December 13th, 2003



So it's 2003. I bought my first record with my own money in 1966, almost 40 years ago. I still have it -- mono version of the Beatles 'Rubber Soul.' The records threaten to take over my studio -- 4 4" shelves, several crates, more crates downstairs ...

Yet, when I was a young sprat there were a lot of records that I knew well but never actually owned. I've been seeing them on CD on used, cheap, so I've been on a buying spree for late-70s/early 80s. Recent (highly recommended) buys:

Gang of Four "Entertainment" -- punky songs, but a uniquely tight band. They might be going on about Capitalism or something, but the real attraction is the precise guitar slashes and metronomic drumming.

Wire "Pink Flag" -- again the playing's the thing. The songs are stripped down, no nonsense, simplistic screeds, delivered with power and conviction.

Joy Division "Closer" -- there's something wrong with Joy Division's music; a test case in point for the Oblique Strategy "find the flaw, magnify it." It's monotonous music, with huge sheets of undifferentiated noise from the guitar, and gloomy vocals. And yet ... well loads of ink have been spilled over Joy Division and a cult of personality grown up around Ian Curtis. I don't need to add to it.
Peter Hook is the anchor keeping the madness together; he is a phenomenal, underrated bass player; something he proved even more in New Order.

Pixies "Surfer Rosa" -- I never bought this when it came out because it was ubiquitous on college radio. Whatever I was buying at the time seemed more pressing. Listening to it now, the songs on this CD have a sort of pop inevitability. Their influence on nearly everything that's happened since is huge. Would there have been a Nirvana without Pixies?

Anyway, I think sometimes it's good to listen to old stuff now and then...

So how vain am I?

I posted links to tracks I've done lately and not gotten any response via e-mail or comments. Since I'm needy and conceited, I went looking through logs on the server, and was surprised to see that 30 people at least started downloading my latest track, and 48 people have been to my '2003 Retrospective' page. angryrobot, entropichusk, and auditorium were recognizable, but there were also people I don't know from the UK, UK, Japan and Australia.

So hey, don't feel bashful about responding when I post a track. It's a major boost to hear from people who like them. I can even use constructive criticism. I don't even mind 'YOU SUCK!'

And it's not just me; I listen to people's stuff on line all the time and respond, and everyone seems excited to hear from someone, ANYONE. Those of you who don't make music have no idea of how the palpable pressure of being ignored affects those who do. Making tracks is something you do mostly by yourself and it can be pretty lonely, and it's something that you do as a way to communicate with others.

Of course as an artist, you should be doing it because you have no choice, because it's an inner drive to above all satisfy yourself. Maybe, but one also wishes to be noticed, admired, and loved for what a clever music maker you are. Oh and sometimes it would be cool to make money out of it.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

(no subject)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is playing at the New Strand in West Liberty. Woo Hoo! $3 admission, kickass popcorn (with free refills) and a real theatre, not some plastic googleplex in the mall.