A Nest of Ninnies

Interviewer: Do you ever practice? Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath guitarist: No.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Doom just welds the floatation tank shut"--Drew Daniel on Morton Feldman, bongwater and blood

Drew's 2003 manifesto places Doom Metal firmly and unselfconsciously in the 20th century avant-garde. It defines the canon of Satanic Minimalism via 80's synth-pop band the Human League's "The Black Hit of Space." It's about an imaginary single in a completely black sleeve that becomes so popular that it actually charts into the negative numbers, sucks in all other music and stops time itself.

Originally printed in Bridge 2003.

The concept of 'tempo', as meaning the structuring of time in music, is almost destroyed in Feldman's music: in his music the measurement of time, the perception of metre and rhythm becomes practically impossible. In Untitled composition metre has lost its traditional meaning, it just serves as a tool that makes it possible to determine the duration of the notes. This implicates that the listener has to listen to this music with a different attitude than he is used to do. The concept of music as a language that can be molded into a logical, linear form has been put aside by Feldman. To him composing was no longer the ordering of sounds in time. Feldman's works are about the unfolding of individual sounds in total freedom, not hindered by metre - an instrument to order sound in a time structure.

--Liner notes to Morton Feldman - Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano

Old Writing III: "we all want to feel like that woman: protected and reassured"

Or, Why All 9/11 Art is Bad. For some reason nobody seemed to have been willing to say this at the time.

"Because it's so obviously well-intentioned, it's hard to say this (but because I'm so disgusted at having to prove my antiterrorist credentials to even have the right to an opinion I'm going to): this song just sucks."

Originally ran in the Chicago Reader Jan 24, 2002

Old Writing II: "anyway, screw Keats"

Ostensibly a review of two old feminist art punk bands, one celebrated and one forgotten, both amazing, this contains the line
'Their most famous lyrics are something to the effect of "Hotch-potch hugger-mugger bow-wow hara-kiri hoo-poo huzza hiccup hum-drum hexa-pod hell-cat helter-skelter hop-scotch," and they sound tough enough to kick Pantera's ass in a dark alley.'
In this review I also come out against racism and colonialism, compare the Urinals to sweet and sour mangoes in summer because their songs "burst with grainy juiciness," and describe the most incompetent panhandling Rock Santa ever. The near-pathological obsession with Sleep and the horrors of music writing continue.

Worth it for the observation that "in the heyday of no wave, while people were trying to blow each other's legs off with sheer edgy hate, they did a very calm song about washing a sweater."

Originally ran in the Chicago Reader Mar 8, 2001

Old Writing I: "Two things early metal bands did not have in common with James Taylor"

Probably the most scabrous thing I ever published in a family newspaper. Ostensibly a review of the second High on Fire album, I use it as a pretext to "drop science" on famous old white dudes (Robert Christgau "made fun itself into a strenuous type of upper-middle-class self-actualization," for Lester Bangs "Smelling bad was an aspect of his literary style"), explain what James Brown, Sleep, and Arnold Dreyblatt have in common, and reveal "the verifiably heaviest fucking thing in the universe" (what?)

Read it to find out. Originally ran in the Chicago Reader July 25 2002.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Multiculturalism is Destroying Our Society

Reached into the freezer and grabbed something that looked like potstickers. Microwaved them, got out the Sriracha and put some sesame oil and soy sauce on top. Bit in and realized they were spinach and potato pierogies. Ate them anyway.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Big Dig (Smithsonian Institution Blues)

Listening to Captain Beefheart's Lick My Decals Off, wondering if music has been battening down its hatches since 1970. The delicious blend of focus and play here is hard to imagine in the 2011 U.S.A. Did music lose its nerve, give up in frustration? We've had some pretty hot tantrums, soothing lullabyes and quick fixes of fun since then. But what aims or feels this high? What traces such an utterly wild arc?

This may be premature but if I'm wrong you can just say it's the first time I was happy to be confused, singin the Smithsonian Institute Blues/All you new dinosaurs now it's up to you to choose/'fore your feet hit the tar you better kick off them old shoes.
-- "The Smithsonian Institute Blues (Or The Big Dig)"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hell, man, what kind of weeds does God grow?

What kind of music is it? Hell, man, what kind of weeds does God grow? Let's just shut up, you and me both; let's just shut up and listen and go to where Michael Hurley is. After all, we can always turn around and come back. He can't.
--Nick Tosches