Monthly Archives: August 2013

Mystery solved.

Two and a half years ago, I decided that it would make sense for me to have an outlet to share things that I was excited about. So I started this blog.

It was conceived as a way of archiving things. The archive structures memory, but not always in a negative way. Some argue that we live in an age of too much information (and oversignification, to borrow Baudrillard’s term), and for a time, out of insecurity perhaps, or out of a sense of boredom (and one mustn’t underestimate boredom), I felt that I needed to cope with such a phenomenon.

Part of me also wanted to share, in the simplest way, these things that I was or would get excited about.

The last two years have seen me pick up so many new things and revisit so many old ones. The archive grew in its strange chronological manner. More like a diary, perhaps.

Today’s the day that it stops.

It seemed like a good day. It’s Julio Cortázar’s birthday after all.

There really isn’t much of a compelling reason. I suppose I’ve somehow consolidated enough for me to feel comfortable with my memory of these things. (I sometimes watch a film only to realise I’ve watched it before in the final ten minutes.) No, that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the way I feel about it.

I think I also feel as if I wanted more out of this. So it is with a slight tinge of regret that I’m putting this behind. I had always wanted to do more with this. Starting small, I would start to have articles, longer articles, guest writers, and so on. Yet, I never really managed it. Whatever I managed to write, well, I never could spare the time or energy to really make any of them very worthwhile.

I’m only getting older and busier. It means that I grow tired easily. Not in the sense that I grow jaded or cynical, but simply physically tired. There’s also so many other things I have to or want to do. Projects to get started. Places to go. People to meet.

No, this doesn’t take that much time. Yet the discipline is peculiarly taxing.

I’m still excited about things. There are artists everywhere to discover. There are books waiting to be read, movies yet to be seen. And there are songs, old and new. I’m still excited, and I guess I want to say that I hope you will be too.

Nobody killed Lemmy Caution. There’s no way anyone could.

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Rojak: Last supper.

Rojak is a regular collection of assorted links as well as a bulletin summarising the week (or thereabouts) on this blog.

Assorted

There is this about Imre Kértesz over at the Quietus. [via the Quietus]

See the trailer of Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor. [YouTube, via cinemablend.com]

Julianna Barwick’s Nepenthe is out. [via Pitchfork]

The Station to Station project features the likes of Ariel Pink, Giorgio Moroder, and Beck doing some really cool-sounding things on trains. [via Station to Station]

Cass McCombs will have a new album, Big Wheel and Others, released soon. [via Pitchfork]

New Camus play discovered. [via the New Yorker] Actual play (“mimodrama”) is here. [via the New Yorker]

Bulletin

And this week, we had:

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Omnivore: Books.

Omnivore is a regular report on some of the things that I’ve been enjoying during the week (or thereabouts).

I actually missed this last week. Meanwhile, I’ve finished The Universal Home Doctor (Simon Armitage), Distant Lands (Agnieszka Kuciak), The Secret Agent (Conrad), and A Short Tale of Shame (Angel Igov).

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Baudrillard and the violence of the image.

There is a deep misunderstanding of the process of meaning. Most images and photographs today reflect the misery and the violence of human condition. But all this affects us less and less, just because it is over signified. In order for the meaning, for the message to affect us, the image has to exist on its own, to impose its original language. In order for the real to be transferred to our imagination, or our imagination transferred to the real, it must be a counter-transference upon the image, and this countertransference has to be resoluted, worked through (in terms of psychoanalysis). Today we see misery and violence becoming a leitmotiv of publicity just by the way of images. Toscani for example is reintegrating sex and Aids, war and death into fashion. And why not ? Jubilating ad-images are no less obscene than the pessimistic ones) But at one condition to show the violence of publicity itself, the violence of fashion, the violence of the medium. What actually publishers are not able even to try to do. However, fashion and high society are themselves a kind of spectacle of death. The world’s misery is quite so visible, quite so transparent in the line and the face of any top-model as on the skeletal body of an african boy. The same cruelty is to be perceived everywhere, if one only knows how to look at it.

[sic]

Read more in the link.

[via EGS]

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Frank Zappa and film.

Over at the Quietus, a look at Frank Zappa’s contributions to the world of film. [via The Quietus]

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New Janelle Monáe.

Janelle Monáe has released another track off of her upcoming album The Electric Lady. “Primetime” is a duet with Miguel, and I suppose only adds to the impression that this is shaping up to be a great album. [via YouTube]

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Julia Holter review round-up.

Here are links to a few reviews of Julia Holter’s latest, Loud City Song.

Ultimately, Holter doesn’t choose between the city and the wild, isolation and the collective. She says that the album is “about someone trying to find love and truth in a superficial society,” and it’s that deliberation and striving that it dramatises effectively. These are predominantly questions of youth and, accomplished as Holter is, she also sounds like someone still trying to figure things out. There is a searching, open-ended quality to her work, despite Loud City Song and Tragedy‘s impressive conceptual integrity. Each release is distinct and yet overlapping, like circles in a Venn diagram: ‘Goddess Eyes’ premiered on one album and appeared, twice, on the next; ‘Maxim’s II’ originated in the Ekstasis sessions.

[via The Quietus]

But the album doesn’t end with mismatched intentions, outsider status, and frustrated communication with the world. The light bounce of “This Is A True Heart” announces the difference, the trait that keeps Holter from falling into the bile of the gossipy society, from fading into jaded emptiness, and from that trap of the good voice that Byrne described. “These are true words/ speak heart,” she coos, over a breezy bed of fluttering flute, trombone bursts, and pizzicato strings, all wrapped together by an impossibly slinky tenor sax. That knowledge of self and willingness to speak it in the face of judgment, scrutiny, and dismissal is a rare power, Holter’s inner voice just as strong as her physical one.

[via Consequence of Sound]

Like Gigi herself, it is a work of perpetual self-invention, an extended state of becoming. Have pity on the inquisitory birds, because it’s impossible to look away.

[via Spin]

Though there’s definitely a narrative arc to the record, it doesn’t stick so close to the Gigi script to become tedious; Loud City Song moves with an internal logic that’s more impressionistic than literal. Some of its pieces do stand sturdily on their own, but taken in one sitting the album unfurls like one long, thoughtfully arranged composition– lyrics and images recur, and characters gradually evolve. The narrator at the center (Gigi? Holter? Some kind of poetic hybrid of the two?) begins as a detached, observant outsider– just another anonymous face gazing curiously at the city below from the perch of her fifth-floor walk-up (“I don’t how why I wear a hat so much,” Holter sings beneath the sparse groan of a cello on the opening song, “World”, “The city can’t see my eyes under the brim.”) But by the end– the second-to-last track, “This Is a True Heart” prances like a lazy-Sunday carousel ride– she sounds not only more vulnerable but lighter, too. In a way, the arc of Loud City Song mirrors Holter’s artistic evolution: Ekstasis found kindred spirits in statues and goddesses (“I can see you but my eyes are not allowed to cry,” she repeated on “Goddess Eyes II”, cloaked in a vocoder), but the psychologically complex narrator at the heart of Loud City Song moves like flesh and blood.

[via Pitchfork]

A beautiful reminder that we’re all doomed.

[via The Guardian]

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Werner Herzog documentary.

Werner Herzog has released a 35-minute documentary on YouTube. Titled From One Second to the Next, the film is about the consequences of texting and driving at the same time.

[via YouTube]

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Rojak: Clichéd.

Rojak is a regular collection of assorted links as well as a bulletin summarising the week (or thereabouts) on this blog.

Whoa, what a busy week. Here’s a Rojak to end it on.

Assorted

New Cults song here. [via YouTube]

“Beware of clichés. Not just the clichés that Martin Amis is at war with. There are clichés of response as well as expression. There are clichés of observation and of thought—even of conception. Many novels, even quite a few adequately written ones, are clichés of form which conform to clichés of expectation.” Geoff Dyer has ten rules for writing fiction. [via The Paris Review tumblr]

Review of Vsevolod Nekrasov’s I Live I See, a collection in English translation. [via Words Without Borders]

More on the cover(s) of Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady. [via The Electric Lady]

Conversation with Warren Ellis. [via The Paris Review]

Pitchfork ran something on Julianna Barwick. [via Pitchfork]

Tom Phillips’s A Humument and erasure. [via archipelago books]

On the demise of used-book stores. [via NYRB]

The ideal English major. [via The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Bulletin

This week:

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Yu Xiang review.

Yu Xiang, using simple language, striking syntax, and hypnotic refrains, keeps her poet’s eye and mind attentive to the not-so-hidden heart of quotidian life. And what does she find there? People, including herself, confronted with the beautiful and terrifying fact of their lives, wanting to “Love   someone / anyone” (“Street”), before it ends. To Yu, life is far from humdrum. Like a photographer who photographs his feet as he walks, each step points to a larger movement—too large to capture as a totality. Yu focuses her attention on the smaller details—these tiny, shimmering essences. And with language that helps us train our gaze, the poet reveals that the ordinary can be spellbinding.

Here is a review of I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust, a collection of poems by Yu Xiang (宇向) translated into English. [via Words Without Borders]

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