Friday, October 22, 2010

Can't Start A Fire Without a Mark

Hey, all my Puddlers.  Sorry for the lack of activity this week.  There were two podcasts that I was supposed to record, but they both needed to be rescheduled.  However in the coming two weeks, we will have podcasts with Erik Gundel of Motel Motel, a secret podcast, and the NBA Season Preview podcast with Miles Debas of Snakes Say Hiss and Paul Sicilian of Tony Castles, both Boston Celtics homers whose bands are both playing the CMJ festival this week.  There will also be an ongoing special project as part of the blog that you will have to stay tuned for.  I think some of you will be pretty (slightly?) excited about it.

Also, what you all should be tremendously excited about his my 2010-2011 NBA Preview column that will be going up on Monday.  I go through every team in the league, tell you why you should care about every team and then predict what their fate will be.  I'm a pretty humble guy, but this is the best piece of fucking writing that you will ever fucking read in your miserable, self-involved lives.

Now, speaking of CMJ and other assorted topics of life, Mr. Mark Jack is here to deliver his weekly column to you all. In this post, Mr. Jack ruminates on a variety of things, but most of all some poignant theories of walking around listening to music and the nature of history.  This main is articulate and concise.  You should all tell him how much you love him.

OK, my Puddlers, now I step aside and leave you with Mark Richard Jack to lead you to your weekend.

Lower Dens and Walking History

Mark Jack

So, you made notes on American History. You walked with your ears pointed at inward angles, with your ears stuffed with nascent, floral stuff, and wondered as the world passed like a movie and you thought how easy it would be to make a movie of one long, smooth tracking shot of the world - if only you had the right soundtrack...and a decent camera. You made little notes on our expectations and fears and, well look...

Maybe no one else feels this way, but I love a good walk with soundtrack. My whole approach to the personal music player is in some way enhancement and/or complement to the world as visual experience. Now, I do like listening to the various sounds of the world sometimes, but I find music to be a useful (almost) way to approach a life lived amidst so much that is not readily, personally identifiable. The anonymity of the city, as it were, becomes personalized movie when a good album is running alongside a world that, because it is muted by headphones and notes, is more vibrantly visual. Of course, certain music is required for the experience, and not just good music. There are plenty of albums that I adore and yet will not listen to while walking. Recently I found a beautiful album, or rather, my friend Kieran over at his blog, Big Head Stevenson, alerted me to it, that lends itself perfectly to a cinematic stroll.

I don’t think I am necessarily revealing a hidden gem, but the Baltimore based band Lower Dens and their album, Twin-Hand Movement is a near perfect walking album.

They’re playing a number of shows at this years CMJ, so if you are in New York today, you can still check them out. I haven’t seen them in concert yet, though I’ve heard they’re fantastic. Of course, what really interested me about this album is the way in which the beautiful melodies, small and repetitive, almost ephemeral, combine with driving but not obnoxiously insistent rhythms to move ones ear-budded mobile mood. I don’t really want to go into an in depth review of this album, and I don’t think anything would be served by such a move. This post is more a review of sountracked walking--I’ve got to develop a better term.

So if I can offer some advice: buy Twin-Hand Movement and go for a walk. Feel the world around you and create a vague narrative that creatively compliments the visual and auditory experience. Seriously, it’s either that or get those fucking earbuds out of your soil head and be in the world as it is. Not that I am in any position to speak of any thing as it is - as if it does remain constant. Look, how we inscribe ourselves in/onto to the world is never a permanent act. We write ourselves into history, over and over again. If we do not pay attention to the material around us, the streets as sentences the people as paragraphs or punctuation (depending) then we confine ourselves to boring footnotes at best. The prevalence of the iPod is not something that is necessarily damaging of the societal fabric. Trust me, pick up this album and go for an observant stroll.

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