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Something about sublimity, I suppose


Do not laugh at me please when you know I am right. It is a door – it is! – right into your unconscious. Into eternity. Yes. It is magic. Real magic. Each note is.

But then all the studies keep telling me we close the, well, to go on with my metaphor, I suppose, we close the door, sort of at 14 but definitely by 30. Studies, studies, studies.

The music stops. Then we’ll listen to the same music or else we’ll listen to music that sounds like the same music but I don’t want that. I do not want to listen to the same music as before. I do not want to listen to music that sounds like the same music as before. It’s more though, it’s even that I don’t want to find new music that makes me feel as I felt the first time I heard the music from before.

I want to find new music making me feel new things. New wonder, new anger, new love, everything new. I am old but the door is open. These are my new favorite magicians.

10.      Juan Wauters
They tell me he came from Uruguay, and he sings songs that sound so simple but they are surreal and funny and full of love and sometimes they are in Spanish, too. He sings, “Get a headache yeah / Take medicine yeah / Get better yeah / To another headache oh yeah!”

09.       Caterina Barbieri
Her bleeps and her bloops do wonderful things inside of my head like they’re the sound of my synapses lighting up. I want to hear more.

08.       Jeffrey Morisano (Kissed Her Little Sister)
I don’t know a single thing about this Jeffrey Morisano, really, except he creates very, very lo-fi electronic songs stuffed with profundities and light and sometimes a dead Dennis Wilson. And he keeps doing it, too, which is a fantastic surprise.

07.       Kadhja Bonet
R&B. I guess it’s R&B. I’m no expert on these things. Maybe it is kind of an R&B that formed its own tiny world where everything from the little flowers to the sky to the people’s faces are all paintings by Kadhja Bonet. I can’t explain it any better than that.

06.       Joe Casey (Protomartyr)
And last year, I went to go and listen to Protomartyr play. It is rare and it is no simple thing for me to give an American rock and roll band, you know, like a traditional four-piece, a real listen. I am glad I did.

05.       Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest is a storyteller, telling her stories through hip hop and novels and poems. Most of her stories are about working-class British people. I don’t know any working-class British people and I do not pronounce “th” like “f” but still, they’re good stories, so here I am.

04.       Russell Walker (The Bomber Jackets/Pheromoans/Charcoal Owls)
Russell Walker is… unbelievably… impossibly… even more British than Kate Tempest is. It’s like this: Kate Tempest is like a journalist reporting on beautiful losers from 20 feet up. But Russell Walker is one of those losers and it’s not beautiful and sometimes I want to stop him and ask if he’s only screwing with me.

03.       Gareth Liddiard (The Drones/Tropical Fuck Storm)
Gareth Liddiard is a fuzzy and dirty Australian who sings dramatic songs which go up and then go down and crash and take me along with them. He’s probably an awful person but I do not have to live with him. Also he once sang this lyric, regarding extraterrestrials, which really should be read out loud:
“If they are there they’re there therefore
Their silence may be called for
If they are there they’re there and mute
So maybe we should follow suit.”

02.       Aesop Rock
I don’t care if he has the biggest vocabulary in hip hop. I know he does. It is all they ever talk about him for. He is great even when rapping about his cat, which is something that happens more often than one might think. He made an album and called it Skelethon and it became the soundtrack to my last big breakup.

01.       Jenny Hval
Best of all is Jenny Hval who makes, well, not concept albums, maybe song cycles which get better and better every time you listen. I could say they are psychotropic or I could say they are theogenic. This would not do them or her justice. I do not wish to do injustice. Let’s just say it’s magic that has rewired this rusty and alcohol-soaked brain of mine.

Do you listen to the same music you did when you were young? What are you listening to?

Comments

  1. I'm probably the biggest misfit in the world but music really isn't a big part of my life.....I guess as long as it's not rap or opera or operatic rap (is there such a thing..maybe that's what aliens listen to) I can tolerate it. I rather liked that last clip of yours...just the other worldly sound of it.

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    1. Operatic rap sounds like something that needs the word "post-" in front of it. "Post-operatic rap" is going to be the next big thing. 2019! Makes me think of the blue lady in "The Fifth Element."

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  2. Do you listen to the same music you did when you were young?

    Yeah, I listen to the same stuff from my teenage years but I have at least widen the scope of my music. Truthfully, I'm about as dull as it comes with regard to my music.

    We're talking stuff from the 60's to the early 90's, after that everything is quite hit or miss for me. What's worse, is that I'm going backwards as well by getting into Sinatra and others of his times.

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    1. If I started listening to Sinatra, technically he could be on the list, since it's not something I listened to when i was young.

      As I've gotten older, I find I listen to less classic rock (still love Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and Genesis, though), and that I was never really crazy about guitar solos when they were still ubiquitous.

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  3. When I was young I listened to old music, now I'm old I listen to young music. The older I get the more I long to hear new fresh music. Kate's voice isn't really cockney to me, but l like her work. Most grime is about working class Britsh society.

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    1. I can tell American Southern accents apart (most TV shows have actors use Alabama accents when they're supposed to be in Texas), but British accents generally get lumped into just a couple buckets in my mind.

      Basically, there's Ozzy Osbourne, Zen writer Alan Watts, and this guy named Edward KaSpel who doesn't pronounce his r's. I have to watch "Doctor Who" with the closed captioning on.

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  4. I'm impressed that you make the effort to keep up with current music and artists. I don't. I do listen to some contemporary stuff if somehow by magic I get to learn of its existence (mainly if someone posts a video on their blog like you have done), but mainly I listen to music that I have always enjoyed throughout my life, not just from when I was a teen (disco!) but also from lots of genres (country to opera). All music is good music.

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    1. I don't know where people go for popular music. The young people at work seem to know all of the popular songs but where do they hear that stuff? When I was young, there was MTV. Now, the radio market is so fragmented that I'm not even sure what Top 40 is.

      There's still a lot of great stuff being made if you look for it.

      I put in some time every week to research new music online.

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  5. It would not be much of an overstatement to say that I have dedicated my life to music. I think that has always propelled me toward borderline obsession with whatever music I am currently interested in.
    The time right after high school when I was in a band with a crazy (as in mentally ill) guitar player who owned over 1,000 LPs was like my version of college. All those new kinds of music! Spacey synthesizer music that went on and on, rock played like jazz, jazz that was actually interesting to listen to, weird guitar players with names like Gary Moore and Phil Miller and Allan Holdsworth and Robert Fripp.
    Then the band broke up and I went off in my own direction and began writing my own music and I went and took a music theory class at College of the Redwoods, where Jerry Moore, the instructor, told us a story:
    "There's this cycle I see happening where students who loved the music they had always listened to come to our program and get exposed to music they hadn't paid attention to, mainly jazz, and it takes over their musical world because they're studying it, and it becomes somehow more legitimate to them than what they listened to before, causing them to reject their former favorites in the name of being knowledgeable about jazz. So they listen to jazz almost exclusively, more as an exercise in musical proficiency than for enjoyment. This lasts for a while, usually about as long as they are in our program. But since that's not the way music works, they can't keep up the pretense, and one of two things tends to have happened when I meet them again a few years later: they either went back to loving the music they had always loved but understanding it a little better because of what they learned here, or they just didn't really listen to music much any more. I intend to do my dead level best to avoid having any of you fall into that second category."
    I can't count the number of times I have silently thanked him for that.
    It was hard, for years and years, finding truly new music to fall in love with. Mostly I did it by examining the collections of the musicians I played with, but there came a time when there weren't really any new collections for me to mine for new music.
    Then the internet happened. gvbfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
    Excuse me, that was the cat, and I have no idea what he was trying to say.
    Perhaps he thinks I should get to the end of this book-length comment, so I will:
    Everything was on the internet, if you knew how to find it. There was a Crack the Sky website for fuck's sake, and a message board where you could talk to other Crack the Sky lovers. (Good evening, boys and girls. This band has come all they way down from an acid trip just to play for you. Will you please welcome Crack the Sky) but the past wasn't where I was headed, it turns out. After it dawned on me that the obscure bands I thought nobody but me knew about weren't really very obscure, I found an internet radio (remember internet radio?) station called "Indie Rock Girls" and three weeks later I had a whole new list of favorite bands, complete with concerts to go see and musicians to obsess over and everything.
    Now it's anything goes. Traditional Mongolian music on crude stringed instruments that sounds more like the soul of rock and roll than any garage band I've heard since I was in one. Fantastic Negrito. Sarah Jarosz. The Coastal Sound Youth Choir's "Indiekor" collaboration with a local rock band. Bombino. And now the new across-the-wall neighbors have keyboards and guitars (who even has guitars any more?) and it won't be long before those notes coming through the wall carry their contagion through to what's left of my brain...

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. I read a great interview with Trent Reznor a while back where he talked about the downside of internet music, and it rang so true. He remembered liking Frank Zappa, and how Zappa had 600 albums which he knew he could never hear because they were hard to find and he was poor, and how it became this great mystery.

      "I don't know what i would have done if I'd been able to go online and listen to all 600 in one go," he said.

      It does lose something this way, so far as the joy of discovery goes.

      Also, as Reznor said, when you had $12 sunk into an album, you were going to listen to it more than once and try to understand it, whereas now, if you don't get it after 30 seconds, it's so easy to move on to something else.

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    2. Yeah, my approach probably wouldn't work if I wasn't still obsessed with music after all of these years.

      -Doug in Oakland

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    3. Shit, I should... probably listen to albums more.
      Like, I've been listening almost exclusively to albums in their entirety rather than putting my entire library on shuffle like I used to, but I could stand to sit my ass down with a good one and just listen to it. Take it in and, as suggested, try to understand it.

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    4. dinthebeast: I wonder how different my youth would have been had I had access to something like the internet when I was a kid. It's probably for the best that I didn't.

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    5. Fang, when I was young, albums were my novels. I really dug down into them as if they had something profound to say, even though, of course, most didn't. I've never completely gotten past that.

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    6. "dinthebeast: I wonder how different my youth would have been had I had access to something like the internet when I was a kid. It's probably for the best that I didn't."

      Me too, especially since the guitar craze began to peter out with the rise of the internet, which didn't make sense to me at the time: "Let's see, the Les Paul or Windows 98?"
      It was just yet another format to re-acquire my music collection to me: Vinyl, cassettes, CDs, then digital files, which is why I became a cheerful pirate on Limewire... Most of what I downloaded I had already paid real, green, money for at least twice, although I did convert my CDs to digital files after I connected my computer to my PA system. Now I can't find a decent cassette player with which to digitize some recordings I have that aren't buyable, like the Peter Gabriel concert from the Greek Theater in Berkeley in 1983 that I still have on two expensive Fuji cassettes.
      I guess the big thing about the internet is the access to such a large amount of music, not the mechanics of owning or not owning it. That is different than before. How would I have handled it if I had gotten to it much younger than 42 years old? Probably clumsily and with many high-profile mistakes, like I handled everything else.

      -Doug in Oakland

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    7. My brother still listens to our old cassettes from the 80s. He says that most are in pretty good shape, somehow.

      In fact, in a few weeks, some tiny online record label is doing a limited run on cassette of some songs he recorded a while back. Apparently, cassette-only releases are thing. In 2018.

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  6. If *you* listened to the kind of music I listen to, you would probably be arrested as a terrorist and/or Russian bot/troll.

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    1. You should do a music post, then! That's what your blog really lacks. Like an entertainment arts section.

      Also a food section. "Cooking for Russian bots" would risk making you famous, but think of being able to put "By the creator of..." on the cover of your next book.

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  7. ok, Harry...I have come and tasted and not sure I enjoyed any of these flavors! ha! I prefer Classic rock, anything late 60s, 70s, and some 80s...was there even music in the 90s? Whatever happened to real musicians?!

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    1. I've been to concerts where the musician was playing an instrument I didn't recognize or understand - mostly a large board with square buttons on it and I wasn't sure what exactly one did with it.

      But it has led to a lot of women musicians making interesting sounds as of late of a nature that I've never heard before, so I'm going with it.

      So far as the 90s go, I didn't listen to 90s in the 90s, so I can't speak to that. There was something called grunge, though, and then really popular country music, then everyone started listening to hip hop.

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  8. and of course that includes, funk, jazz, classical, and some R&B...love a good instrumental!

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    1. Someday I'm going to give jazz the listen it no doubt deserves.

      So far, that hasn't happened.

      Tom Waits once said, "Music isn't produce - it doesn't go bad if you leave it on the shelf a while." So I'll say I'm saving jazz for my old age.

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  9. These nearly all very solid recs Harry. And here I was hoping I could slow down the getting-kind-of-insane growth of my music queue.

    I'm glad you included Kate Tempest. Pretty sure you brought her up before. Rap still isn't for me, which is why I don't count Aesop Rock towards the "solid recs", but Kate actually has a really distinctive aesthetic about her, it's neat. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for hate-the-world lyrics...

    Kadjha Bonet doesn't feel like R&B at all. Not that I listen to R&B much, but I'd definitely estimate this to sit on the fringes of it. Still, very nice to listen to, so soothing.

    Caterina's bleeps and bloops are great no doubt, but they have nothing on the more mellow, faded bheehps and bhoohps of Jenny. And with those ethereal vocals, oh my, this is my kind of jam.

    Also thanks for mentioning you saw Protomartyr live, it reminded me to go check and see if anything interesting's playing during my upcoming time in SF. And what do you know, Arcade Fire is!

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    1. A couple of these artists fit into my Top Ten Albums of 2017 list. And a couple of them will be on my Top Ten Albums of 2018.

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  10. Thanks. You know I'm always trying to find new sources of music since I wear a serious groove in my brain with my old stuff. If I don't have something going in the background most of the time then the tune worms eat me alive.

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    1. I have music going a lot, too, although I can't listen to anything while I'm writing and only can while reading certain kinds of books. Actually, I think i read non-fiction with music going, but with fiction, which is often writing style-heavy, it feels like trying to pat my head and rub my belly at the same time.

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    2. I have to be somewhat careful about it as the music in the background can make me think what I'm reading is different than I do when there is none.

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  11. I'm excited to listen to this list. Much like your statement of defiance, I am now 38 and getting back into music, into searching for new bands. Maybe that's because the taste of younger me is really suspect when listened to through my modern sensibilities. I mean, good grief, past-me really liked rockabilly beyond an acceptable degree for a person without tattoos or any care for or knowledge of classic hot rods. But also, I'm in my late 30's where am I going to hear about new bands except by having to engage with that person at work who goes to too many concerts and is really annoying about it? So i appreciate resources like this and you. So, yeah, thank you.

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    1. Haha, no problem. Rage against the dying of the light, as they say.

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  12. That's quite a collection of music Harry. I don't listen to the same music, when I was younger, but, I do like music with a beat. I like to dance. But, then I could listen to country music or nature music too.

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    1. Hi, Stacy! I think I'm listening to a wider variety of stuff, overall. I don't have as many bad associations in my head about some genres I once did. I still don't dance, though.

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    2. Harry, you have to dance! Life is too short not too :)

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  13. #10 - impressed by playing guitar while riding a bike. I bet a drummer couldn't do that.

    Too bad you didn't throw some Sinatra into this list. It would have been even more eclectic.
    I do discover new music. Often the new stuff has been out there but it's new to me. I don't look for obscure stuff. Sometimes I stumble on to it.
    I enjoy covers such as Alison Krauss doing a Led Zeppelin song. Also, I enjoy finding out a TV/movie/comedy star that can sing, such as Tracey Ullman, Billy Bob Thornton.
    Using your teen years as a basis makes sense. I believe your emotions can be pumped up more due to the hormones. I discovered "new" music in 30's, 40's, 50's, and now 60's. I'm not as excited by it as when I was a teenager but excitement is all relative.

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    1. Yeah, the song is even simpler than most of Wauters' stuff, but the fact that he's doing it while riding on a bike seems to pretty much sum up everything one needs to know about him.

      I find a lot of great stuff and some of it is stuff I wish I would have found earlier, because even the best music doesn't always "stick" these days.

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  14. Still got the vinyl, and a dodgy huge turntable that will probably blow up one of these days. Also has a cassette deck. The CD thing broke.
    Have recently put spotify on my phone - there are no speakers on my PC to avoid distractions while writing. Writing ruined my music because I listen to things to get a sense of character, or place, or time, and then it becomes horribly linked and I have to skip songs because 'Too serial killer-ish' etc. Lately I've decided to counter that. I will be looking up some of these names - Kate Tempest is the only one I know here. (I'm fluent in th and f.)
    Modern can be good, but I have to listen in short bursts like it was an LP :-)

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    1. I still have a CD player and up until 2012, it's all I listened to music on. I grudgingly went to downloading and then streaming because, well, half of the stuff isn't even available on CD anymore.

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  15. Oops, I made an obvious, annoying spelling error ("hear" not "here"). A restart was in order. I'm here thanks to Debra, She Who Seeks. You're kinda a male version or her, aren't you? That's a good thing. Fun blog, and it's great to meet you. We have a fabulous little music scene in Chico, CA - this said by a woman who left the East Bay 7 years ago. Loved it there too. Cheers!
    Robyn

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    1. Hey there, rockinrobyn! Thanks for coming by.

      I delete my comments when they have spelling errors, too. I delete tweets with spelling errors. No one else seems to care, really, but even in comments, it would bother me if I let something go like that.

      One of these days, I'm going to have a blog half as good as Debra She Who Seeks'!

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  17. �� Deep thoughts combined with lovely music.

    Also, you are handling your blog on Blogger rather well.

    ReplyDelete

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