Saturday, October 25, 2014

Arithmetic of Darkness

Back from the dead, and just in time for Halloween! How about that? Having recently--well, 7 months ago--renewed my CPR certification, I think of Jack and I as having mightily swapped the twinned duties of compressions and breaths. And duly resuscitated, we must now keep this re-animated corpse from merely sulking in the dusky shadows of the light-web of the Google-owned internet. Zombie-like, perhaps, in the spirit of the current holiday, for now, duly spirited. Delivering Mallo Cups and Necco wafers to all our neighbors' childrens.

Then, turkeys and Santa Clauses, of course, since I seem to have already lost track of the analogy I was just spinning. Gobble gobble? (Gobble gobble, motherfuckers?)

In my world, black metal is the kind of genre that college kids go through phases in. It's particular brand of hatred and misanthropy genuinely appeals to some miserable kids out there in the world, but it's also easily plumbed for amusement from afar (see (really, see it, it's very funny): Metalocalypse)  It's been plenty written about and wondered over by various parties. If you've got the time, the Wikipedia articles (as usual), are plenty up to the task of laying out the genre's sordid history (Norwegian black metal is particularly special).

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the leader and mastermind of Liturgy, in an interview, talks about the Norwegian black metal band Emperor as being the first band that really spoke to him. To paraphrase, his attitude was something like "this music was awesome to me because it was all climax." (To be fair, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has said/written some ridiculous shit.) Which, to any of the classically-trained musicians in the house, probably sounds pretty silly, since if everything is climax, then, clearly, nothing is climax because there is no differentiation.

So why do I (when the mood is right) like Liturgy? Or find them worth talking about? Well, I am a sucker for certain brands of pretentious jibber jabber. And like to produce some of it myself, now and then. But I also like another sub-genre of fringe rock, called "math rock." Because of it's weird time signatures.  Rock that isn't math rock can sometimes be called "mathy," when it's doing things that invoke math, mostly using odd time signatures. Here is an example:

And, to be brashly reductive: black metal + math rock = Liturgy. Black math? If you read any of the above-parenthetically-linked ridiculous shit, you'll learn that Liturgy has taken black metal's "blast beat"--the all-climax-all-the-time, and turned it into the "burst beat," which just means that it's still pretty much constant noise, but that it has a pulse, and the pulse is often happening in an odd time signature. Which is actually pretty interesting, for the over-educated set. 

It also requires a high level of virtuosity, which is even more interesting to me. But I think I'll save that for next time, since I don't want any one of my of mild 2.0 entries to ramble too much.

Oh, and speaking of being virtuosic and over-educated, Terrance Hayes won a MacArthur "Genius" award this year. Which means that I've studied with two MacArthur geniuses. What's up, rich kids?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not Eclipse

There was a partial solar eclipse in North America today, but we didn't see it in New York because it's been raining for two days, and also the sun was setting by the time it started. I know Nate and Kyle saw it, because I texted him to find out. They're in beautiful Bryce Canyon today, and the visitor's center was selling eclipse glasses branded for the 2012 transit of Venus. Nate texted me a picture Kyle took from her phone, which was a view through the eyepiece of a ranger's filtered telescope.

The next solar eclipse in North America is a big one, a total eclipse on the afternoon of August 21, 2017, that will be visible along a band that stretches across the whole United States. According to eclipse weather statistics expert Jay Anderson, one of the most promising places to view it may be the Willamette Valley in Oregon. August 21, 2017, is a Monday. Word to the wise: plan to take it off work, and get ready to fly somewhere over the weekend that's expecting clear weather. As Anderson puts it:
The United States has a sophisticated private forecast industry and a great resource in the National Weather Service. Reliable weather forecasts will be available for a week or more before the eclipse, and with a little mobility, no one who wants to travel to see this event should be disappointed.
Then there's going to be another total eclipse on April 8, 2024, going up through Mexico, the Midwest, and then northwest NY State and Canada. So take a long weekend then too. It's a while after that until there's another one that appears over a large portion of the United States, like 2045.

One of the great things about eclipses is that they know precisely when they're all going to be.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Boy Named Araby

I know you've rushed back here for my already eagerly anticipated post about post-black-metal, but that's something, let's admit it, that I'm still working up to--that I need the time to get ready to write it as much as you need the time to get ready to read it. Since it's been months, and I mean months, since I've much flexed my cultural-critical muscles.

Preamble strikes me as of utmost importance to my ability to link sentences into things like paragraphs, emails, blog posts, screeds, overly long bathroom stall graffiti, etc. I've been known to write entire letters about the fact that I am writing a letter. There are a lot of details to cover. Is it stalling? I don't think so... certainly, in some contexts, that must be what's afoot -- like here, where I've resuscitated a left-for-dead textuo-collaborative effort and am, like, scared to actually write the first post that I wanted to get to in the first place.

Or! fear is a primary motivator for my language-using self (let alone my not-language-using-person-complex. ("Fear is [my] only God, nah, fuck it, turn it off again[?]")) So that this and many other non-utilitarian writings are an attempt to capitalize--or at least to eek some good out of--my generally fucked up mess of a fight-or-flight reflex (more accurately, my flight-or-more-flight reflex)? Which, were it a deep insight I've just shared of myself, I'd be, like, "Hey, man, that's, like, totally not blog-worthy!" but instead I'm, like, "Hey, internet (or, as of this writing, 'Hey, mom,'), check out my awesome preamble? Isn't it rad? Fucking Araby at the fair, am I right?

I don't want to be a scaredy-pants, especially in such a public forum. So maybe I should get over myself, as enjoyable as this is and/or might or might not be...

Two bands, neither exactly topical, except that they've been on tour together this year: Liturgy and deafheaven. Just in case you haven't been believing me so far about their listenablility, please review the following, and I'll follow up, like, really soon, to get to the point about both of them that I've been meaning to get to for a couple of weeks now:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No One Likes a Dead Blog Anyway

There's still a month and half left before it would have been a full year without a post on here, but I realized that that was the case today and panicked. That overstates it; I didn't panic. But I thought to myself... well, I thought to myself, but I'm not exactly sure what I thought. If you put the right kind of pressure on the correct spot of your brain stem, maybe, you activate the language centers up in the not-fish-brain part of yourself? Fuckin'... limbic system... parasympathetic nervous system, you know?

My friend Nick's blog--where I'd been podcasting for the call-it-8 months prior--shut down earlier this year (he's got a new comic coming out, by the way). So for the past 6 months, I've been, like, barely on the internet at all. Or not contributing to it, or not much, at any rate. So... internet, I've missed you? Or, pretend-internet-that-is-maybe-my-brothers-maybe-my-dad-and-maybe-nick, I've missed you?

Or, I haven't? But the thing that I've actually had on my mind to blog about is a couple of variant strains of post-black-metal, and it seems like I should say "hi," first, before I expect our little corner of the internet to find that even--let's say it--mildly interesting. Or, you'll probably find it interesting, because, if nothing else, it'll be some kind of insightful, but you maybe probably won't find it all that listenable.

So... yup, Blog's Not Dead (and heaven is, like, totally real).