Sunday, July 10, 2011

on real, in musick & as a metaphor for elsewhere

i want to be clear about something:
i view our modern social world as a myriad of bullshit opinions bouncing off of one another in time/space. this iS the perspective i will write from. where i always come from. call it my bullshit opinion...

that said, and considering that postmodern arts represent a total devotion to the subjective, why are there still objective terms for musick? what's real musick? see, i even spell it differently. we don't like the same musick. there's too much out there for us to fall in straight down the partyless line, too many myspaces, bandcamps, facebooks, too many reverbnations, last.fms, blogspots, tumblrs, posterouses. & those are just the ones i have personally tried (and failed) (miserably). what are you in musick these daze if you can't guarantee a thousand screaming teenagers who will all dole out the big bucks to see your band sound awesome while drunk AND still buy t-shirts from your label? in the past, you would be up-and-coming, a diamond in the rough (to people that know you) and a complete failure nobody (to people you don't know).

but what now?; now in this now, a now where your band's coverage in the local rags & your access to shows at medium-sized venues may place you so much higher in the -archy of things that i can only see an outline of your backside, heel to asshole. a now in which the sheer catchy nature of a name or look often times gains said access. a now that has escaped the now altogether and slid from free-for-all (pun intended) right back into that old familiar place of reproduction of tired images of ourselves.
one answer iS a lot of covers. like, a lot of fucking covers. endless indy-attempts at striking large by literally recreating someone else's shit and posting a video on youtube in hopes of boosting itunes sales towards that amerikkkan dream, progress. another answer iS pure saturation to the point of bands not even bothering to know each other's musick prior to showtime. and the americana kept playing on and on at the local radiostation...

with the negative ranting section of the bullshit opinion almost out of our systems, for those who stuck around, here's where i try to take some good out of the thing i've focused my entire creative life around for a few years now. more precisely, i'm asking myself, with all this negative (and believe me, there's more, negativity doesn't sell though) (even on free blogs) :

why the fuck still participate in the shit if it's so bad? you like tormenting yourself?

and i ask for no article's sake, but rather as a practice in maybe being more careful next time opening a new post window and letting my spinal cord's 1st try go forth. it comes back to the subjective (fuck, i guess it has & will for awhile). that iS, in a world where from the git, i've known nor wanted no chance at what in my father's brief stay in musick, was called making it, why still scream off mike (& off key) so damn much? why? cause success & failure do not exist as a constant paradigm in my life. i beat the tar out of success (a heavy smoker) (pun intended) in an alley right after i quit college, and i still haven't found that coward, failure (though i'm sure he's one of 10 people who will read this).

(editor's note: dj shadow's "what does your soul look like part 2" just came on, so i had to danse)

i wish i could use footnotes like 'real' writers. there's that word real again.

what's real? iS this article? as a friend would say, "metaphysics, metaphysics, what does that even mean?" so rather than stretch that sillyputty graymatter between the ears too far, i'll git to the git. real, to me, can only be those direct experiences, seen through the individual reality tunnel and processed in the individual brain as real. okay, that's not too much to digest, but even simpler; real can only be the shit we do and remember as real. therefore, what can we really get out of this musick thing? the reality iS we can get out of it exactly what we get out of it. a psychogeographical stand? sure. asses moving in the crowd? well, maybe.
would you be willing to give up all the autonomy of never making it for being more successful? well would you? no, i'm not antagonizing you, you're a faithful reader, well you cheated on me that one time, but still. just ask yourself that. it's postmodernism folks, there's no wrong answer. remember? let's take full advantage of this mockery of existence. free shows, cause no one's qualified to charge anymore! to quote amiri baraka (as leroi jones) in Black Music, "the music was already in danger of being forced into that junk pile of admirable objects & data the West knows as culture" (italics added) pop quiz: when did he write that? oh man, no, not in the olden days. i mean them was the good ole days. the times! bob dylan was a pioneer. well there's no goddamn pioneers anymore then. bob dylan's not walking through that door (at the folding art business that figured it might as well put on shows, every other place iS doing it. money iS money). bringing us to our next point (how the fuck many different tangents can there be?):

if you want to listen to musick, listen. enjoy. if not, don't come. don't host shows. we don't need anymore half-assing, we artists do enough.

you don't have to danse. you don't have to be in there the whole time. but if we're going to a show tonight, let us not be scene, but be heard as drunken pirates aboard a ship with no captain, just loud enough to scare the neighbors, just high (in spirits) enough to welcome them in as brothers, sisters & otherwise. let's be up late at 4 in the morning like an old new york jazz bar. even later like the best aspects of the raves of the thrust-into-pure-irony-90's (the constant party still sounds fun to me). "but we don't play jazz or techno!", they scream from the hollows of a south city cellar. let us not, then. we will take their parties, not their genres! this iS postmodernism. we could throw a jazz rave. and 20 people would come. just like 20 others went to see the jordanian post-hardcore band they "found" in college. and 18 more got out to see the guy-who-played-guitar-on-rise against's-1st-album's new band, "mr. precision and the decision makers". meanwhile the most honest kid with a banjo couldn't book a show that night. so she played around a fire with 6 friends. at which did the 'real' musick occur?
the only people who like our musick are the ones who listen to our musick. the ones who have had experiences listening to it. asked us about it. everyone else iS hyperbole faker, myspace hits & facebook likes. & just because i'm willing to admit i'm small, to know that the experience iS the whole thing, no matter how many monies (many, many monies) or bullshit opinions circulated surrounding a show, doesn't mean i'm not really a musician.
play to be heard. not to be scene.
play free. because if not, you ain't playin, you just play too much.
just play. play your fucking hearts out. fuck what they say.
and if you really want it, you'll be a heartless real musician one day.

it'll be a bootstrap operation.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jason Anderson-The Hopeful and Unafraid

Cruising home from the forth of a lie show at black bear, desperately woozy, jake and i encountered st. louis as a smokey gauze brought on by fireworks, after a pretty subversively jubilant effective show at the black bear bakery. I put in this Jason Anderson CD, and as with a lot of things I put in my car's CD player that breaks with my previous tried and true obsessions, Jake inquires what it is.
- 'It's this guy Jason Anderson, I've been kindof obsessed with his stuff since I heard one song I really like on KDHX of all places...'
- what obsesses you with him?
I think I stuttered and didn't really come up with a good answer. Sober, I have a better grasp of what I like about the CD. It's earnest and catchy, upbeat and serious but only in a squinty-eyed youthful way, charmingly road weary, well traveled, a classic sensibility that some how, at least to me, ends up not seeming cliche. The song writing is concise and approachable but with an occasional grandeur lurking behind it;
he said, "man, how can you live like a tramp out on the road
you know
bouncing like a tetherball
here and there
to and fro
chasing the highway like a dirty gravel rainbow
do you ever get release
let alone a pot of gold?"
To be truthful, a lot of my more basic descriptors of the CD might not even compel you to listen to it. The genre and sound; earnest Springsteen-ian Indie rock n roll, is a worn out one. The sentiments; romance, traveling, friendship, pretty cliche. Yet isn't that the only way we manage to draw any satisfaction out of the post-modern muck? Everything is worn out, everything is cliche, nothing hasn't been done, there is just individual taste and conflict with other individual taste. Hey, I didn't make the rules and I sure as fuck wouldn't have chose them to be this way, but this is where we're at. Post-modern music, a smorgasbord buffet of cliches to choose from. Yet despite all this, I find honesty in his music. Is Jason Anderson a friend of mine, do we hangout on weekends? No. I have no way of cross checking if his real-life personality is as endearing as his songs, but if he's lying to me, it's a damn good lie.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Antonin Artaud Anthology

This was a (fairly short) anthology of the various works of Antonin Artaud, who has gained a small reputation for being a french poet, critic, playwright, philosopher of theater, actor and of course, madman. Perhaps, what I suppose would be his most notable contribution in the annals of post-modern literary-esque repertoire is "The Theater of Cruelty" in which he argues passionately and somewhat zannily for the creation of a new sort of theater (vaguely based around then little known interpretations of the more confrontational end of Asian theater). This Theater of Cruelty would aim to dissolve barriers between spectator and performer, as well as body and words, actions becoming melded with moans and exaggerations of a fluctuating physical manner. Unfortunately, that piece along with a lot of his radical theorizing about the theater is left out of this anthology, which was disappointing. Nonetheless, there were enough strong pieces throughout the book to maintain a real presence regarding the man's thoughts and emotions, a compelling mixture indeed.
Some of the early pieces are correspondence which Artaud kept in which he nakedly reveals his problems maintaining sanity and accepting so-called reality with seemingly near-strangers and editors. This is followed by rants, surreal descriptions of states of physical and psychological pain and otherness as well as a few choice angry letters to random bureaucrats and a few lengthy comments on other avant garde weirdos (such as van gogh and comte de leautremont) which artaud admired.
It's hard for me to pick favorites among the pieces as a lot of the book hinged on harrowing and glorious descriptions of a greasy, juicy, wringing insanity which appeals to me and comforts me to hear coming from the pen of a stranger. He indicted various hypocrisies as he saw them in a hilariously viscous way (some of which, I feel a lot of affinity for his loathing of, others, not so much) and swung constantly from seeing his insane suffering as being essential to the rotten core of the abyss of human experience to being constantly induced by others in a persecute-orial manner. There is no consensus in his writing besides madness, however he constantly introduces the crazy stirring in his soul with a range of vividness and vagueness which is enticing but scary.
Strangely and unfortunately, one piece stuck out as being grossly and awkwardly anti-semetic. It was something to do with hating the kabbalah. I only managed to finish one paragraph and skim a bit of the rest before giving up on the piece. Artaud also seemed to acquire a vaguely puritanical attitude towards sex, which is especially strange since he hated religion. This took me off gaurd as he constantly rails against the hypocrisy of social mores as well as is constantly compared to Georges Baitaille, who definitely did not stray from describing transgressive sexual situations in detail. Still, on other fronts he constantly condemns the hypocrisy of bourgeois morality, and that is refreshing.
Overall, Artaud's repertoire is a massive shock against the electro-shock, a powerful yearning to be utterly understood, but on the author's own terms. It is a deep howl against everything he loathed. It is also, in a 20th-21st century literary world full of folks expressing sympathy and affinity with the insane, a painful yet wonderful insider's perspective into a mind tortured by too much lucidity.