I saw Tony Buck with Dave Rempis, Nate McBride and Kent Kessler and it was ... eh. Nothing at all like the Necks, obviously, but then I wasn't expecting that. Primarily, I'm not too enamored of Rempis' improv playing; in the first two improvs they did, he mostly just played rapid-fire, nonstop, and loud, first on alto (incidentally there are probably few sights funnier than a big, tall man playing an alto sax; you'd think you could improve it by having him play, say, a piccolo but that would just be absurd) and then tenor, which just becomes kind of boring and samey after a while—sort of a Standard Fast Free Jazz Improv. The fact that there was only one really melodic instrument didn't help. In the first one—in which everyone just started playing with a bang right off—Kessler and McBride played pretty frenetically, and weren't that easy to tell apart (or even make out with much distinctness); Buck's drumming, though, was excellent. I don't really know from jazz/improv drumming but in the first piece they played it was consistently interesting to me. The second was much more of a mixed bag; it started off great with Kessler bowing and Buck agitating a chain on the floor with his foot before first McBride and then Rempis came in (this was when he switched to tenor), for more quick wankery. But then it ended very well (Rempis had quieted down), in a way I liked a lot at the time but now can't remember because the third piece they played was so much better than what had come before.
It started off with Buck playing various bells and cymbals so that they rang for a while; he was then joined by McBride playing chords, and then later by Kessler playing more of an ordinary bass line. Eventually Rempis, who had moved to a baritone sax, started making sort of breathy sounds (I don't know how better to describe this, honest). Restrained and pretty. A few minutes after I had thought to myself that it would be great if he did so, stopped with the breathy sax noises and started playing, you know, a melody. How about that. By this time the rest had started playing louder and looser, then Rempis eased off and stopped playing and Kessler had an honest-to-god (and really good) bass solo. Rempis picked up the alto again and made some clicky sounds, then launched into another loud'n'fast excursion, except this time it was actually good—for one thing, it sounded appropriate in context, and not simply perfunctory or done in default of anything else; for another, there was more melodic content and it didn't just sound like blurting. (Though that didn't last.) Then they brought it down in some manner I can't recall and that was the end of the first set, and I left before the second set began, mostly out of habit.
Did you know this? I did not know this, but I recently learned it. It was forwarded to me in an email and surely enough it delighted and instructed me. It seems that in the sixties a certain Polish avant-gardist, a composer who's now well known but was then rather obscure, especially outside his own country, was privileged to have some works of his performed. He was rather nervous because, you see, his works were dissonant and atonal in parts, and music of that type was not generally thought highly of by the then-rulers of Poland. He was true to his art, but as it happened he was right to be concerned, for sure enough, as soon as the opening strains of his Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet floated out from the concert hall, an order came down to apprehend the composer who had so let his muse stray. The audience was likewise agitated and the scene soon became confused. An inferior agent of the secret police, when giving a later report to his superiors on how he had managed to lose track of the counterrevolutionary musician, was only able to state that "everything happened so quickly—Ligeti split".
1. I feel like the pizza I ate last night has passed from my stomach not to my intestines but rather to my pores, whence wafts the intriguing yet disgusting odor of stale cheese.
2. I could really go for a leg of lamb right now. Cold, generously studded with garlic. The sort of leg that wouldn't be demeaned if you called it "gigot". Photographs of carved leg of lamb, or someone carving a leg of lamb, such as adorn cookbooks or the covers of cooking magazines generally have the bone pointing parallel to the plane of the page—to the right or left, not up or down—and usually one can see, as the front pieces are sliced away, that the outer part of the leg and the inner part are not all the same; there's an inner oval of flesh and an outer encompassing layer. Sort of visible here—notice in the far-right carved piece the separation into two discrete parts, and the ovoid section still on the leg of a different color from its surroundings. That's what I want: the tender inner oval. Generously studded. With garlic. Yes, that's right.
3. I used to think that "tabula rasa" was the name of a kind of rice. (Now I know it's the name of an Einstürzende Neubauten album.)
Who, one wonders, edited this fine book? Who set its hot hot type in the firmament and made it twinkle? Some one or ones crazy, that's who. We with eyes to see can observe the following things:
This book is going to drive me mad. The only thing that can be said in its credit is that the use of commas is pretty solid, but that's probably only because the translator evidently feels that the colon is the default punctuation, and will spice up any stretch of prose nicely.
[Edit: apparently the cover, that I thought was just a cover of "Since U Been Gone", is also a cover of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song, in what you might call a medley. This revelation has confused and hurt me, and I think I will cry.]
The cool kids have known about it for weeks, but not I. And actually now that I bother to listen to it I think the Clarkson original of "Since U Been Gone" isn't all that great. BUT, but! Ted Leo's live cover (downloadable from link above) has something about it that is highly reminiscent of Richard Thompson.
No, really. His voice is higher, the song itself is decidedly more vernacular, and not as bleak as Thompson's, and the guitar playing isn't that similar—Thompson playing a similarly themed song would be more restrained, and slower (consider his excellent cover of "Oops! I Did It Again"). The nature of the lyrics are the real sticking point; even though it's clearly thematically something Thompson would sing & has sung about, the lyrics just don't sound like him (and it's not like songs about failed love are hard to come by). Same problem with "Oops!".
So why is it that listening even to Thompson's own cover of "Oops! I Did It Again" I don't get the feeling of listening to a Richard Thompson song, but listening to Ted Leo's cover of a Kelly Clarkson song I do? It's because, I've decided, of the line "Wait—they don't love you like I love you", which is repeated nine times towards the end of the song (all that follows is another chorus), sung in a yearning/aching voice, which is highly reminiscent of the end of "Small Town Romance" (the live acoustic version as played on the eponymous album), in which the line "see—she never loved him anyway" is repeated six times in exactly the same way. Also the lines themselves are very similar in construction and content.
You might not think that's very interesting, but it was driving me mad until I figured it out.
Extra bonus crank: the line "I even fell for stupid love songs" is totally obviously meant to reply to the lines "All the love letters you wrote / will be pushed back down your throat / and leave you choking" from "When the Spell is Broken". Duh.
Though what it actually does mean is accurate:
Notable free folk musician CHRISTINA CARTER returns. CARTER is a member of revered experimental ensembles CHARALAMBIDES and SCORCES, and has a handful of captivating solo releases to her credit. Her solo endeavors feature unique vocal affectations and abstracted, airy ruminations on guitar, material that is oftentimes harrowing, at others sparse, but always thoroughly engrossing. For this performance, CARTER will be joined by sometime collaborator GOWN, and the two have a split forthcoming with MY CAT IS AN ALIEN on the Opax imprint. 90 DAY MEN bassist ROB LOWE will open with his LICHENS project, a stirring and heavily psych endeavor consisting of droning, looping vocals and affected, treated guitar. LOWE has issued a few handmade EPs over the last several months, and is apparently prepping a full length for the Kranky label. Guitarist MATT CLARK will open with his latest musical endeavor, FROM LIGHTNING TO THE WOMB, “a voluminous bent-electric-guitar and voice based bridge between EARTH, ENO, and BO DIDDLEY.”
(blurb for tonight's show at the Empty Bottle.)
Carter's vocals certainly are affected, but that's usually understood in a derogatory way (I mean it that way here), so I doubt that's what whoever wrote the blurb really meant. As for the use of "affected" to describe Lichens, I guess it's not terribly inaccurate—the one time I saw him I thought the guitar playing was kind of like a less interesting version of Ben Chasny's, and insofar as that might seem like chasing after a trend it might could be considered affected, but I'm not really interested it making that judgment. The best part of Lichens are the vocals, anyway; Lowe has a pretty deep voice and the resulting loops are like a cross between Frippertronics and Demetrio Stratos's solo albums; the album he's working on will probably be pretty interesting (I bought one of the EPs but! nothing was written on it!).
In a world where philosophers were trying to reduce metaphysics and ethics toa mathematical form, and despised concrete intuition: where men were devising a literature and a poetry suited to disseminate science among the common people or the world of fashion: where experiments were being made in teh construction of artificial, logical languages, superior to those of past or present usage: where, finally, it was thought possible to lay down rules for composing musical airs without being a musician, and poems without being a poet: in this atmosphere of detachment, coolness, hostility and mockery, only one man could arouse a different and opposite feeling—a warm and vivid consciousness of the real nature of poetry in its original function: and that man, with a keen, restless and stormy mind, was Giambattista Vico.
From man who brought you The Aesthetic as the Science of Expression and the Linguistic in General comes this summer's most anticipated blockbuster: The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico.
Brandy-based Japanese director
Neo-Tokyo healer of ailing pigs
Air! Studio! Blogging! I am blogging, for no particular reason other than that I can, from the beautiful air studio of beautiful WHPK, while playing music. Aright. I am even posting the playlist (mostly projected, at this point) below! (Hey, I'm here until 3am. I've got to entertain myself somehow.)
Previous playlists are supposed to be here, but there is something gone wonky—the most recent show does not seem to exist, for example. I mention this only because it had a song that ogged would have recognized: Housecarpenter, performed by Pentangle.
The philosophy department of Columbia has, in their wisdom, waitlisted me. (I knew it was a bad idea to use an essay that criticized one of their emeritus faculty as my writing sample.) Apparently the logistics of waitlisting and acceptance are as follows: since all philosophy departments require notice as of April 15th as to whether or not one will be attending in the following fall, on the morning of the 15th the departments get in touch with those from whom they have not yet heard and demand said intelligence. Thus armed they contact those on their waitlist (who have, presumably, been fending off calls from the schools that have accepted them) and tell them if they've been accepted and on what terms, &c., these then deciding what they will do in the span of a few hours and then calling back.
This scheme, while clunky, seems as if it probably works pretty well, but what about the case of cyclic acceptances and waitlistings, as in the following?
A is accepted by X and waitlisted at Y, the first choice.
The same relationship holds for B, Y and Z, and C, Z, and X
Comes the morning of the 15th, and X calls A and wants to know, are you coming? A says, "I'm waiting to hear from Y". But A will never hear from Y, because Y needs to know the disposition of B, who's waiting to hear from Z, which needs to know what's the story with C, who still carries a torch for X, which is waiting on A.
Of course, if they were all aware of the total acceptance situation, the problem would be easily soluble. But they aren't.
I bet this kind of problem comes up in poorly-designed multithreaded or parallel processing programs pretty frequently.
[Post title shamelessly taken from a conversation with <a href="http://www.adamkotsko.com">Kotsko</a>.]
With apologies to R. L. Stevenson, Patrick Brontë, Longfellow, and people who like scansion or have good taste:
Under the spreading chestnut tree,
Dig my loo and let me be.
Glad do I poo and gladly pee,
and I wipe my ass with a will.
This be the stall's fresh-writ graffiti:
"Here he sits where he longed to be,
Having eaten too much chili con carne,
He quenches the fiery arrows."
An alternate first line for the second quatrain is "This be graffito in the WC".
Hey look, it's an interview with philosopher Galen Strawson on the subject of free will in noted magazine, Believer! And look, it's an exceedingly weird turn of phrase found therein!
BLVR: But then where did that desire come from—the desire to acquire the love of exercise...or olives?
GS: Right—now the deeper point cuts in. For suppose you do want to acquire a want you haven't got. The question is, where did the first want—the want for a want—come from? It seems it was just there, just a given, not something you chose or engineered. It was just there, like most of your preferences in food, music, footwear, sex, interior lighting and so on.
One wants to ask: who the fuck says "a want for a want"? What in the world does that mean? I think it can only mean one thing. I could say, for example, something like this: "I don't want to watch The Conversation, but I want to want to watch it". But I think that could only be explained by reference to some other want I have, of a very particular form: say, the want to be a cultured kind of guy, coupled with the belief that cultured kinds of guys and gals will want to watch movies like The Conversation. That is, I want to be a certain type of person, and certain kinds of desires are characteristic of that type. I don't actually want to change myself such that I would want to watch TC, I want already to be someone who would want to. Note that in the original sentence no reference is made to the type to which I am implicitly referring, though. One could say "I don't want to exercise, but I want to want to exercise", meaning that he wanted to be the kind of diligent person who takes care of his body, but not, I think, "I want to be the kind of person who &c, and therefore I want to want to exercise" (and saying "I want to be thin, and therefore I want to want to exercise" is right out —"being thin" is not a role one can inhabit in that way).
But that's clearly not what Strawson is talking about in the essay. He's talking more along the lines of "I want to exercise, and therefore I must, at some level, want to want to exercise" (or at best, "I want to be thin, so I want to exercise, so I want to want to be thin"). That makes no sense. How is that statement to be understood? I do not know.
In conclusion, I'm not even going to bother mentioning the actual substance of his argument as developed in that interview because it'll just make me pissed off.
But it eschews high drama, both in the dining room, which has all the sex appeal of a first-class airport lounge, and in the dishes, many of which are paradigms of subtlety.
(From a review of Le Bernadin). Is a first-class airport lounge sexy, or not? It's a positive review, and what comes before and after that sentence is positive, but ... airport lounge? Or is that something I would have to be of another generation to understand?
Who's the well-greaved Achaean who's a death machine to Priam's sons? Achilles!
Who's the man that wouldn't risk his neck for his brother man? Achilles!
Who's the cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about? Achilles!
They say this cat Achilles is a swift mother--shut your mouth!--I'm talkin' 'bout kleos--then we can dig it!
He's a complicated man, but no one understands him but Patroclus--Achilles!
Last night there was a concert at the Renaissance Society at the U of C, where normally there is only pretentious art (which wasn't lacking: while the bands played, a two short clips of a tortoise, or turtle, or at any rate a hard-shelled reptile of some sort walking determinedly were projected in a loop on five massive screens). By some magic it started on time so when we got there 15-20 minutes late about half of the first band (Oso: some guy whose name is, I gather, Phil Taylor, with a guitar and a looping pedal and some other guy with an upright bass) were maybe half to a quarter done. Nevertheless it was pretty good: the Renaissance Society has absolutely horrible acoustics that worked to their advantage. The bass was kind of reverb-y and muddled and the guitar playing and loops (which were very well done, unobtrusive) was pretty clear, which worked out to be a good combination.
Flockterkit (whose Fred Lonberg-Holm looks a lot like jonmc from Metafilter and whose Ernst Karel used to do a radio show after mine, leading me at the time to think that there were two Ernst Karels: one a guy, probably a grad student, at Chicago and the other a local trumpeter and electronics player. It wasn't until he said hi to me before a show that he was playing in that I actually made the connection. Also, he looks like Will Ferrell) played next and were quite good. The lineup is clarinet/electronics, trumpet/electronics, bass, cello, and drums; the bass & cello and trumpet & clarinet frequently played together (not in unison but in similar phrases). Lots of long held notes. The beginning of the first piece was about ten minutes of drumming with electronic noises in the background (the amp for the electronics was placed far from the performance area) but it gradually got jazzier and more melodic, before ending with more long held notes in dissonant harmonies. V. cool. They were selling CDs but I had already got one from Oso.
Zs had the potential to be cool (two saxes, two guitars, two drummers, playing complex brutal proggy stuff) but whenever the drummers played the reverb completely drowned out everything else, so we left in the middle of the second song.
The problem with the English language, and really all natural languages of which I'm aware (a small number), is that it doesn't do automatic memory management, with the result that you've generally got all these NULL pointers floating around getting dereferenced one after the other—the kind of thing that ought to get caught at compile time. Of course the longer you live the greater the odds that at some point not only will your sentence segfault, but also actually dump core, and it's adult diapers from then on out.
In 1985, Jack O Ryan read The Power of Prayer and immediately began a regimen of thrice-daily fervent prayer. Three years later, not only had he received the grace of God, but he had become as a good a fiddler as ever fiddled on a string. He now routinely plays with orchestras of world renown as a soloist, and is able to fiddle milk out of a maiden's breast!
In 1991, Brian Wise read The Power of Prayer and scoffed. He now scrapes out a meager keep shoveling pig shit beneath Bartertown, with only hogs, Tina Turner, and his vain regrets to occupy his thoughts.
Don't let this happen to you!