalized at all; but using the word "composition" is supposed to put us in mind of their formal qualities, again in the Western-traditional sense.

The reason I bring all this up is that "composition" meaning different things has caused some confusion. Among other things, people (in particular classical music snobs) have come to equate "composition" (the noun) with "music" and "composition" (the verb) with "musicing" (interesting how there's a split there... "performing" music and "writing" it - again "composition = music" lurks beneath the grammar). So therefore, if it's not a good composition (in the sense associated with all the high-art forms of life - music theory, dead white guys, etc.), it's not good music, right? Ha.

Nothing I've ever read in the history of music has satisfactorily chronicled the rise of the composition - when did people start thinking of it as a separate thing from music, the stuff you listen to? That this remains mostly low-level is pernicious, I think.

"Y'all ain't sayin' nothin' new, nothin' new..." Nope, no I'm not. But I think this is a refreshing way to phrase the whole thing.

July 22, 2000

9:33 PM
I have started up a
wish list at because, yo, I wish I had more CDs. I think come Christmas Mom will think this is a great idea.

8:44 PM
Lyrics to Erik B. and Rakim's "Lyrics of Fury." And to Pre-Millenium Tension.

8:40 PM
Old Salon article on Tricky.

6:11 PM
Yo, classical fans:

Know of any, say, Mahler lieder recordings (though I'm interested in general, not just Mahler) where the parts are crooned rather than performed, classical-style? There's got to be something like that out there.

6:03 PM
Uri himself talks a little in an article/interview.

And in another, same site, different focus.

5:39 PM
Fucking A! Again with the Perfect Sound Forever!

5:29 PM
motion review of the Uri Caine ensemble doing live "jazz" reworkings of Mahler music. At a Mahler festival (full probably of plenty of forty- and fifty-somethings who just came to hear the good ol Kindertotenlieder). How fucking cool is that? I love music.

5:21 PM
The Boredoms.

1:01 PM
Tom talks some about Wagner and anti-Semitism. Well it just so happens I was reading about that the other day, in regular contributor Simon Weil's book about the subject available online. He's firmly in the "Wagner was an anti-Semite" camp and argues thusly on the basis of extensive quotations from Wagner's letters and other writings.

2:28 AM
A classical-centric list of 50 works that changed music.

And from the same place, a brief guide to classical music history which is perfect for the outsider: it's funny and also provides some real insights as to why bothering.

2:20 AM
And of course Perfect Sound Forever has already covered all this Stockhausen stuff (too bad their interview with him was removed, at his request).

2:04 AM
The other night while I was loading up CDs to take to my radio show, I was momentarily struck by how diverse the music I picked was. Now, I don't mean that to sound overly self-congratulatory, though in fact diversity is something that I strive for. I don't even think they seem diverse now, going back over them. For that moment, though, the weirdness of the mixture stuck out. I can't even explain it by way of examples because I fear you, dear reader, will make the connections that I can make between the various albums. But without all that structure, all that extra thought (trends in musical history, similarities in sound, etc.), I was overwhelmed by what an amazing segment of human life I was carrying around in my backpack - you mean, all this shit, is all called "music," and it's still all good and cool to listen to and comes on these little discs? Kickass!

1:53 AM
More on-topic for pop fans is this interview with Stockhausen where the interviewer presents him with some Aphex Twin, Plastikman, and Scanner, and ilicits his reactions. And the musicians respond!

He of course in one sense completely misses the point, but also not, since I think it was implied by the fact that the interviewer brought these in for Stockhausen, specifically, to hear, that they should be heard in light of his music. But he's old, so I can forgive him a little ossification.

Article from this unofficial Stockhausen page which is in some ways more forthcoming about the man-machine.

1:29 AM
So I want Stockhausen information, and I want it fast. Of course, silly me, go to I keep forgetting the guy's not dead yet. Not that it would matter in this particular regard.

One good article, specifically, is this interview of Stockhausen conducted by Bjork. S's comment about periodic rhythms piques my interest because I've been thinking a lot (as always, I suppose) about "structure" lately. One of the many rifts between the western art music tradition and, well, most of the music of this century, is that western art music is "more structured" (say they) relative to the limp or simple structures of popular music. I think about this a lot not only because esoteric things like this interest me qua esotericity, but because I think the two views can be reconciled, and more convincingly than I've ever been able to. But doing so requires better ideas about structure.

Stockhausen's comments reflected well on the Autechre I've been listening to lately. Unlike the stuff he talks about, they of course make tremendous (some would say too much) use of repetition. A lot of it, though, is only vaguely classifiable as "periodic rhythm" in the sense I currently understand it. What's more important, though, is that many of their song structures are peripatetic (they wander around, yo) - the repetitive rhythms don't have the same kind of stiff structure to hang on to, that say a rock song does. I think music like this (and obviously its more rarefied antecedents like ol Karlheinz's shit) is something that helps bridge the aforementioned gap - it's an intermediate kind of structure that's being employed. But. Whew. You know. I'm having a hard time explaining it.

Incidentally, don't books like these seem like the perfect candidates for electronicifcation and subsequent web publication? I'd love read about Stockhausen's theories of music but sure don't want to pay the money up front. How much money can they make on them, anyway?

1:09 AM
These times are starting to annoy me a little, Jon, so I hope you're fucking loving them.

Today I understand better why there's such consternation among the ambient/IDM heads on the net when there's a new Autechre release. I started with tri repetae++, and didn't really start getting Autechre until listened to it for a while, and also had LP5. Neither of these is especially forthcoming, easy to listen to. So hearing their first album, Incunabula, is perhaps all the more impressive, because while I can hear the seeds of the future Autechre genius, it's a relatively accessible, genius bit of work in its own right. One which sounds much more like some other synth pads + beatz "ambient" that I've heard, and which is thus probably much more likely to be picked up by IDM scenesters. The later albums are defiantly restless and progressive by comparison - Sean and Rob following through with their musical development rather than keeping fans (which is odd - that they have a substantial number of fans) happy the easy way.

July 21, 2000

11:51 PM
Maybe I should just send
Mike my credit card number so he can start ordering my CDs for me. :) He writes:

If you want non-import gamelan, I'd unhesitatingly recommend Nonesuch's Music From The Morning Of The World, a reissue CD which cannibalizes one of my all-time favorites, Golden Rain. The Javanese Court Gamelan record might be of special interest to you because the first track ("Ketawang Puspawarna" or "Kinds of Flowers") was used on the Voyager Space Record.

5:27 PM
Autechre's "Lowride" - Steve Reich meets 80s hip-hop, at least briefly?

2:06 PM
I finally found a review of the Senor Coconut album - sure to interest Tom.

1:35 PM
Desert Island Bach at the Times [free registration required, those bastards, how dare they]

12:26 PM
Can you tell I'm working in the lab today?

Electronic music timeline to accompany a documentary.

12:17 PM
I wasn't looking for gamelan when I found this, but it's mentioned nonetheless: a Wire interview with Autechre. Connections everywhere...

11:54 AM
Javanese Court Gamelan is the one I was looking for. Unfortunately (according to this guy) the Nonesuch recording is pretty old and not the greatest quality.

11:39 AM
The people at Nonesuch are a big bunch of bitches.

So I'm sitting here looking for a copy of Nonesuch's Balinese Gamelan collection on the net, and not having much luck. Once I figure out that it's on Nonesuch, though, I go to their website.

"You need a new version of Flash to view our content," I'm told. OK, so I go get a new version of Flash.

And what do I see when I return to the worthless piece of crap? A Flash animation telling me how the site isn't there and explaining what they will have once they actually come up with a fucking site. Was this really necessary?

11:37 AM
Robert Fripp interviewing John McLaughlin for Musician magazine in 82 or so.

11:01 AM
God, what am I doing up at 11 AM?

Anyway, I believe I have uncovered the secret to the much-ballyhooed Cyclical Theory of Popular Music:

King Crimson : Lamb :: Rick Wakeman : Goldie

12:54 AM
Mike writes in to comment on my earlier comment re Stephin Merrit's list:

Not quite true, Josh. 1996's Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones, Experimental Musical Instruments has got Harry Partch, among others; 1970's I Am Sitting In A Room by Alivin Lucier is a masterpiece of process music; the Barrons' Forbidden Planet score is one of the first applications of highbrow electronic musical ideas in a mass context; and there's John Cage in 1951, too

Basically what I wrote back to Mike was: "Ooops. Well, there's still an obvious division." I think.

Also - looking back I think my tone was a little, I dunno, insinuating. What I meant to indicate was that I think such a division is somewhat to be expected. Well, a lot to be expected.

July 20, 2000

7:20 PM
The words "shirt" and "stuffed," not necessarily in that order, come to mind upon a visit to Sequenza21. But at least they have a nice
links page with lots of classical stuff. You know, for those shirt, stuffed moments.

7:05 PM
Good article at Tangents: Fire Music: Valerie Wilmer's As Serious As Your Life.

6:50 PM
Tom linked to this list from the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merrit - his 'best' from every year between 1900 and 1999. The first thing I noticed: no jazz (but then, I notice that any time someone lists things from the fifties and sixties...). More interesting: there is no so-called "serious" music after pop became big. Did he choose "serious" things from the years he did just because he needed things to choose?

And... "Pomp and Circumstance." Ugh.

5:52 PM
One little revelation I had about Lamb today was noticing in the liner notes that Lou Rhodes thanks some kind of Buddhist or maybe Zen Buddhist spiritual leader. So I started listening to the lyrics with more of a zen mind (ha).

Along that line, look at this one line that comes up a lot in one song:

all I want is here

Traditional Japanese haiku are written all in one line - without line breaks, as in most English translations of Japanese haiku. The Japanese reader is accustomed to figuring out where the "breaks" are - which, in effect, tells them how to parse the grammar of the sentence.

It wasn't until writing this lyric out that I realized I wasn't sure where it broke. Is everything that Lou wants in fact there already? Is the only thing she wants "here," as in indicating the surroundings? Has everything she wants arrived somehow?

(I don't know. And maybe I don't care to.)

The official site at has some really interesting-sounding live video/audio of Lamb with the New Cool Collective big band (or maybe those are improper adjectives - can't tell because there's no capitalization). Interesting, because there are apparently more live things going on, and the music sounds correspondingly less intricate. It's hard to tell for sure though, because the sound quality is so poor that I can't hear the low end at all and the fine details (like drum programming) are greatly obscured. It's nice to see the DJ so into the rhythm, despite (in my opinion) needing his body to be less involved in the music.

5:46 PM
And the referrals from keep coming! Has someone been typing "scorpions lyrics" into my page where I can't see it? Scorpions lyrics, Scorpions lyrics, Scorpions lyrics.

There. That ought to help.

3:10 PM
Yes, I definitely like it much more now. I wonder if my friendly neighborhood record store has their first...

1:15 PM
I feel warmer today toward Lamb's Fear of Fours than I have yet. I also turned it up really fucking loud. Coincidence?

12:48 PM
Mojave 3's new album, Excuses for Travellers, released in May in the UK, will get a domestic release - Sept 5 in the US.

3:32 AM
I must reinforce any praise I gave earlier. Echoing Mike - Stuart Dempster's Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel is a holy piece of minimalism you need. This has got to be the purest piece of music I own - pure sounds. Yes, yes, music's all pure sounds, but it's all also got all kinds of extra organization and signification to it; this drops those down to almost nothing, just basic harmonics (OK, bit of dissonance from the echoes) and barely-existent time. Any of the things I could parallel to it are too something or other - Steve Reich is too rhythmically and timbrally complicated, Fripp and Eno is too noodly, solo Fripp too shriekingly dissonant. The closest is my CD of Hildegard von Bingen chants, performed by Anonymous 4 - but as their name suggests, they are only 4, and even the echoey production can't bring them close to the huge space suggested by Cistern Chapel.

Records like this, incidentally, are probably why my roommate looked so funny at the Eminem.

3:15 AM
Dammit, I'm going to be broker than broke if motion keeps writing such great reviews of stuff like Jazzactuel, a three-disc compilation of free jazz rarities and standouts and such. Which coincidentally was also written up in the nifty Tangents, which I don't follow nearly as much as I should (I think it's the formatting...).

3:08 AM
Does this mean Roger Waters will quit his bitching? Because we know that's what this is really all about.

2:48 AM
Oh, and an interesting note: new roommate, but this is the first thing I've played since the last Marilyn Manson that's provoked my roommate to come into my room and wonder at the popular music I was playing. But he listens to bands with "Nine" in their names, so.

2:31 AM
I finally got around to listening to The Marshall Mathers LP tonight. First impressions:

As an album it seems kind of weak. Which is funny since in one cut Eminem berates pop artists who sell expensive, shitty CDs. There are some standout cuts but also some monotonous gangster rap stereotypes; I think, as Greg has noted at NYLPM, that Eminem is at his best when he's farther from the rap mainstream - my favorites are the most hyper cuts, with the vocals at their jerkiest, most stuttered.

I find "Stan" much more disturbing than "Kim"; I find this disturbing in and of itself. I'm listening to an MP3ed copy - is "Kim" supposed to sound like it was recorded in a closet? It seems that it loses a lot of its potential effectiveness that way; much of the "offensive" material on the disc is highly cartoonish, caricatured, and I think that it relies on that cartoonish delivery to be offensive at all - otherwise it just sounds sophomoric and tedious.

July 19, 2000

1:46 AM
Is it really any surprise that I am loving 3 Feet High and Rising?

"Which is the one to blame when bullets blow?
Either Peter, Jane or John or Joe.
But Joe can't shoot a gun--he's always drunk
Peter's pimpin' Jane and John's a punk."

July 18, 2000

4:23 PM
I Am Not On Drugs... Yet - notes from Wayne Coyne on the making of The Soft Bulletin, which I still have not taken to.

4:18 PM
Dave Fridmann interview.

4:14 PM
Aah, I love the Flaming Lips. And good news: they're releasing Zaireeka on DVD, so people can play the four channels on separate speakers, from a single sound source.

3:58 PM
I didn't like the music much but it was really cool seeing Hank Williams III appear on Conan O'Brien, wearing a Black Flag t-shirt while playing shitkicker country.

3:56 PM
I swear that "Crossover Jazz" comes up far more than any other featured genre on the AMG's main page. Have they cut a deal with the schlock marketers or something?

July 17, 2000

12:47 PM
link to a story on the Napster hearing stolen from nylpm.

According to Hilary Rosen even making a copy of one of your CDs to keep in your car is not fair use. Yet she says legislation is unnecessary - the market will "figure out" a solution. I think perhaps the industry doesn't want legislation because it means they lose out - lose money, lose control. But if anything the market will figure out something that hurts them more - especially if they're going to be such hardasses about fair use.

Roger McGuinn of the Byrds said he can't support his family off of record royalties. Doesn't that just seem wrong?

2:10 AM
I'm noticing a very weird sensation tonight while listening to Music for 18 Musicians. I'm kind of tensing up, following the attacks in, say, the mallet lines, sort of like I might if I were listening to a guitar rock song, following the bass line. It's uncomfortable. I feel better when I relax, just let the music come. I think this has something to do with harmonic resolution/change - how it's different, drawn out, perhaps not present, here.

1:56 AM
Archive hadn't been updated between June and July - now fixed.

1:47 AM
Old Atlantic Monthly article I may have linked directly to before, but which I read with more interest after hearing more Ornette: Ornette Coleman and the Circle with a Hole in the Middle.

July 16, 2000

6:18 PM
You know how people will tend to act more "naturally" in private, in ways they might otherwise keep in check if they think they have an outside audience? This happens, among other places, on mailing lists. See this
orchestra list archive which appears to be mostly composed of small-fry academic composers and music professors. Near the beginning someone asks an innocent question about the last "serious" American composer to be honored on a postage stamp. The typical online hilarity ensues - debate over the divide between "serious" and "popular," America's place in the western musical tradition, the tripe turned out by academic composers, and so on. I found it most interesting that even here, where there were people at least sensitive enough to point out that limiting the discussion to "serious" composers by excluding those who'd worked with more popular idioms (say, Gershwin and jazz) was... well, limiting - even here, people seemed to still cling to that distinction, even the ones reminding people that it's often a fallacious distinction. Twice one poster pointed out that Duke Ellington surely qualifies, both as a "serious" composer and as someone who's been on a stamp. Jazz is more and more being staked out by academics and intellectual types as a serious music it's OK to like, but I still am tempted to start there, listing the scores of "serious" things that deserve consideration, and are probably far more interesting and beautiful than John fucking Corgliano. And I don't intend to stop there, either.

So. The academics think "serious" music's dried up, too, and they don't know what the fuck to do about it. How about listening to some "popular" music?

Sorry for rambling.

5:47 PM
Archives to a John Cage mailing list, coincidentally hosted by Stuart Dempster's record label.

2:01 PM
Every time I listen to Monk, the melody to "'Round Midnight" gets stuck in my head - doesn't matter what tune he's actually playing. So once the other day rather than actually listening to what I was listening to, I started thinking about melodies: what makes a melody a melody? That's a complicated question, and I'm inclined to say that most anything can be a melody (I'm not going to be stuck in the mud and say, oh, "it has to be hummable," or something like that). So maybe something easier to think about is, what makes a melody different from another one? "The notes," is what first comes to mind. Maybe I'm more stuck on that than others, I don't know, but I was rather pleased to think that the length of the notes matters a lot too - maybe just as much, not sure. Whenever I hum "'Round Midnight" to myself, some notes (the ones from the best-known performances, you know, that sort of preserve the "original" melody) stay longer than other ones, no matter what I do; if they're not long enough, it's not the same melody any more. Even if the notes are the same. Which is why (duh) people often refer to a melody as a "contour" or a "line" - if I stay on notes for different lengths of time, at the same tempo, the lines (implied by the relative pitches of the notes and their durations) are different.

1:49 PM
Ugh. Not much to say, except that I am still, still working on a piece. And trying to fend off the inevitable: as soon as I pay off my credit card, it will be mine (oh yes... it will be mine).

So, this is some of what I've been listening to for the past few days.

  • Bedhead - Beheaded. Still getting used to this one - not that there's much to get used to, I just am having trouble telling it apart from their other albums.
  • Erik Satie - Piano Works, Vol. 1. Recently I've been thinking that part of my current problem with classical music will be alleviated if I just get some more 20th century music, in particular stuff from le Six - who held Satie as a sort of mentor.
  • American Analog Set - The Golden Band. Research for essay.
  • Rachel's - The Sea and the Bells. Last night I got the impression that the first track's "rock" influence is far, far more pervasive than the rest of the album, which makes for kind of deceptive listening.
  • Masada - Live in Jerusalem (disc 2). Some days I just want to go out and buy John Zorn's whole discography. Well, every day.

2:13 AM
Beethoven's Heiligenstadt testament.

July 15, 2000

1:40 PM
IHM needs permalinks. Going through a backlog of vitriol today I came across this, which send me rolling around the room, howling with laughter.

Neil Young, being a bit simple and all that, took his love down by the river and then shot her.

3:24 AM

3:06 AM
Oh yeah, chillin' at home on a Friday night, readin' Adorno.

More "mechanism = bad". Dewey's aesthetics say something similar but he doesn't come out against "popular music" the way Adorno does. I often wonder what Adorno would make of "popular music" if he could have heard it today, had a chance to see the wide divergence that's occurred ("pop music" no longer simply being the popular stuff).

But then I keep reading and it's hard to be charitable, since everything he says about "serious" music smacks of the kind of formalistic, reductionistic claptrap I have big problems with; you almost expect him to actually be thinking of Beethoven's 7th as a formal entity, some list of pitches and durations, etc., rather than as a piece of music to be experienced. In that sense popular music has changed fairly little: from a western-tradition perpective, it's still very formally simple. (It has other values, ones that "serious" music's formalism isn't equipped to recognize.)

Sigh. I need a few years to myself so I can work on my vision for a Wittgenstein-influenced aesthetics. If you are a rich individual looking for some tax breaks, or the trustee for a similarly endowed organization, have I got a check for you to write.

2:07 AM
This provides a good overview of the string quartet as a form/genre, and of its history.

I wrote like 30 lines but deleted them all. Let's just say I'm at a point of ambivalence about classical music right now. Things I am still happy about: Bach's "Musical Offering". Solo piano (Satie, Chopin, Beethoven). String quartets (Shostakovich, Beethoven).

2:02 AM
More note to self re Debussy: is it das Hagen quartet? ["Stop hagen daz ice cream!"]

July 14, 2000

10:51 PM
Blixa Bargeld

10:23 PM
I didn't say anything about why I find that new Godard boxed set so exciting. Take a look at this, from the motion review:

Rosenblaum writes "As 'unwatchable', and as 'unlistenable' in many respects as Finnegan's Wake is 'unreadable', Histoire(s) Du Cinéma remains difficult if one insists on reading it as a linear argument rather than as densely textured poetry". And that's exactly what we hear across these discs: densely textured poetry. That it takes someone who's nominally a film director to create an aural piece most 'proper' composers couldn't dream of isn't so much an indictment of the state of musical composition, as a direct pointer to the future of sound art and the cross-disciplinary skills its future makers will require.

Besides the fact that I'm just interested in things like this in their own right, it's the literary comparison that does it for me. I haven't read either of Joyce's two most (often picked to be) "difficult" works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, but some of my favorite fiction has been lumped in with them, for their breadth, depth, and yes, "unreadability." So, I'm always idly wondering how comparisons can be made between this kind of literature, and music of a similar nature. When looking for things to parallel to, say, Gravity's Rainbow, I always come up short. Music, though it often has complexities - in rhythm, melody, harmony, structures, etc. - that might engender such comparisons through their relative "difficulty" (or whatever), just isn't done on as large a scale as literature. Perhaps because we expect to be able to listen to a piece of music all at once, without breaks. Whereas I can stop reading for a day or a month and starting to read again seems natural. Thus one reason I'm interested in the Godard set is its obvious scope - five discs long, Bach, Jarrett, Redding, text, found sounds... it's a musical work more like, say, my life a listener.

9:00 PM
My little "review" of a song from Monk's Straight, No Chaser is up at nylpm.

8:00 PM
I was pleased to find today that Einstürzende Neubauten's latest album, Silence is Sexy, has in fact been released in the US, contrary to the information I previously found that said it would be a European release only. A copy of it is now residing in my CD player, waiting to be played. But I'm also listening to Thelonious Monk's Straight, No Chaser, so Blixa and friends just have to wait. I'm transfixed at the moment by "Japanese Folk Song [Kojo No Tsuki]".

7:57 PM
Note to self: Debussy string quartet in G minor, Op. 10. Hogland? Haugland? etc.

3:25 PM
More on that Godard boxed set at the ECM website. Looks like it's only available in the US through Barnes and Noble - 150 bucks!

12:58 PM
running and passing, passing and running...

3:47 AM
The worst thing about my provider having caching problems is that I miss Fred's witte repartee. Actually, I've heard a few tracks, and they were... eh. However, this has nothing to do with it being underground or not or groundbreaking or not. So there.

You should see High Fidelity, Tom, because it's a good movie. What better reason could there be?

1:10 AM
I had a great show tonight! A guy I'd never met before came in to the studio and asked if he could get on the air and freestyle. So I found him some Roots instrumentals (nothing fancy, but it did the trick) and he went at it. Don't ever let anyone tell you rhyming is no skill. Especially if they've never seen it done first-hand.

Also, heard a cool new record by Senor Coconut, all salsa-flavored covers of Kraftwerk songs. Still looking for a good review online.

1:08 AM
Perceptive rant on John Zorn - yes, his discography is voluminous, and yes, that does make it hard to figure out what to buy.

July 13, 2000

7:58 PM
This looks
really exciting. Also fucking expensive.

2:05 AM
Whoops, I forgot to hassle Tom about going to the Plan show last night. I see he got in a little jab though - I wonder if he remembered? I wonder if he went?

July 12, 2000

1:22 PM
This one I'm not so happy with, but if you'd like more stuff to read, check out
my review of Charles Mingus' "Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me".

July 11, 2000

5:45 PM
I knew I had seen that somewhere before! Lots of reviews I've read mention that "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House" is a quirky song title, etc. etc. when discussing Yo La Tengo's And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. What they don't mention is that it's a Simpsons quote - from the "Thelma and Louise" knockoff episode, where at the beginning the family is watching PBS during Festival time (ugh), and "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House" is announced as one of the telethons you may remember Troy McClure from.

3:39 PM article pointed out by Ned shows Orrin Hatch buddy-buddy with Metallica. And Roger McGuinn of the Byrds showing some sense.

12:31 AM
Matt Snyder offers some useful jazz-related stuff here, including a list of jazz-related mailing lists.

3:42 AM
Cool! I hadn't noticed it before, but there's a quote from Wittgenstein in the tray to disc 2 of John Zorn's Circle Maker:

The light of work is a beautiful light, which, however only shines with real beauty if illuminated by yet another light.

July 10, 2000

9:56 PM
Tim mentions prog metal as one of the genres not covered by NYLPM's tastes, or more accurately, by its contributors' tastes.

So close, yet so far - I am in fact the owner of some prog metal. Unfortunately I do not like it. During my phase of growing interest in "progressive rock" (that really being a pretty fixed style of music, don't let the "progressive" fool you) 2-3 years ago, I acquired two Dream Theater albums, on the basis of rave reviews, and a vague memory of liking "Pull Me Under" a lot when it got radio airplay way back when. This is the kind of music that gave progressive rock (and metal, come to think of it - two birds with one stone) a bad name - showy musicianship, all technical ability and nothing else really to speak of, except for the tepid compositions and pseudo-deep lyrics.

This, along with some other assorted purchases (of, say, Marillion, ELP, and Genesis albums), helped to convince me to distrust fans who inhabit genres, rather than just liking music. Prick a stereotypical progressive rock fan (say from, and you will find someone who likes long songs, odd time signatures, and wankery, and who tends to justify their appreciation of any other music by how "prog" it is. But don't think, from the broad strokes that I use here, that this is intrinsic to fans of progressive rock - you could say similar things about punk fans, indie rock fans, jazz fans, techno fans, and so on. (Side note: perhaps not techno fans, but I felt I had to throw something in there - beginning to feel uncomfortably painted into a corner, listing lots of genres that I personally like music in... perhaps Mike or Tom can say more about the obvious authenticity-talk that goes on in these genres, and how it's absent or present in others... it seems to me at the moment that the reason I'm having trouble listing others is that the more pop they get, the less they care about genre boundaries.)

But, back to prog metal, for the moment. At the very least, one can pin King Crimson as one of the early influences that led to lots of prog metal bands, their second incarnation's albums being especially metallic. Most worth owning, in my opinion, are that band's first and last - Larks' Tongues in Aspic and Red - as well as the live album from that period, The Night Watch. The players here are virtuosos, but often don't seem like it, preferring not to fill the songs with pointless noodling. The music ranges from delicate chamber-rock (sort of what you expect to happen when you combine a violinist with a guitarist who like Bach and Bartok, and a classically-trained rock drummer who wants to play jazz) to ominous, forboding crunching (minimalism rearing its repetitive head in yet another area of popular music). Buy these and love them. Then you can say, almost, that you like prog metal. :)

9:50 PM
Ha, I've been walking around for a week thinking of things I could blog that let me use the word "prelapsarian".

1:46 AM
Dammit, my provider uses an upstream proxy to cache web access, and it's gone funny this weekend, not telling my about all my favorite blogs' updates. But I happened across them via the archived versions, in particular, Tom's comment about Addicted to Noise. Yes, I used to read ATN, before I realized how limited their musical tastes were. Not much else to say, though - they weren't really that great.

1:14 AM
"[There was] no sense of alliance or cooperation in a musical movement between the chief players. In 1972-74, for example, no self-respecting member of King Crimson would have been seen dead in a musical movement that contained Genesis."
--Bill Bruford, quoted in Ed Macan's Rocking the Classics

July 9, 2000

4:06 PM
Exchange on

> Along the same lines, is it true the fastest piano piece of a
> major composer is the fourth movement of Chopin's second sonata?

One piece which comes to mind is the first movement of Schumann's Second Piano Sonata. The initial tempo indication is "So rasch wie möglich" (as fast as possible). Later on it's marked "schneller" (faster) and "noch schneller" (still faster). Thus, by definition the last page or so is too fast to play.

Two things I, um, accidentally got at the Exclusive Company while in Madison this weekend: the Dave Holland Quintet's Prime Directive, and Miles Davis' Filles de Kilimanjaro.

On my first listen to the Holland I was slightly apprehensive, as it sounds very "contemporary." I'm not completely clear how far back the roots of the sort of sound I'm thinking of go, but it's been prominent in mainstream jazz since probably the late 60s and 70s. If you pick up many recent jazz releases, if they're not relentlessly backwards-looking, they probably have this kind of sound - little reliance on the blues, on traditional jazz harmonics, but also in the pocket, not really free or out there in any way. Well - this is very nebulous, since I don't really know what I'm talking about, but bear with me. Anyway, my point is that often I hear things with this sound and they're sort of dead, a lot of the inventiveness and spark of great jazz squeezed out of them. Which is why I was apprehensive.

I needn't have been, though, because this is good stuff. As Holland intended, the group has a distinctive sound - double bass, saxes, trombone, vibes, drums. So far the compositions all seem respectable, at the very least (with my limited background, I can definitely detect the influence of Miles' 60s quintet music on the compositional style). They are gently melodic, "easy on the ears" you might say, but the main focus is rhythm (in a bassist's band? gosh you say). The horn lines move around a lot, weaving between one another, and both often play long stretches of melody together - sometimes solos as well? - over the rhythm section. Add their turns together with the great rhythm section, and you get very abstract, mathematical music. Still interesting, though, lest those adjectives scare you off. One of tracks - haven't figured out which name yet - is especially astounding, Billy Kilson sounding as if he's been replaced by a drum-n-bass programmer. The people in this band span ages from 20s to 50s; I don't know yet but I bet the drummer is in his 20s.

So anyway, great stuff. Must get more Dave Holland.

The Miles is of course excellent. Filles is that last album before In a Silent Way, which is usually the first to be pegged as a "full" fusion album. Most writers seem to make that distinction based on the rhythms, but if so I don't see why Filles wouldn't qualify. Not all of its rhythms are especially rock- or R+B-influenced, but plenty are, and if fusion were just rock rhythms plus jazz soloing... (oh, wait, sometimes it is - yuck)

The standout here is drummer Tony Williams. Wonder what would have happened, had he lived longer. Think Tony plus hip-hop, Tony plus techno, Tony plus anything.

July 7, 2000

11:00 PM
I work a lot on my Powerbook, while sprawled out on my bed, so I often kick my feet around in rhythm with what ever I'm listening to. So I wonder - is the rhythm I've got going now related in any way to the incredibly drawn-out, beatless Cistern Chapel that's playing? There are cycles, entrances and exits, but they're nebulous, to say the least. Or am I just epileptic?

10:16 PM
A couple of thoughts on that
opposition to injunction paper I mentioned earlier:

One of the comments made, quoting someone's deposition, said the following scary thing

Napster's new artist program has already enlisted over 17,000 artists who expressly approve of sharing their music through Napster; by contrast, the major labels released a total of only 2,600 albums last year, and only 150 of those songs were played on the radio on a regular basis. (p. 10)

Even disregarding the issue of whether or not those 17000 artists are any good, the proportion of songs regularly played to the rest of the major label output is sad, sad, sad.

If the Plaintiffs' lawyers are smart (and apparently they are not - most of Boies' paper covers the letter of the law and various ways it thwarts the Plaintiffs' request for a pre-trial injunction against Napster; seems complicated but straightforward) they might argue that file-trading via Napster is not personal use. This paper makes repeated references to laws and precedents which protect consumers' rights to noncommercial personal use - the typical tape dubbing, trading with friends, etc. They assert, though, that sharing via Napster is another instance of this kind of noncommercial personal use, and thus to be protected under the appropriate law (which was written, they argue, to allow for broad application under the anticipation of new technologies, so that excessive revisiting of the law would be unnecessary).

How personal is it, sharing files with people you will likely never meet, or even make electronic contact with, aside from possible complementary file transfers?

The problem is, as the paper alludes to, that Napster provides a mostly unprecedented model for information exchange, because it is decentralized. Our notion of "personal," on the other hand, is closely tied to that of the "local." I may have friends online, friends who are far out of any easy physical contact, but the network of relationships is still fairly local, in that it's confined to a small sub-network of the overall one which the net makes possible.

So perhaps the copyright laws on the books implicitly acknowledge this fact; they don't give individuals rights to distribute on large scales, to many people, just because in general, personal use will be naturally limited to sharing. Through this the laws also implicitly condone the traditional models for non-local information exchange, which are broadband and "impersonal" - television, radio, periodicals, most web sites, books, traditional file servers, etc. These models are impersonal because they depend on larger-scale networks and methods of distribution which are out of the reach of most individuals.

So what do you call it, when individuals have access to that kind of distribution?

Tellingly, the Plaintiffs' interal documents have shown plans to take advantage of the infrastructure Napster now has in place, possibly in some kind of deal for calling off their legal dogs.

The paper also notes that one plaintiff claimed to be uninterested in pursuing a model "where the sound recording copyright holders would receive a royalty for the sale of each unit of ripping software, because 'royalties would be totally inadequate to compensate us for our losses being caused by the actions and therefore we did not want to agree to a system that would allow unfettered home digital copying in return for the royalty.'" They continue: "The reason the industry does not want a royalty-based model is due to the way in which the industry pays the artists. If a CD is sold, the record industry pays a royalty of approximately 12-18 percent to the artist. ... However, for purposes such as licensing, the industry pays 50% of the licensing fee to the artist. ... Thus, the fundamental purpose of the Plaintiffs' attempt to use its copyright monopolies to eliminate the file sharing model for distribution is simple: If they can control the method of distribution, they can control the business model for that distribution. Their business model has one powerful purpose: to reduce the amounts otherwise payable to artists for those types of users."

I've never been so interested in the law before.

5:40 PM
Stuart Dempster's Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel came today. It's not as low in pitch as I was expecting, but it is still beautiful. I would love to visit the cistern they recorded this in. Also, I suspect Mike would dig this.

It's hard to tell their natural proclivities from the linear notes, but obviously recording this provoked extremely spiritual reactions from all the performers. I can imagine; I played trombone once, and it was always especially affecting, playing in a small group, where I could hear all the harmonies and overtones. Projected into a space like the cistern - droning, harmonious, sometimes cacophonous sound everywhere around you... there's probably a good reason that early on, people learned to build cavernous, high-roofed buildings to worship in. It's a great way to ilicit powerful reactions during worship.

Tellingly, one of Dempster's earlier discs, In the Great Abbey of Clement VI, was recorded in a place of worship. The reverb time in the cistern was three times as long (45 seconds) as in the abbey, though; one of the pieces on Abbey was recorded in a concert hall using electronics to draw the sound out to 40 seconds of reverb.

3:33 PM
What are rhythm changes?

3:20 PM
Ha. Quote from Russian composer:

"You're so lucky, young men. There are so many beautiful things for you to discover. And I already know it all. Unfortunately." - Alexander Glazunov

1:55 PM
Link to David Boies' opposition paper stolen from monosyllabic so I'll see it here and go to read it soon.

6:02 AM
Idle thought while I try to get to sleep: remember, if you read it, the link on my other blog about encyclopedic fiction? Is there a musical parallel?

Along related lines, was thinking tonight about volume, length, while walking home, listening to Yo La Tengo's long (hi Mark) I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. Volume, length, and the idea that accumulation (of sounds, ideas, whatever) is a benefit in many cases. Ex. Double Nickels on the Dime, Daydream Nation, Bitches Brew. Blonde on Blonde? But is there a line between benefitting from this accumulation, and suffering? Yes - from what They say, cf. The Wall, The White Album, Mellon Collie, others. What makes the difference? Hard to say - obviously some would disagree with my ideas about which suffered, benefitted. My idea is that some kinds of music sound better with other kinds of music around. This is contrary to westernhomes' recent idea re the Minutemen, that the large number of small songs on Nickels makes it well-suited to being parceled out in small doses; rather, taking it in all at once, or at least in large doses, accustoms you to it. (Then paving the way for smaller doses, more appreciation on a more typical level.)

Related idea: some of these large musical statements are just that, statements - besides being "just" music (a false dichotomy, I know, bear with me), they act as presentations of new / alternative / innovative aesthetics / approaches to music / rules / systems. Compare the thoroughness, extra length, to the extra ends people often go to to explain new things (non-musical) to people.

Meta (!), related idea: cf. blogging. Nothing groundbreaking here, probably, but it helps to read repeatedly, over time (i.e. take in a larger volume) before it starts making sense, why anyone would bother spewing tiny little observations about music (e.g.) about the web.

Here's where Tom offers lots of counterexamples about very short musical statements. Fine, be that way.

2:19 AM
Song title I've always thought was horrible, horrible, horrible: "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". I mean, really now.

1:48 AM
Dilemma: tonight I had a caller (or group of them, really) who really were determined to make a request, as they went through a list of things I either said I'd look for, because I didn't know if we had them, or said I'd look for, because they were crap and I am nice (i.e. Reel Big Fish). By the time they came up with the Get Up Kids' "Fall Semester," I was happy to claim to know it. Turns out it wasn't on the Get Up Kids CD I thought it was - oh well.

My show has a format, you see, and we only really have to play songs in the format. But my format is a state secret, discoverable only by performing futuristic surgery on my brain (possibly involving electrodes and/or a bone saw), or by reading my blog. So of course people invariably ask for songs which are out of format.

Except, that is, for the brilliant moments like when I play John Zorn, and get a caller asking if it's John Zorn, and wanting to know the album, and asking for Mr. Bungle, which I had cued in player 2.

I also got a clue into the typical (?) emo fan's musical world tonight: apparently side two of Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is some "fucked-up orchestral shit". There's no orchestra there, but oh well, I got the point.

I almost forgot, another reason I'll play songs: if the caller is a girl, sounds good-looking (bit of synaesthesia there), and asks for something that's at least not complete total crap. Yes, this is sad. Obviously I have deep-seated emotional problems.

? post-show
Tim writes about the excellent Macha Loved Bedhead collaboration. Yes, Tim, the music is more gamelan-y on Macha's own albums, or at least, on See It Another Way, which is also great (need to buy... must pay credit card...). There are also a lot of other metallic sounding instruments, some less Eastern, to complement the gamelan.

July 6, 2000

4:35 PM
I'm going to be on air tonight, yo. During my usual time of 9-12 and also sometime before that from 6-9 with DJ Neil. Head to and look for "KURE" to hook up over the net.

2:58 - 3:33 PM
For the reader who came from a search engine twice (or maybe it was two different people, in which case I should contact Google immediately about the fault in their search engine) looking for Scorpions lyrics, and who will probably never be back again: I am very very sorry I couldn't meet your music needs. To atone I present you with my rendition of the Scorpions' Teutonically heavy classic, "Rock Me Like a Hurricane". Or is it "Rock You Like a Hurricane"? Anyway.

Here I am
Rawk me/you like a hurricane
Here I am
Rawk me/you like a hurricane

Um... I'm sorry, I don't know any more of the lyrics. Does it have other lyrics? Perhaps a "baby" somewhere? Some panting? A guitar solo, perhaps?

Oh, and to the people looking for Baby Namboos lyrics: I don't know them either, but there's a big old "fuckin'" in the Geoff Barrow remix of the title track, so be warned, if like me you are a DJ who plays the station's copy of songs with swearing in them because they weren't crossed out (thank you, FCC).

As for the person looking for information about the Honda airbag recall, well. Obviously you were let down here. Best not to drive your car until you find a more reliable source of information.

A-and, finally, for the person looking for reviews of the Roots' Things Fall Apart, - well, "critiques" is what they said, so maybe they're looking for something more substantial. This review attempts to sustain an argument while reviewing the album, and does so hamhandedly, falling decidedly on the underground side of the underground/street hip-hop debate while spitting on the other side. Missteps: Dre pegged as a mediocre producer, punk said to have remained "pure" (this was written in the 90s, wasn't it?), and the title of the album, gotten from Chinua Achebe's novel, wasn't gotten by Achebe from an Eliot line - it was Yeats.

William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats, incidentally, held to a cyclical theory of history, which led him to believe that the world was nearing another one of its phases of destruction and rebirth. He also had his testicles injected with sheep hormones in order to try curing impotence. It backfired. Making him, IIRC, prime candidate to appear in an AC/DC video, eventually. So. There you go.

3:24 AM
By now everyone should know, when they see one of these, to just skip down to the last two paragraphs if they want to read what the reviewer thought of the album. And then, to save time, only check the top if the byline at the bottom is right. And even then. Just sometimes.

2:49 AM
In this week's TWAS there's a roundup of girl-punk, including the new Sleater-Kinney. Our opinions differ. I, too, found the banshee wail on Call the Doctor kind of off-putting, but I find All Hands on the Bad One insanely catchy, and more importantly, subversive - which good punk should be if it's not going to take, say, the Sex Pistols' route (i.e., the road down which nihilism lies). On it the wails maintain their expressive power, but when put to more pop (as an adjective) ends, they have more effect on the listener: they change the listener's tastes, prejudices - bend them, make them a little more accepting.

Typically, I care more about the musical end, rather than the various social concerns (i.e. feminism, duh) the band might intend to treat in their songs. But wait! There's more. This subversive-voice thing is a powerful means for expanding women's roles in music. I think it constitutes something like a female voice (in the abstract sense) in rock music that is simultaneously distinct and interesting. "Distinct" meaning, not simply the hegemony-condoned lesbifolk (thanks Jon) or angry-chick-with-guitar stereotypes, and also not just like what men in rock have always done, only without penises. I still don't want to commit to essentialism - this new voice isn't necessarily "essentially feminine" or any of that nonsense - but certainly the oppression of women has put them in a different perspective, historically speaking, which has henceforth not had an equal share in building the language of rock.

Whew. If I get a few more pronouncements in there I think I can sign on at the Village Voice or something. I'll have to practice emulating French philosophers in the mirror though.

Comments welcome. This seems to me like a rather bold opinion, so there's probably something wrong with it.

2:05 AM
Oho! What's that you say? A list? Lots of them in fact?

I find it interesting to see these yearly choices laid out together, year-by-year.

Just looking by the early part of the decade I was struck by something: a bunch of the British things I recognized seem to have been a lot more groundbreaking than the American stuff which had a similar kind of impact in the US. Part of that makes me sad; take Nirvana and Soundgarden, two of our biggest name developments of the early 90s. Nirvana were powerful but not all that innovative. Soundgarden, something similar. Compare to stuff like early Orb and Massive Attack - innovation in spades.

1:53 AM
Another Talk Talk synchronicity... today somebody asked me what kind of music I liked.

12:23 AM
How interesting... this old Pitchfork review of Mark Hollis' first solo album (he being the Talk Talk singer) was apparently written with no knowledge at all of the last two Talk Talk albums, which seems to be a rarity among the words spilled over Talk Talk and related music. He even refers to Talk Talk as simply "a new wave band." But he gave it a 9.0/10 - I bet he'd like Laughing Stock and Spirit of Eden. :)

12:18 AM
I get aesthetics-related mail from Joel so rarely, this must be blogged.

More than once now I've been listening to "Exit Music (for a Film)" on OK Computer while I could also hear a train out my window, which is weird because the sound of train wheels against track is present in the later part of the song. It makes for some interesting comparisons, both of train noises and what the two do together artistically.

July 5, 2000

11:14 AM
A good
Talk Talk biography.

10:24 PM
It's an interesting coincidence that I should get and hear Talk Talk's Laughing Stock today.

Walking down the street, for some reason I was thinking about how difficult it seems to explain improvisation to someone who doesn't really get it. To explain it properly, you have to include some account of the sponteneity. But people usually end up thinking that improvisation involves somehow totally "making it up," or simply embellishing previous planned music, neither of which is entirely true, all the time. Others don't understand why improvised music often sounds similar from performance to performance, despite its being improvised.

I would like to think that it's uncharacteristically mystical of me to say so, but one of the key things about improvisation - good improvisation - is that there's a heightened connection between the musicians, and a heightened level of attention and committment to the music itself from the improvisers. It's something... special.

This is only one of the key things about improvisation - there are others that distinguish improvisation from music made by incredibly attentive musicians, who are playing more connectedly with one another. I think many rock albums exhibit this kind of playing, but it's not called improvisational because there aren't enough of the other things present (the structures are too rigid, for example). Cf. Weezer's second album, Pinkerton - definitely not improvised music, but everyone's performances are fueled, driven on, by the other band members' performances.

The reason I mention this with Talk Talk is that it seems a lot of reviewers make reference to jazz when talking about their late albums. I think the reason for this is that the music sounds loose, improvisatory - and most people don't know what else to do but relate that kind of music to jazz. Butterfly collecting, I know, but I think there are some things "jazz" is better suited to label than others - it's a specific idiom which heavily involves improvisation, but it's not the only kind of improvised music.

The music, by the way, sounds great. I didn't think it would be this loud, or fast, though. And if someone would have said "proto-post-rock" I would have been all over this a lot sooner!

6:28 PM
The Dismemberment Plan are now touring Europe solo, after eight people were trampled to death during Pearl Jam's (non-Plan assisted) show in Copenhagen, and Pearl Jam called the tour off.

Hey Tom: don't forget the upcoming Plan show in London, Wednesday, July 12, location given as "Upstairs at the Garage."

6:25 PM
We don't call it undie over here either - sounds just as dumb. I was calling it that so people would know what I meant. ;)

4:05 PM
Not to single out Fred, but I've never been too clear on just what's wrong with undie rappers' beats. Is it just a matter of music fans' undying quest for the new? Because I like the beats on, e.g., the Black Star and Mos Def and Roots albums plenty.

2:19 PM
Godard Spillane and Laughing Stock arrived today. Early comparison (and slightly inappropriate, I know, since Bungle nicked this from Zorn): like Mr. Bungle, but without the mania. Almost everwhere in a Mr. Bungle album, there's a zany, insistent rhythm: it carries the pulse through the wildly different sections of music, which is perhaps a good idea, because it drives everything forward. "Godard" and "Spillane" are more content to let the unifying principles behind them (i.e., the lives of the people depicted, according to the file card organization) guide the music.

"there are only so many ways a woman can undress.
I thought I'd seen 'em all."

Haven't listened to the Talk Talk yet.

2:50 AM
I really think a composition called "Six for New Time" should rightly include a booming, space-echo pronouncement of that title some time during the damn thing.


? AM
Christian Wolff's "Edges" on Sonic Youth's Goodbye 20th Century: there's a beautiful parallel here between the music and Kim Gordon's narration during the earlier part: both peripatetic, open-ended.

? AM
Cool news from LD Beghtol, most famously associated with the Magnetic Fields:

> i just finished doing a jukebox jury for time out new york with diamanda
> galas, where i played lots of records for her and she did mini impromptu
> reviews of them - so i played her everything from orso to sleater-kinney to
> stock, hausen & walkman to dr dre to the spring heel jack/low
> collaboration... this will be in TONY in two weeks, so look for it. let;s
> just say zak sally has a new fan! as does stephin merritt and
> bedhead/macha...

July 4, 2000

10:18 PM
Since this is from the Guardian, maybe Tom posted it before, but this is the first time I read it: a
profile of John Cusak. Little music, but oh well.

10:12 PM
This is beautiful: score one for the free music movement.

7:21 PM
I listened to Bjork's most recent album (hmmm... 1997... should be another out soon...), Homogenic, tonight. It's my favorite of hers and as far as I can tell I like it all the way through. Besides that, there are many moments where I think it's really great. So why don't I listen to it more?

6:50 PM
Ha! I notice that Tim UK-izes the spelling of "Spiritualized" to "Spiritualised" despite the band themselves being from the UK and spelling it with a "z". And I was just thinking about this the other day, too...

3:13 AM
Interesting, Tim. When I went out today I took only Pure Phase with me, so that I couldn't listen to something else instead, and thought about it some more. In direct contrast to what you say here, I still think it's their least approachable: it's because of the production. Everything is so processed that you rarely get "instrument" sounds, or even "musical" sounds like you might get from electronically treated instruments, or synths, or something like that. All of the sounds are pulled apart, made to sound like one another, made to ripple, to bounce around the sound-space (quite obviously, on headphones). This equals "least approachable," for me, simply because the songs are so obscured. Pure Sound would have been more apt, I think. The record feels, just slightly, more like a piece of modern academic art music than a rock album, in its inscrutability.

Often I listen to CDs when in a half-awake, half-asleep state, napping or heading toward one. Pure Phase is especially interesting to hear in states like this. Maybe because I hear the individual sounds less, and the collected masses, more?

12:41 AM
Spiritualized's "Let It Flow," at the enormous full-band hit near the end (the one that sounds like a giant kick drum has been set underneath the planet, and then used vigorously): here the song fulfils the promises it's been making, offering an enormity of sound that rivals full symphony orchestras, and surpasses them. Though it's amplified, rock music often doesn't sound as spacious, as sky-filling, as orchestral music. But here the studio lets Pierce create sounds ten miles high. Thunderous. But delicately so - layers of sounds, pastry like.

Here at josh blog, we try to mix our metaphors as thoroughly as possible, to provide you with the smoothest read possible.

12:37 AM
Later in the day I am going to play Jimi's version of the "Star-Spangled Banner", really loud. I'm not a patriotic person, but that song makes me feel patriotic. And if any day is worth feeling patriotic on, it had better be this one.

12:34 AM
From the liner notes to Ornette Coleman's Complete Science Fiction Sessions on Columbia:

In 1973, on a bad day at Black Rock (as the entertainment industry calls CBS's New York headquarters), Columbia Records decided to trim its jazz roster. Jettisoned were Keith Jarrett, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, and Ornette Coleman; which is rather like the 1961 New York Yankees suddenly placing Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Mickey Mantle on waivers.

July 3, 2000

4:13 PM
Important thing to remember about Pure Phase: like Ladies, it is better when played loud. Very loud.

3:17 PM
interview with jazz bassist Dave Holland (one of the bassists on Bitches Brew, whose solo work I keep meaning to check out).

1:32 PM
"aw, man, it's gonna be the best. i'm so stoked."

12:51 PM
If I had some of that superhep sampling equipment I would build a song around a sample of that sooper dooper enormous drum kick/hit at the beginning of Weezer's "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here." That is all.

12:21 PM
Tim writes about Spiritualized, and while I agree with a lot of what he says about Ladies and Gentlemen... I'm puzzled by how he would think such things in light of Pure Phase, which he apparently likes better. Because it's harder to find in the US it took my much long to get hold of, so I was already firmly entrenched in my love for the first and last albums. So it was - still is, just listened to it last night - difficult to approach Pure Phase because it seems like a compromise between the more drifty dream-pop of Lazer Guided Melodies and the maximalist drone rock of Ladies and Gentlemen... That is, it rocks more, but still sounds like it wants to be dream pop, just drifting along...

Maybe the songs just aren't as good. I'm not sure.

4:17 AM
Good news from Talk Talk's Laughing Stock and John Zorn's Godard / Spillane shipped. Bad news: they are "having difficulty" finding Stuart Dempster's Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel.

I am especialy excited to hear the Talk Talk because it comes so often recommended; in particular, lately by the American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny, after I asked him a few questions. I've never gotten a recommendation for a CD directly from a musician whose work I admire like that, before.

1:49 AM
Quote from a review of Spiritualized's live album: "This has got to be what The Verve think they sound like."

1:32 AM
I put on Music for 18 Musicians last night and, as is my custom, left it playing for a long time. After I woke up it played through the day while I read. The music is very light, airy. It shimmers. So I was surprised to see the light in my room flickering, shimmering, in the afternoon. The other day some workers cut down all trees around my apartment, so the sun was shining intermittently through the branches of a neighbor's much less dense tree, whose branches were waving in the wind. At one particular moment the lights seemed to move with the music, so I stopped reading and just stared at the ceiling, to take it all in.

Later in the evening there was a small storm. It ended early, leaving the sky a sickly orange color, from the sun behind the storm clouds and the moisture in the air. No longer a good sky for Steve Reich music.

1:22 AM
Just for Jon, new and improved times to provide begin- and end-cues for josh blog entries.

July 2, 2000

Ovalprocess reviewed.

July 1, 2000

Today's feature: review analysis. Take a look at this review by John Bush of Fugazi's most recent album (not counting Instrument though it is sort of an album), End Hits. I reprint it here for the lazy:

Thanks to the success of Green Day and similar punk-popsters, by 1998 playing hardcore punk meant absolutely nothing to a band's independent status. Given that fact, Fugazi decided to travel even farther down the road to full-blown experimento-musing on their sixth album, End Hits. Occasionally, great riffs do rear their head (on "Place Position," "Five Corporations" and "Foreman's Dog," to be specific), but all too often they are set aside within thirty seconds in favor of more abstract musical agendas. It's difficult to fault the band for doing exactly what they want, but a back-to-basics album would have been more appreciated.

First of all: what does the first sentence even mean? I read it as saying that before the (commercial) success of punk-pop, playing hardcore punk meant something to a band's "independent status," apparently comfirming that they were indeed an independent band, since they played music that no one would want to pay for. But the kind of punk-popsters being referred to never sounded much like hardcore punk at all - so what bearing could their success have on how independent (or not) playing hardcore punk makes a band?

Second: who cares, how independent a band is? Jaded fans and indie rock scenesters, maybe. And people like the AMG, who coyly note in their band profile that Fugazi are intensely independent, but have become "rock stars" (hmmm) through their "anti-rock star stance." It seems as if this business about punk-pop/hardcore is only here because it ties together the AMG's characterization of Fugazi as punkrock monks who disdan all worldly goods and likeable music.

Even worse, in this review and the profile and other reviews, the writers ascribe too much intention to the band; they "decided to travel even further down the road to full-blown experimento-musing..." on this album. It's made to be some kind of deliberate response to punk-pop's co-opting by the mainstream media as a safe kind of alternative music. Really, though, we know nothing about what the band decided to do, and even though it is likely that they decided to make the music sound this way (it was no accident), presuming to know why they made it this way is just foolish. The band members are clearly silent about their musical motivations and their ties to their thoughts on commercialization and the music business, when interviewed: they would prefer to just have people listen to the music. If Bush had done that, he would have noticed that the trend away from plain vanilla hardcore, to the far more abstract, cryptic grown-up punk on Red Medicine and End Hits, has been going on through Fugazi's career.

Bush critiques the album in light of the punk-monk characterization but drops it at the last part - he would prefer "great riffs," and a "back-to-basics album." So the move to this kind of music is supposed to driven by Fugazi's punk ideals, at base. But he would rather have less punk music, something more like the good old Fugazi that could be counted on to yell and thrash about on their guitars and talk about evil corporations only. And the worst thing about this is that Bush clumsily frames his opinion as a more objective one, that someone (the fans, presumably) else holds: "a back-to-basics album would have been more appreciated," rather than "I would have appreciated a back-to-basics album more." Funny, the fans and critics appreciated this album just fine as is.

to June 2000
josh blog

"Josh, this site is 'bitchin.'" - high praise from my dad.

old blog
jazz review project
old notes

mail josh

buy josh stuff, yo

music links

freaky trigger
i hate music
steal this blog!
catherine's pita
my science project

non-music links

blue lines
pearls that are his eyes