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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5 Sep '01 10:47:23 PM

The first time I heard Drawings of Patient O.T., or whatever it's called in German, I wasn't very impressed by its supposed farther-outness, noisyness, deconsructiveness, what have you. The second time through it worked a bit better, but it still seems to me that the music on it isn't all that different from the music on Silence is Sexy. Yes, on the latter, there are something more like songs, and even the noises made by jet engines and stuff are a lot less grating and metallic (you might say that they've retained less of their industrial, in the literal sense, aura). But in sort of a parallel way, you can hear things that could easy be nudged into being pop songs on Drawings - especially once the get a beat going. I'm not so sure that by the time of its release, "formless" minimalistic noisefests were all that new a development. That kind of stuff could be said to prefigure, in certain ways, lots of electronic music (perhaps in some kind of geneological sense, but not an "influenced by" one), insofar as it shares those qualities.

I wonder what it would sound like if EN arranged something, in their earlier style, more like the new Spring Heel Jack album.

5 Sep '01 05:43:34 AM

The description for the philosophy of music course I'm taking:

This will be course on topics in musical aesthetics. Is there a sensible way to speak of meaning in music, apart from purely subjective reactions? Is there anything analogous to semantic content of natural languages? How can we understand expression in music? Need expression be only of feelings? What grounding is there to the commonly invoked distinction between "program music" and "absolute music," and how signficant is this distinction? How is expression correlated with general stylistic categories, e.g. classicism, romanticism, impressionism, etc., as well as more specific stylistic discriminations? Selected readings of Tolstoy, Hanslick, Goodman, Meyer, Rosen, Newcomb, and others, regular listening assignments. This course is intended for upper division undergraduates and graduate students. Background in music and musical analysis is helpful but not presupposed. Similarly concerning background in philosophy. Background in any of the arts is welcome.

Yup, that's right, all classical music. I will of course be thinking of pop music the entire way through.

5 Sep '01 05:31:36 AM

The shuddering low-string metal noises in Sleater-Kinney's "Start Together" always sound like the most immense thing in the world to me.

The intimacy afforded by the new Beta Band record on headphones is even more noticeable when there are more people around. Every little sound seems to reinforce that intimacy (isolation, perhaps?) because of the level of familiarity required to catch it all.

Classes started today. Over lunch I read my students' logic textbook and stared out my seventh floor office window at downtown Minneapolis in the distance - Fela Kuti on the headphones. He's not as much like James Brown as I was led to believe. At least not the James Brown I was thinking of. But he does have horns. They're miked in that funny 70s style that the ones on my Al Green best of are, too. (Also accidentally found horns recently by putting on James Brown, Live at the Apollo. Lemme hear ya say owwww.)

4 Sep '01 05:01:47 AM

"my shit's more deep than any tape from Enigma"

1 Sep '01 04:42:52 PM

Lots of information about liturgical worship and music in the Judeo-Christian tradition (with stuff about lots of Orthodox offshoots).

30 Aug '01 05:17:14 AM

Allergies bad. Sneezing, nose thing, itchy eyes. Deadened responses to music, everything else. Training meetings today. Schmoozing too. Ugh. Classes start Tuesday. Will likely be deadened to those too - but probably writing more.

29 Aug '01 02:10:50 AM

I'd like to hear The Biz with a lazy horn section.

28 Aug '01 04:39:41 PM

Listened to Kid A on my headphones last night, on the stereo, which makes it less bassy than my discman. Sound seemed disturbingly separated into "main instruments" and "floaty stuff higher up in the headphones" levels - division wasn't always kept, but it felt pretty rigid to me and so made the produciton seem a lot less enveloping. Needs room-space to smear those little details out more.

This made it all a lot less involving.

28 Aug '01 04:35:25 PM

Monk at the Jazz Workshop seems a lot lighter than the other Columbia era stuff I've heard. Monk's playing is more nimble. It highlights a similar kind of lightness that's in a lot of his other recordings - often his playing sounds a lot more gentle than you would expect from the way the music sounds, melodically, harmonically, rhythmically. In some places where it seems like huge crashing haphazardly swung chords would suit the music "best", Monk's a lot more subtle. Part of what makes him "difficult" maybe?

The sound on the Jazz Workshop album aids this: everything is more trebly from the live recording, the piano especially - and it's all kind of distant, while still being well-defined.

The band as a whole sounds a lot looser, as well; compare to the It Club stuff where they just seem kind of in-between somewhere (not quite sure), and Straight, No Chaser where they're much more dug in. Here the drum kit sounds more pliable, limber. The others follow suit.