Music to Write By: Looping Sounds

I do my most satisfying writing when listening to looping sounds. Around and around, on repeat and again.

My love for repetitive music started when I was a kid. My favorite song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Chris Superstar wasn’t I Don’t Know How to Love Him or Superstar but Trial Before Pilate (including the 39 Lashes).

39 Lashes features counting, whip Foley and a guitar riff that goes around and around. That’s basically it. I felt weird about liking it so much. Did I enjoy hearing a man being whipped? No, it was the sound. It went around and around. I liked that.

I discovered more looping magic over the years in the music of John Coltrane, Ravi Shankar, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Fripp and Eno, Eno and Byrne, Godspeed You Black Emperor, NIN, Stereolab and My Bloody Valentine.

My Bloody Valentine, Hammerstein Ballroom, 2009

Bandcamp now feeds my addiction, offering an endless ebb and flow of the sounds, such as Off the Sky, Alex Bober, Drape, Keith Berry, Green Kingdom. The list goes on.

There are times I find these sounds in the city, a distant jack hammer, air conditioner units, honks, whirring and yelling, but it never holds and dissipates into a mess.

There just has to be a sound – preferably electronic – that goes around. I will listen to that on repeat, the song of the repeated sound again and again. There is something pure in that. Something divine. Something definitely to write by. The problem can be coming up for air.

Music for the End of the World

Music to end all music:

10.When I Go Deaf (Low) I’ll be all right. I’ll be just fine.

9. And the Gods Made Love...(Jimi Hendrix Experience)

8. A Thousand Year Formation (Off the Sky) For the beginning of the world too. 7. Somewhat Damaged (Nine Inch Nails) Too fucked up to care any more.

6. Thursday Afternoon (Brian Eno)

5. Come in Alone (My Bloody Valentine) Believe what you see.

4. Big Brother (David Bowie) Some brave Apollo, someone like you.

3. Anamorphose (Stereolab) There is nothing more real than breathing. 2. Disintegration Loop #5 (William Basinki) At 53 minutes, it is almost long enough.

1. The Heavenly Music Corporation at Half Speed (Fripp and Eno) Should be at 1/8th speed for full effect.

Neil Young Plays. Nobody Listens.

Neil Young battled the audience at New York’s Carnegie Hall last night. Time and again, he had to ask them to stop yelling out between songs. “You guys finished? No? You paid real good money to get in here, so you should be able to listen to each other.” Neither did they listen to the ushers telling them not to take pictures, flashes going off in all corners, guaranteeing each and everyone a personalized blurred memento.

Neil Young Plays. Nobody Listens.

Neil Young’s stage at Carnegie Hall

It’s a common disease, not being able to listen, our self-centered world only getting worse. As Laetitia Sadier sings in Stereolab’s The Seeming and Meaning:

We communicate more and more
In more defined ways than ever before
But no one has got anything to say
It’s all very poor it’s all just a bore

Neil Young Plays. Nobody Listens.Paolo Sorrentini’s La Grande Bellezza, although a somewhat tedious film, does offer one character, a poet, who says nothing. Explains the protagonist. “He’s an excellent listener.”

Neil Young Plays. Nobody Listens.

La Grande Bellezza

It’s something to aspire towards.

The Crack Pipe Media

The people of Newtown, Connecticut are mad.1204-VULTURE-MEDIA-NEWTOWN-CONNECTICUT-911-SANDY-HOOK-SHOOTING_full_600It’s almost as if they expect the media to address issues like gun control instead of mainlining our catharsis.NY-CB544_MORN_G_20121216181118

More importantly, what’s this “media vultures” spin? Is the media supposed to be something alien? Do they live in a shadowy compound?StarChamberDon’t the people of Newtown understand that we can only read so much about lobbying for gun control? I mean, it’s just like all of this talk about my privacy being invaded. Instead of going on about what this guy Snowden thinks, can’t TMZ just catch him drunk in Red Square? 1105_cheerleader2_ex-1

In  the meantime, the people of Newtown need to stay focused on news that matters:

Rob Ford Breaking News!

                             Rob Ford Breaking News!


And remember Edward R. Murrow’s famous words: “Television isn’t the classroom of the world; it’s the marketplace.” Edward_R_MurrowThat wasn’t a bad guess for a guy who had never posted or sexted, not understanding our basic need for the simple things.tumblr_m24qolhwfk1qevo0qo1_500_largeLife, liberty and the pursuit of more soma.

Why I Dislike facebook

Yes, I am on facebook. Well, not right now, but generally. And I admit that it is good for staying in touch with many people, but in the end, I have to say that I dislike the whole platform, as they say.facebook-dislikeI have shared and posted and, yes, even liked, but I have always been bothered by the fact that facebook trivializes everything. It’s all one-liners, giggling or aghast. It is as facile as tweeting and blogging. Oh, uh…well, yeah. bad girlLaetitia Sadier sings it best: We communicate more and more/in more defined ways than ever before/but no one was got anything to say/it’s all very poor it’s all just a bore. In facebook world, we share silly pictures and comment on issues of great import – massacres, gang rapes – on the same weirdly awful page. We are like infants, screaming out and giggling at our farts…which is fine, for what it is.facebook cartoonBut I still dislike it. Maybe we’ll all give it up in 2013! (Smiley face here)

Survival Guide: Two Days to go

Today is a day for personal reconstruction and working through to make sense of this Mayan Doomsday. Your mind should get back to work, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by the upcoming apocalypse, such as collecting firewood.Survival Guide: Two Days to go To Hear: Transient Random-Noise Bursts (Stereolab) Looping moments to think and plan. Survival Guide: Two Days to goTo Watch: Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica) It’s sad and beautiful story, and although things don’t work out like you hope, there is promise at the end. Survival Guide: Two Days to goTo Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) Compromise and sacrifice from innocent eyes.Survival Guide: Two Days to goTo Do: Reach out to somebody you haven’t been so kind to in the past and try to make good. It’s worth a shot.

Hurricane Sandy II – Lonnie!!!

Hurricane Sandy has just about made landfall; many tunnels and bridges into New York are closed, a crane has collapsed high above 57th Street and the talking heads are going crazy, “as we approach full moon full high tide.”

Hurricane Sandy coming ashore

It is a literal hurricane of images and chatter – and by literal, I mean figurative. Lots of breaking stories, tight-faced warnings and on-the-spot reporters losing their balance in the wind. The best of them has to be Lonnie Quinn of CBS 2 News in New York.

Lonnie Quinn looking presidential.

Lonnie Quinn not only has all the maps and graphs, but more importantly he talks in common folk speech. Sleeves rolled, tie undone, Lonnie offers clear and confident opinions with a genuine enthusiasm (“Look at the wind field on that!”); he is what many might call literally (figuratively) presidential.

Lonnie explains things to Maurice and Kristine

Now if Mitt Romney is looking for a way to surge those swing states, he should dump Paul Ryan and get Lonnie on the ticket instead. (Or if he were really serious about this, he could ask Lonnie to supplant himself!) Yeah, like any of that will happen…as Laetitia Sadier sings in Stereolab’s The Seeming and the Meaning: We communicate more and more/ In more defined ways than ever before/ But no one was got anything to say/ It’s all very poor it’s all just a bore.