Learning to Listen.

For being a fan of music all of my life, I am terrible at listening to it. I usually deconstruct every part, learn lyrics to sing poorly, or use it as a backtrack for writing. Over the last week, I have started to just sit down and let it all happen.

No, it did not revolutionize music for me. Also, if I pointed all the ways that I could listen to it differently would be ironic: I would just be using music as I did in the past. I also will not say that I meditated to it, because that would just be using it as a backtrack again. What did happen is amazing. I just zoned out and let the sounds flow over me. I was able to enjoy music without the distraction of me trying to learn it without learning it.

I guess that comes with knowing six instruments mildly well. I cannot speak for everyone, but I tended to learn the parts without learning the parts. In the past, I would be able to perform songs that I never played along with. Great for pick-up gigs where you are playing covers with a band you have never practiced with, horrible for enjoying something. I tended to get wrapped up in changes. I would avoid things that sounded too much like something else. What I thought was a distaste for a lack of originality was actually a fear of performing an accent or key out of place. I was giving myself performance anxiety without performing.

Self discovery and self exploration are things I find myself doing a lot now. Most people probably look at my discoveries and laugh. They might be embarrassed for me for just figuring that out. Friends might be reading this and saying “no fucking shit you moron” but I feel like my putting this realization out into the world may garnish several other people noticing they do it to.

This thing (rant?) is thanks to me listening to the same channel that I have been listening to for far too long now. It is available 24/7 so I just put it on whenever I want to listen to something but not get distracted by it. It was through that thought process that I gradually deconstructed the way I listen to music and came to that startling discovery

Today I feel like highlighting an album that I have owned for a long time, but only recently gave the proper listening to. Beautiful. Haunting. Amazing. This duo is brilliant at what they do. I will admit, this album is only recommended for the minority. Listen to it first before committing to buying.

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Music :: Die Hexe

Between the quiet demise of Mind the Music TO and me just not talking about anything music related for a very long time, I feel like I have something missing. Like a part of me is incomplete.

I recently read over my review of Die Hexe’s first album and realized that I rated it highly, but really did not explain why I loved it. Why I found it one of the greatest albums I have had the pleasure of listening to.

I think a part of my reason for writing the review as I did was that I was just putting it bluntly. I constantly had the task of writing those reviews for an audience who did not know me from a hole in the wall, so I made my statements general and exact without going into long winded explanations and stories detailing why I felt the way I did.

I will now rectify that.

DIE HEXE :: ST EP

If my fist three paragraphs and long winded explanation for revisiting this piece of art was not enough reason, this is (without hyperbole) one of the greatest albums I have ever heard.

The EP starts with a perfectly orchestrated guitar feedback, then launches into chaos. I really reminds me of a strange cross between Counterparts’ Prophets and Buried Inside’s Chronoclast: Selected Essays On Times Reckoning And Auto-Cannibalism.

Now, with that said: it is absolutely nothing like either of those albums. It just reminds me of the same heavy emotional feel that they evoke. The best way of putting the feeling into words is being late for something important and everything is going wrong: that feeling of your heart beating hard with every passing moment. The need, not just feeling, to scream along with the words even if you don’t know what they are.

Now, take that high stress feeling, and puncuate it with absolute bliss and a calm that can only be experianced in music.Yeah, that feeling.

Yes, this is a metal/hardcore album. That should not disuade fans of lighter music to at least expeience it. That is exactly what this album is: an experience. The emotional rolling coaster one feels as the tracks seemlessly bleed into one another is pure extacy.

I think my favourite part about this album is that it is never showy. There are no traditional solo’s. There is a lead guitar part in Long Live the New Flesh, but it is more of a lead than a solo.

Yeah, if you havn’t noticed, I fucking love this album. I want this band to get the recognition they deserve. Please, do yourself a favour and listen to it. I never push listening to the whole thing. Usually the first couple of songs give you enough to go on. I will not go that way with this album: PLEASE LISTEN TO THE WHOLE THING. Every song is beautiful. Every emotion is felt in full.

This is where I justify how this recording reminds me of death. I mean, I could do the whole pretentious breakdown how it starts running, mildly slows down,  and ends with my third favourite crescendo ending, only to be topped by Cursive’s Domestia and Sparta’s Wiretaps & Scars, but I will leave that description to you.

Seriously, float them a few dolllars for the album, check them out on FaceBook, and remember that I love them to no end.

Just a friendly reminder that I will be releasing the first of anewsin Publications on the first.. The story is called “Elaine” and I am very excited to hear what everyone thinks. There is a .sample available if you want to read what is coming up. If reception is okay, there will be another story in September. I am working on November’s release already, and my good friend Hannah has something set up for September (more information on that soon). Please, support me on Patreon to help me get through life.

<3

…you will die.

I posed a question to my Facebook the other day: if you had to hear one song and then you died, what would it be?

I never really put any further explanation, nor have I voiced my personal choice. I was just curious how many replies I would get, and what kind of songs people would post.

I found the results of the pole confusing. Granted, I never made it explicit what the circumstances of your death would be. Maybe that is why I found the answers so confounding.

The rules are that once the song ends, you will die immediately. What I had in mind was a gunshot or massive heart attack. This would ensure that there would be no way to recover or survive, and the final song that played would follow you into the void.

I had some interesting replies. One fellow thought that he would break my game and just go with the Song that Doesn’t End (you’re welcome for that link) and from that point he would live forever. With the parameters I placed on the question, I fully understand why he went this way. To him, my official reply is: well played, sir. Well played. Enjoy that song following you around for the remainder of all time.

The other big reply that I got was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Though, that song is amazing, it is so long. You would be dwelling on the fact that you are going to die for the entire 5:55 that the song goes on for. I do not know about you, but for the almost six minuets it is playing, I would not be able to enjoy it. I would just be cringing and counting until my demise.

That is why my choice would be Mother Night Revisited by Premonitions of War. The song is stupid short (1:21) and it is busy, loud, and distracting. The cacophony it creates would drown out my thoughts of my impending demise and it ends abruptly, not giving me any time to dwell on the fact that it is ending.

Maybe I am just biased, but I want to just cease living, not contemplate my entire life throughout my favourite song.

AMENDMENT:

Well, amendment is a strong word for the situation. More like another idea, or concept, that I would like to share because it is so cool!

The album Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favourites of all time. It is dark, cynical, honest, and beautiful. One thing that it does (in the most sneaky way) is open with a machine sound. The album plays and that machine sound seems to stop. Where it gets really cool is that the sound does not actually stop, or even change volume. The sound hovers in the back. It is not fully noticeable again until the very last song where the guitar and vocals clear for a moment to revel that it has been there the entire time. Until then, one may not notice just how invasive the sound has been through the entire album.

Then: it stops.

The album ends, therefore the sound ends. Actually, if you wish to get petty, the sound ends one second before the album does. The silence is deafening. At that moment, you are left to reminisce on every word that was sang up until that point.

I am pretty sure that it was not intentional, but it beautifully demonstrates my view on death. Everything ends abruptly and there is nothing.

Fuck, that sounds bleak.

ANYWAY: I am curious. Please, let me know in the comments what song you would like to die to immediately preceding. Do you have a reason for the choice? What is your take on my choice?

I did a bad

So, I was doing all this planning and research for my next update. It was going to be another top-10 list of albums that I highly recommend listening to. I was planning on going about it entirely differently and I was genuinely excited to share it.

Then: I did something horrible.

I do not have a strong excuse, but it did not save I probably hit the “be a moron and throw away hours of work?” button when it came up.

REGARDLESS: I spent seven hours getting together some amazing albums, finding songs, and writing blurbs about each one. It probably was not all that good, but I thought it was fantastic.

I have talked before on this site about the importance of doing something you enjoy to survive another moment in this bleak existence. I have three sources for distraction: music, writing, my wife. That is not to say that is all I have in life, quite the opposite: between friends and family, my calendar is rarely empty. I will say those are my favourite and most time consuming things because I make them so. I would not have it any other way.

Another Top 10

I awoke this morning with lyrics in my head. I assume that is not strange for the masses, but I am a drummer: I usually do not remember lyrics because I am distracted by the music. I had this urge to highlight songs that actually mean something to me, so here are the top 10. I know that I have done something like this before, but I am going to point out the songs that mean something to me, not the albums. This list contains tracks from albums that would never touch a top ten, and there are one or two that I only listen to the album for that song.

I reiterate: I am a drummer. A couple of these songs are just on this list because the drums are so fucking cool. In the interest of transparency, I will point that out when it comes to fruition.

Animals as Leaders- CAFO
Let’s start with one where the drums sold me on the very premiss. CAFO is easily one of those complicated songs I have ever heard. I think why I put this on my top ten as opposed to something from Godspeed You! Black Emperor is because it remains one of my favourite memories. I saw this back open for BTBM a few years ago. They were playing a flawless set, then they got to this song. The drummer added just ONE snare hit before a fairly easy part (compared to the rest of the song, anyway), and the guitar players got SO lost. It was just so fantastic to see that even Gods can fuck something up.

Samsaris- Góða Tungl
No, I cannot pronounce this title to save my life. I can, however, proudly put it in my top list. This song is absolutely beautiful. There is something incredibly haunting about the clarinet in contrast with the vocals. This song speaks to me on every level, though I have no clue what they are saying.
I refuse to look up a translation. I am afraid of hating what they are actually saying.

Blood Brothers- Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck
A rather bleak way of describing eternal love and blind devotion, I first heard this song around a time when I thought I was in love with a girl. In hindsight, she was horrible. I know she does not read this blog (because we hate each other now) but, this song is for you.
Love love love love love love love. (rhymes with pity now)

Kevin Drew- TBTF
There was a time I almost got those four letters tattooed on my person: TBTF (to beautiful to fuck) is a story about love. Innocent love. A desperate person holding onto the relationship they have with a friend who is attractive.
ALTERNATE MEANING:
Someone who is rejecting someone they should be interested in, but they cannot justify it.
To be honest, I have no fucking idea what this song is about. I just know that I love it and relate far too much to it. Because I am oblivious to what it is actually about, I use it to rationalize uncomfortable situations I found myself in with friends.

The Dresden Dolls- Girl Anachronism
Piano and drums? Yes, please! Is it to bold to ask for sarcastic and self deprecation on the side? No? Perfect.
I play. This whole album is amazing, but I think that it is perfectly summed up by this track. Fast. Angry. Dynamic.

Incubus- A Crow Left Of the Murder
Puns in the name and probably the coolest guitar riff ever written by a band, it is easy for me to talk about how much I love this song. The more interesting way to do it is to leave the link up top and see how many of you listen to it.

Placebo- Without You I’m Nothing
Think Pink Floyd, but modern. I almost put the version with David Bowie on this list, but the original will do beautifully.

Nine Inch Nails- La Mer
I fucking love this song. Soothing, beautiful, haunting. The trifecta of amazing. I actually refuse to look up the translation for this song for fear of ruining the feel of it.

Poison the Well- The Realist
Does this song demonstrate everything I love about this band? No. It does the opposite. This song contains the most beautiful vocal melody I think I have ever heard and I just need to share it with everyone I meet. Listen. Enjoy.

Sufjan Stevens- I Want To Be Well
This was the song that actually inspired me to make this list. I fell in love with this song back when the album came out in 2010. I was working in a record store and was trying desperately to be the cool-indi-music-guy (and failing very hard at it). I had gotten into Sufjan about a year earlier from the Illinoise album, and I thought I got where he was coming from. The Age Of Adz proved to me that I should shut up and admit that I do not understand anything about music what-so-ever.
This song was my anthem. When I was cruising around at three in the morning, I would blare this song out my windows, singing along and staining my voice. I am positive that I disturbed a few sleeping people, but I was earnestly saying those words in all their glory. “I want to be well.” If I only knew then that not five years later I could relate more those words than I did at the time. If I only focused on what I had and not what I was loosing. Maybe, just maybe, things all could have been amazing.

I digress. Do yourself a favour and PLEASE listen to these songs. Especially the last one, it holds a place in my life that only I know of.

To state again: these are just 10 that remind me to listen to the whole album again. They are in no way my top favourite albums, and not even the top recommendations I could make. They are just some great songs that I find myself thinking about a lot.

Ignorable

I am terrible. In the last post, I promised something about winterizing a wheelchair (or something like that). I have not even looked into the research for that. I have been distracted by Caddicarus posting his complete collections of seasons. I am a nerd. I am well aware of that.

I have thought about looking at Media’s portrayal of being in a wheelchair. I really like the idea, but I just thought of it today and I am planning to put a good bit of research into it. So, for today, I am going to talk about the importance of finding good ignorable music.

Good Ignorable Music? If something is ignorable, does it really matter the quality? If it is good, wont you be distracted by the amazing radiating from the speakers?

Ignorable music, to me, is comfort music. It is something you can have on in the background. Something to do chores to. Something to enjoy, without the urge to listen to every beat or lyric.

My go-to is Chevelle’s Sci-Fi Crimes. I think it was horribly underrated and I feel it is not talked about enough. With all the praise I can give this album, it is the definition of ignorable to me. Nothing is overtly complicated, I have listen to it a million times, and the lyrics are pointless in a good way.

I discovered this while doing dishes the other day and the sounds of this album were penetrating the drone of the running water. I never once looked up and regretting not hearing part X of the song that was playing. Quite the opposite, really: I knew every bit even if I could just hear certain frequencies individually and not as a whole.

Nothing bothers me more than walking in somewhere playing shit music and the people just remark “I put on something to ignore.” IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HORRIBLE! You can ignore favourites simply because you already know what is coming.

</rant>

How to define amazing.

Hi! Happy New Year! I hope that this year sucks less!

That’s right! My first post of 2018 is going to be about music! I feel like it has been a long time

I found myself deep in contemplation about what makes an album “the best” in my mind. Was it that every song is fantastic? Is it just that I really enjoy the feeling that the album leaves me? Is it repetition? Timing? Singles? Not the singles?

As I write this, I am listening to Mudvayne. Specifically, the end of all things to come. I love this album, and have since its release back in 2002. 16 years of pleasure? One would be forgiven in believing that it is a favourite. Not one song is of lesser quality, minus the last song, and the tone is the brilliant oppressive feel that I look for in so many things. The lyrics, which I usually do not pay any head, are fantastic. I can confidently say that it does not even enter into the top five.

Of course, surprise to no one, Cursive’s Domestica and Bibio’s Ambivilance Avenue will always hold the top two spots. I really cannot choose which of those two win the battle.

Why those two? They both speak to me on both an artistic level and a personal level. Both albums forgo traditional focus in their own ways. Cursive in its deconstruction and self-depreciation. Bibio in its adaption and twist on contemporary and modern music.

Now, why do those albums win above something like Melody’s Echo Chamber? You see, an argument could be made that this versus Bibio would expose how a whole genre similarity and demonstrate how different artist could tamper with music tropes to create something different but similar but fantastically unique. My arguments over why Bibio is fantastic could be applied to why Melody’s Echo Chamber (2012) is better in someways. In fact, it would be hard to have one without the other.

I believe the difference comes down to a lack of disappointment, but in a very strange way. Bibio released, following Ambivilace Avenue, what I consider to be two of the worst albums. They had a lot to live up to, granted, but they fell flat in every respect. I have only heard the first release of Melody’s Echo Chamber. Melody Prichard has an album coming up this year, and we will see if Bibio gets dethroned, but the lack of releases makes me forget about this album. I look at my list of Bibio currently, and remember how far he has fallen. I realize that is a strange way to quantify my love for AA (I am sick of my computer saying that I spelt everything wrong, so AA it is) but that is the way I do it.

Cursive’s Domestica is much clearer why I love. Yes, Sparta’s Wiretap Scars is very similar in the feel. That album is also very close to being in this internal debate. What it lacks is the honesty and the brutal self-actualization that Cursive brings. One listen to Radiator Hums and you will understand what I am talking about.

Although, I will concede to Wiretap Scars having the best ending of any album ever.

Well! That was a much needed ramble! This debate had been going on in my mind, so I though that I would write this without any planning or debating. I hope you enjoyed my recap for 2017 (AKA: the worst year I have lived in my life so far). I have an idea to talk about winterizing wheelchairs for this, the season to stay inside with coffee. I hope that I can string that together and get it to you by next week.

Also, I am financially fucked. Please consider donating to my Patreon to help me keep this site open for another year, I would really appreciate it. Remember, just $2 and I will post about how we have met, OR, I will post a story about dragons. Really, it is up to you, but I thank you for reading this far regardless.