Monthly Archives: July 2009

Carmina Burana – Carl Orff (1937) [archive]

if you think the obsession in music with “fucking bitches” started with gangsta rap, then please take a seat. that’s a page from a 12th century text called Carmina Burana, or “Songs from Benediktbeurn,” written entirely in Medieval Latin. created … Continue reading

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RE: I Don’t See It That Way [archive]

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Help – Thee Oh Sees (2009) [archive]

okay. i admit it. i’m obsessed with this album, not just the album art.

originally, i simply wrote, “another quick, short post. what i imagine when i think about good and fun psychedelic rock: a purple smiling bat that can magically make rainbow arcs squiggle.”

i tried to reduce my love for this album to its album art. let me try again: in less than a month, this has become one of my favorite albums of the year.

it’s grungy. it’s one of the dirtiest albums i’ve listened to in a long time. the drums are simple, but they provide a perfect backbone to the swampy, distorted humming of the guitar. i can’t tell if the vocals have tons of effects put on them, or this guy just sings like a maniac, but i’m at last sure the reverb is out of control. it’s like he’s singing for a football stadium inside a garage. which brings me to my next point.

it’s psychedelic. this guy sings like a retarded angel shaman, or something. i don’t know how else to describe it. his voice is high-pitched and harmonious and wonderful, but it’s also kind of whiny and just plain weird. beyond the vocals, this will FEEL just like good old rock & roll, nothing psychedelic at all. and yet, there is something in the sound that i think you will find makes it teem with rainbow sparkles and talking purple bats coming out of walls.

it’s fun. all i want to do when i listen to this record is get off my goddamn chair and jump around. it’s not particularly danceable, it’s not what you’d call headbanging music, but i can’t stop myself from dancing and headbanging to it.

ambiguous descriptions of a few tracks (which can all be listened to fully and freely here):

electric guitar and bass guitar wind, wind, wind, wind in the first three seconds and then, suddenly, the album blasts off with “Enemy Destruct.” drums splashing, maybe some tambourine, and the singing comes in, trippy, like we just got dropped off on the peak of an acid trip.

the second song, “Ruby Go Home,” is my favorite on the album, but i don’t know why. it starts off relatively simply, with some basic guitar riff, basic drum thrashing, etc etc. the verse involves all sorts of nonsense and the phrase “ruby go home!” the chorus involves a bunch of oh!s and “ruby go home!” the bridge involves repetition of “ruby go home!” there’s nothing inherently special about this song. but the band sinks into this moment, this glowing red moment, and they just feel it. they sit there and rock and rock and rock. the moment doesn’t end. the guitarist starts fucking around a little bit, nothing fancy, nothing to suck us out of the moment, nothing extraordinary, just more rocking out. and it’s catchy, too.

what the hell is that sound at the beginning of “Meat Step Lively?” i have no fucking clue, but it sounds like a baby guitar crying. more rocking out, more living in the moment. except halfway through this one, a wind instrument comes out of nowhere. somebody’s blowing on a flute or something, transforming what just sounded like acid-tripped-out Kinks into the pop version of King Crimson or something.

the sixth track, “Can You See,” definitely reminds me of something i’ve heard before. the way it swings back and forth like a pendulum. no, more like a crowd at a show. it’s like swaying, not swinging. the bass does it. do do do…….do…do do do……do… and so on.

unfortunately, (for me) the album sort of tapers off towards the middle after an explosive first half, barring one song:

“Destroyed Fortress Reappears” is my second favorite song on the album. this is where the vocal reverbs go nuts. for five minutes he just chants like a high priest over this snare drum march and simple bass/guitar strumming, highlighted with this awfully catchy hook every so often.

i’ll admit. the first time i listened to this record i was baked out of mind. i was sitting on a couch in my friend’s apartment in the mission, facing one of two tower speakers bellowing out the cool tunes. i really couldn’t speak, but i periodically checked with other people to make sure they thought the music we were listening to was as good as i kept thinking. i think i downloaded it the next day.

then a few weeks later, a couple days ago, i went to a bar to see them live for $7. seven bucks! well, not counting beers. but the show was outstanding. short, maybe. but they’ve only got two albums and each one is full of 1-3min tracks. i expected people to enjoy the show but not rock the fuck out like they did. we were practically moshing. they played “Ruby Go Home” thank god. and i’m pretty damn sure they played it twice as long, illustrating my point that the band has found an inescapably savory moment in that song.

this is good fucking rock & roll, plain and simple.

listen to the whole thing here.

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I Don’t See It That Way [archive]

this post is all over the fucking place, so watch out.

a wise man once said, “When people censor themselves they’re just as likely to get rid of the good bits as the bad bits.” so here i am.

but still…

at first glance, it seems like there absolutely could not be a tinge of a flaw in this statement. you reflect on your own thoughts, and the thoughts of others, the hesitance of others, the brilliance of others, and you feel like it is so true. when a performer apologizes, “this song sucks i suck i’m sorry,” you yell out shut up you’re great just play the song! read the essay! show me the photograph! express yourself. it might suck. it might be great.

but Eno is saying 50% of the time it will suck, 50% it will be great. that’s where the problem is.

it took me a few seconds to realize the annoyance of that quotation for me came from the use of the words “good” and “bad.” subjectivity, the demon that has haunted my dreams since i acquired consciousness.

a good friend of mine used to say, “everything is connected,” while i argued against her, “nothing is connected.” these days, i am more inclined to her view, with the confused acceptance that the two possible universes described by each statement are actually the same exact universe: this one.

there’s a song by Spacemen 3 called “The Sound of Confusion” and it involves a drummer pounding the bass drum steadily throughout the whole song, swimming distorted guitar, and a man singing “wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, here it commmmmmmmmmmmmmes, here comes the sooooouuuuuunnnnndd, the sound of connfuuusssiiooonnnnnnnn.” or something like that. and for five minutes, while you’re drowning in this nonsense, you wonder what the hell these guys are trying to say. well, i mean, it shouldn’t be so hard. he’s saying, well. here it comes. the sound of confusion. that’s it. confusion. they’re confused. that’s confusing. because i’m confused too. confused about so many things.

like ants. ants seem pretty successful at life. well, not individually. communally. like humans. but not exactly. we seem pretty alright by ourselves. seem. i don’t know. see, i’m confused. some people don’t think humans are evolving anymore. they say because our technology allows us to save the cripples and diseased that we are defeating evolution. that doesn’t make sense to me. i think they’re confused about evolution. but maybe i’m the confused one. seems to me that it’s impossible to stop evolution. what if a planet just crashed into ours? we’d be dead. all of us. all our medicine, cripples, and Arnolds. then the creatures who hated a nice cool, calm earth would thrive and humans would be dead. evolved. i don’t know maybe i’m wrong. evolution doesn’t move forward. it doesn’t move backward. it doesn’t move at all. it moves as much as the Earth moves. which is not at all.

this is what i’m getting at. there’s no standard, no one solid thing, nothing to compare everything to. i guess this is relativity but i’m too stupid to understand that. all i know is, people used to say the universe circled the Earth. then a couple geniuses said, no, the Earth circles the sun. then a couple genius geniuses said, well, yeah, but the sun’s moving too. they’re sort of moving each other, with each other, around each, through each other. the sun’s bigger though, which has something to do with why we got tricked again.

okay but what does this have to do with Brian Eno. well, he’s saying we got to keep expressing ourselves, even the bad stuff, so we don’t lose the good stuff. but there’s no core stuff to compare to. so the good stuff and the bad stuff could be the same thing or nothing at all! that’d be frightening.

i’ve heard people say communication is what makes humans special. we can discuss things and improve upon the past and sympathize with each other and generally move things forward. but we’re just a pixel of the dot of the e in evolution. and we know evolution doesn’t move forward, backward, or anywhere. i’m reminded of this dance:

actually, i’m reminded of dancing in general. i’m beginning to think more and more that dancing is the best form of expression. you don’t need to read a body of work before you start to do it. you don’t need to take theory, you don’t need to learn technique. you just sort of do it. i guess you could technically say this about any art form, but i disagree with you. you need to learn an alphabet to write. you need to learn a language to speak publicly. you need a paintbrush to paint. to dance, you need legs. most people have legs. actually, fuck that. people without legs can dance to. people without legs are as rare as the sun and the rest of us are as common as planets and meteors and pebbles, and we’re all dancing around the guy in the wheelchair. you can dance in space. actually, you don’t have a choice.

i’m nearing satisfaction. is this what Eno wanted? maybe he didn’t give a shit about the good bits or the bad bits. maybe he just wanted me to have satisfaction.

i hate relationships.

that’s obviously not a true statement. i frequently exhibit characteristic signs of happiness while involved in various kinds of relationships with family, friends, girlfriends, etc. okay, how about this:

When people kill other people they’re just as likely to kill good people as bad people.

is that a good bit or a bad bit? i don’t think it’s half-bad. about the same logic as Eno’s. except the implication in his is that expression isn’t really harmful, whereas killing is. hold on a second. let me try again.

When people sit down they’re just as likely to hide the good dancing as the bad dancing.

much closer. but much easier to disagree with. no one wants to watch a white person dance. okay i’m exaggerating, but that’s the hilarious stereotype. you know what i mean, though? if you’re reading this, you’re probably a human being. and if you’re a human being, you’re constantly judging all the other human beings. don’t deny it. you’re a judgmental sack of shit. but don’t worry, you can’t help it. you’re alive because you judge. but okay this is interesting.

i think, correct me if i’m wrong, it’s easier to offend somebody with a speech than a dance. “i fucking hate fags” will sooner get people riled up than a waltz. although… dances are often quite controversial as well.

still, i stand by that statement. it is easier to offend somebody with speech than dance. maybe simply because it’s easier to speak. i hate black white green orange gay straight religious atheist people. look at that. pissed off like ten groups in one moment. but if i got up and danced right now, no one would see. my mom might come in and say, ronny stop being silly. then i’ll record it and put it on youtube. i’ll get 10 views and 1 comment like “wow lol u fukn suk at dancing ha.” then i’ll go to a club and Lady Gaga will come on and i’ll bust out the same move, and people might start laughing or somebody will “accidentally” pour a drink on me but most likely people will just step aside so they don’t get hurt by me, and continue hunting each other. it’s dancing, once we laugh at it, we move on.

not so with speech. and here’s why i think this is the case. there is an implication in speech that it has captured some kind of truth. every time you throw your words out there, it’s like you’re throwing a pokeball and trying to catch a pokemon. if you’re talking to someone who agrees with you, you caught the pokemon. if you’re talking to someone who disagrees, the pokemon escapes. and you might try again and again until you catch it. so be it. you’ll keep on walking to Viridian City, and you’ll pass another stranger and you’ll throw out your pokeball and truth will zap out of it like lightning, so you think, but then the other trainer throws out her ball too, and lo, and behold, out pops her truth, similar to yours, but not quite the same. your truths battle and battle and battle, you might even throw out other truths latched onto your belt, to aid your first truth, and in the end, someone might feel defeated. maybe you feel victorious. maybe it’s a draw. maybe no one can tell. BUT THE POINT IS IT DOESN’T GO ANYWHERE. like evolution. not like. is. is evolution.

is evolution.

i used to like pokemon battles. but i don’t really engage in them anymore. but i do dance. i love to dance. i dance as often as possible, in as many places as possible, all the time, because because because because because because because. because dancing doesn’t presuppose any truth. it’s like sitting or walking or any sort of “doing.” dancing is dancing and that’s it. it’s a physical response to music. or lack of music. is evolution.

fucking christ. Adam just asked me what i was writing about, and i said, “expression, interconnectedness, evolution, physics, dancing, art.” he replied: “well, they are interconnected. thank you universe!”

thank you, universe! Continue reading

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Parth Galen [archive]

i’m not wearing socks, i’m wearing black jeans, i’m wearing a white shirt, i’m wearing black/gray/white boxers, my bracelet is falling apart, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is playing a tune about the breaking of the fellowship, my hair is hanging damp, i just got out of the shower, and i’m seeing Nine Inch Nails for the eighth and last time in Los Angeles this September.

but i don’t care about september. right now i care about july. i saw Thee Oh Sees in San Francisco last night. you know, the guys with the best album art ever? this guy played with his guitar wayyy high up:

very weird. also weird, they played this small bar called The Eagle Tavern, which has this as the main picture on its website:

for some reason, leading up to the event i was fretting a little bit about going to what looked pretty clearly like a gay biker bar by myself (as if the bar wouldn’t draw in female music fans at least for that night). whatever, i went anyway, and was pleased to see the place packed with cute girls and boys alike. grabbed a beer, moved toward the stage (because you’re not awkward, even if you’re by yourself, if you’re staring at the band playing). within ten minutes, this girl standing next to me got me talking, and we ended up hanging out the rest of the night.

the first band (actually the third or fourth, because i didn’t arrive until 11:30) was called The Fresh and Onlys. they basically just sounded like a bad version of Thee Oh Sees. after they finished up, Rose and i grabbed a couple beers, and i had her show me around the place because she had actually been there once before. it had a really cool outside extension, where we chilled out for a few minutes, bullshitting. she’s from MA and confirmed for the millionth time that CA rules. she also told me that she’s the youngest in her family with four older brothers and four older sisters, that her parents aren’t religious, but they used to be big rastafarians. wtf?

THEN Thee Oh Sees came on and, oh my god, they rocked that little place so excellently. they played all my favorite songs (this is easy to do when you only have two albums out). ALSO, as i said to Meryl last night, a band’s live performance instantly gets 5 stars when they take your favorite song and double its length. think Brother Sport, think Ruby Go Home. the space in front of the stage was tiny, but we made the best of it. i was glad that Rose was even getting all up on it. i respect a girl who can hold her own in a mess like that. moshing sweating loving pushing shoving feeling freeing greatness.

i fucking love (live) music. Continue reading

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define ‘art’ in one text message [archive]

Art= something that furthers an appreciation of the aesthetic interest of anything and everything

everything in the universe.

Everything. Or, by proxy, nothing.

An outward expression of an inward sentiment

fart without the f, or life transferred to a medium. Sometimes both

sex. everything. fuck u!

Human expression designed for the five human senses

Me naked

Living and feeling

Anything created for the purpose or with the result of enjoyment via the senses.

Easy. Art is open speech

Time is art not money

six people answer “” Continue reading

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hungover [archive]

after refusing to see The Hangover with Donni and Hannah for two whole separate weekends, i finally caved and went to see it with my mom and brothers. my expectations were bottom-of-the-sea low and Billy calling it the best comedy in forever didn’t really float it any higher. but i laughed. i actually laughed. i was thrilled! pretty solidly good movie. definitely worth seeing. i still don’t know if i would pay my OWN money to go see it, but yeah, it’s good.

last night i hung out with Christopher Burd Quines. with the sun setting over a hazy Ocean Beach, we drove around purply in search of rhythm, finding ourselves taking the Classical route into the heart of the city, Amoeba Records. Rich had gifted me an Amoeba $13.55 credit receipt in exchange for spending ratio from one of my favorite private torrent sites on downloading Jason Moran bootlegs for him. pretty sweet exchange, but i didn’t find anything to spend it on this time. i mean, i found many things i could have bought, but i just don’t buy things that easily. i only think a few things are worth spending money on these days, in order of importance: food (always), music (live always, vinyl sometimes, CDs never), transportation, and drugs (which might more correctly be classified under “transportation”).

tonight i’m seeing Young Prisms play a house show live in Gio’s asshole, according to the bizarre pink triangle.

also, watch this:

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Gangsta Gangsta – N.W.A. (1988) [archive]

“We don’t Just Say No, we too busy saying YEAH.” — Ice Cube if Ice Cube’s not a role model, i don’t know who the hell is.

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i don’t just say no, i’m too busy saying “yeah” [archive]

a blog a day. a poem a day. yeah, right. ffvii. yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, yeah, yeah. fantasies.

i may not be fulfilling those tasks i set out for myself at the beginning of this summer, but i’ve been kept busy doing other things, so i don’t mind.

most notably, i actually have a job. and it’s not just a stupid library jobs where i collect books and read them when no one’s looking. no, for the moment (though probably not for long) i’m working for a tech startup, vator.tv, a place for other startup companies to network. all of my work takes place in the newsroom, where i and others publish tech-related articles. my specialty is social networking–Twitter, Facebook, anything social media. i’m writing two articles a day, one i write the day before so it gets published at 6am and then another in the morning to be published at 11am. it’s fun, i’m not letting my writing skills die, i’m learning about the tech world, and i’m not sleeping in every day until 4pm. the highlight of my life came when i got to write about Trent Reznor. i mean, i’m getting paid to write about Trent Reznor. my high school self is imploding.

furthermore, my blog posts have been stretched thins by two new projects. the first i already mentioned here: talkboxers, a collaboration between me and my cousin chris, just an outlet for electronic emotion and digital desires. the one i haven’t mentioned is a little blog called six stars, a new place for me and five of my most music-obsessed friends to share the music we love with each other and the world. talkboxers looks like it needs some posting to happen, six stars is looking good, i love blogs.

i just got back from visiting Arizona with my family (minus older brother) yesterday, just for the weekend. it makes visiting the place feel like driving to Santa Cruz, or something, the way we just picked up and leftfor such a short time. it was cool seeing lots of family, swimming in a warm pool in the warm air at night, and hanging out with my grandpa. i love my grandpa. he’s such a badass. he’s 92 or something, lives in maybe the loneliest town in America, but doesn’t seem to mind at all. all he wants to do all day is hang out with his little dog and listen to books on tape (because he can’t see well enough to read anymore). it’s pretty inspirational. one of my little cousins was dissing Miami, AZ pretty hard, but i said i liked it. i guess i like it because it reminds me that everything you need in the world you can find right there. mountain air, dried up creeks, antique stores, and damn good burritos. i think i’ve eaten something like six burritos in the past few days.

music music music music music. everywhere! all the time! all day! after getting my old room back, i set up my drum set right by the window, so that anytime anything remotely jammable comes on shuffle, i turn up the volume and swing around to the set to start banging along. last week i had fun with OK Computer, Echoes, and today, Let’s Dance, by David Bowie. very simple beat, but immensely satisfying nonetheless. what else? as my mom points out daily, i am obsessed with 808s & Heartbreak. it’s a damn good album, i’m sorry. still, i am secretly obsessed with Michael Jackson as much as everybody else. look at this:

* Thriller
* Beat It
* Billie Jean

can you compute that that actually appears in that order on his album Thriller? he gives us no time to breathe. it reminds me of a couple other impossible tracklistings:

from Daft Punk’s Discovery

* One More Time
* Aerodynamic
* Digital Love
* Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon

* Time
* The Great Gig in the Sky
* Money

beautiful.

in other news, i have the coolest girlfriend in the world. you can only dream of being crushed like me. Continue reading

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Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees (1977) [archive]

i know it’s all about Michael Jackson right now, but here’s a dance song i guarantee you haven’t forgotten. before The Field, before Daft Punk, before Michael Jackson, these guys mastered the art of repetition. lay down a bass drum, … Continue reading

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