Archive for January, 2010

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Stay Focused

January 27, 2010

As just sort a cosmetic comment, I really don’t like the way that wordpress auto-formats stuff. Maybe I just haven’t figured everything out yet- upon copying and pasting this work from a word document that it has added spaces between the lines. Which I don’t really like. Does anyone know how to fix this?

But relating more to the work at hand, this was the last fiction I wrote before I had a breakdown some time ago.

 

Stay Focused

by Alex TB

And then the fortune cookies come to the table, with the check

One, already cracked open.

“Stay focused; keeping to your goals will lead to success.”

Lucky numbers.

The other, absent.

A shrink wrapped packet of air.

Nothing, but it floats in my glass of water.

Thoughts of imported beer, primetime, a rave, the cat, the cubicle.

I was thinking about something else that seemed important, but I’ve forgotten already.

Denise fiddles with her fork in noodles with one hand while doing something on her phone with the other.

I tell a joke, but she doesn’t get it.

I begin to try to explain, but I stop in the middle of the sentence.

“Nevermind. It’s not really funny.”

A TV behind the bar silently shows static.

It’s late, but there are many people.

Chattering, passing plates, eating and drinking, laughing.

The sound levels out into a quiet drone.

I ask her,

“What do you want to do now?”

As I take out my wallet.

“I don’t care,”

she says, without looking up.

Jackson takes care of the bill and we walk.

Grant takes care of a little black dress.

Hamilton, a pack of reds

and Lincoln two scoops of ice cream,

one vanilla and one chocolate.

Below us, vents emitting warm air,

we stand in front of a wall of screens,

licking at the remainder of the cones.

It occurs to me, as I watch them, that I haven’t blinked in minutes

and I don’t feel the need to.

Little faces moving their mouths,

not making any noise.

Wheels spinning, smiling teeth

Fires, stock prices scrolling.

The colors blur together and I space out.

“Remember when George passed out in that alley?”

she says, giggling.

“No,” I say, in honesty.

“I don’t. When?”

“Oh, I don’t remember when. It was a while ago. I thought you would have remembered.”

I try to remember,

try to think back.

Alleys?

It sounds familiar.

I remember a circle of light.

Later, after I finish

she rolls over and falls asleep.

I thought that was my job.

I get out of bed

The room is cold.

I flick the light on in the bathroom and it hurts my eyes, unadjusted.

I open the medicine cabinet

then close it,

and my eyes meet my reflection’s.

We both look down, away.

Little numbers and letters.

I don’t know what they mean.

I pop it anyway and look at the reflection again.

He doesn’t look familiar.

I want to say, “you look different,”

but I know he’s thinking the same thing.

We laugh a little.

I feel like we have to.

I flick the light switch and he goes away.

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Susumu Yokota – Symbol

January 26, 2010

Susumu Yokota - Symbol

A very curious little album. As far as the content goes, it’s Girl Talk with classical music, that is sampling collages with instrumental source material. Which will probably be really fun for some people and really gimmicky to others, and for others still less familiar with classical music, a bit of an adventure. Yokota still retains some of his dance sensibilities, resulting in some awfully cool sampling and rhythmic loops that make a lot of the more obvious tracks here really beautiful and even sexy (“Long Long Silk Bridge,” “Purple Rose Minuet,” “Blue Sky and Yellow Sunflower”). What’s weird, though, is that the other, less obvious tracks make it a sleeper- a lot of moments on here that initially sound gimmicky will have you (or, at least had me) double taking upon further listening, and the album has a really large, initially hidden supply of mysterious, surprising moments. Part of it might have to do with “Claire de Lune” and “Moonlight Sonata” being played out of context so much that they no longer sound like they’re in the wrong place, but I think it also has to do with Susumu Yokota just being a smart arranger. He still knows how to do a lot with a little (“The Plateau Which The Zephyr of Flora Occupies,” “The Dying Black Swan”) and has a desire to challenge both himself and his listeners. Symbol might overstay it’s welcome for some people, but given a chance it can even get doubters rewinding and listening closer to their stereos. So basically, it’s another great Susumu Yokota album.

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Are you not the same as you used to be?

January 14, 2010

First order of business, the earthquake situation in Haiti is terrible, terrible news. I urge all to keep these people in your thoughts and prayers and considerations.

Also. It is also sad news that Jay Reatard has died. He was a great musician that had a lot to contribute to rock ‘n roll and punk and he will be fondly remembered.

On a lighter note, I’m happy to announce that Radio Cure will return to WRGW  for its third semester starting Saturday, January 23rd at the same time as last semester, 10 PM to Midnight EST.

As a little side project, I made a list of some of my favorite album cover art on rateyourmusic.com, which for all those that don’t know is a nifty website for music fans like myself. It’s a work in progress and I’d like to add more.

What are some of your favorites?

I just bought a new camera the other day for my black and white photography class. It is a Nikon. I don’t know how to use it yet, and as it stands I’m a pretty bad photographer, but hopefully that will change over the semester and I’ll have some pictures worth scanning and posting here.

As far as my own musical interests go, I will most likely be buying tickets for the Beach House show at the Black Cat on March 26th and for the xx/jj show at the Sixth and I Synagogue on March 28th. I may also see The Magnetic Fields at Lisner in early February.

Some things I’ve been listening to lately:

jj – jj N° 2. Maybe the most blissed out, happy, sad, worthwhile twenty five minutes of international pop music to come out of 2009, a year when all of these things were in style.

Happy End – Kazemachi Roman. Supposedly the start of Japanese rock. Maybe, maybe not. In any case, a brilliant gem of a record. Pop, rock, psychedelia, folk…all balled up into a really charming album.

Roy Montgomery / Grouper – Split LP. This is just about the only time on a Grouper split where she’s had a serious run for her money. Roy Montgomery does a hell of a lot with his eighteen minute side despite the fact that his piece only changes a bit throughout, and Liz Harris’ side is, of course, brilliant.

Beach House – Teen Dream. Something new is going on in indie rock. Say whatever you will about it, but Beach House rule that something – it’s possible that they started all this beachcombing nostalgia in the first place. This is going to be Beach-Pop’s unprecedented, unanimous classic. They have made the album to beat of 2010 and they are about to blow up, big time. One of the best albums I’ve heard in a long, long time.

The Knife – Silent Shout. I barely feel like I have to justify listening to this a hell of a lot. Karin Dreijer’s vocals have really been impressing me lately.

Insides – Euphoria / Earwig – Under My Skin I Am Laughing. I had both of these for a while but finally listened to them over winter break. They have aged a bit, clearly, but not detrimentally so. Both are very sexy, mysterious and beautiful.

PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. An incredibly beautiful, resonant album. It occurs to me that I’m a fool for not putting this on the decade list.

Dizzee Rascal – Boy in da Corner. Same goes for this one. It’s incredible to me that Dizzee made this album, in all of its ugly, brutal, jaw-dropping glory, when he was younger than I am now. That’s inspiring to me.

Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Q: Does it get ANY MORE FUCKING BRILLIANT than this album? A: Quit asking stupid fucking questions before I slap your mammy.

Kurt Vile – I Wanted Everything [Single] – Kurt Vile made the best album- scratch that, three of the best albums of 2009 and he’s still going strong. A gorgeous tune, “I Wanted Everything” is presented like a throwaway but sounds like a classic.

Fela Kuti – Best of the Black President. During winter break, while listening to “Water No Get Enemy,” I was sent an email by felalives.com linking to this. I will say no more.

Gas – Nah und Fern. A box set compiling Wolfgang Voigt’s ambient techno albums under the name Gas. It’s great that these are in print again. We can once again be reminded why Voigt is so influential. All four albums are a pleasure to listen to.

Jawbox – For Your Own Special Sweetheart. Great DC band. They just recently played a couple songs on Fallon, their first show in around ten years. Makes me wish rock was still cool with the kids.

Anyway, hope everyone is well. I won’t be a stranger as much this year. Things may be a bit more informal, because that’s how I seem to like it nowadays. Tune into Radio Cure next week. Hope everyone’s year is getting off to a good start.

-Alex