Wednesday, October 26, 2011
William Basinski is a classically trained composer and ambient musician who rose to prominence with his documentation of disintegrating tape loops. Here's my favourite record of his, Melancholia.
take a walk with me, let me take you someplace. i don't know where, away from here is all i know. reach into my flesh, take what makes my heart loop and mind deteriorate and wear it like a mantle. symbolise your eternal longing with a nascent kiss, amidst torrential downpour, swallowed under city lights. take it all. take it away from me, even though your blood just blended with mine. take it all away because i love you, and i want to remember this, even though my memory is unreliable and words always fall short. let me put on this tape as i drift off to sleep, cursing the clarity of my memory. these twinkles. they lull me. and it's already yesterday. mementos are journeys.
Friday, October 21, 2011
J Dilla was a record producer and a legend in hip hop circles, and personally speaking, the god of the beat. He recorded this album, Donuts, on his deathbed, one of the most crippling diseases picking away at his life. Listening to this record with that in mind both makes this the most uplifting and depressing thought simultaneously, the latter because the world lost an irreplaceable talent and the former because the power to connect through music transcends everything else in this world, let alone that which my feeble prose attempts to grab at.
So Donuts, the greatest left-field hip hop album of all time, containing snippets of every human emotion distilled and condensed into 2 minute punches. As this was my late friend Michael's favourite record, I will do us the honor of letting him have the last word on it.
it's been a long time since 2006 when i heard this for the first time alongside the roots Game Theory - both of which quite frankly went over my head at the time. Donuts more noticeably since i guess i didn't really understand dilla at the time. although if you don't understand dilla i don't really see how the roots' offering would make much sense either considering that still has to be the most emotionally-charged post-dilla death record i've ever heard. i probably just listened to "here i come" over and over again and totally passed over "can't stop this" b/c of it'slength. YEAH MAN LOUD RAPS GAME THEORY WOO. talk about weird. anyway i guess it didn't finally hit me until.....a year later?? yeah that sounds right. ever get the feeling like you've walked into a funeral service for someone you don't know but you're invited anyway? that's probably what this record is like for a lot of people. you show up and everyone seems nice and you save face and "oh wow i bet he really was a nice guy" but at the end of the day you're just sort of cycling through manufactured sympathies and while death doesn't really make you happy you know that deep down there's no knot in your stomach. is that bad?? well no. my problem is that with Donuts people hear this (and only this) and as the only document by jay dee in their library i'm 100% certain that you can't fully appreciate this in the way that those more familiar with slum village/tribe/de la soul/common/etc's discographies are. i was thinking about this earlier and wanted to write a review but it was going to be far too vitriolic with me calling out bandwagon types* but that doesn't help anything and really music is love and something with this much love in its core doesn't need an arm of raised veins clutching a sword to keep all the demons away. true people will come in. light guides.
this album (i say that a lot THIS ALBUM) in one swoop has essentially nullified beat tapes for me ever since i "got it" and i dunno it's like why even listen to others. it's so robotic. HERE ARE BEATS I HAVE COMPRISED. listen 2 them. thanx u. nothing against dudes like madlib but it's not the same. well no Dil Cosby Suite was something special. yeah. if Donuts is a phoenix falling apart in a whirlwind of embers then that beat konducta suite is like the ashes flying across the countryside and blessing the children with eternal life. oh god HA. that's so over the top but iiiii don't care. theres a lot of might here. it's moving. i've never cried to this album but it makes me Emotional. you know. a few days ago i was out for a walk and Stop came up and uuugughgh. if there was one song i could choose that'd just go on forever~, then itd be that one. but instead it's less than two minutes. that SUCKS right? nah actually it's cool because it also reinforces a lot of things i feel strongly about. moments don't last forever; love is but one patch in life's grand tapestry - move on/love on. cool, eh? 1:39 of heartache and my god i feel that's just enough because human <3s are so small and delicate.
also gonna shoutout my main man Trains here because we share a favoutire part on this album: that stevie wonder sample that pops up on THE TWISTER is fucking holy. i remember the first time i noticed it: i was walking home from a friend's house after a night of drinking and it was late as hell. this was back when i had friends that actually lived in town so i took this shit for granted. so stevie shows up out of nowhere right before things go completely fucking bonkers and it takes my breath away. oddly enough at the time i didn't even recognize the singer so it was kind of strange. the placenemt is GREAT too: this heartfelt crooning right before WAM BAM PULL UP SELECTAH and it totally disarms you. like stevie wonder steals your bullet proof vest and i dunno afrika bambaataa shows up in a bong UFO and unloads a clip in your ribcage. and it's even better because EVERY SONG does this. christ. i bet people who say that this is lazy say shit like OH MY KID COULD DO THAT at pollock exhibits. yeesh.
what this album means 2 me:
well it's really hard to say. Donuts feels less like a beat tape or even track-by-track music every time i hear it. at this point i'm convinced the sequencing is sacrosanct not just in the sense of "this song sounds excellent and then the next one does" but rather that beats give birth toeachother and it evolves like a grand tapestry (there's that word again!) or bodysong or something that transcends Hip Hop altogether. not because It's Emotional or something but....i don't know. some things/a LOT of things are bigger than me. i have dreams where i sit on the edge of a mountain with the drop so wide that you'd think i was resting my ass on the lips of the universe. it terrifies me but i love this feeling. i don't believe in god and i haven't for a while but this sense that there's some colossal nothing - rather, SOMETHING - looming silently behind the sun and stars, yeah, that's good. rilke said that every angel is terrifying and i'd agree - that terror is fascinating, yes. but yeah, that feeling of awe, it's what permeates this album. that HOLY CRAP, WHAT HAVE I DISCOVERED. because you know music is a game. people swallow this shit so much and goddamn you fall into genre expectations so fucking hard that nothing surprises you anymore. everything is a science. five star records are just loud or something. boom AND bap. ok we're on the level yadda yadda. nobody wants to lay prostrate in worship of something they love anymore. everyone is too goddamned self aware or fronting or keeping up appearances. fuck that
*by this i basically mean those that listened to Donuts after it dropped, declared MASTERPIECE!!!!! best new music, and then moved on although probaly t thorwing this on everyonceingawhile. maybe they listen to flying lotus and like ABstract Hip Hoppelbnfsdjg and kelike that shit burns me. no you don't get it. get your history you douchebag. Ackt Like You Know.
review ends here------
A Letter To Someone Who Won't Read It:
i still get pretty depressed over the whole thing lately although i'm starting to force myself to get over it. it's been long enoughg now, i guess. all in all i feel stupid about how this panned out mainly since a) there was nothing there to begin with and b) i really was a fool. but that's me. i make a lot of mistakes. i wish we could've just talked about this though. like, just realize where we were, be honest, you know. i said a lot of mean things about you in random corners of the internet as an anonymous poster and i feel like a jerk and maybe you DO deserve to read that to see what a jerk i am. every time i make you out to be the villain but really i'm just a big child who's all too prepared to throw his heart wherever he thinks it should be. this was wrong and i was just thinking about me and not you. i'm sorry. maybe one day we can go down by the docks in oakville where thesres tons of seagull shit and flags and we can watch fat white people ride by on their overpriced boats doing Who Gives A Fuck and we can talk this all over together and maybe never see eachother again, if thats what youd like. dump my ghost in the water and we can get on with our lives. i miss you. i miss You.
i heard from an ex of mine today. she (see: Hush Sound review) sent me a message about the microphones on facebook and i dunno. i guess it meant that she was looking at my profiele?? who knwos i dnt know how facbook works anymore now that i'm single. but yeah it made me happy though. i guess i'm glad to know she doesn't hate me. like, fuck. that girl. she was such s sweeheart treally. i bet she'd really give me shit if she knew i drank thoguh. im not drunk now although i think the correct term is Robotripping(?). check ereoqidn for details. anyway she has every right to think i'm an asshole. i dumped her because the girl i dated before her came back into my life. yeah, see? nobody does that but...ugh, Bad People. even though thigns betwen us were obviously falling apartshe deserved better than that like christ man. that was the summer i listened to coldplay a lot and dreamed about her at my job stocking bed supplies. what a time. being a teenager sure is cool, eh? but yeah 'm glad she doesnt think i'm an ass. i worry too much about what other people think but sometimes SOMETIMES i do shit and deserve the consequences
don't be so judgemental
the other day i was out witha freind getting some food (last night actually) and when we pulled into park at this one joint, just before he turned the car off, i noticed the sample from the final track being played on the radio. y'know that "the kind of man you thought i'd be" part. it only lasted a few seconds since my friend just wanted to eat but i remember just sitting there for a second with a wide-eyed look on my face while i took it in. obviously this was just a coincidence but the whole incident gave me great pause and joy. this was THAT SONG. one feather from a wing of dreams that disappeared into the sky until a rainman/philosopher king godtype gripped its wax essence and made a tiny glowing universe that will only ever exist in our ears. and i'm thankful for it. really really am..
RIP Michael Isard.
Unwound were an alternative act active from 1991-2002. They were more or less a unique singularity amongst their peers, utitlising angular guitar lines, complex drumming patterns and shifted toward more atmospheric production aesthetics for their masterpiece and swansong (one of the best swansongs of all time).
At this point, I have to mention that I was introduced to this album by a good friend called spiritof77, on RYM. His real name was Mike and he was a writer and a poet with very little parallel, even amongst professionals. He passed away earlier this week. This is his entry on 'Leaves Turn Inside You'.
the smell of ash-spewing 18-wheelers passing you in late fall when the branches sound like glass as you cross over them and your neighbourhood is so cold that you can hear the sewage beneath your feet slow to a crawl with the approach of december. dead animals keep from rotting like sarcophagi of hair and teeth littered around the city in a first wave of eternal greying. sickness creeps. sickness is that halo of cigarette smoke that always seems to appear from nameless mouths in red that never quite speak in your direction. you go home and drink because it's all you can do to keep your blood from idling and turning your whole body to stone. words and impermanent shit you say to people in an ambiguous tone to keep from really letting the heart out of your cage and wishing you weren't such a coward later. wheat and tulips slipping into decay because fewer things are more final than another year of your life. it's touching hands in an endless crowd and wondering when the last time it wasn't one more stranger. it's realizing that the greatest affliction isn't cancer or AIDS but rather loneliness. it's when a ghost disturbs the veins of a tree and the leaves turn inside you.
Friday, October 14, 2011
So what happens to us in a post-dubstep world that is reaching more and more towards self nurtured monotony and near dystopic states of indifference?
This isn't 1976. Turn up the volume, turn up the bass and fucking DANCE.