Archive for September, 2007

The Talking Heads

The most jarring thing about the Talking Heads for me at first was David Byrne’s lyrics. Neither satrical or immediately angry they instead hover in a world in which personality and neurosis is smudged together into a one dimensional stew. They’re insulting to their subjects becase they suggest you really are that simple while Mr. Byrne’s irony and the bands arrangements hint at full bodied pyschologies with all the kinks and wrinkles of a real life. They are in essense striking becuase the characters are paper drawn squiggles while the ideas are fresh and alive. I hated it.

The Heads always annoyed me untill a friend obsessively played them back and back and wafts of tropacilia and soweto pop awoken me to the mesh of what they were doing. While I always admired Byrne’s artistry, I found his delivery far to cold and mean. Of course later solo projects fleshed this out, but it was really Tom Tom Club that delivered the music minus the deadpan. Perhaps I always felt the fear of being interpreted this way. The simplicity of people merely summing you up from body language and not that peculair fuzz of emotion that people emit and I use to navigate.

Today I began mapping out my mental arguements, tracking how many people make fun of me and mock me in my head, I got 6 since 6:30 a.m. to 12 with them speeding up through out the day. At one point I was being assailed by a failed girlfriend for liking girls to much in another for being gay by a designer I briefly meet once in a bar. The later happened in the pinch of 7 minutes. As I quantify my life by these exercises and experiment with diet to overcome them (phytoestrogens have the peculair power to stop the mental arguements) it occurs to me that were you take my life as a one dimensional strip of characterures, it would be cubist at the least with sexualities flying around by the minute and views on race perhaps by the hour. How am I supposed to explicate one view as being mine in actuality if I am, as the neurologist proclaims, destined to forever be thinking? Excessive compulsive disorder has the additional problem of leading one into irrational phobias, why is dark skin a paranoia for me now? Why am I homophobic? etc. Such answers could be answered by eleborated on, I can think of contexts in which I can make myself comfortable, compensations for each one, but in the end you end up with a pile of phobias that don’t mesh. That David Byrne is in reality one of these people, nervous, shy, at times girlish, and prone to that mess of emotion and false intentions gives the songs that peculair menance, after all he could easily be one of his own characters.

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September 5, 2007 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

The NNB, primitivism, thoughts on junk, etc.

 The other day I walked into a party here in Bangkok to hear freeform electronics.

While it wasn’t quite as noisy or as dirty as the New York set of plug in your turntable
and contact mics it was of that freeform Albert Ayler style noise improv that comes about from a desire for seperation, from that subliminal frustration of being trapped in an indie scene. I was then asked to make music and ideas began to race through my head a John Butcher like saxophone pieces where the corresponding soundwaves interfere with each other and cancel and mute tunes while mutating other ones, and then horror of horrors in my mind in walked The No Neck Blues Band and suddenly I was embarassed to be playing such music, and then it occured to me the idea behind their band is the same as the idea behind Anthony Braxton or any other composer, while they embrace complexity and increasingly intentionality as their means of expressions The NNB is about embracing primitivism, of taking no idea as your music and working with ignorance as much as possible. Such ideas don’t quite seem to be the basis of much of their music and at times they sound like Faust, but how do you make music with out ideas? with out expression? isn’t that what Derek Bailey was trying for? Where is the ignorance in music and how does it sound? Where can we find no ideas for ideas?

I am left with a blank spot as if The NNB use of culutral tones is a means to sidestep music theory, but it is an intriguing theory, how do u get out of the conceptual trap of thinking? what can u do with an absense of thought? obviously virutsoism was done away with awhile back, what is the primitive? how do u get to it?

Additionally, isn’t the primitive something of a fantasy? Didn’t we accept long ago that primitivism was a misunderstanding, a way that one culture failed to understand the specialities and eccentricies of another? Now I’m coming closer to having a piece. How to explore the primitive? The fantasy of primitivism is a vacation from Western consciousness. Could you accomplish that merely by playing non-western scales? BTW Kagel’s Exotica is awesome, and similar to this.

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September 5, 2007 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

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September 3, 2007 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

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