"But there was nothing about the little, low-rambling, more or less identical homes of Northumberland Estates to interest or to haunt, no chance of loot that would be any more than the ordinary, waking-world kind the cops hauled you in for taking; no small immunities, no possibilities for hidden life or otherworldly presence; no trees, secret routes, shortcuts, culverts, thickets that could be made hollow in the middle – everything in the place was right out in the open, everything could be seen at a glance; and behind it, under it, around the corners of its houses and down the safe, gentle curves of its streets, you came back, you kept coming back, to nothing; nothing but the cheerless earth."
Thomas Pynchon, "The Secret Integration"

This is Ian Mathers' Tumblr. I live in Canada. I've written about music and other things for Stylus, PopMatters, Resident Advisor, the Village Voice, and a few other places. Hi.



fixedsilence asked
how about C, L, V, & X?

C: a song from a soundtrack

I don’t listen to soundtracks that often, as much as I love them in the contexts of movies, TV, etc. I am even slightly ashamed of how well-disposed I feel towards a show or movie if I recognize a song I like on the soundtrack (for example, The Middleman is a wonderful, wonderful show anyway, but I felt an extra little surge of affection for it when they had Ladytron’s “Ghosts” playing in the protagonist’s apartment). When I do listen to soundtrack separate from the visuals, they tend to be scores instead; I’m more likely to grab a couple of songs I like and don’t have elsewhere from a compiled soundtrack. On the latter note, I really, really like the score for The Fountain (by Clint Mansell, done with the Kronos Quartet and Mogwai); beautiful movie, beautiful score. I’ll pick the second last track, the most Mogwai-ish of them, I suppose: "Death Is the Road to Awe"

L: an instrumental song

I listen to plenty of instrumental or primarily-instrumental bands, but for a question like this I’d rather pick an instrumental song from a band that usually uses vocals. And not an intro or little interlude or a remix or a reprise or anything, an instrumental that’s a fully satisfying song all on its own. A little while back I reblogged Teenage Fanclub’s “Is This Music?,” which is right up there in that category for me, but this time I’ll pick the Beta Band’s layered, slow-growing "B+A" (I don’t think the wordless vocals near the end disqualify it); striking enough that after I bought The Three EPs there was a good stretch where it was my favourite Beta Band song and it’s still top ten, maybe top five.

V: a non-english song

Last time I was asked this, for OWOB, I immediately went to Triángulo de Amor Bizarro, and they’re incredible. That’s also a band I have some albums by and like in general; this time my head went in an entirely different direction. I haven’t had the time to do anything with the Singles Jukebox recently, but my years there (with Stylus and after) has been so valuable to me in terms of exposing me to things I wouldn’t have heard otherwise. I’m tempted to nominate m-flo ft. 2NE1’s “(She’s So) Outta Control,” which is just such an amazing, world-devouring song. But as you can tell from the title, there’s some English in there. Instead I’ll go with a song that I believe I heard via SJ head honcho Edward O’s old let’s-review-various-european-charts projects, which I was thrilled to be part of; I don’t remember which country Sel’s "Tik" was from, but I’ve been listening to it ever since.

X: a cover

My first thought was Kid606’s lovely, cloudy rendering of New Order’s “Temptation,” but I can’t find a link (and could hardly believe it myself when I stumbled over the MP3, but I checked and it’s real). Then I thought I’d mention the last track of the kid’s ridiculous The Action Packed Mentalist Brings You the Fucking Jams album, an even-more ridiculous version of Radiohead’s “Creep” titled “This Is Not My Statement” that fucks around with the song via synthesized zaps and a sad male choir before bulldozing the “I don’t belong here” refrain into the fucking ground for around ten minutes. But the version on YouTube cuts out just as the track gets to the good bit (Wikipedia agrees that the song is that short, but I’ve got a 13-minute version on my computer that disagrees). It’s a shame, in very different ways, that I can’t share either with you. Instead, please enjoy this excellent version of New Order’s "Ceremony" by Meishi Smile.

Played 283 times



“Map Ref 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W” – Wire

Interrupting my train of thought
Lines of longitude and latitude
Define and refine my altitude

The curtain’s undrawn
Harness fitted, no escape
Common and peaceful, duck, flat, lowland
Landscape, canal, canard, water coloured


The Afghan Wigs — “The Slide Song”

Most of my favourite Greg Dulli songs are the ones where I feel like he’s confessing the terrible weakness that’s at the core of his persona (which is why my real favourite is “The Killer” on Blackberry Belle). But then again, maybe I’m in the minority here; when he sings “I got the devil in me, girl” at the end of “John the Baptist” it’s always sounded pathetic to me, not seductive (and therefore sympathetic, which is the trick he always pulls). The last two Whigs albums before they originally called it quits, especially, it always feels to me like he’s thrashing back and forth between the Nosferatu and Lestat parts of that persona. But, you know, this is the same song where he sings “baby, don’t make me worry about you” reproachfully; some problems, some people, don’t ever get fixed.


Recently my grandmother found out I’m queer. Her response was to tell me that she disapproves of me living with my “friend” (i.e. my girlfriend) and that I should give up my vile queer ways and become a Christian (Lol). She even sent me a bible.  Here are its remains, which I made into black-out poetry.

Poem 1: Bisexual (from Leviticus 19:9)— “Have sexual relations with her.  Have sexual relations with him.  Have sexual relations with both a woman and a man.  Have sexual relations with yourself. Vomit on everyone who does not respect you.”

Poem 2: Fisting (from Judges 8:5)— “water/ lap the water/ drink/go down to drink/your hands/go down/I give into your hands/go down/encouraged/down/on the seashore/the whole hand/your hand/inside/I get to the edge/and shout/grasping/crying out/Beth/Beth/Beth/Beth/Beth/God/I came”

Poem 3: A Letter to the Exiles (from Jeremiah 28:13) — “Ze said: ‘Do not let lies name you, nor harm your heart. Gather. Raise the sword against them. They scorn and reproach, for they have not listened— again and again have not listened.’ “

Poem 4: Child (from Ezekiel 16:22) — “Your father and your mother rubbed salt in. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough for you, for on the day you were born you were despised. Live! Grow.  I looked at you and saw you were enough.”

Poem 5: Father (from Ezekiel 16:22) — “You never adored us. You became very angry. You took some out on us. Your sons and daughters were not enough? You slaughtered— in all your detestable practices— our youth.”

Poem 6: Misandry (from Acts 27:41) — “Dangerous men should be broken.”

No art ever makes the horrible things in life ‘worth it’ (cf also the quote about Miles Davis from here), but what a beautiful, beautiful response.


Walk into the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco from now till the end of February and you’ll find a gorgeous art installation that features 20 miles of ribbon cascading from the church’s vaulted ceiling arches. Artist Anne Patterson is behind Graced With Light, an installation consisting of nearly 1,000 satin ribbons with colors inspired by stained glass. It took the artist months to prepare, which she did in her art studio in Manhattan by constructing a 3/16-inch scale model of it with embroidery floss. Then, on site, it took Patterson and the Grace Cathedral community eight days to hand-assemble the project.

Graced with Light incorporates both music and video projection. The artist envisioned it as “a series of light pathways, connecting heaven and earth, manifest as ribbons. The ribbons carry our prayers, dreams and wishes skyward, and, in turn, grace streams down the ribbons to us.”

So what’s it like to actually experience this? “Many people chose to lay down in the pews,” says Patterson. “One audience member told me that it was the best therapy session he had ever experienced. As he was lying down looking up at the ribbons, he imagined the things he wanted out of his life flowing up the ribbons and the things he wanted to welcome into his life streaming down the ribbons into him.”

From Mymodernmet