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I haven't forgotten about the promises I detailed in my last post. I moved almost two weeks ago and I only restored my connection to the Internet today. So until Drummage 1970s part 2, here goes nothing:

The street your grew up on. What you dreamt of when life was more of a construction than an imposition. The way your brow furrows when reading a challenging passage. The song nobody knows you dance to late at night when alone. Do we really have to lie to each other for this to begin? Seduction is mediation, a consensual dishonesty of inverted fears, but that "corny" joke you felt embarrassed about telling milliseconds afterwards is as close to the truth as anyone has ever had the pleasure of reaching.


Belated Happy New Year

My resolution is to be me again.

Of course, as a sum of all the decisions I have made to this point, I am me now. However, as so many of those decisions have lead me away from what I want, I am also, somehow, not me as well. For example, most of the drunken posts of the last few months have been written after too much cheap beer and whiskey in dive bars catering to metal kids. These places are the places the people I drink with like to go. And they can be fun. But there is a problem. These places are not my places. These people are not my people. I don't know enough about their passions to truly engage them. They are in the same situation when it comes to me. Asking questions can help, but that becomes a tedious form of conversation. It is positive to meet people of different backgrounds who have different values and tastes and who have different opinions. But when one's social life constitutes only those people, it becomes tiring. And I become boring. If you don't like Leftist politics or electronic music, why read this blog? Likewise in real life. I can't be at my most compelling, and neither can my companion. Fake is a context.

1. I'll get back to more reading and writing.
2. I'll work on music again.
3. While I will continue to avoid, and be proud to avoid, seeing all social interactions in purely instrumental terms, I will seek to minimize the ones that are actually deleterious.
4. I will rebuild my love life.
5. I'm going to get back to a big city again. I fucking miss real public transportation and, at the risk of being misinterpreted, black people (see below). 

Number one is already being taken care of. You see me here more already, and I promise to be back. I will hopefully be finishing up the Drummage posts soon, boozeed-up or not. I also have some ideas about bohemia, retro, and capitalism that might be good and worthy of our time. I have been re-reading this and have almost finished this for the first time and my mind seems to be working again. I still don't quite feel up to taking another stab at this but, can you really blame me? It's sort of a, forgive the term, bitch to read at times. All of the aforementioned books are, of course, highly recommended.

Number two is going to be interesting. I am about to take a major step towards working on music again by getting my own place here in Providence. For numerous reasons, I am sure this will remove some legitimate obstacles (my landlord moving in a few months after me with his stay-at-home wife and their  babies) and self-destructive excuses (I get so self-concious working on music when I think others are listening) that have prevented me from pursuing what was actually my primary motivation for moving to a city that, while beautiful, socially liberal, educated, and CHEAP, is simply too small to provide the feeling of vibrancy and connectedness that I find so vital. I'd rather go to come "cutting-edge" event and despair over the future of music and culture for months afterwards than sit at home and wonder.

It sucks being 32 and still "aspiring", but I still think it better than not trying for the next 50 years. At least I can tell myself, and you, quite truthfully, that I haven't succeeded because I haven't tried that hard. But that also means that I don't even know what I am capable of, and therefore can't really make any sort of informed decision as to whether continue or not (this is actually true of virtually everything in my life). I owe it to myself to find out.

Number three is fairly self-explanatory given what I have stated above. But it takes on extra resonance when I take into account number four.

Ah number four. How much to admit? Well, I could just say I've read a lot of books and leave it at that. More accurately, I spent a lot of time alone as a teenager, grew up a lot after becoming part of the restaurant industry, and then travelled a bit backwards in the years outside of it. Those years mostly corresponded with the "I have no fucking money and am embarrassed about virtually every aspect of my life and it'll take me 90 minutes each way and costs me $20 just to get to MOMA and stare at the back of people's heads so fuck it" phase known as making 30k in NYC. Given how status-concious virtually everyone I met in New York was, with social capital substituted for actual money in "bohemia" (even though the two are actually pretty consonant - after all, who has the time to develop interesting opinions about everything and go out to all of the coolest places at night without worrying about waking up early? rich kidz!), I didn't really try and put myself out there in any way.

In dating, there can be quite a lot to keep track of, and I am neither proud nor embarrassed to say that I have gone to Google to look for advice. There are just some pieces of information there were never provided to me... But wait... If you were hoping that I was going to write something salacious, I'm sorry to dissapoint. I need a bit of help understanding sub-verbal communication, and a bit of inspiration as to what to do in this town besides taking a date to stare at a movie screen in silence for a few hours.

But if there is a lot to keep track of when it comes to meeting and dating women, there is even more to keep track of in the world of dating advice and gender relations. Fuck, there are a lot of books and websites out there! Some of them are pretty disgusting, too. For those familiar with Houllebecq, and his writing on the incursion of consumerist value systems into personal relationships (the basic idea being that the sexual revolution of the 1960s actually produced a "free" system more akin to the free market, where "wealth" is distributed highly unevenly), well, let's just say that there are programs out there that seek to provide ways for men to redress that imbalance in the most cynical ways imaginable.

Keeping, as I do, to my little corner of the intellectual (foreign and economic policy, and mostly gender-neutral social theory) and musical world, I was really surprised at all of the discourse on the Internet surrounding the purported decline of men. On some level, I guess I am exemplary of that trend. But I'm not sure how much I care. What I have found interesting in reading the few handfuls of pop-sociology articles that I have about gender relations and the decline of men, is how little structural criticism is part of that discourse. Really, as we all know, there is radical Feminism and not, and proponents of the two make vastly different assumptions about the value of certain changes in society. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when the purported superiority of women in the workplace is described (positively, and by supposedly Liberal/Feminist women) as their capacity to be more easily disciplined to a lifetime of exploited labor and consumerism. I also appreciate the subtler hypocrisies. Apparently, being anti-corporate and believing that having more women CEOs would make the world a better place is not contradictory.

I'm glad more women are going to college. I'm glad more women will have the opportunity to make better choices for themselves. It just: Sisters - fluorescent lights destroy souls. The Man can be a Woman, too! If you think your life and your career are the same thing, you will be crushed by the wheels of (post-)industry, too, just like your Brothers before you. So drop out. Join your Brothers down here in the trenches. There are some Sisters here too, but they are outnumbered, and a bit lonely, and drink too much, and make mistakes. Some of the Brothers do that too, but, hey, double standards, you know? Sadly, I am sure you do.

Lastly, number five. I like doing things. Doing things sometimes requires going places. These places may not all be near to one another. I don't own a car. I don't want to own one. So, subway, again, please! As for "black people" all I mean is that since electronic music culture is more important to me than rock and roll, my history, my "classic rock", is R&B, disco, and post-punk, and I really, really miss hearing those records out. Here, there is virtually no demand for it as far as I can tell. De facto (and of course, de jure) segregation not only disadvantages people of color tremendously (cf. History), it also produces white people with shitty taste in music. See, I'm already standing up for techno and house again! 

So, with that, Happy New Year. Looking forward to seeing you all, some in person, even!



I am a fucking idiot...

I shouldn't have read so many Bronte novels as a kid.

Kids. Don't be like me. Every emotion has a pill to solve it. And your parents can pay for the drugs. Get that dick wet. Get that pussy stuffed.

This is the worst record ever made:

Sex is capital.



I have nothing to say about music made and released in 2012 except the following:

I worry a little about Burial. The new EP. It sounds like he stitched bits of all of his unfinished tracks together. The sum doesn't seem greater than the parts. Artists sometimes misfire. It happens. And I don't  think he should make exactly the same record over and over again. Experiment. Explore. Yes. But. You know how in rock there's this progression? First album is outward looking, possibly angry or confrontational? Then the band finds success and the second album is all about how empty success is and how touring actually sucks and all of that? Sick of meaningless sex and tired from their constant hangovers, the band finds women to marry, maybe even has a few kids amongst them, and then writes a third album about the pleasures of domesticity? I don't know if any band has taken this route exactly, and yet, from years and years of reading album reviews, I can infer that many critics subconsciously seem to see this as ideal (or maybe did when rock bands actually were successful and cared about for three albums). And it's a shitty ideal. Because the assumption is, once you have found what you want in life, it is foolish to continue to look outwards. I'd like to think that if I somehow found myself with lots of money and a massive amount of choices for female companionship, I might still think, "you know, not everyone has this; just because my life is better doesn't mean Life is better". What does this have to do with Burial? I don't know. Except that I really don't want him to become a fucking IDM artist. Because I see a lot of commentary on the internet about the last EP praising him for moving away from dancefloor influences, towards seemingly more complex compositional forms, etc., and it makes me think of the the rock band notion of progress again. Burial - do what you want. However you want it. But please lets not think of it as maturity and progress when one of the best beat programmers extant starts making mostly beatless tracks. Let's not get all excited when one of the last artists able to expand the emotional vocabulary of music backs away from fully engendering those emotions. Thanks.

I have a lot to say about critics, tersely-worded and badly-edited. Here's what pissed me off:

1. I hate using the phrase, but any cultural artifact automatically says something about the time in which it was created and released. But there seems to be some confusion as to how to apportion credit. I read too many reviews where the difference between the following is occluded:
a) the record, because it was released when it was and because it is what it is, is saying something about our times.
b) the record, because it was released when it was and because of the sound and the lyrical content, is saying something about our times.
Maybe to certain French theorists and their followers there is no difference between the two, but to me, the difference still matters. Because 1 is always true, and it can be applied to anything, whether it's a piece of music or the graphic design on the label of a bottle of milk. Most pieces of music have little more to offer than the graphic design on the label of a bottle of milk. But because of dimwitted critics who can't recognize the above difference, I keep having to read about epoch-defining music that actually has nothing in it. Or epoch-defining music where the critic has confused his (still mostly his) interpretation for something that is actually intrinsic to that which is being interpreted. I finally got that ultra-"important" Ariel Pink record that came out a few years ago. As exemplary as it is of the ideologies of hip music-making in the 21st century as it is, I don't find it actually enjoyable to listen to. And I am surprised that so many people do. Can't enjoying something beyond what it stimulates in cultural reflection actually be a factor in determining the quality of the record? Or are we all anthropologists now?

2. Stating "X is dead" is a social and cultural critique. Not an aesthetic one. As long as humans are alive, there will be music as humans define it (whales will be just fine regardless). And some of it will be well-crafted. Are we going to keep congratulating people just because they know chords?

Whether "X is dead" is really true or not, it is a statement that can't be refuted simply by listing good records. It's a statement that can be refuted only by proving that those records have made such an impact as to change the course of the social and cultural context in which they operate. And the really great shit actually changes the larger social and cultural contexts, not just the aesthetic predilections within the scene of which the music is a part.

3. A few years ago, sitting on a rooftop in Brooklyn with a friend and his friend, I had a bit of an epiphany. It came about while discussing a band recently-formed who sound like a band I loved in the early 1990s. Neither of the people I was talking to knew of the earlier band. So many critics seem to think that their readers, and, especially, the listening population in general, are on board with the myriad cultural references that permeate so much of music being made today. But they aren't. Which recontextualizes a lot of the discourse around our obsession with the past outside of the production end of the music, doesn't it? And even on the creation end, a bit. Makes making an album that sounds like an old album seem pretty cynical, doesn't it? If "the kids" don't know you are ripping someone else off? 

It's not the 1990s. Indie is not underground. It's a tasteful choice for tasteful people. People who weren't really there, people who are not especially knowledgeable about the entire history of indie music. People who didn't come to indie when its roots were still planted in punk. People who don't have an expectation of aesthetic progress or socially-oppositional ideologies. The ravishing chorus of "Round and Round" for the average listener, is not an ironic appropriation of 1980s soft-rock anthems. It is comfort food plus status.

But then again, that is the 1990s isn't it? There was Nirvana and then, basically, a lot of 1970s rock that people could feel good about themselves for listening to because it was packaged differently than Aerosmith.

4. Writing the above actually made me feel happy. I can't believe I am saying it, almost with the passion and fervor that I felt in 1996, but, fuck, as dead as house and techno are to me, thank goodness I don't give a shit about fucking rock and roll.


When I hear a record like this...

... I know I believe.  But what I believe in, and why, is much further from me than it has ever been. Can you tell me?