Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tunes of 2011*

Greetings and Happy Solstice Day, fellow sentients!

You have my sincere apologies for the silence lately. I've been pouring all of my spare energy toward the completion of a rough draft for a certain project, and starting today I am not allowing myself to bathe or shave until it is complete. Afterwards I will seal it in a cask deep beneath the Earth's crust and revisit it the day of the vernal equinox (March 20). Then I will let you know if all the time and stress I sunk into the fucking thing was worth it. Between now and then I will be working on comics, Mother series pieces, making The Novel available, and other fun stuff. Hoo-hah!

Anyway! It's the end of the year again, and time for another run through my favorite songs of the last 365 (or so) days. As before, two points must be made before we wind up the hit machine:

1.) You will notice that most of these songs were recorded before 2011. I am not a "hep cat." What I am with is not it. This is not a list of my favorite songs released this year; it is a list of the songs I've enjoyed and listened to most this year.

2.) If you were to ask me, I would refer to my musical tastes as "eclectic." If you were to ask anyone else, they would probably describe them as "horrible." Just a warning.

3.) These are arranged roughly in the chronological order of when I first/most listened to them, so we end up with something like one song per month.

Shiloh -- Café del Mariachi, Nick Warren remix (2007)

I believe I've listened to this song only once over my home speakers, which was the first time I heard it. But I've probably listened to it in the car 100 - 200 times in the last year. It is an excellent soundtrack for a commute.

Writing compelling blurbs about electronic music can be damned difficult. Go on, take a glance at Pitchfork Media and Rolling Stone's annual Top 100 lists and see how many of the descriptions of/justifications for their selections are able to explain that song without referring to its lyrical content, vocals, instruments used, the personality and public image of the artist, or its context within the music scene.* A song becomes much easier to write about when you have more to work with than a faceless assortment of blips, beeps, and thumps.

As far as I can tell, "Café del Mariachi" is about gobbling psilocybin, sitting down at a Starbucks in Mexico, and feeling progressively more jittery and paranoid as the place fills up with inexplicably menacing people and the trip approaches its peak.

Okay, fine. You listen to it. You tell me what you get from it.


Solar Fields -- Das Bungalow (2009)

Oh! Weren't these guys part of last year's collection? I shall justify my inclusion of a song from the same record (Movements) by saying that it wasn't until this year that I bought and listened to the whole album.

Most songs on Movements evoke a sensation of drifting weightlessness, and "Das Bungalow" is par for the course. The impression I get is of Newtonian motion -- of moons, planets, and mechanical satellites lazily tracing out their orbital paths through empty space. Maybe what I'm actually doing is imagining scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey (which I saw for the first time this year and HOLY SHIT I WANT TO BE I AM A STAR-CHILD) and replacing Strauss, Khatchaturian, and Ligeti with Solar Fields?

But the title? "Das Bungalow" suggests that the thoughts and images the song's composers bore in mind while writing and recording it were much different than what it suggests to me.

Music is a funny thing. In some ways it is so much more communicative than language, and in others it is so immitigably opaque.


The Sounds -- Under My Skin (2002?)

Judging by the hundreds of thousands of hits on The Sounds' YouTube videos, I am forced to guess that I missed the boat by nine years or so. Par for the course for Pat.

I first heard them (and this song) during one of Radio Ghoul School's erratic periods of functionality, and was struck most by Maja's voice; it strikes this perfect tension between abrasive rawness and vulnerability. I can only imagine how it must feel to produce such sounds from one's own throat.

As it turns out, "Under My Skin" is a B-side from The Sounds' first album. I was disappointed when giving it a quick listen and finding it a lot softer, more polished, and less real than the song that introduced me to the band and HOLY SHIT RADIO GHOUL SCHOOL IS UP AGAIN. Listen to it while you can!

Anyway. The Sounds, ladies and gentlemen!

(Shoot. Radio Ghoul School is down again. That was fast.)


SPK -- Metal Dance (1983)

I can't get over my astonishment that music like this existed at one point. Even if the UK's sensibilities were still informed by punk, how the hell did a group like SPK ever get on television? How the hell did eighties pop ever fuse with old school industrial? By today's standards, could you even conceive of a pop act that uses power tools in its live performances and represents itself with lyrics about mankind's ruin mistaken for civilization's progress? God, I was born in the wrong fucking decade.

I still prefer SPK's earlier, more avant-garde material, but this dancey-noisey stuff ain't half bad. It's still got the same deliciously dark neo-Futurist flavor, but with a pinch of sugar and a splash of cream. "One step, one step forward, two steps back..."


Julianna Barwick -- Prizewinning (2011)

This would be the first of the two songs on this list which I was introduced to by NPR. Good god, am I ever becoming lame in my old age.

How to describe a sound like this without resorting to non-descriptors like "ethereal" and "ambient?" To me, "Prizewinning" sounds like the transition from heavy drowsiness to slumber and into lucidity. Maybe because I first heard it beneath the April full moon I can't but associate it with the changing of the seasons -- of winter thawing into spring on its approach back to summer and then toward winter again.

(When I shut my eyes with this song playing, it is always twilight or moonlit night. Plants do most of their growing at night, and people do most of their changing.)

I suppose none of that was very descriptive of the song, either.


Electric Universe -- Conscious (2009)

I take back what I said last year, psychedelic trance. I'll never quit you, and you won't hear me saying otherwise ever again.

I recall an evening back in October, when I was still getting settled at my abode in Pennsylvania. During a visit to an old college friend living in Philadelphia, I allowed myself to be talked into giving her and her roommates a lift to a concert in a West Philly park. Electric Universe's Sonic Ecstasy album was in the CD player, and man -- did my passengers ever whine about it. How can you listen to this, I feel like I'm having a seizure, etc., etc.

Funny. And here I though Electronic Universe was on the poppier end of the psy/goa spectrum.

When we arrived at the park and listened to a group of synth rock, chiptunes, and ambient noise acts run through their sets, my passengers did not make a peep of complaint -- which struck me as somewhat odd.

Maybe it's the lack of a human element? "Machines don't have feelings," writes an electronic music scholar, "and neither does trance." I would imagine that folks who tend to listen to indie pop bands, know the performers' names, and tell swooning stories about meeting them after their shows mist find it terribly off-putting to be confronted with a type of music consisting only of inorganic textures, tones, and time signatures; that is not only inarticulate but can hardly even be said to denote any of the three basic "happy," "sad," or "angry" feelings.

"Conscious" is impersonal, vaguely sinister, and makes you feel as though your own thoughts are having little choreographed spasms. And I love it.


London Elektricity -- Just One Second, DJ Kan mix (2011)

I wonder if anyone else who listens to a lot of electronic music gripes about this?

A scene half-dominated by faceless artists from Eurasia can be hard to navigate, so many of us turn to mixes and podcasts assembled by conscientious and savvy DJs to keep us in the loop and expose us to new artists. One hitch to this is that any decent DJ will tweak the tracks in his mix -- a pitch shift here, a BPM change there, etc. -- so it is often the case that the incomplete song you hear between 32:10 and 34:45 does not exist anywhere else as you're hearing it. When you check out the original song, what you listen to will be different from the tune that first caught your attention.

And so we come to London Elektricity's "Just One Second" (2008) which was remixed by Apex in (2009); and in 2011, the Apex remix was remixed by DJ Kan for its inclusion in his "Day of Parkour mix," which was aired on a popular Internet radio station earlier in the year.

Most of what's in "Day of Parkour" isn't quite my preferred flavor, but I really enjoy Kan's unique version of "Just One Second" under the right circumstances. There are certain sunny days in May when one feels entitled -- irresistibly compelled -- to roll the windows down on the highway and blast stupid happy electro-pop.

Well...here's a link to DJ Kan's page. You can listen to the first two minutes of the mix (which is also the first two minutes of the song), or download the whole thing.

Echotek vs. Side-Effect -- Another Age (2005)

Good psytrance comes on slow. Its mode of operation is gradually hypnotizing the listener and then setting off a localized explosion in his brain. The effect is severely diminished without a suitable interval between the crescendo's foot and its peak. Ideally, the crest of a psytrace track should, to put it in technical terms, melt the listener's face from his skull.

A lot of psy artists like to employ a build-up period before the climax -- like a receding trough preceding the tidal wave. I appreciate how "Another Era" slams the listener with a crest that comes straight out of nowhere like ZANG, and liquefies the brain just as well as any track with a drawn-out rise telegraphing its peak.


Tom Wopat -- Ode to Billy Joe (2011)

This would be the the second of the two songs introduced to me by NPR. The first song ("Prizewinning") I heard on New Sounds; this one I heard on Jonathan Schwartz's Saturday Show.

It must be said how much I love Jonathan Schwartz. Until I moved to Pennsylvania, I actually looked forward to hearing him on the radio every weekend afternoon. (I suppose I could still stream his shows, but listening to the radio in the car and at your desk just aren't the same.) His shows consist of him playing a stack of Sinatra records (maybe with some Crosby and a few other miscellaneous artists sprinkled here and there) and talking very slowly, very softly, and very aimlessly between songs. It is some seriously excellent radio, and I miss it.

One Saturday afternoon he played this BANGIN' cover of "Ode to Billy Joe," but I totally forgot the name of the artist by the time I stepped out of my car. Since WNYC doesn't archive his playlists, I had to drop Mr. Schwartz an email on the topic, and he responded first thing Sunday morning. I tell you my heart was going pitter-patter.

What? Oh, sorry -- I've allowed myself to become distracted from the matter at hand by my girlish crush on Jonathan Schwartz, and now we are almost out of space.

Tom Wopat's "Ode to Billy Joe" is a most excellent cover and a clever twist of a classic; the perfect soundtrack for waking up at noon on a languid August Sunday, loafing on the back porch, and drinking a beer for breakfast.

Listen! (Buy the album!)

Magman -- Sanctuary, PsyAmb mashup (2011)

For over a year now I've been a regular and avid listener of the monthly podcasts over at PsyAmb. Though I really dig this sort of music, it might do its job a little too well sometimes. After an an hour of psychedelic chillout tunes, you snap out of it and find that it is often hard to distinguish the parts you most enjoyed from the rest -- because the mixes are so aurally unobtrusive and consistently low key, the songs to blur together in your recollection until you've listened to it another couple of times.

Adding credence (as far as I'm concerned) to my "most people only care about music with recognizably human characteristics" theory is the inclusion of Magman's "Sanctuary" on this list as a representative of all the hundreds of psychill tunes I've listened to and loved during the past year. The original version of the song has no vocals, and is a decent enough listen -- but the inspired wizard over at PsyAmb took it, spliced it together with a Bill Laswell track (featuring Anne Clark and Genesis P-Orrige!!) called "The Tale of Caliph Hakem," and turned it into something that immediately snapped me out of my revels and made me dash to the computer to consult the playlist.

You can listen to/download the mix here; "Sanctuary" makes its entrance just after the thirty-five minute mark.

Art vs. Science -- Magic Fountain, Royalston Remix (2010)

I admit it: the inclusion of this song is a capitulation to dubstep. As a whole, the BBBBWWWAAAAAMMMMPPPP movement is still a festering polyp on the vital tissues of electronic music, but it's been around long enough that some artists have taken pains to mitigate its suckiness to the point where it is not only listenable ("drumstep?" I can maybe live with that), but actually kind of fun -- provided you're with your friends and screwed up enough that the silly lyrics make you fall over and laugh until you can't breathe. Such was the case with this version of "Magic Fountain" included on a Hospitality Records mix.

Sam (who introduced me to the tune) tells me that it always makes him think of an ice cream parlor on Long Island. I've never been there myself buMOTHER OF GOD THERE IT IS!!!

I can't look at this without experiencing some residual giggles from the first time I heard IN THE BEGINNING!! THERE WAS A FOUNTAIN!! BUT IT WASN'T!! JUST ANY FOUNTAIN!!!

(I must express my disappointment with the artists' choice of name. There is no good reason why art and science should be fighting.)


Immortal Technique -- Rich Man's World (2011)

Alright, kiddies. You want your song of the year? You've got it. I'm calling it.

Time Magazine is calling 2011 the year of the protestor. From Africa to Europe to the United States, people numbering in the thousands rose up to take a stand against tyranny. The Arab Spring was a backlash against the tyranny of oppressive dictatorships; the Occupy movement is an outcry against the tyranny of vampire squid (and other like bloodsuckers).

Occupy Wall Street was a long time coming, and Immortal Technique -- a panther among the preening and posturing pussycats of mainstream hip hop -- will tell you why. "Rich Man's World' might as well be Occupy's mission statement -- if it didn't suggest the movement wasn't doing or going far enough.

To let you know how serious he is about this business, Tech has put out his Martyr album out for free. Get it. Listen to it. Learn it. Love it. Viva La Revolución.


* What? Sure -- I talk about the package more than the contents, too. But I never claimed to be a music critic.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hicks

12/16/1961 - 2/26/1994

"And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh." -- Friedrich Neitzsche

If comedy is an escape from anything, it is an escape from illusions. The comic, by using the Voice of Reason, reminds us of our True Reality, and in that moment of recognition, we laugh, and the 'reality of the daily grind' is shown for what it really is — unreal…a joke. True comedy turns circles into spirals. What before seemed a tiresome, frightening, or frustrating wall, the comic deftly and fearlessly steps through, proving the absurdity of it all. The audience is relieved to know they’re not alone in thinking, 'This bullshit we see and hear all day makes no sense. Surely I’m not the only one who thinks so. And surely there must be an answer…' Good comedy helps people know they’re not alone. Great comedy provides an answer.” -- Bill Hicks

"Pornography is good. All drugs should be legal. War is wrong. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. Thank you, I'll be here all week." -- Bill Hicks

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cubehead Classix

For those of you arriving here from the 8easybits.net URL, welcome! If you're just tuning in, the reason you're here is because I accidentally nuked the .sql engine of the 8EB site during a host/domain transfer and don't know how to fix it.

But I have some good news: a new comics site is underway. From the beginning (before the ill-starred host transfer), the plan was to build a brand new site to host my brand new comics, which would be kept separate from the 8 Easy Bits archives. Although a full 50% of the scheme ended in total disaster, the second half of the project remains in progress. I'm going ahead and transferring most of the comics I've drawn since 2008 (or so) to the new site as originally intended, but this means that a whole lot of "Cube" archives get excluded, and they've got nowhere to go without the old 8 Easy Bits page.

And that's why I'm posting them here!

Well, that's one of the reasons. The other is that I've been so busy elsewhere I haven't had an opportunity (or the remaining psychic reserves) to compose a fully-baked update for this week. (Incidentally, these comics were first conceived to fulfill just such a demand.)

But man...this stuff is ancient. The very first ones date back to when I was twenty, which was eight years ago. Going through these now, I can see why some webcomic artists have deliberately erased or hidden the archives of their earliest work. While it might offer the longtime reader a moment of nostalgic comfort, revisiting really old material can be, for its author/artist, an embarrassing march down Memory Lane (which intersects with I Used To Really Suck At This Avenue and God What A Loser I Was Boulevard). Be warned: if you haven't read these before (or at least not recently), a lot of them are pret-t-t-y bad.

But it does go to show: we've come a long, long way together, haven't we? You have to praise me like you should.

And while we're at it, here are a few more oldies but goodies:

Oh man -- I'd nearly forgotten this one, which dates back to the first semester of my junior year at college (late 2004). For the sake of disclosure, the strip's inclusion is the reason I've tagged this post with a "marijuana" label. Kids, pay attention -- the preceding comic has been a dark portrait of cannabis consumption's effects upon the inexperienced and developing brain. (For your own safety, please just stick to safe, legal binge drinking.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"In His Efforts to Get to the Bottom of Things the Laureate Comes Within Sight of Malden, but So Far from Arriving There, Nearly Falls Into the Stars"

For your reading enjoyment this evening, I have transcribed a passage about humanity's psychological relationship with the universe (a topic we've touched upon from time to time) from John Barth's opus, The Sot-Weed Factor, published in 1960.

The date of publication bears especial mentioning because it sure as hell doesn't read like something written in the second half of the 20th Century: Barth purposefully (and brilliantly) imitates the style and structure of an epic novel from the 18th Century. In this is it is very much like a literary Venture Brothers, blurring the line between parodical pastiche and earnest homage to the extent that it's neither more of one than the other.

The bulk of the story covers the final years of the 17th Century in the life of the British poet Ebenezer Cooke. This qualifies The Sot-Weed Factor for the designation of historical novel (again, in a a parodic sense), since Ebenezer Cooke was a real person, whose claim to fame was a 700-line satirical poem whose title Barth borrows as the name of his own masterwork. Biographical details about the "real" Cooke are scarce; except for the material concerning the "The Sot-Weed Factor's" publication in the early 18th century, everything in Barth's fictitious account is from his own imagination.

Barth's Eben Cooke is cast in the mold of Voltaire's Candide -- he is well-bred and exceptionally educated, but an utter stranger to the workings of the world beyond the academy and his father's Middlesex estate. In a keen stroke of metatextual parody, Eben comes to hold his own innocence (which the reader immediately perceives as his most salient characteristic) as his highest personal virtue. Nobody should be surprised that Eben's introduction to the great wide yonder is just as excruciatingly (and hilariously) jarring as Candide's.

Eben's journey begins when he receives a commission from Lord Baltimore himself to sail to across the Atlantic and pen a poetical epic that sings and immortalizes the great virtues and heroes of Baltimore Colony. Scarcely does he arrive on the shores of present-day Maryland when his fantastic visions of a pastoral New World Ilium are rudely shattered: contrary to his expectations, Baltimore Colony is a swampy shithole populated by criminals, drunkards, slavers, prostitutes, opium-smugglers, hucksters, and worse. (You can read all about it in the original "Sot-Weed Factor" by the original Eben Cooke.)

But the real star of the novel, as far as I'm concerned, is Eben's teacher, guide, and friend, Henry Burlingame -- 25% Dante's Virgil, 25% Candide's Pangloss, and 50% Faustus's Mephistopheles. Comic book fans will surely spot something of Marvel Comics' Mystique in him as well -- Henry is a bona fide shapeshifter, appearing in various guises and a Rolodex of assumed names, acting as a double and triple agent in the machinations of the New World's conflicting power brokers -- a game into which he draws the hapless Eben Cooke.

That's the basic context of the passage you're about to read. Eben has just staggered into Baltimore Colony (after an altercation with some pirates off the coast) and has just convened at an inn with with Henry Burlingame, having just encountered him in one of his various guises. Burlingame has filled him in on the latest developments in the political intrigues concerning the colony's future, and the already disoriented Eben becomes distraught:

Ebenezer shook his head in a matter not clearly affirmative or negative. "That is a part of it, Henry; you go at such a pace, I have no time to think things through as they deserve! I cannot collect my wits e'en to think of all the questions I would ask, much less explore your answers. How can I know what I must do and where I stand?"

Burlingame laid his arm across the poet's shoulders and smiled. "What is't you describe, my friend, if not man's lot? He is by mindless lust engendered and by mindless wrench expelled, from the Eden of the womb to the motley, mindless world. He is Chance's fool, the toy of aimless Nature a mayfly flitting down the winds of Chaos!"

"You mistake my meaning," Ebenezer said, lowering his eyes.

Burlingame was undaunted: his eyes glittered. "Not by much, methinks. Once long ago we sat like this, at an inn near Magdalene College do you remember? And I said, 'Here we sit upon a blind rock hurtling through a vacuum,1 racing to the grave.' 'Tis our fate to search, Eben, and do we seek our soul, what we find is a piece of that same black Cosmos whence we sprang and through which we fall: the infinite wind of space. . ."

In fact a night wind hand sprung up and was buffeting the inn. Ebenezer shivered and clutched the edge of the table. "But there is so much unanswered and unresolved! It dizzies me!"

"Marry!" laughed Henry. "If you saw it clear enough 'twould not dizzy you: 'twould drive you mad! This inn here seems a little isle in a sea of madness, doth it not? Blind Nature howls without, but here 'tis calm how dare we leave? Yet lookee round you at these men that dine and play at cards, as if the sky were their mother's womb! They remind me of the chickens I once saw fed to a giant snake in Africa: when the snake struck one, the others squawked and fluttered, but a moment after they were scratching about for corn, or standing on his very back to preen their feathers! How is't these men don't run a-gibbering down the streets, if not that their minds are lulled to sleep?" He pressed the poet's arm. "You know as well as I that human work can be magnificent; but in the face of what's out yonder" he gestured skywards "'tis the industry of Bedlam! Which sees the state of things more clearly: the cock that preens on the python's back, or the lunatic that trembles in his cell?"2

Ebenezer sighed. "Yet I fail to see the relevance of this; 'tis not germane at all to what I had "

"Not germane?" Burlingame exclaimed. "'Tis the very root and stem of't! Two things alone can save a man from madness." He indicated the others patrons of the inn. "Dull-headedness is one, and far the commoner: the truth that drives men mad must be sought for ere it's found, and it eludes the doltish or myopic hunter. But once 'tis caught and looked on, whether by insight or instruction, the captor's sole expedient is to force his will upon't ere it work his ruin! Why is't you set such store by innocence and rhyming, and I by searching out my father and battling Coode?3 One must needs make and seize his soul, and then cleave fast to't, or go babbling in the corner; one must choose his gods and devils on the run, quill his own name upon the universe, and declare, 'Tis I, and the world stands such-a-way!' One must assert, assert, assert, or go screaming mad. What other course remains?"

"One other," said Ebenezer with a blush. "'Tis the one I flee. . ."

"What? Ah, 'sheart indeed! The state I found you in at college!4 How many have I seen like that at Bedlam wide-eyed, feculent, and blind to the world! Some boil their life into a single gesture and repeat it o'er and o'er; others are so far transfixed, their limbs remain where'er you place 'em; still others take on false identities: Alexander, or the Pope in Rome, or e'en the Poet Laureate of Maryland "

Ebenezer looked up, uncertain whether it was he or the impostors whom Burlingame referred to.

"The upshot of't is," his friend concluded, "if you'd escape that fate you must embrace me or reject me, and the course we are committed to, despite the shifting lights that we appear in, just as you must embrace your Self as Poet and Virgin, regardless, or discard it for something better."5 He stood up. "In either case don't seek whole understanding the search were fruitless, and there is no time for't. Will you come with me now, or stay?"

Ebenezer frowned and squinted. "I'll come," he said finally, and went out with Burlingame to the horses. The night was wild, but not unpleasant: a warm, damp wind roared out of the southwest, churned the river to a froth, bent the pines like whips, and drove a scud across the stars. Both men looked up at the splendid night.

"Forget the word sky," Burlingame said off-handedly, swinging up on his gelding, "'tis a blinder to your eyes. There is no dome of heaven yonder."

Ebenezer blinked twice or thrice: with the aid of these instructions, for the first time in his life he saw the night sky. The stars were no longer points on a black hemisphere that hung like a sheltering roof above his head; the relationship between them he saw now in three dimensions, of which the one most deeply felt was depth. The length and breadth of space between the stars seemed trifling by comparison: what struck him now was that some were nearer, some farther out, and others unimaginably remote. Viewed in this manner, the constellations lost their sense entirely; their spurious character revealed itself, as did the false presupposition of the celestial navigator, and Ebenezer felt bereft of orientation. He could no longer think of up and down: the stars were simply out there, as well below him as above, and the wind appeared to howl not from the Bay6 but from the firmament itself, the endless corridors of space.

"Madness!" Henry whispered.

Ebenezer's stomach churned; he swayed in the saddle and covered his eyes. For a swooning moment before he turned away it seemed that he was heels over head on the bottom of the planet, looking down on the stars instead of up, and that only by dint of clutching his legs about the roan mare's girth and holding fast to the saddlebow with both his hands did he keep from dropping headlong into those vasty7 reaches!

[1] Burlingame must be a greater prodigy than even he knows: it wasn't until the 20th Century that the existence of the interstellar vacuum achieved general acceptance. Even Newton himself accepted aether theory to account for light's propagation through empty space.

[2] This passage reminds me of one of my favorite books, Celia Green's The Human Evasion.

[3] A treasonous machinator who Burlingame seeks to undermine. Barth probably is poking fun at the abstruse webs of intrigue found in 17th and 18th Century novels, but in any case The Sot-Weed Factor's player chart is probably impossible to follow without the aid of a detailed diagram. I finished the book and still have no idea whether its Coode is an out-of-reach schemer, a boogeyman invented by Burlingame, or Henry himself. This in itself may warrant a reread.

[4] Remember that year or two after graduating from college where you moved back in with your parents, worked a part-time job, and sat around playing video games, smoking weed, sleeping until noon, and wondering what the hell to DO with your useless life? Eben was in similar straits during the time to which he refers. He has no desire to go back to it.

[5] One chapter ago, during Eben and Henry's reunion:

"You were so much altered when I saw you last, and now you've altered back to what you were!"

"'Tis easy but to say oft what I've said to you ere now, Eben: your true and constant Burlingame lives only in your fancy, as doth the pointed order of the world. In fact you see a Heraclitean flux: whether 'tis we who shift and alter and dissolve; or you whose lens changes color, field, and focus; or both together. The upshot is the same, and you may take it or reject it."

[6] The Chesapeake, of course.

[7] "Vasty?" Really, Mr. Barth?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Playlists & Self-Diagnoses

Two weeks ago, about 74% of the music I listened to consisted of psytrance and ambient tracks.

Last week, the percentage of psytrance and ambient tracks on my playlists decreased by 56%, comprising 33% of all the music I listened to. Meanwhile, the combined total of Alec Empire, SPK, and Skinny Puppy tracks on my playlist comprised 46% of the tunes on that week's queue.

This week, psytrance and ambient tracks compose 13% of my playlist. The combined total of tracks by Alec Empire, SPK, and Skinny Puppy has decreased by 35%, and now composes 31% of my playlist. The combined total of songs by The Swans, Whitehouse, and Converge now account for almost 50% of all the music I've listened to this week.

The significance of this should be obvious: thanks to New Media software, I can now easily and accurately monitor my own mood swings. What an age!

(Oh, shoot. I'm behind in answering comments, emails, and Formspring questions again. Will catch up tomorrow afternoon.)