March 1, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-03-01

Dawn of Midi - Dysnomia

* Schoenberg: Suite, Op.29 etc. (Ens. InterContemporain/Boulez) (Sony Classical CD)
* Berg: Chamber Concerto, etc. (BBC, London Symphony/Boulez) (Sony Classical CD)
* Glenn Branca: Lesson No.1 (Superior Viaduct 2EP)
* Sun Ra: Strange Strings (Saturn/Universal LP)
* Sun Ra: Other Strange Worlds (Roaratorio LP)
* Derek Bailey/Jamaaladeen Tacuma/Calvin Weston: Mirakle (Tzadik CD)
* Steve Lacy: The Door (RCA/Novus LP)
* Art Lande & Rubisa Patrol: Desert Marauders (ECM LP)
* M. Naudeef/Ikue Mori/Evan Parker/Bill Laswell: Near Nadir (Tzadik CD)
* Otomo Yoshihide/Bill Laswell/Yoshigaki Yasuhiro: Soup (P-Vine CD)
* David Sancious & Tone: Transformation (The Speed Of Love) (Epic LP)
* The Spanish Donkey (Joe Morris/Jamie Saft/Mike Pride): XYX (Northern Spy CD)
* Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Cosmologies (24-bit/48kHz WAV)
* Rodger Coleman & Andrew Dickson: 2014-02-21(24-bit/48kHz WAV)
* Dawn on Midi: First (Accretions CD)
* Dawn of Midi: Dysnomia (Thirsty Ear CD)
* Grateful Dead: Berkeley Community Theatre 1986-04-18 (selections) (SBD 2CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Berkeley Community Theatre 1986-04-19 (selections) (SBD 2CDR)
* Chad & Jeremy: The Ark (Columbia LP)
* Rainbow: On Stage (Orchid/Polydor 2LP)
* Lee Ranaldo: Between The Times And The Tides (Matador LP)
* Lee Ranaldo & The Dust: Last Night On Earth (Matador 2-LP)
* Bob Mould: Workbook (Virgin LP)
* Yo La Tengo: Fade (Matador CD) †/‡
* Beck: I Won’t Be Long (Fonograf EP)
* Beck: Defriended (Fonograf EP)
* Beck: Gimme (Fonograf 2EP)
* Beck: Morning Phase (Fonograf/Capitol LP)(†)
* Radiohead: TKOL RMX 1234567 (TBD 2CD)
* Wilco: Summerteeth (Nonesuch 2LP)
* Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch 2LP)
* Wilco: A Ghost Is Born (Nonesuch 2LP)
* Animal Collective: Centipede Hz (Domino 2LP)
* Sunn O))) & Ulver: Terrestrials (Southern Lord LP/CD)
* Baroness: Yellow & Green (Relapse 2CD)
* Locrian: Return To Annihilation (Relapse CD)
* Windhand: Soma (Relapse 2LP)



As you all know, I thought Dysnomia by Dawn of Midi was one of the best records of 2013—and one of the most amazing albums I’ve ever heard. I wrote about it, I talked about it several times on my YouTube channel and I gave copies away to friends who I knew would appreciate it—including Vanderbilt Associate Professor of the Philosophy and Analysis of Music, Stan Link. He recently sent me this thoughtful and thought-provoking email response, which he has kindly allowed me to share on the blog. There’s a lot to ponder here as he eloquently articulates why this record seems significant—not just for its musical qualities but also for its deeper meanings and potentialities. Thank you Stan!


Hi, Rodger--

Well, I finally was able to listen to Dysnomia, just now, as a matter of fact. I'm really glad I waited until I had the time, since I didn't know beforehand about the continuous aspect of the whole thing. Worth waiting for the chance to get to hear it all the way through in one sitting with, oddly enough, no interruptions. Thanks so much for sending it to me. I was in just the right place for it, mentally. It was a kind of sounding silence, a nothingness or mindlessness to listen to mindfully. Nobody screaming their emotions or opinions at me--and of course I don't just mean the lack of text. You know me well enough to know my usual rants and suspicions about hearing people broadcast their emotions in ways that seem like all they want to do is use you as a host for their own interiority. But this was virtuoso nothingness, obviously--an odd kind of warmth to it that sounds like it clearly happens within the space created by minimalism, but somehow inverted. Where stuff like Glass seems like the wake of the machine in a still human moment, this seems like the wake of the human in a machine moment. Kind of like all the fingerprints on all the mice, trackpads, keyboards, buttons, and touch screens needed to make the computer go. Nice sense of ephemerality there, as though the sum total of  life might just be the trace it leaves behind. Humbling, but also beautiful in that way that not fighting against transience can be when you don't get brought down by it, or get overwhelmed by it, or just plain scared by the fact that the thing you think of as "you" won't exist.

The length combined with the continuity of it are pretty strange now. Is it asking something of me? Or is it telling me something? I'm "old" in many ways because I have the attention span for it--but that's clearly an outmoded way of being. So is it calling me back to my own humanity by asking me to do something like pay attention for that long? Or is it just telling me that the computer, even as a metaphor, makes the whole concept of focus and attention not very important...not because of the capacity to generate distractions, but because of the capacity for technology itself to actually stay focused for far longer than we can anyway, and for its capacity to pay attention in scales both large and small that both dwarf and inflate or senses of scale? In any case, it felt oddly good to just sit there for that long and listen--which, on the other hand, could be just an effect of the fact that it was you who gave me the music in the first place and me wanting to give it a real hearing.

The one thing I wonder about in this as a kind of potential is whether they can work in that sound world and create a sense of movement like that without the sense of loops going on. Like, could they do a piece that lives in that place, even has the constant motoric quality, but that doesn't rely on repetition as its main structuring device. A relevant question for that recording would be, was there a single thing that only got used a single time? How about a constant flow, rather than a constant return?

 Wholly apart from the bigger flow of it--the vertical dimension was pretty appealing. The timbral world was really compelling both in terms of the sounds and the recording. Something I've come to appreciate is music that can immediately establish its premise in sensual terms, which this does--as though one second of it is enough to find pleasure in. Doing that in combination with a workable formal thing at the same time is just wonderful when you encounter it--that mixture of transparency and richness that sounds like what I think of as wisdom now.

But yeah--long story short--that had my number. Thanks, Rodger!
What's up with you these days?





Sam said...

Really nice write-up from Stan. Thanks for including that!

Hey...I notice you listed to David Sancious...whoa! I loved his first album "Forest of Feelings" when it first came out--definitely keep an eye out for that one (it's one I never owned...)

Sam said...

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2014-03-03:

*AMM: 1970-03-02 London (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton Pine Top Aerial Music: 2011-12-01 Wesleyan (CDR
*Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: 2013-11-09 Jazz Gallery, NYC (2nd set) (CDR)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Cosmologies (2014-03 LP mix) (wav)
*Miles Davis: The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (discs 2, 3, 4, 5)
*Mary Halvorson Quintet: 2012-05-18 Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock Quintet: 2011-06-18 Red Hook Jazz Festival, Brooklyn (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: 2011-08-06 Lisbon (CDR)
*New Loft: 2014-02-10 “Sink Correction” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-02-17 “On a Scale from Ben to Tim” (wav)
*Paradoxical Frog: 2012-09-21 Firehouse 12, New Haven CT (CDR)
*Tom Rainey Trio: 2011-05-06 Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT (CDR)
*Matana Roberts: 2009-03-30 Brooklyn, NY (CDR)
*Sun Ra: “Blood” Blister Presents: An Evening with Sun Ra, Vol. 2 (cassette compilation)
*Belle Orchestre: As Seen through Windows
*Bill Fay: Bill Fay
*Guided By Voices: Let’s Go Eat the Factory
*King Crimson: The Road to Red (disc 13)
*UYA: 1989-06-12 Middle East, Cambridge MA
*UYA: Selections 25: Knot Named
*UYA: Selections 26: Extraction Bucket
*Various artists: The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968 (disc 8)

Reading List 2014-03-03:

*King, Stephen. Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower V) (reread/started)
*Cutler, Chris. “Plunderphonia” (started/finished)
*King, Stephen. Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower IV) (reread/finished)
*Enjoy the Experience. Ed. Johan Kugelberg (in progress)
*Weldon, Michael J. Psychotronic Video Guide (in progress)