josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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22 Apr '03 03:12:10 PM

Mark Sinker once claimed the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song (performed by Nerf Herder!) as his favorite song. Or was it the best song? Either way, some illuminating details:

When I saw a Buffy marathon on TV last year, and the theme song came on every hour on the hour, it got more exciting every time I heard it.

I bought the Angel first season DVDs a few months ago and watched them all in a big rush. It was as if I had made a profound advancement in the state of science when I discovered that the ok-but-well-meh theme song was its own chapter and thus could be skipped.

Theme songs / credits I refuse to watch even if I'm the only one in the room: Gilmore Girls (but mostly there because of the voiceover, way to win me over Amy whatsername Palladino).

22 Apr '03 03:33:29 AM

Wittgenstein passing by Deleuze's concept of the image of thought (yes, I know that's historically backwards, think Borges or something):

466. What does man think for? What use is it? -- Why does he make boilers according to calculations and not leave the thickness of their walls to chance? After all it is only a fact of experience that boilers do not explode so often if made according to these calculations. But just as having once been burnt he would do anything rather than put his hand into a fire, so he would do anything rather than not calculate for a boiler. -- But as we are not interested in causes, -- we shall say: human beings do in fact think: this, for instance, is how they proceed when they make a boiler. -- Now, may not a boiler produced in this way explode? Oh, yes.

467. Does man think, then, because he has found that thinking pays? -- Because he thinks it is advantageous to think?

(Does he bring his children up because he has found it pays?)

21 Apr '03 06:43:49 AM

I think I may have only listened to the Orchestra Baobab album once since buying it. And it started out so well - sort of artlessly breezy-sounding, with clear, chiming guitar. It made me want to run off and write about how wonderful life was, or more specifically, how wonderful it was to sit on the couch and listen to records. (Remember, my life is somewhat limited.) But as the record went on I started feeling slightly uneasy, as if an NPR pledge agent would call me up any moment and remind me that unless I mailed in my check I couldn't get the lovely complimentary gift, a tasteful selection of real music from Ecuador or Ireland or Ethiopia or some other fucking country you can't be educated and feel culturally enlightened about by listening to those plebian commercial radio stations. And I know there's some important aspect of lots of African music that involves pan-African and pan-continental fusion of styles (like, check out that culturally undespoiled Cuban beat in the rhythm section there, dear! where's my "Car Talk" mug?), I think it just acted as a catalyst for my unease. The more I started feeling as if I were hearing a (self-consciously attained or "natural") mixture of styles, the more I started suspecting that the music was actually written at the request of Ira Glass or some other fucker, he's just the first one I could think of with a name.

P.S. Yo Ira, if you like Biggie then nevermind.

21 Apr '03 04:59:43 AM

I find Invisible Adjunct depressing but I read it anyway.

The articles linked to in the sidebar are all well worth reading, particularly if you're in academia yourself.

21 Apr '03 03:16:08 AM

The mix:

Firewater - "So Long, Superman"
A Tribe Called Quest - "Scenario (Remix)"
Stereolab - "Percolator"
Sonic Youth - "Catholic Block"
Digable Planets f. Guru - "Borough Check"
Sean Paul f. Busta Rhymes - "Gimme the Light (Pass the Dro-voisier Remix)"
Killer Mike f. Big Boi - "A.D.I.D.A.S."
Nas - "N.Y. State of Mind"
James Brown - "Make It Funky, Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4"

Geto Boys - "Mind Playing Tricks On Me"
Mobb Deep - "Shook Ones Pt. II"
Pixies - "Debaser"
Einsturzende Neubauten - "Die Explosion im Festspielhaus"
David Bowie - "Breaking Glass"
Prince - "Starfish and Coffee"
The Feelies - "Paint It Black"
Ted Leo / Pharmacists - "Parallel or Together?"
Miles Davis - "Wili (Part 1)"

20 Apr '03 09:57:55 PM

"That was the only thing Chad said the entire time."

18 Apr '03 07:15:49 AM

It had not previously occurred to me that the name and song titles on the Metro Area record look like spraypainted tags. I suppose this is meant to be significant.

18 Apr '03 06:45:15 AM

"in some ways transparent" - for example say like a house beat. And yet there are different house beats, infinitely many. (This is a remarkable fact.)

18 Apr '03 06:40:22 AM

MRI now, "Blue" (their "Try Again" mirroring Aaliyah tribute) and "Nightclubbing at Home". Something special about music that's synthetic, but carefully so, so that it sounds close to something made with "normal" instruments that "normal" music is made on ("normal" rather than "natural" as opposed to "synthetic", because artificially enhanced sounds like those of guitars and recorded voices and percussion and wind instruments, as well as synthesized instruments intended to resemble unsynthesized counterparts, have become naturalized so that they are in some ways transparent, the song or the figure or the structure or the rhythm brought to the foreground) - and yes, the genre and form (dubby house) helps distinguish it in that regard too - compare to say free jazz or Cageian noise, where in some sense sound qua sound is supposed to be foregrounded, but because of either too strong a reminder of the sound sources' typical homes (structured improvisation with a historical connection to song and human singing), or too faint a connection (skronk skronk buzzzzzz drift wshhhhh), there's something nagging, a tension, that requires of me more zenlike mindful mindfullessness than when I listen to MRI or say Luomo where it's easy like a slump out of tension to start hearing sound sound sound sound sound sound sound.