Category Archives: Review

Review: Guitar

Wow, well, you could do a lot worse. The guitar is a fine and decent instrument, very versatile, and has had enduring popularity. John Fahey, Tal Farlow, that guy from down the hall, Lil Wayne, Katy Perry: All of these people have played guitar. It has strings, like the piano, but is also different from the piano.

You started on bass, you say? Don’t worry, it is a little cliche, but a lot of people do. I did. It’s easier; there are fewer strings.

I mean, guitar is cliche to begin with. You’re just getting on there and doing things that literally everyone has heard before, and about half of all people have already played that progression you were really proud of for a second. That might trouble you for a couple years in middle school, when you were still obsessed with originality, but everything you have ever done and felt has already been done and felt. Unless you’re the first person to walk on Mars, it is very unlikely that you will have a wholly unique experience. And if you do have a unique experience, (e.g. It is very likely that no one has ever stood in this spot and uttered this phrase while jumping on one leg after having eaten KFC), it doesn’t feel special. It just feels petty, almost defensive, to cling to that as a mark of individualism. 

You’re not the protagonist of the world’s story, you’re just some incidental combination of flesh and consciousness. And you’re kind of stuck with that. You can’t really deny it, but a satisfying purpose evades you. You think you need some third-party confirmation of your importance. You’d really like one, at least.

And the only consolation that you can come up with, the only reason to keep existing after you’ve been told your whole life that you are special and that there is a god and he has a purpose for you, is that maybe all of that is totally unimportant. Because everything is unimportant, except for one thing: How you feel. All else being equal (which it is), you’d rather feel good. The basic premise is really simple. Feel good, not bad. Seek out goodness. Originality might come out of it, but you don’t need to pin your happiness on what other people have or haven’t done.

How you go about doing that comes down to personal style and self-knowledge. It seems to justify taking drugs every night to feel good, but that’s not a very deep enjoyment. Happiness can be simple or complex, and is valid on every level, but the right career and good relationships tend to grant a more resilient satisfaction.

That being said, who cares if someone else has played a Gmaj before? Not anyone whose opinion should matter to you. That sounded pretty good, and you’ve improved. Realistically, you won’t get famous doing that, but you might. Mostly, though, it felt pretty good, too, right? Nice.

8.6 / 10

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Colin Stetson’s New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

Here is the full album on Grooveshark, as usual. However, most of my first impressions were formed after seeing the performance here imbedded:

Calling to mind some sort of post-apocalypse, an industrial desert of black clouds and oil fires. The soundtrack you imagined as you read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

The singularity of the one man, leashed like a dog to his monstrous machine (a bass saxophone), cowed. Screaming endlessly, futily, his face red and purple, gasping, veins bursting, into this mess of brass and rust. The percussion of keys are ominous hoofbeats, or the turning of locks. The hoarse overtones squeal like the inside of a slaughterhouse. The droning fundamentals are distant foghorns, or the mourning of an unseen behemoth. A picture thus painted.
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Godspeed You! Black Emperor — ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Omg omg omg. Little in the music world could make me giddier than a new, completely unexpected album from the (until recently) permanent-hiatus-or-maybe-broken-up legendary Canadian anarcho-post-rock outfit, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. So I might have a bit of a bias. Forgive, forgive.

Look at this building, dude.

‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! was released on Constellation Records.

So they’ve gone ahead and done just that, though. Here is the album. Here is their website.

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The xx – Coexist

Listen to the whole album streaming here for a short while longer. I’ll put up a link to Grooveshark as soon as such a thing becomes a thing. [edit: Here is that link]
Be aware, Grooveshark is not quite legal. Make an informed decision as to whether or not to use their services; the artist does not receive payment for Grooveshark listens, but the same might be said for Spotify or Pandora

I was initially somewhat underwhelmed. Not every album has to be some grand statement, but at first I didn’t hear very much to listen to in The xx’s Coexist. I noticed immediately its more ambient approach to production and arranging. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not definitive, as their first album was. The album reveals a satisfying, delicate intricacy upon further listening, but I don’t feel it has the staying power of its predecessor. That being said, I like it. It’s touching.

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Kid A

1. Here is the entire album compiled on a Grooveshark playlist.
2. Listen along.
3. This could aid some people in visualization. Or something.

This isn’t a review. There are already lots of great reviews of Kid A. There’s nothing much of value I can add to the conversation; the album is a Laocoön. This piece is instead a meditation, or a meditative story, on an experience of the album.

A few nights ago I was restless, as lonely people are restless. I’m not being dramatic. All my roommates had left, and I was looking at a solitary week. Also, I had avoided going to the gym that day out of mere laziness. I felt guilty and unable to concentrate. I sat around watching TV, not motivated to do much. I was in a Funk. It’s a mood I recognize.
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