"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, Dusted, PopMatters, Resident Advisor, the Village Voice, and a few other places. Hi.

imathers@gmail.com

 

Listening Post, September 2014 Part 2: The Gospel List

dustedmagazine:

image


The second half of our current listening roundup starts with Aphex Twin’s unhealthy glow then moves steadily towards the light. (Part One is here)

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There are some really fucking phenomenal gospel music resources in here (as well as my own quick blurbs on an Aphex Twin record sickmouthy convinced me to give another chance, one of my standard comfort food records, and an Aartika album I’m still unsure about). The first part is good too.

jonathanbogart:

If your criticism is not dedicated to the proposition that anything made by human effort can have multiple meanings, I don’t care about it.

I have been trying to say this in multiple ways over the years (those are just two overt examples that spring to mind), but this is a better encapsulation of the idea than I’d managed, I think. And “criticism” here, for me, is a lot more broadly construed than record reviews, blog posts, etc.

(Source: jonathan-bogart)

imathers:

EMA - “Neuromancer” (on Letterman)

I know the way they [pray/prey] and they blame
it’s been the same for ages and ages and ages

I really do wish I had the time/energy/brainpower(/financial incentive, ha ha) to write more in-depth on The Future’s Void; as I alluded to when I posted my review, I kind of tried then but was kind of defeated by the scope of the project. Even just writing about “Neuromancer” would have taken longer than my review could reasonably be; how what might seem at first like a straightforward reactionary response to “takin’ selfies” is immediately complicated, even before you look at the rest of the album or what Anderson has said about it (neither of which is necessary, both of which add more layers). Even that “is it true? you choose” hovers between and among several different types of meaning. 

I’ve talked with enough friends who’ve started feeling a deep ambivalence about their online lives (and felt it myself) that the indeterminacy, the multivalence, the mixed emotions, hell, the puns expressed throughout the album seem to me to do a better job of summing up this one small part of Where/Who We Are Now than… anything else I’ve run into, at least.

And then this particular part of the album ends with a chant of “they are AI,” and rather than some sort of overtly threatening robot doppleganger scenario I think about The Singularity Already Happened; We Got Corporations (extremely worth reading in full). And I think about Erika M. Anderson talking about how a lot of cyperpunk feels more relevant and prescient now than when it was written. And I watch this great live performance and I wonder what happens next. And I wonder how we change the sensation that the future is something that happens to us instead of something we create.

they know more about the things you do/
they know more of it than you do/
they know/
they know.

EMA - “Neuromancer” (on Letterman)

I know the way they [pray/prey] and they blame
it’s been the same for ages and ages and ages

I really do wish I had the time/energy/brainpower(/financial incentive, ha ha) to write more in-depth on The Future’s Void; as I alluded to when I posted my review, I kind of tried then but was kind of defeated by the scope of the project. Even just writing about “Neuromancer” would have taken longer than my review could reasonably be; how what might seem at first like a straightforward reactionary response to “takin’ selfies” is immediately complicated, even before you look at the rest of the album or what Anderson has said about it (neither of which is necessary, both of which add more layers). Even that “is it true? you choose” hovers between and among several different types of meaning. 

I’ve talked with enough friends who’ve started feeling a deep ambivalence about their online lives (and felt it myself) that the indeterminacy, the multivalence, the mixed emotions, hell, the puns expressed throughout the album seem to me to do a better job of summing up this one small part of Where/Who We Are Now than… anything else I’ve run into, at least.

And then this particular part of the album ends with a chant of “they are AI,” and rather than some sort of overtly threatening robot doppleganger scenario I think about The Singularity Already Happened; We Got Corporations (extremely worth reading in full). And I think about Erika M. Anderson talking about how a lot of cyperpunk feels more relevant and prescient now than when it was written. And I watch this great live performance and I wonder what happens next. And I wonder how we change the sensation that the future is something that happens to us instead of something we create.

they know more about the things you do/
they know more of it than you do/
they know/
they know.

R.E.M. - “Sweetness Follows”

I have a lot of time about the emotional content of this song, of course; it’s about* realizing how “lost in our little lives” we can all get, even family, and a plea that we not need something as terminal as death to break us out into “joy and thunder” and, you know, actually being there for and talking to each other. The songs on Automatic for the People are really good/really accessible, and that was a big part of it’s success I know, but I really think the themes it tackles (mortality, family, growing up, “life and how to live it”) played a big part too.

But also, and this is the part that always gets stuck on my head or bring me back to this song, I think after my dad bought this record when I was 11 and I played it incessantly, I may have imprinted on that cello/organ/feedback drone just a bit.

*(but, like all songs, never just or always about)