Current month
June 29, 2001

7:53 PM
It stopped again.

June 28, 2001

11:29 PM
And Sounds of the Satellites too!

Which really seems too long to not be listened to in a let-this-album-take-control-of-the-room kind of way (as opposed to, say, listening really close to the songs). Which I am all for, except that the final track has a hidden track appended after a bunch of silence. Not a track, either, just some audio about Laika the first dog in space. Thus the album doesn't repeat right away. Thanks, Laika.

9:52 PM
It plays The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld too!!

Oh man it's gonna play everything. This means I can listen to all my Labradford CDs straight through too.

9:40 PM

It loads CDs again and plays them and everything. And, even better, it might properly play a bunch of CDs that it never would play before, instead sending interference over the line and humming funny, sometimes making things immediately unplayable (always nearer the beginning of the disc), sometimes less so but still a pain. Right now I'm listening to Tricky's Angels with Dirty Faces which I have never ever listened to in full on a stereo.

It's still boring, though.

Next I will try some other "bad" CDs to see if they work now too. It's hard remembering some of the ones I really really want to try, though, the ones that never worked right except on my portable, but which I never liked enough to listen to them so directly, over headphones (over stereo listening leads to more ignorability leads to more chance to ease in to things that don't do it for me). Because of course I never even think to grab those CDs from the shelf.

Hopefully when I find Pre-Millenium Tension it will work too, because it has the same exact problem, almost as bad, but I like it. "It was just a bad dream..."

12:34 AM
I was especially happy with my show tonight, at least the first two hours. Even though, as I've told Tom, I like jumping around between genres and potentially alienating my audience even further, I probably like it most when I'm able to smoothly move between the genres - I still try to wander a ways, in terms of genre "distance," but the transitions between tracks are less abrupt. To start off I played

Massive Attack, "Protection"
Morcheeba and Hubert Laws, "Summertime"
Bjork, "Hyper-Ballad"
Laika, "Breather"
Lamb, "Bonfire"

I was disappointed by Big Calm, but Morcheeba certainly have all the right parts, which shows when they cover something as hard to screw up as "Summertime". Then, everything works sublimely, as it should. Coltrane's version is hard to identify, but other than that I don't think I've ever heard a version of the song I didn't like. Even our own amateurish one in high school jazz band. The song plays itself.

Often I just look for one simple connection, enough to make a transition via vague resemblance. Thus the Bjork between Morcheeba and Laika - it begins "slowly" (though the track is certainly busy early on, it feels like a kind of stasis, similar to if it were actually slow), and builds to a 4/4 climax to complement the lyrics (more on this above, soon). That brings the beat nicely within range of the Laika track, which is slower, but still drifts along at a pretty brisk pace. Since I don't know the names of any Laika songs, the connection between the title of this one and the rhythmic panting sounds at the beginning just now made sense to me, as I looked up the name to list it here.

"Bonfire" has gravity; it's stately. It has a habit of making me stop short. And it's thus fine for bringing the first half-hour to an appropriate pause for contemplation or, in my case, the weather report and back-list of tracks and artists.

Erik Truffaz, who I believe Jordan first told me of, has a new album out on Blue Note with remixes of Truffaz' quartet's past work. As the review in the first link indicates, his schtick is "jazz plus drum and bass," but I've never heard any of his actual music. The remix album turns the music more toward 'downtempo' and acid jazz, which frightened me at first, but "Sweet Mercy" turned out rather nicely.

Erik Truffaz, "Sweet Mercy" (remixed by Bugge Wesseltoft)
Herbie Hancock, "Ostinato (Suite for Angela)"
Miles Davis, "Petit Machins"

The resemblance between the Truffaz and In a Silent Way era Miles and Mwandish-band Herbie is almost uncanny at times, so at the last second I changed my mind and decided to play something from the first Mwandishi album. "Petit Machins," from Filles de Kilimanjaro, the last Miles album before Silent Way, provided just the right mixture of gauzy electrified jazz to let me move into jazz proper.

Herbie Hancock, "King Cobra"
Dave Holland Quintet, "Looking Up"
Bobby Hutcherson, "Verse"
Eric Dolphy, "Something Sweet, Something Tender"
Thelonious Monk, "Monk's Mood"

My Point of View was one of the first Herbie Hancock albums I bought, having already heard him playing in Miles' second quintet. But I never really got comfortable with it, despite its seeming pretty solid. Part of that might be from its being one of those discs that won't play right consistently on my player - which is only a problem when I find something about the music difficult. I've heard it on some other albums, and though I've warmed to it some, I still don't totally like Rudy Van Gelder's production on the mid-60s Blue Note albums, which is perhaps odd of me because his work is well-regarded. The pianos are always too tinny, and the drum kit sounds drier than a lot of the other instruments, which are also a bit dry. I suppose I like a tiny bit more room-image in my hard bop production. It's not just that, though, but the songs on My Point of View - they weren't enough in the vein of jazz compositions I preferred at the time I bought the album. Herbie likes to write soulful uptempo songs, and "introspective" slower ones with "sophisticated" harmonies, and I suppose some of what I've grown to like in the intervening time has made me appreciate those more. The band on the album includes trumpet, trombone, tenor, and guitar (pre-fusion), as well, which makes for a richer timbral range, which is more of a novelty to me since I listen to so much sax-and-trumpet or just sax-and-rhythm or piano trio jazz. Something to listen to more carefully in the near future. (Maybe when my CD player is done being cleaned it will play all the discs I want it too, even.)

If I continue to be impressed by the Dave Holland record, eventually I'll think it's the greatest thing ever recorded. The "modern" harmony made me a little uncomfortable work but the soloing, the sound, and the group interaction are just so outstanding that they've ingratiated the more modern style to me. Dave Holland is experienced, aging, talented, entertaining, and a great leader. He should be getting a bunch of the hype Wynton Marsalis pissed away.

Prime Directive has vibes on it (which, with Robin Eubanks' trombone and Billy Kilson's kit sound, under ECM production, makes the group's sound very appealingly distinct), as does vibist Bobby Hutcherson's Stick-Up! So it's a no-brainer segue. "Verse" is a comfortable ballad with some good soloing and a wide Elvin-style groove, though Elvin isn't the drummer (but - McCoy Tyner on piano!). Hutcherson also played, in a very different role, on Dolphy's Out to Lunch. "Something Tender" is a ballad, the least angular thing on a very sharp album. Tony Williams again on drums.

"Monk's Mood," disc 10 track 2 of the Riverside box, is the first number from the concert at Town Hall with a large band (including, e.g., french horn) and arrangements specifically for it. I chose it because I thought Monk would be an appropriately harmonically jagged follow-up to Dolphy, which wasn't entirely necessary once I'd sat through the beautiful "Something Tender," but it turned out ace anyway because the Monk is a lot more sumptuous than some of his small-group work, and the track is less dissonant anyway.

Burning Airlines, "The Surgeon's House"
Shipping News, "Actual Blood"
The Dismemberment Plan, "The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich"
Cop Shoot Cop, "Ambulence Song"
PJ Harvey, "Dry"
Sleater-Kinney, "Milkshake n' Honey"
Magnetic Fields, "Long-Forgotten Fairy Tale"

After the Monk I was forced to break my beautiful chain of smooth transitions because I had an unquenchable urge to hear "The Surgeon's House." At the moment this is the greatest song in the history of all music and shamefully I don't even own it. I've mentioned before how it's a relative disappointment that J. Robbins relaxed into "just" playing riffy DC-style postpunk, but the riffing here is, well, perfectly relaxed. Even while he works up to a frenzy at the end of the track.

After this my transitions were acceptable but not nearly so ideal as earlier, and also I'm getting tired of typing. Two things, though: I meant to play "Crush" instead of "Gets Rich," so the last hour took a much different turn than the quiet-mopey one I was directing things toward. Thus the hip-hop. Also, I meant to play "Get Off the Internet" after Sleater-Kinney, just because I have a probably-unhealthy habit of playing women after women (what, I can't play them spaced out?) and it would've fit great and helped edge back toward beatz, but I couldn't find it anywhere in the studio since it was just moved somewhere obscure. So I chose the Fields at the last second, literally.

Missy Elliot (featuring Nelly Furtado), "Get Ur Freak On"
Outkast, "Speedballin"
Redman (featuring George Clinton), "J.U.M.P."
Gang Starr, "The Militia (feat. Big Shug and Freddie Foxxx)"
Massive Attack, "Five Man Army"
Nelly, "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)"
Mos Def feat. Busta Rhymes, "Do It Now"

Good god, look how much I typed about my setlist.

June 27, 2001

3:23 AM
This is probably better suited as a straight josh blog entry, rather than being kept where it is, but that's where I went to write it and so that's where I'll point.

2:50 AM
I wish there were more pages like this one dedicated to Beethoven's Missa Solemnis on the interweb, despite the sometimes wack analysis on the page.

June 26, 2001

11:37 PM
My early-Dylan impression is much more pleasing than my late-Dylan impression. But my late-Dylan impression is more unintentionally comical (the lack of intention being on Dylan's part).

11:35 PM
Apparently listening to Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz just now, didn't notice until I sang "unavoidable consequence of you" myself that the lyrics were familiar to me from the Stereolab cover of "One Note Samba" (which of course I knew the source of, just didn't make the connection). Nice.

10:56 PM
Heard: Cash and Nelson, "VH1 Storytellers" disc on the radio, Willie singing "Always on My Mind."

Thought: Been years since I heard this somewhere in the sea of pop culture, never before noticed the regret expressed at not showing enough love for "you". That Willie Nelson, he's alright.

Wrote: knockoff Sterling Clover stylee post.

And: one time, "Hello... I'm Johnny Cash" on At Folsom Prison, enough to establish Johnny's definitive opening (which he uses on the disc) for ever and ever.

June 25, 2001

10:42 PM
And can I just say how jealous I am of
Andy's sharp-looking design? And the fact that he managed early-on enough to keep an index of things he writes about? (I tried to write one retroactively, once, but it required programming that I didn't feel like doing.) And the furtive planning commences...

7:59 PM
OK, I've heard two tracks from the new Tricky. Oh, ugh.

4:08 AM
I knew it - Pink Flag is 100% utterly totally the record I wanted to hear right now.

And what's this? I'm already on track 10? Ah, Wire.

4:06 AM
Oh, and I listened to the first track off the new Tricky album today. Ugh. That's all I can say right now. Ugh. Ugh.

3:57 AM
Friday I told Fred I was listening to Bo Diddley, and he thought it was uncharacteristic of me, which I found disappointing. He said it was because the music was so stripped-down and rhythmic. Hmph. Fred needs to hear some Monk, or something.

3:50 AM
Best thing I heard today: Misha Mengelberg and Ab Baars doing "Body and Soul" live on Two Days in Chicago on hatOLOGY records. Baars exhibiting, as the liner notes say, a love-hate relationship with the song, breahtakingly swooning back and forth between "in" and "out" playing, the most dissonant "beautiful" playing I've ever heard, even past Coltrane's Stellar Regions which is my personal favorite in that regard. I've heard this before (playing it on my show at KURE), probably even written this about it before - but now I've got to have it.

3:27 AM
The song mentioned below was "Pretty Girls" by the Kids of Widney High. I called the station later on that night and asked Perry what he played, and he played me a couple more songs - "Cowboy Brown" and "Every Girl's My Girlfriend" - but Hamish, Otis, and Mitch also all sent me mail informing me of the group's identity.

It's ironic that I didn't use the word "damaged" below, which I probably would've if I were actually trying to write something "meaningful" about the song rather than just pasting in an IM with Tom. Ironic, because Widney High School is a special education high school, and the kids in the band are all moderately to severely mentally disabled. If I had known that, I would've automatically shied away from things like "damaged" and "dumb," but that leaves me not knowing how else to say how great it was to hear "Pretty Girls" - because obviously, the kids' disabilities had a direct impact on what the song sounded like. That is, they resulted in a sublimely innocent, silly, joyful song about pretty girls - with workaday music (horns, though!) and very off-key singing.

The Kids' record is on Ipecac, a label run in part by Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton. In fact, Patton likes the band quite a bit, and they've even opened for Mr. Bungle on tour. I can't help but be suspicious of his intentions - this could easily be a case of opportunistically promoting the band's good-natured hard work at making music (the band formed out of a music class at Widney High) because it fits in well with Ipecac's/Patton's weird-music schtick. I don't doubt that that's how a number of Bungle fans, who might branch out into other Patton-related and -approved music, regard the Kids (as weird-music to chuckle at, I mean, not as a case of opportunism). At the moment, though, I don't see how Patton could listen to "Pretty Girls" and not genuinely like it, so I'm not too worried.

June 22, 2001

6:47 PM
kortbein: oh this is a terrible song it is grate
TomFT26: what what
kortbein: don't know name
TomFT26: what is the HOOK
kortbein: dumb 1234 beat, terrible off key guy sing-talking up front with chorus of girls in unison behind him sing-shouting same words. and horns. chorus 'I see pretty girls everywhere I go / everywhere I go / everywhere I go'
TomFT26: carole king is trying my patience.
TomFT26: blimey that sounds AWESOME

4:33 AM
John Lee Hooker is dead. The obituary is depressing - justification for importance of obituary space given over to rock stars influenced by Hooker and other dreck when what really would've been great is someone waxing ecstatic about "Boom Boom". The NPR report teaser played Satie under the announcer, and the actual story included two song clips, about 10 seconds worth total. If NPR were really truly interested in providing an intelligent, cultured news source, you'd think they would just say "John Lee Hooker died yesterday," recite a couple of facts (none of this "Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana were influenced by him" crap), and then play a song. But playing a whole song would take up too much time, and besides, this show runs on classical stations like WOI (that play safe jazz occasionally).

Shit, and I don't even have any John Lee Hooker to play.

2:17 AM
I know I've liked it before, maybe even had similar sensations before, but last night was the first time when, listening to Kraftwerk's Trans-Europe Express, I had the distinctive experience I usually do when I first really get an album I haven't completely liked. It's something like the rush any favorite spot in a piece of music can give me, or more relevantly, the more extended excitement I can get listening to one of my favorite songs. It feels like those moments, but stretched out across minutes, recurring over the course of the album. It's a hard one for me to catch, all the time, because if I start to get an album this way I start listening to it a lot afterward and then the initial point where everything clicked becomes lost in the whole later experience of listening to the thing over time.

Before this the most distinctive time this has happened to me, that I can remember, was hearing Protection and finally feeling like I had gotten the whole album, instead of just liking "Protection" and "Karmacoma," and things trailing off from there. Getting off the bus, walking the block home, "Heat Miser" drawing to a close, sun glinting in my sunglasses, heat-mirages down the length of Ontario, the beat a perfect match for a relaxed but measured pace.

A lot of music I like is only made better by moving, and maybe it's odd that when I got this feeling last night I was laying on my bed, because this music is certainly made better by moving. Yesterday I heard, for the second time, Lemon Jelly on the radio; I complained of its boringness to Tom, and we discovered we had heard the same boring track, "The Staunton Lick," about which Tom said that the record didn't make any part of his lower body twitch at all. Last night I played all of TEE during my show on KURE, and then listened on the way home. Headphones still on, leaning into my refrigerator, listening to "Showroom Dummies," I had the uncontrollable urge to dance (which urge I then succombed to - luckily josh blog is delivered to you in text format). There's something not right about that. Not my dancing, though that's not right either. There's something not right about a much-hyped new beat-based record that doesn't incite me to move at all. Pan(a)sonic's A and Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians and quite a few other records you might not otherwise expect to meet this criterion incite me to move, too, so it's not just that I have some strict must-sound-like-"Speedballin" rule I'm applying, and Lemon Jelly is too relaxed or whatever. Just boring. But anyway - the not right part comes from how, stereotypically, this just should not happen with Kraftwerk - they should not come out on top in the better-beat race. Maybe you were already in tune when you first listened to them, but I wasn't, and and deadpan German voices coupled with jerky beats gives a bad first impression in those conditions. This record totally does not seem like it will be the kind that makes you move, when actually that's what it's perfect for.

Which brings us to travelling. I've never listened to TEE in a car (or a train!) but I can only assume it would be great. Today, though, I walked across Ames, through the campus, taking almost the length of the album, and for walking it is also great - maybe even better. College campuses, especially nice spacious ones like mine, are particularly good for this album because so many of the spaces are long, flat, with even-lined paths or sidewalks stretching out into the distance beneath an all-encompassing sky, today filled with puffy clouds made radiant by the late-day sunlight. Nothing seems more appropriate to me, visually, spatially, for this album than the feeling of walking straight ahead, and these paths and sidewalks - especially the tighter passageway between the recreation center and physical plant - constrain, restrict, restrain, guide, form, distill that walking motion. Straight forward forever.

2:14 AM
And did I make the same complaint of that review when the album came out? Had Erlewine even reviewed it at that point? Does it matter?

2:04 AM
Did Erlewine actually listen to the

June 21, 2001

3:28 AM
I am happy to report that
Freaky Trigger has returned, with loads of new stuff - the fourth Focus Group, reviews from Fred, Sterling, Tim, and Tom, Mike's crazy 24-hour MTV blog (starts today at 6 AM Eastern, so watch it unfold before your eyes today!), new columns from Otie and Tanya, the return of AICON, Tom on the DEATH OF POP, the second of Ned's POP: ART interviews, this one with Momus, and a brand new feature, "Moments in Love". And of course plenty of opportunity to talk it up on the forum. Just go read it alll. It's like Tom et al dropped a big bag of heroin on my doorstep, only music-writing heroin.

Welcome back, Freaky Trigger, and congratulations to Tom and everyone else who put work into FT's return.

June 20, 2001

8:43 PM
For Benjamin, the critic is an "alchemist," confronting the work as it continues to burn instead of merely shifting through the "heavy logs of what is past and the light ashes of what has been experienced." The moral responsibility of the critic, says Benjamin, is to tend the fire, to keep the work from dying.

- from "The Sorrows of Young Walter"

4:42 AM
Limp Bizkit doing Mission Impossible theme, or glancing reference to it. "I know why you wanna hate me." Oh do you now Fred?

4:39 AM
Ambushed! By a band with a misspelled name! The music is eh - especially the louder parts - but obviously I go in for desolation, i.e. Staind's "It's Been a While," because this actually hit me somewhere. Ah, to be 16 again.

4:34 AM
"When I Come Around" is seven years old, and next to these other songs it's starting to sound like it.

4:30 AM
What a surprise, a song with cod-Eastern music has cod-philosophical lyrics.

Whoever this is they sound about 10 years out of place. I bet the lead singer has leather pants and long hair. I realize this alone would not put him 10 years out of place.

4:27 AM
Is this Metallica? Still? Who would want to Napster this anyway? Go fuck yourselves.

4:26 AM
Listening to all these processed-into-mediocrity "angry" guitars I am quite prepared to proclaim Steve Albini a genius. Gimme a paper, where do I sign?

4:16 AM
KCCQ is playing "Santa Monica" - by far the oldest song I have heard on commercial radio tonight (Russell played some Van Morrison and Los Lobos on KURE I think), 6 years. Rock radio, even trendy beat-salted altrock radio, has a munch longer memory than pop radio. This song gets a little boring but 6 years ago I thought it was GRATE and now my sentimental response is getting in the way of my deciding if the song is any better or worse than the new songs I've heard on this station.

Have now heard two songs on both stations - the ho-hum one with the "water into wine" chorus, and now the one with the bowed bass. How nice. So the tuff boyfriends (and tuff girls too, heh) can listen to KCCQ and let their girlfriends listen to that pop junk but still have their sensitive holding-hands common ground.

3:57 AM
Modern rock stations, of course, must claim to bring "revolution".

3:56 AM
Wabi-sabi .

3:51 AM
Otis will be interested to know that I am finally listening to "Teenage Dirtbag" all the way through, half a year on from the last focus group. I heard the lyric about a girl named "Noel" and at first I thought this was a chick singing a lesbian love song. This sucks, Otie. There. I listened to it all the way through.

(I switched to the modern rock station, the wimpier one - we've got two now, yay I guess.)

Of the three songs on this station so far, two have had scratching, one rapping (well the white rock guy version), one clicky quiet breakbeats. And guitars of course.

3:30 AM
Plus of songs with raps at 3:30 AM when DJs not announcing songs - rappers say own names, give hints. Also just tend to be better.

2:57 AM
And now the big test, is this "Stan" or fucking Dido?

Oh sob it is Dido. So you're late for work, who cares. Get over it.

2:20 AM
Listening to local pop station, 107.5 (formerly independent-but-commercial "alternative" station, when I came to college) - Clear Channel owned, I noted at 2 AM station ID. Claims to play "all" (very emphatic) the best new music - music for "everybody". Have heard a handful of chick-fronted R & B, "It Wasn't Me," a piece of punk-pop probably ironically chorused "Flavor of the Week" (how many reviews pointed this out, I wonder), three songs in a row to use the same high-on-the-neck acoustic guitar sound (two of them right in the intro), seemingly twenty minutes of commercials (locally produced bar commercial recapitulating entire history of western popular music beneath voiceover trying to capture every possible demographic's interest - pop of different decades, funk, rock; Wendy's fast food emporium commercial with stutter-beat backing and "urban" voiced seductress takes odd turn when folky Dave Thomas pops in at end), and the dirtiest-sounding thing so far (everything else with depressing core of blandness throughout masked by different production bleeps or modern-sounding backbeats), which from the proliferation of women and the French I guess is "Lady Marmalade" or whatever it's called. Good god, this really must be a skanky video. Oh no, what has happened to Dave Matthews. Apparently they weren't kidding when they said that last album had guitars on it. Electric ones. And notable absence of existential college boy hippy mood. Commercial taunts other local station Star 102.5 - "here's another song you won't hear on Star - we play all the best new music" - in a strange reversal from traditional rockism, for them this means playing R & B and traditional chartpop mostly along with sensitive music with guitars in it please shoot me. Antenna is crap, took me half an hour to get it to tune in stereo without my touching antenna; every single one of these songs takes notable advantage of stereo channels, apparently for almost the sole purpose of bulking up the sound by blurring it out slightly, doubled-up parts, plus less frequent to-be-expected stereo effects (channel-jumping beeps, other embellishments); hearing songs through mono headphones focuses my attention more directly on the boringness of the songs, unfazed by the gloss. No DJ voice, not even a centralized Clear Channel one. It is 2:40 AM, but still. Thus commercials are only breaks (aside from inter-song station aggrandizement and faux-futuristic noize collages which to tell the truth I would love to hear more of), and they happen every half hour, probably more convenient for unmanned airtime because the commercial tapes require less crafty DJing when all in a single tape (er digital) block. Bowed bass! Bowed acoustic bass! This is the most distinctive sounding thing so far, except that it inevitably turned into the backing for late-90s rock emoting and then was dumped in the middle section for a normal alt-rock sound (happily came back briefly for the quiet part - the bridge?). Guessing that though KKDM plays "all" the best new music, "best" skirts nu-metal and heavy enough altrock, as all the rock seems to fit under a gender-egalitarian threshold (cuz, like, here will be the "meaningful" rock songs that the boyfriends and girlfriends can listen to in the car together). "Girls like me and you Sid and Nancy"?? Did he say that? Oh kids these day. Now another sensitive song. Acoustics, rough voice, electric chords building up to BIG CHORUS. Oh wait is this the chorus? This is not BIG. Maybe this is the chorus. No, this is between verses music. Quietly restrained electric chords, then? Ambiguous "she" song, she needs lovin' apparently, from husky voiced dude and by extension breaking-voiced teen. God this is making me cynical.

June 19, 2001

11:31 PM
It sounds like someone is watching - or rather, like she knows everyone is watching. This music sounds like it's made for places where image is everything. This may be a fairly empty-sounding idea. I can see a club or a bar, sleek lines, muted colors, if any at all - lots of neutrals, metal, glass. People with fashionable clothing and coiffed hair. Everybody is very aware but they don't want to show it - they want to keep cool. They are doing all of the things they are expected to do. References to thongs and bling-bling and the like are scattered through at the appropriate intervals to give the appearance that the music is doing its part to reinforce pop music's current reputation as a rhizomatic playground, but the music gives lie to this, for all its Timbaland-produced innovations (are they still innovations), because the real driving force behind most of Missy Elliott's new album is the Foucauldian, omnipresent internal and external pressure to maintain the appearance of cool. This gives the music a remote sensation: not the music-critic 'cold' heart of dance music, as one might anticipate from music obviously directed at the club, but a feeling that everything is being done because this is what 'everyone else' (read: the other people taking part in the ritual) is doing.

The stance breaks down - something different peeks through, primarily on the tracks which sound more like straightforward dance music, or those with guests - especially rappers. Timbaland tries to undercut the power of the grooves as much as he can, with the enormous spaces between beats, and he is somewhat successful on "Dog in Heat," where Redman and Method Man's verses inject something less distant, joining with the groove to result in an uneasy balance between the immediate and the removed-cool. Ludacris' haphazard rap on "One Minute Man" plays up the wild-man image as a contrast to the cool. The stylized disco of "Old School Joint" is still partially susceptible to the chilling effect of the self-policing-cool, because of the relationship between that cool and pastiche. But on "4 My People" the beat, more intense (and perhaps not coincidentally most rave-derived?) and basic, finally comes out on top, with the result being a brief cessation from the remote distance.

Busta's interlude points out most clearly what is also indicated in the other rapper's guest spots: as for jazz soloists, for rappers, developing a distinctive style is key. The expression of that style involves both positive and negative expression, letting some things come into play more easily (a drawl, a scatological affinity), and downplaying others (a common vocabulary, a conventional tone of voice). So next to the album's dominant mode, of a repressed cool (because much is repressed when making sure one properly assumes the more socially approved behaviors - i.e. things from other people), the guest spots act as infusions of blood, individual style, life. It may seem strange, then, that the more conventional beats serve a similar function, but despite their conventionality they have a distinct character to them which is revealed positively.

June 18, 2001

8:46 PM
I never really noticed the fuzz guitar on "Subterranean Homesick Blues" before. Maybe the right channel is the bad speaker at home.

I am writing a packet of quizbowl questions and I have to keep stopping myself from writing a Dylan question. I've already got popular music questions.

7:11 PM
Hell yeah! Straight, No Chaser is some hardass shit.

Before my CD player broke I was thinking of listening through all 15 discs of Monk on Riverside, because I'm not completely sure if I've ever heard all of the stuff in the box. But I guess I'm going ahead with that anyway, as last night I listened to the first album, Monk doing Ellington, and at the moment I am just finishing up Monk doing standards on disc 2. And starting "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are." Monk's solo and piano trio recordings are great but I think I still feel more comfortable with him with a "band" (i.e. throw a sax player - Sonny Rollins on Brilliant Corners - into the mix).

4:14 PM
I think I am listening to a trance mix on the radio. Unfortunately this is the timeslot where Andrew plays the Essential Mix for three hours while he does officework and such before his show. I wanted something with more teeth to it than the classical station. Maybe I should give in and listen to the classic rock station or look for some Staind or something.

Good news, though: I found a place that will clean my CD player fairly cheap, and am taking it in tomorrow.

5:06 AM
I went in and did ~6 hours at KURE today. It was nice. I got to play CDs on a pair of big speakers, unlike at home. And besides that it was just a really nice set.

I played "Billy Boy" like more than 9 hours ago but I still have the piano part stuck in my head. Garland repeats the thing almost the whole damn song, so none of the music I've listened to since then (including Monk's first two Ellington records, with a nice "Caravan," and of course there was all that other music I played on air tonight) has been powerful enough to knock the song loose. Maybe when I wake up it will be gone.

doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO doo doo doo doo doo DOO doo doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO doo doo doo DOO doo. doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO etc.

June 16, 2001

11:45 PM
Oh, and please
let me know if the page looks funny now to you - bold text all over, or anything like that. On my two old versions of Netscape it's different varieties of ASS. My old IE renders things fine except for the fact that the page starts halfway down and won't scroll up. The newer-but-still-old IE in my office does everything fine, as does the newer Netscape available in the department.

lynx, of course, renders it fabulously.

5:45 PM
Geegaw crushes enemies, quotes Joyce, and also wrote a script which I have stolen to quiet my grumbling vision-impaired readers (see sidebar). [She writes me to say she didn't write it, but oh well. Hooray for Geegaw anyway.]

As for the yellow, well, we will see.

2:43 PM
Andy is yet another of the confusing number of people I've heard saying that the sequencing on Amnesiac is poor. Surely I'm not the only person who thinks that "Optimistic" sticks out like ASS on Kid A. And I like the sequencing on Amnesiac. There are some spots where it doesn't flow as smoothly as Kid A but a record can be sequenced well without flowing smoothly.

June 15, 2001

11:04 PM

Last night, no problem. Today when I came home from my travels, it wouldn't scan any CDs. I think it might just need to be cleaned. (I hope.) But even that might be hard to get done in Ames, and I don't have a car. It's all up in the air at the moment.

I still have my portable CD player, of course, and no doubt will have to make recourse to it at some point. But for a few months I've been thinking of doing yet another josh blog project (i.e. subjecting myself to something for some period of time, like most of my projects) - listening to all the radio stations on my dial for some time. I guess maybe now's my chance. At the moment though KURE is on the air, and in an hour Jazz After Hours starts on NPR (and runs for 6 hours, heh), so I feel fine.

Shit, no CD player.

June 13, 2001

11:54 PM
You've probably read me blathering on about it before, but cf.
this ILM thread for some stuff about good jazz books. (I spent so long typing that between radio station miscellanea that I felt I had to get as much mileage out of it as possible.)

10:45 PM
Am currently on the air, chanced upon Tomb Raider soundtrack in the new music area - has "Get Ur Freak On" remix and Outkast's "Speedballin'" which are both GRATE. I wish the rest of the songs didn't look like they would bore me.

Dammit Outkast you could have made Stankonia much better with some more judicious programming decisions.

June 12, 2001

4:01 PM
"I just like it."

One thing this could mean: "it's pleasing to me because of my history and what I can hear, despite what you tell me other people think my reaction should be."

The "because of my history and what I can hear" is something people tend to overlook, I think.

There's a good thread going on ILM that I am having trouble stepping into because there've already been a number of differing opinions expressed and I think they're wrong in different ways - but this is a complicated enough subject that it's much easier for me to respond Socraticaly, as it were, to individual people than to toss out the "right" answer.

10:23 AM
In Review (media items want to be) is back up, so I must link to them, and tell everybody else to do so, putting them in those little sidebar things.

2:55 AM
A million billion thanks to Mark Sinker for recommending to me Charles Rosen's essay "The Ruins of Walter Benjamin," which despite the two quotes below from each I was not aware of. If you're interested in Walter Benjamin, you should definitely read this essay. Also, if you're interested in a (if I may sound pretentious for a moment) theoretical approach I take when thinking about music, you should read this essay - because it does an excellent job of articulating Benjamin's critical method, which I am much inspired by, if currently woefully equipped to implement. And, if you are Michael Daddino, you should definitely definitely read this essay if your bad self hasn't already.

Unfortunately I don't think there's a copy on the interweb, so you have to use one of those fusty old books. I found it in Rosen's Romantic Poets, Critics, and Other Madmen, which looks to be a bang-up read aside from the essay, but I also found references to the essay in On Walter Benjamin, edited by Gary Smith - though your best bet may be a library, as that book seems to be out of print.

Here are some inspirational passages to whet your appetite. You want all the in-between bits too, though. (These are all Rosen, by the way.) He says "literature" a lot because the focus is on something Benjamin wrote on literature, but really it's meant more broadly.

"As early as 1770, Herder and Goethe had insisted that a new art should not be judged by rules derived from antiquity; each civilization, each folk, each nation created its own standards. For Schlegel and Novalis this had become true for each artist and even each work of art. It is only from within a work that one could derive the principles by which it was to be judged. Criticism was, therefore, immanent in the work itself. Essentially this was, with one stroke, to turn criticism from an act of judgment into an act of understanding."

"Commentary and criticism are Benjamin's two names for the two ways of approaching this double nature of literature. Commentary deals with the sense of the past life evoked by the work; criticism with the way the work detaches itself from that life. Commentary is philological in its method: criticism is philosophical. They are interdependent: without commentary, criticism is self-indulgent revery; without criticism, commentary is frivolous information."

"Language cannot be reduced to communication even if its other functions sometimes take second place. Among them is an expressive function: swearing to oneself without the benefit of an audience. There is the sheer pleasure in nonsense syllables that children develop early and adults never lose. And there is the magic formula and the sacred text."

"The illusion of autonomy enables the work to operate effectively: it stops the reader from taking it simply as a form of communication and so allows the other aspects of language to press forward. The autonomy is an illusion, of course, because a work of literature is subject to history, created by an author, its words and even its form comprehensible only if ony starts from a specific culture (even if, in the end, the work is not restricted to that culture). The illusion can neither be simply dispelled nor maintained.

"The concept defines a class of phenomena, the Idea determines the relation of the phenomena in the different classes to each other."

(Stuff about objectivity of language too.)

(And attacks on Harold Bloom! Woohoo!)

June 11, 2001

9:23 PM
A while ago I recalled that, on one of the couple times I'd been "home" to the house my parents moved to when I moved away to college, my sister was listening to Weezer's Pinkerton a lot. I was curious about the general public's (i.e. not obsessive music listeners') reception of Weezer's second album, since Rivers Cuomo apparently thought they hated it because it was so noisy and depressing. So I queried her:

Me: If you had to collapse it down to one of the two, would you prefer to say that listening to Pinkerton makes you

  1. happy or
  2. sad

Her: What an odd question... it's kind of in between. I guess happy.

Me: Why?

Her: Just because... some songs are not that uplifting, but for the most part it is happy.

Now I have no idea at all what the general public thought, as this is totally utterly at odds with how I hear the album. I think. I will have to grill her some more to figure out what she means by "kind of in between".

Sorry my sister isn't as funny as Kempa's brother, but hey.

4:06 PM
It's fortunate for Bad Religion that there are so many relevant Latin-root words that rhyme with "subjugation".

June 10, 2001

12:34 AM
Charles Rosen, from The Classical Style:

An account of the sonata in purely tonal terms does not falsify the way a classical sonata moves, but it obscures the significance of the form, which must ultimately be considered inseparable from the form itself. There is no question that every sonata-exposition goes from the tonic to the dominant (or to a substitute for the dominant, relative major or mediant and submediant being the only possible ones), but I cannot believe that a contemporary audience listened for the change to the dominant and experienced a pleasant feeling of satisfaction when it came. The movement to the dominant was part of musical grammar, not an element of form. Almost all music in the eighteenth century went to the dominant: before 1750 it was not something to be emphasized; afterward, it was something that the composer could take advantage of. This means that every eighteenth-century listener expected the movement to the dominant in the sense that he would have been puzzled if he did not get it; it was a necessary condition of intelligibility.

He also drops a choice Walter Benjamin quote in the preface: exceptional works either create a genre or destroy it, and the most exceptional do both.

June 09, 2001

3:20 PM
In Snoop's verse on "Stranded on Death Row" it sounds like he's trying to offer as many hooks as possible. Don't like this one? Then maybe this is the hook. No, try this one...

June 07, 2001

6:49 PM
Lots of the reviews and articles on
Bedhead that I've read make a point about how egoless all the music seems: Matt Kadane intones his vocals in an unassuming half-speech, all 3 (three!) guitar parts are generally laidback, and the songs themselves are for the most part quiet and seem to unfold naturally, no pushing from the band. But there's another side to it - it's egoless in the sense that it all feels to me as if it's being done for my sake. Egoless like a person who goes out of their way to take care of you when you're sick - everything is comforting. It isn't a comfort quite like most of my comfort music, either, because a lot of that comfort has come through association - whereas with Bedhead, the music itself is just comforting.

1:01 AM
Well, Badger, maybe I should try hearing them more like Huey Lewis and the News.

June 06, 2001

9:47 PM
Review on back of new Wolfpac CD in the lovely KURE studios:

Rapcore. And it's not good rapcore either. But it has a nipple on the front! And a cover of "Humpty Dance"!

8:36 PM
Matmos interview at Pitchfork turns out quite well - probably because the Matmos guys practically do the interview themselves.

4:55 PM
From Doug, a Salon article about some goings-on in the world of modern-day payola. Note: "indie" different from "indie" music.

Also from Doug, a "depressing" (his words, but I agree) article about the future of online music.

2:31 AM
Maybe it's down to the fact that I spent my teenaged years listening to Nirvana. That's what a Nirvana cynic (they just stole that from the Pixies!) would say, anyway. But sudden jumps in volume almost invariably make music better for me. So sometimes I employ my volume control strategically: walking along, as I was today down Osborn Drive, listening to "Life in a Glass House" and staring at the green trees and the dingy gray sky and me feeling cooler than everyone. I turned the volume up all the way to 10 at an opportune moment (first time I have heard this mind you), and the horn section surges forward up even louder than before, and I have the unshakeable feeling that this music is mine, that it was made with me in mind, for me, it fits perfectly. It's not just that there are horns, that sound like jazz; the horns on "The National Anthem" don't do a whole lot for me. As "free jazz" (so they were rumored to be, but then you know how people talk) they're boring, and they're mixed funny. I never even played New Orleans jazz. Once or twice maybe, badly. But the sound of the horns, close in the mix, playing sweet, playing a dirge but joyfully so, New Orleans funeral-style - apparently that is enough.

June 05, 2001

4:32 PM
So I went and sold 6 CDs - I didn't even write down which, I'm going to have to recatalogue my CDs one of these days, what with all the buying CDs that I haven't catalogued I've been doing - and bought Amnesiac right afterward, which I almost forgot to do because the release date snuck up on me, unlike that of Kid A.

And to my pleasant surprise, where my first listen to Kid A was a bit eerie and uncomfortable, appropriate to the way my relationship with the album developed over time, upon first listen Amnesiac has been rather exciting despite the obvious similarities throughout to the previous album. First thought: similar musical elements and attitudes to songwriting (er... "musicmaking" better make that) and album construction etc., only in the service of something not quite as specifically odd (tough to characterize in a phrase - but cf. passim (whoa two pretentions at once) my earlier comments on Kid A, wherever exactly it is they are).

Without the predominance of guitars when Radiohead turn back to more "conventional" Radiohead songs these days they tend to end up with even airier, floatier things than in the past - same dynamics, soaring vocal and instrumental lines, but not as percussive or biting as before; electric guitars do have a particular ability for incision.

June 04, 2001

4:52 PM
OK, there were a bunch of map posts here but I
consolidated them since this is a music blog, dammit.

3:18 PM
The sooner I move to Minneapolis, the sooner I can listen to "Broken Heart" on my headphones, walking across the Washington Ave bridge, staring down into the Mississippi river, letting the magnitude of the space beneath make me feel small.

2:58 AM
Ever have one of those days (weeks... months...) where you just don't feel like forming sentences?

2:48 AM
I had forgotten that McCoy Tyner plays on Bobby Hutcherson's Stick-Up! I found myself warming a bit more to that disc today, and it was noticeably due to my having heard more jazz since last hearing the album.

Jazz musicians talk a lot about developing their individual styles, or voices, and there's a lot to be said for being able to identify the same, as a listener. I have a hard time following the music here because the individual styles are both foreign to me, and perhaps not as boldly developed as those in a lot of the jazz I listen to most (think: Miles, Coltrane, Mingus, and their sidemen as well). It may also be that with some others in the past I've approached new styles from a greater number of directions, for instance picking up multiple Mingus albums before I really felt comfortable with the first. But I only have one Hutcherson disc.

2:47 AM
I find it humorous that Ovalprocess has multiple tracks (of different lengths, even!) on it. Then again, maybe I'm surprised it doesn't have 40 tiny tracks.

June 03, 2001

2:39 AM
I know I've linked to something like
this Charlie Haden / bass article before, but I think this one is new.

To me, I mean.

Also, good stuff on the problem with jazz in the 90s.

12:07 AM
If they truly offered metacriticism their site would be a bit different, I think, but metacritic may be useful all the same.

June 02, 2001

3:48 PM
Imagine my delight last night when, after finding the first half of Remain in Light a bit tedious, the second half turned all dirgey by comparison. That helped me out a bit. (And now I'm finding the first half better too - remember, louder always helps.)

The beat on track 2 or so of the new Autechre is totally fascinating despite apparent brain-drill-ness. However, the last track, at least last night when I heard it, was the most grating thing I have ever heard in my entire life (note: I own a Derek Bailey album). Will have to listen again to determine whether this is actually so.

3:39 PM
This afternoon I'm listening to all three discs of 69 Love Songs on shuffle, which I've never done before. The most noticeable effects so far: a lot of the songs whose endings naturally lead into the following songs now sound awkward when they finish, partly because of the longer delay between tracks, and more importantly, because the songs really don't sound like they lead into one another any more. Also, I don't get stuck in runs of songs like, say, on disc 3, where I don't really like a bunch of songs in a row.

to May 2001

old blog
jazz review project
old notes
wish list
mail josh

josh blog

font sizes:

Jon Stewart is a cockfarmer.