Saturday, May 12, 2018

Folio of Decay

Three slices of The Atlantic's degeneration.

First we have a highly technical issue, regarding life and death from 1981.
It has politics, but not party politics.
He asked me my opinion [about the specs requiring ball powder] after the fact. In other words, this was rather an odd meeting. … I looked at the technical data package and he said, “What is your opinion?” and I said, “I would advise against it. …”
I asked, “So what is going to happen?” And he said, “Well, they already decided this is the way they are going to go,” meaning the committee. I said, “So why are you asking me now?” and he said, “I would have felt better if you had approved of the package.”
And I said, “Well, now we both don’t feel so good.”
It has references to technical issues, requiring the reader to keep track of the difference between .30 calibre ammo and .22, the 3250 fps muzzle velocity, chamber pressure, and mentions exact measurements for rifling twist. Not that it abjures human interest; there are snippets of letters written by the rifle's end-users, who are more accurately called its victims. As far as I can tell there are no pious lies in this piece.

I would have liked it to mention that Army Ordnance clearly preferred the .30 because larger things are manlier and thus higher status, while actually defeating your enemy is at best a distant second. "The soldiers want lighter gear? What are they, little girls?" However, explicit status-awareness is dark knowledge and habitual explicit status-awareness is newer than '81 in any case.

This is a Spartan writing about Athenian effects on Spartan issues, with an Athenian outlook.


Next up, from 2008, something almost purely in the human-interest style. (It's written by a lit professor, after all.) It deals with an important decision that affects all aspect of life, and can easily make the difference between successful retirement and working until your health fails.
It has poignant asides.
Some of the young guys, the police-officers-to-be, have wonderfully open faces across which play their every passing emotion, and when we start reading “Araby” or “Barn Burning,” their boredom quickly becomes apparent. They fidget; they prop their heads on their arms; they yawn and sometimes appear to grimace in pain, as though they had been tasered. Their eyes implore: How could you do this to me?
It mentions but does not enumerate the monetary costs borne by students and the symmetric windfall received by the university. While today I think every reader will instantly identify which political party this piece is a flag for, the author shows little awareness of the button's hotness, and clearly resides on the other side of the aisle.

This is an Athenian writing in Athenian style about how not everyone is an Athenian.


Finally we have the most recent issue, which decided the best use of some Atlantic column-inches was to pontificate about how vowely are babby's names. They can't keep politics out of even the fluffiest pieces. "Unites America." It's letter-choice. Letters. I wouldn't call this Athenian. This is Genovesi pretending to be Athenian, and not particularly well.

I can't help but notice multiple articles seem to be straight from Twitter; either directly invoking #MeToo, in a rather transparent attempt to say, "Pay attention to me, too!"; or referencing Kanye West's recent stunts. Oh, and this: "Oprah to Graduates: Vote! Vote! Vote!" Thank you for that profound commentary. Oprah is of course famous for her novel insights, worthy of deep analysis in prestigious periodicals.

I don't believe it is a coincidence that the length of the articles is dropping monotonically within my sample.

--

Serendipity handed me this one. More are planned but don't hold your breath.

28 comments:

parisian said...

Around two (maybe three) years ago, I read a fair number of posts here, although none that went back far. All of it was fascinating, and a sense of sledgehammer had become predictable enough that I would stop, once for a long time, then started reading regularly, with the occasional blip that was still necessary.

You would know what that was, though. Or you probably will (so tell me.) I went through immense changes since then, which may be all the difference is--now I think none of it is 'lighter' in your sense of 'fluff', which even then I'm just using out of some rough convenience of its being here--but it's true I never find the 'sledgehammer' strike, even though you're still severe and a good bit of some sort of heavy metal a lot of the time.

What I didn't pick up at the time was the wit which is all over the place now. Is some of that new, or did I just not hear it? This 'Athenian' conceit is incredibly witty, but one doesn't learn less or search out less (due to one's ignorance of some of it) by its being so. I mean something along the lines of this, which mainly merely suggested my asking this:

"I don't believe it is a coincidence that the length of the articles is dropping monotonically within my sample." Not precisely the same at all, but wondering if you see your writing style as having changed in any significant way, or whether I just was able to read it differently and very often tend to start laughing even at the beginning of some of the tweets. It has, hasn't it? The lead is always there, but it also seems to lift (not in 'inspirational' sense of 'uplifting', although it's 'inspiring', that very different word) sometimes, maybe just having found out that that's where some of it goes. But UP! somewhat like those Magritte stones not subject to gravity maybe--like your relative 'similarities' of the two chosen classes, one with its cruel success, the other with the quick deterioration into its mostly self-made slippery slope.

Alrenous said...

Most writers write for an audience about 15 IQ points below their own IQ. You can see this, for example, in the way commentators are almost always just that bit simpler than the original post. (Michael S. at UR is a notable exception, and of course I aim to be as well.) I used to think really really hard while writing to attempt to narrow this gap, ideally writing for someone of exactly my intelligence. Doing so makes jokes unfeasible.

The Athenian thing is originally Moldbug's, I think. I added Genovesi for the merchant caste.

My childhood experience with argument was that it was ineffective. I responded by pushing harder. "I must not be using enough force." It is a compliment for an argument to be forceful, is it not? Eventually, partially through blogging, I realized argument is ineffective by nature. Those who can hear it generally have already heard it. Using force just makes it more difficult for a person who fell through the cracks to accept, due to the true impression of being pressured.

Similarly my identity was wrapped up in getting my arguments accepted, which is never a good look. Having disentangled that I can take a far more sanguine tone.

Someone started messaging me about my earliest posts, and I went back to look at them to see if I had any perspective to add. However (predictably) I find them unreadable. My spine tries to cringe itself out and merrily flee across the hills. I want folk to tell me they're awful so I can atone for the crime of having written them like that. (Instead I atone by leaving them up.) Yes, my style has changed.

My philosophy always lead up. I'm simply getting better at displaying that aspect. I'm Sith. It's all about getting more powerful, more competent, and the faith that all problems are solvable.

parisian said...

It's partly the sharpness of my ear, an organ which can be quite active as well as just hearing passively. So the style did change, but I was listening for it, because I was interested in the things even when I couldn't carry through 2-3 years ago, and would have to recuperate. It's not always that it's funny, or I wouldn't be saying anything worth paying attention to for you. Like these two (below), which were somehow written so that I could hear them as answers I could understand than I have previously. By that I just mean that there's something about what you're writing about, and then secondarily the style in which you write it that is one of those things I will automatically want to hear, not differently in some ways from some music--or any other sounds or indeed, writing, I'd want to hear. So these two were stunning yesterday, although the laughs were supplied from some of the others maybe, esp. the analysis of Taylor Swift's tragic endless eligibility, and God letting angels like Satan free to do whatever (thank God for that, in that case I don't worry too much about how it started...)

"If indeed there was a beginning, and we have at present many reasons to think there was, then there was profoundly nothing. Indeed it doesn’t quite make sense to call it ‘before’ since time also did not exist. There was not merely a lack of matter or energy, but the lack of even the possibility of matter or energy – nor was there the impossibility. That is Chaos.

"This isn’t provable, however, as it requires reasoning about the state in which logic wasn’t true. (Or false, either.)'

*

"I’m not claiming it’s necessary true. Merely demonstrating by example that a godless universe is not only possible but easy to model. The idea has to be taken seriously."

Wit, especially in the second, super-sly, but not the beer-belly laughs of comparing God to inflation exactly. Okay, in that case, I'll definitely take the high road too. Which you're able to keep without showing that you're pissed--or which don't merit the effort, so you're not even pissed. I'm working on that too.

You probably know that Perfect Pitch can 'get off' if you don't keep it sharpened like a knife. If you ever had it, you can always get it back, but in the meantime you here something in a key above or below it, and have to force it to adjust until it all becomes habit again.

patrick j. mullins said...

So, in terms of the way I hear sound, by today I realized how this more high-style, or maybe better, more formal style, I can hear, does remind me of a particular kind of style of playing, at least some or a lot of the time, viz., some of Glenn Gould's work. But even in the old, more unforgiving posts there was this very heavy solid sound, and I reiterate that the sound was the necessary after-effect of the content--but naturally a lot of what I personally would pick up. I'm going to understand some of the things you write about fairly well, at least as well as some of the others, and some of them not at all, of course. My orientation simply went the other way, and I liked it, and still do. I definitely think my I.Q. is lower than it used to be, and I don't care that much about that either. If I weren't thoroughly pleased with how I turned out, I would hardly follow someone like you closely--who's going to sometimes be very intimidating even so--to some degree because you yourself are well aware of it--but what the hell is that? The composer you suggest most sonically--not so much the wittier things, but that, too, and the whole thrust of your writing--seems to be probably Iannis Xenakis. There were these two big pieces--Herma and Evryali--I kept thinking I'd learn, after I found out about the Stochastic Music he had written. They would have required total hermit-poverty to push beyond what a few others had done, and I couldn't get into it. Needless to say, I found it more difficult than I had the time for, but it would be child's play for you--if the same calculus hasn't indeed been already. I had had a lot of success playing Boulez's Second Sonata, but if that isn't so explicitly mathematical, high-50s serialism also ends up producing extraordinary, violent and even unexpectedly flexible sensual sounds, which I would sometimes only appear when I played it publicly. The Xenakis seemed even less 'human-emotion-driven' than Boulez, I found it fascinating that it was so dazzling to the ear. Wow, though, I just looked him up. Quite the *intense* one himself; I definitely should have taken a look before. Parisian pedagogues wouldn't accept him till Messian, who wrote: "I understood straight away that he was not someone like the others. [...] He is of superior intelligence. [...] I did something horrible which I should do with no other student, for I think one should study harmony and counterpoint. But this was a man so much out of the ordinary that I said... No, you are almost thirty, you have the good fortune of being Greek, of being an architect and having studied special mathematics. Take advantage of these things. Do them in your music." Messian was very Catholic, and Xenakis was profoundly atheist. Francisco Estévez has described this work as "mathematical formulas translated . . . into beautiful, exciting, and above all, convincing music."
Xenakis wrote this: "Man is one, indivisible, and total. He thinks with his belly and feels with his mind. I would like to propose what, to my mind, covers the term "music": ... 7. It is a mystical (but atheistic) asceticism ..."

parisian said...

Way too long, and started throwing things out there. The music you posted at Spandrell maybe a year ago doesn't fit how I perceive your work (that I see and read.) Not that my perception need 'fit' or matters. But then you aren't so interested in music, as I remember, that it goes from 'boring to good'. So maybe even complex music like this is still not *up there* enough with advanced science until it becomes science itself, which it probably can't, can it? But that is something I should now spend some time with I see, only because I can tell how much I abhor Charles Ives's bullshit, especially the unfinished 'Universe Symphony': "Ives envisioned the work being performed by multiple orchestras located in valleys, on hillsides and mountains, with the music mimicking "the eternal pulse ... the planetary motion of the earth ... the soaring lines of mountains and cliffs ... deep ravines, sharp jagged edges of rock". I just put that one there, because your comments I put above are a lot more useful even for lazy types like me than this shit about 'eternal pulses'. Every day that I hate Charles Ives more, the better man I become. I played his 'Concord Sonata', whose movements are titled 'Emerson', 'Hawthorne', 'The Alcotts', and 'Thoreau'. He despised and slandered Debussy (in particular), Chopin and Mozart (that takes a nerve, but people do it.) Writing this here has made me hate Charles Ives all the more, and my desire to hear Xenakis again become extremely and keenly necessary. Okay, I'm talking about myself, it's easy here since you do a lot of that. Very good what you said about 'aristo' and 'peasants' being determined by adulthood and responsibility. The irresponsibility of attractive peasants is like that of animals, I can see that now.

Yes, you're watching yourself 'getting more powerful, more competent', yes, that's exactly it, what I'm always looking for in a different way. I just don't know enough to have 'faith that all problems are solvable.' But glad that you do.

Alrenous said...

I perceive the world as particularly Iannis Xenakis, but see this is a problem to overcome. I see a lot of (for example) tweeters trying to signal how very much they can handle an Iannis Xenakis world, and denigrating anyone who prefers otherwise. I rather suspect many of them hate beauty, except an infinitely conventional and time-worn beauty, like nature shots. (I think Justice - Stress is a more aesthetic version of the first Xenakis one I found, Metastasis. Necessarily it includes some themes which change the message somewhat, but I like those themes too.)

The music I posted at Bloody Shovel is the end goal. The stuff I write about here is all the stuff that's in the way.

It's interesting that the person who appreciates my work the most has to view it on a plane beyond mere logic or words. You see a whole qualitative dimension more than most readers do. (At least, that you've revealed so far.)

I should mention also that writing about consciousness is somewhat difficult. The effort I'm putting out will affect the style of the output. The strain I'm feeling will come through. Especially as it makes editing less effective, as I can't easily hold the actual words and an alternative in my mind at the same time. Stuff like the above doesn't challenge me.

I found Charles Ives - The Unanswered Question. It bored me. Apparently Xenakis was friendly with Corbusier, which explains the parts I disliked about Metastasis, but at the very least it wasn't boring. Even the parts in Metastasis (and Pithroprakta) which lack much in the way of notes manage to convey some kind of anticipation. Also since he opens with activity, it shows he can do it if he wants to, and hooks the listener. Although since in Metastasis they don't in fact go anywhere, I'm glad the version I found has a score visualization on it, so I can see it doesn't go anywhere.

By all problems are solvable I should clarify: I don't necessarily mean perfectly harmonious utopia is possible. Rather that all problems can be made easily tolerable at worst. Theft can't be eliminated but it can become negligibly rare. Humans probably can't stop being normally slaves to authority, but authority can be made healthy so its commands aren't destructive.

parisian said...

After the necessaries, I'm going to write about this elsewhere, and then back here some more later. Already amazing how fast you've assimilated it, and these ways you have will be things to listen for. I haven't suddenly found myself wanting to listen to things I hadn't before for some time, so this is like a 'musical prosthesis'--it's what I couldn't do when I wasn't going to get any direct or indirect compensation for it, so I couldn't concentrate on it. The very idea that I would ever get to the point of approaching that again was not something I ever even vaguely entertained as a possibility. It was like 'writer's block' somewhat, but if I couldn't do it then, I never thought something that difficult would even suggest itself. Pithoprakta was a Balanchine ballet, which I never saw, and Peter Martins was always choreographing terrible things to Ives. Ives is just such a primitive, always talking about, in his 'essay before a sonata' as before the Alcotts, that the homely 'common man' Alcott house could be said to be so much more profound than 'an Etruscan villa'.

I can see the strain sometimes, I think. That's part of the intensity and effort, and effort is rewarding but never always exactly enjoyable when you're doing it--much like lifting. This has happened before when I've found someone's work magnetic--I always thought everybody else would have too! But then, my own audience exists, but my things also seem too rarefied for most. That's why even the slightest socializing will seem to be almost abnormally selective (I speak for myself, of course.) But do try some Cassis with white wine if you haven't--the recipes don't say a fistful of shaved or crushed ice, but much better that way, although both should be chilled as well. Kir royal better for restos unless you have the glitter and gold. That was indeed fortuitously useful 'fluff'--it's one of the best aperitifs.

Definitely though, also visual images come to mind with the aural ones, with your writing as well as just music itself. I see sculpting going on in your work, which is what I didn't manage to articulate the other day. The big powerful thrusts reminded me of those Xenakis piano pieces and big pieces of machinery, and the searingly pointed newer formal style was like the sculpture-images of dangerously pointed metal (of real silver in some of Gould's Bach Preludes and Fugues. This is all brilliant and will only increase.

parisian said...

Some of that was hard to decipher, from the tweet "My overall message is supposed to be, "You're all fucked, and if you want to do something about it, first you have to understand how very fucked you are." Turns out there's a musical version of this," then here "trying to signal how very much they can handle an Iannis Xenakis world, and denigrating anyone who prefers otherwise. I rather suspect many of them hate beauty, except an infinitely conventional and time-worn beauty, like nature shots. "

I sort of follow, but it also structurally looks like there's some contradiction, which might include some of that text about his atheism and the 'shrieks' of death (I never hear things that are said to be that as such, even after I know exactly where it is--if it's a 'death shriek, I just think of that image as enhancing the sound's interest. If I think of death, I don't remember thinking of any sounds, rather a brief 'horror-sensation') Do you mean some of these tweet-posturings are about how the collapsed 'fucked-world', excluding or not themselves, acc. to the posturer, is something to get comfortable with instead of going beyond? Into a world where things are no longer fucked, and where 'hating beauty' makes no sense.

'Nature shots'--I've found one gets very discriminating about these, they have to be spectacular, and in that vein, I was pleased to see those of Meteora. That area, including Mt. Olimbos, is the most attractive place to me I haven't seen besides Rome, and Athens itself is necessary (more than Venice, Florence, etc.) In the last year, I left all 'modest nature' behind as being of no further interest (who cares about crocus), and realized that once you've seen Tahiti (twice), it doesn't get much better (although many want all kinds of nature--I wouldn't mind some more of the Swiss Alps, but I'm mainly tropical.) Mainly I lost interest in 'sight-seen' beauty, which excludes the body except for passive eyes looking at postcardy things--what a waste of time at this point. The upside of reaching adulthood later in life is that, if you're still in good shape, you get some of the rights and privileges of The Eternal Adolescent, which is so good you don't even think about the loneliness.

I'd also like to know what you mean by the 'end goal' in the music you posted, so I can re-listen and see if I understand. It is obviously in some ways satisfying, but you might have a more precise definition for what this 'satisfying' is, so we should do that.

parisian said...

I just requested all the Xenakis I could from NYPL, which by now allows about 2% of 370 items to be taken out. Who is really going to USE IN LIBRARY? Those 2 big piano pieces have several new recordings and I will have to get them off Amazon--I want to listen to them over and over, study the score and then go and work them. I know my interest in these is very different from yours, of course. Was totally fascinated to find he adored Ravel, and there is even a piano piece Hommage a Ravel; that's bound to fascinate me, as Ravel has been for some years the most important composer to me: I have worked very much along the Deleuzian 'becomings' model to reverse (or rather, include) the 'musical dancer' to the 'dancerly musician'. There are some brilliantly musical dancers, and even the occasional virtuoso instrumentalist like Aurelie Dupont, but mostly they get to 'win without trying', which is not true of the other way around (most musicians allow themselves to become slobs), but I've done it--and I certainly had to try very consciously and for most of the years since 2007 or so. My focus musically had been on La Valse primarily, which I'd seen danced to at NYCBallet in 1986, but that Balanchine one also has Valses Nobles et Sentimentales. The old video of Royal Ballet with Ashton's La Valse (only that piece) is the one I worked with the most, because I could always use it. It doesn't come out exactly literally, of course, since even the pro dancers who have perfected their techniques finally start losing it even in the their late 30s, but it begins to make sense in the way one is constantly cognizant of all one's movements, which may be somewhat related to the Japanese ideal of keeping the 'everyday' elegant. Not fussy, in fact, it just makes things lose clumsiness, and accidents almost never happen I'll listen to the Xenakis you've posted tomorrow. It's the kind of music you have to listen to scores of times, and still it is not easy to remember (I heard Metastasis by NYPhil many years ago, and won't recognize it when I listen tomorrow.) I don't think it matters if you use a composer like Xenakis's scores in a way he didn't propose it. I twist Ravel into whatever I want it to do, which also means that it can be (not all can, or I can't personally 'use' all.)

Thanks for your time. No rush, please!

parisian said...

"Stuff like the above doesn't challenge me. "

Which stuff above?

Also wasn't sure what you meant about 'Justice - Stress' as 'more aesthetic than Metastasis'. Were you assuming I would know that, or is it something I should have known or remembered?

Do you dislike everything about Le Corbusier? I think there are going to be some things I just won't quite understand and that cannot be explained exactly, but were you seeing visual images quasi-Le Corbusier while listening to Metastasis? It's fantastic that you would hear 'the parts you didn't like' in Xenakis's music because they were like Le Corbusier in some way.

Alrenous said...

I'm strange and enjoy strain. Rather a lot, actually. I prefer to go everywhere by sprinting at top speed, but sadly that's wildly socially unacceptable, so I can't. One of the reasons I enjoy biking is nobody gets upset at me for going too fast.

I did rather enjoy that article on cassis. He knew things I didn't! In principle I'm not hard to please... You also know things I don't! It's pretty great.

I see logic as a treelike network. Roots, trunk, branches, leaves. In a sense I also experience my writing as sculpture, at least when it's not a purely descriptive piece like the one at the top of this page. The tree has a harmony and I have to nudge the nodes around until, when plucked like a crystal wine glass, it rings clear. As a tree approaches truth, it rings with exponentially more beauty.

--

Regarding Xenakis, I find the opening of Metastasis to portray a message or story which is basically the same as the overall (intended) story of my blog and twitter feed. It has a falling theme and catastrophic undertones, and hopefully you see the others which I find hard to articulate.

I find others have the same 'oh shit' message, but they say it starts at Xenakis-metaphor and should also end there, whereas I would much prefer the world to end up at Void/Comm or Science with Synthesizers. Metaphorically speaking. I believe these other messengers hate beauty because they persecute people trying to develop more beautiful things. I'm far more willing to praise intent in the case of someone trying to be or create more beautiful things, even if the result isn't ideal. (Basically, the opposite of modern artists.)

(Notably I don't entirely reject Xenakis. It's not pleasant music, but it is emotionally arousing, which to me is more the point of music, rather than to be merely good or sad.)

I'm enjoying the bits I'm not responding to, by the way. I just don't have anything to say about them. Come back in a couple years when it's sunk in, kek.
It's clear music is your craft, and I always appreciate some crafty craftsmanship.

Posts on economics, sociology, and psychology don't challenge me particularly. Especially purely descriptive ones like this post.

What I expected you to do with "Justice - Stress" is plug it into the youtube search bar, which will bring up the song I mean as the top result.

Corbusier is an example that the worst demons are highly virtuous. If he was totally demonic he wouldn't have been able to accomplish very much. Hence, I don't hate everything about him, but I certainly hate everything about what he was trying to do.

I think the simplest thing I can point to is the fact the quiet parts of Metastasis are barren, like the wall of a Corbusier buildings. I suppose there's also an element of intimidation to both works. Supposed to be aggressively antihuman. To deliberately try to crowd out the human sense of the viewer/listener.

parisian said...

I know. The photo is enough so that only one Xenakis is required (me, obviously.) Last night I was thinking of two, due to your ingenious construct "I perceive the world as particularly Iannis Xenakis.." which I had to work on all day. It literally deliciously stinks of cinema, so unexpected, shots I think of as 'reality shots', but then let in other suggestions from films--at my carefully discreet indulgence by then...which I won't mention (kind of related, but opposite, to the anonymous and pseudonymous postings you were discussing. I'm well aware of all the obstacles, and before taking on this work today, I spoke with one of the Rhine-Maidens to make sure I still had Der Ring. I still had it to a ridiculous degree, you'll be pleased to know.) The most effective way out of the wrong Hollywoodisms such as I was exposed to in my second-wave formative years, was to live the ones I was so imbued with anyway, and manipulate them for the various kinds of benefit, which I called cine-musique (this doesn't mean 'movie music', although that can sometimes be a subtext). I did these by going to Los Angeles 13 times. 2 were on the same long trip, but they were different enough; even though I can settle for 11, all but one done from 2001-2011, and always at Christmas--one of the unique cities of the world, of course, and fabulously interesting. There is definitely nothing else like it, few places as dangerous if you don't study everything possible before getting easily lost in various Killing Fields near even the cultural centers. I have never been to San Francisco as a result. I therefore will automatically find certain film suggestions, strangely in this case, some of the 'looking back' ones, once I've secured the 'reality ones', including one song in particular that evokes WWII. This is somewhat strange--that there would be a sense of 'past', but I won't say more about that either.

I knew that this cine-musique was available only in Los Angeles--there is nothing at all like Hollywood-within-Los Angeles in any other capital no matter the film output--but that it also required not doing any of studio tours. It's built to decenter you, so you struggle to center yourself there, and you can then get it right in New York, but with more power. It's one of the few cities where the tourists can easily be invisible (not here; the busesful of pretend-bored types are always grinding through.) You may know it well. There was somebody in Los Angeles Magazine in the 80s who was suggested as well. It was definitely a relief.

Youtube is so fucking hateful, and worked better for some things that you haven't heard yet (more in a minute), and somehow worse for both Metastasis and Justice - Stress, but I got a few minutes of each. I also discovered that the post where you placed the music is the one you meant that was further on; I had merely approached you about something of 'sperg music', while our host was being his usual funny self; then it would have been after I was threatened with banning because of cursing too much about Ariana Grande. I will look at those tomorrow and see if there's anything you put that is like the Justice - Stress video, which I saw about 2 minutes of. I think there was one you posted that had a high loud piercing sound, but I'm not sure. A nice revelation was that I did remember Metastasis, at least the beginning, having heard it only once. I guess most wouldn't call those 'notes', all that exquisite opening percussion, I know some of that sound, and for me it's very pleasant. Those ghetto types looked just that, and that interesting near-rape scene with the tits featured nicely. That interesting fellow 'Dividualist' wrote about sperg types being at home with very loud things, and was also (hilariously) using the term 'battle mare lesbians', which I'd never heard.

parisian said...

Xenakis is so totally unpopular even here that some of the CDs are already in transit. I can more easily listen to 'Metastasis' on a CD, and even the better ones I'll describe were always somehow annoying.

I am interested in your different attitude toward 'human' and 'anti-human', which isn't the same among some of your more prominent friends. The intelligence optimizing does include much that is 'anti-human', but when it comes to something like music (and maybe the other Arts), it seems that you want it, and that the other friend had mostly taken to 90s jungle and techno. That's fine for most, but not quite enough for someone like you. I wrote elsewhere that the part of your sentence about 'I see it as something to overcome', but that I did not, because I could refine and transform such skillful music, anathema to pedants and musical purists, but what the fuck do I care--and I could make it part of my euphoria, which I already have begun to, barely having scratched the surface. You also talk more freely about emotion, but were able to hear it in Xenakis, and what was 'aggressively anti-human' you didn't like. That means that I finally got this kind of music into my ear in much the same way everyone still has anything tonal, pop or pre-Schoenberg classical, and I knew that only today when I was surprised to recognize the opening of Xenakis. I've heard so much of Xenakis (but not enough), Boulez, Stockhausen, Berio, and many of the others, that this high-modernism in the hands of any of them doesn't put me off, maybe partially because I never had more fun than learning the Boulez very fast--I had to learn this fiendish piece in 3 1/2 months, and my Juilliard teacher actually said "I don't think I could have done it". So, some racing there too.

Oh, I think you're hard to please, though. I wouldn't say you weren't or hope you weren't. The pleasure of 'strain' reminded me of an old friend who many years ago went on about how he 'loved tension'. That's like Trump, of course.

Then I decided to google 'Evryali', one of the huge piano works I mentioned, this one from 1973. This youtube worked imperfectly but much better. And I think it's a totally dazzling knockout, and this youtube even had the score itself come on two or three staves at a time, which was exciting for me, as well as the sounds, every chord cluster imaginable and almost all in fierce 16th-notes. He's so outrageous some of the chords are impossible physically to execute. Evryali is one of the Gorgon sisters, and the wiki on this piece is a must-read if you decide to take the time to listen. I think it is possible you may like this hard-driving piston(s). It was this kind of Xenakis that reminded me of some of your hard-driving posts. It has no breaks as do Mestasis and Pithoprakta, and is even more unrelenting that Boulez, even with his very expensive Repons, for orchestra and 'echoing computers', which I've heard him conduct live twice. Xenakis is, perhaps, just less romantic, and maybe even more *something else*. The arborescences, the Stochastics, the 'set theory applied to time-point sequences', and you'll hear things about some of this I wouldn't until you do first, most likely.

It feels good to be caught up with you, and slightly ahead in one respect, and keeps me from saying stupid things. I thought it was that I didn't want to do any 'real work' just now, but I was delighted to find that it was, in fact, my hatred of youtubes. I have to say I am quite enchanted with the tree conjoined with the crystal wine glass, the 'ring of beauty' as 'the tree approaches truth'.

parisian said...

I managed to get through 'Justice-Stress' today, which you 'find a more aesthetic version of Metastasis'. So, until I'd gotten through to the end of it, I couldn't know for sure what you were getting at. That's a bit like saying I thought 'South Pacific' is a bit more of an aesthetic version of 'Sleeping Beauty', but nevermind, it shows you and I are not attuned because there really was actual music through the modernist period, then the mediocrity of post-modernism rotted all over the places like Hanging Gardens of Decayed Flesh. I always wondered why Modernism had the courage to call itself that, because 'modern' always had been the same as 'contemporary'. 'Modern', although 'modern' is still used as with 'modern artists' as you did above.

It's bizarre that The End of History is equally true, not because it's wholly true, because it points unerringly to something that did happen and continues to reverberate. In the Arts I'd see it more, and it's a form of inertia. People wouldn't scream in protest against it if they weren't genuinely upset that it holds an unbearable, if diffuse and sometimes seemingly false, truth in it.

Anyway, back to this piece. The terrible quality of the 2 minutes yesterday was not enough to make me sure what an odd alternative to 'perceiving the world as particularly Iannis Xenakis' would mean. Not that I found too much more except an increase in human musique concrete screams, etc., and then that odd final epilogue which affects to be 'like regular music', but is not especially memorable, and lasts what? 20-30 seconds. So this is something that people who 'hate beauty' don't get, I suppose, since you think it is a more aesthetic version of something that 'doesn't have many notes.' But 'justice - stress' has, how many, two or three notes of sustained urgency (or something like that), which is like the furthest, or near-furthest, reduction of Philip Glass and the others. It's very easy, and isn't music beyond just 'sound', which Boulez said was all that surely be said of music, although he was not interested in anything but complex music, borne out very obviously by his own, not to mention what he conducted of other composers.

There's not any real forum for this, although you've been generous, given the delimited nature--which we probably already covered, but not sharply enough, perhaps, in those Spandrell posts last year. You can't post at my blog, you know who I am and I don't know who you are (that I didn't care about), but I can't post about this anymore here without just being a hog; it's off-topic for one thing when it gets as elephantine as this has. I mean I would if there would (or is) any need, but it may be finished. And I would probably just continue to read you--there is no other way to communicate with you, except here or maybe the throwaway comment at Spandrell's; I obviously am not going to do even that at some of the places you frequent. And it's not your interest, but rather mine, even if you saw some connections.

parisian said...

So that, now that I've heard this music video, the gulf is seen to be rather huge in several forms. Not that there should be any closeness particularly even with some affinity, and saying that doesn't take away from what I said about your wit, wisdom and style of fine writing and thought--it seems that the same kind of rigor that has always been demanded of writing and language is still demanded by you, who must see it as necessary and important there, but probably just think of music as you once did say--probably background (although that's not what you said), and then there was that 'survey-test' thing in which it thought you might 'play music'. So there could be some tangential musicality if I can hear it in the prose, which remains the same. But the Xennakis I hear in your older posts that were more aggressive in some ways (without the newer refinements) is in the sound of his music, not the message you see it to convey; and much more in 'Evryali', which I discussed last night in detail. I had then thought you would want to listen to that, but unless you're listening to sound, not 'message delivered', it's probably not necessary. At least I've gained from this enormously, with an understanding of Xenakis that I hadn't had before. You were always a gracious host, which I hadn't first imagined you would be, and I appreciate your letting me work this out with you. What I meant by 'the obstacles' was something I thought might occur as some kind of regular dialogue, but there's no room for it, since we're so far apart in domains. What I did with the Ravel was probably of interest to you, and that I went post-music, but into physical movement, not noise and not-music. The coloured noises go way back and they are always just experimental and hold no one's interest very long. What holds your interest in the video is the visual, not the 'music'--or if it's to be considered music, it would be better listened to without seeing any of the film.

But you seem not to see this distinction I find necesssary in what music is. The title of Metastasis is said to be something about 'beyond immobility', and there is mentions of 'series of standstills'. It goes 'from classical (including serialism) into his formalism'. Maybe you are seeing it as a philosopher (I wouldn't know about the physics perspective precisely, you haven't talked about that in regard to anything specific like the 'messages' you think both these pieces convey, and one which you find more aesthetic.

The video took some real work, although I cannot find endless tracts of smelly-looking (and, interestingly, never attractive) little niggers' vandalism all that intriguing, even if it does increase some, and the terror cries are evocative of many ruined and ruining places in the world now. The 'music' is really nothing at all except one sound, even if that one is carefully chosen. So you were interested in two pieces of work (call them both 'art' if necessary, somebody would in any case) which you saw as having the 'same message', and were not primarily interested in that they both be music--because Justice-Stress is definitely not music, at least not more than slightly more-chosen and -organized sounds, much like a violent form of street sounds with a kind of piercing drone that never stops.

parisian said...

I'm still interested in exploring some of these, as long as you're willing and/or capable (I know you'll seem capable no matter what, but that's another thing.) I just happened upon you 'Courtly Love' piece, which is interesting, and you definitely have some examples not so far away of 'alphas orbited by (more than) at the requisite least by one beta'. So somewhat less convincing than interesting, because an alpha ought, at least, be irresistible, shouldn't me? I have recently read a number who are far from it. But we'll leave it at that, otherwise it becomes gossip, which you and I cannot afford--especially since we can afford little enough as it is!

That was just be careless scrolling though, although I liked your digging into it, with all your 'unopened packages' (that's not an insult, I've been accused of it at direst, most serious moments, when comparing tragic life-experiences did not really merit the insult of some famous writer-bitch who also recently became well-known for her 'unopened packages' and 'secrets', although without the latter there is literally no life worth living at all.)

In any case, back to the *MEAT*, I listened today to some of the cd's, which are much better than the youtubes, but I know you don't want to listen to any more of them, and I initiated this whole exchange at Spandrell to being with. But it brings up questions which you may or may not want to bother with, because ofK

"I find others have the same 'oh shit' message, but they say it starts at Xenakis-metaphor and should also end there, whereas I would much prefer the world to end up at Void/Comm or Science with Synthesizers. Metaphorically speaking. I believe these other messengers hate beauty because they persecute people trying to develop more beautiful things. I'm far more willing to praise intent in the case of someone trying to be or create more beautiful things, even if the result isn't ideal."

You had also said "I see a lot of (for example) tweeters trying to signal how very much they can handle an Iannis Xenakis world, and denigrating anyone who prefers otherwise"

Why do say 'Xenakis-metaphor' as if it were a powerful force beyond other somewhat kindred modernist music and art, when he was one of the most influential and unique of the last-half of the 20th c., but was not nearly so successful ultimately as either Boulez or Stockhausen? Most people don't think about those two that much either, but they do think of them more than Xenakis.

I totally fail to understand this now, but didn't process any of it, till I started listening to the music, at least 4 (with the fucking youtubes, I may have confused "Metastasis" with "Pithoprakta", both of which I had heard at least once, and recognized the beginning of the one with all the tympani pitches), and then had my experience with them (which was also better than the youtubes of 'Evryali', since youtube is just pathetic sound-wise.) Okay, I guess what I gather is that you think music is a kind of sound-decoration, much as someone described Philip Glass 30 years ago as 'wallpaper', if you call it 'Science with Synthesizers'. Do you also see philosophy as Science with Philosophy?' These may sound stupid, and they may be, but you have to start somewhere. I don't even have a mental image of 'ending up at Void/Comm', nor do I know whether you meant that I should or should not.

But there's enough in those terms to ponder a few things about perception of sound and organized sound. "it starts at Xenakis-metaphor and should also end there" is somewhat like your "I perceive the world as particularly Iannis Xenakis but see that as something to overcome". Then the impossible-to-comprehend things about 'they hate beauty' and 'persecute people


patrick j. mullins said...
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patrick j. mullins said...
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patrick j. mullins said...
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parisian said...

Oh, but major apologies for the terrible proofreading, I hadn't known it had been so bad. Not as bad as the one without punctuation and paragraphs, but still dreadful. Also the 'namefagging', although that can't apply to me, seul sur mon etoile, à tout à l'heure etc.

patrick j. mullins said...

I had gotten more excited finally hearing the music, hence the hurried typing. By the morning, I see we're at an impasse, and should have seen already, so I deleted all those in my name. It's a major interest of mine, not yours. No further to go.

patrick j. mullins said...

by this morning, I had finally balanced it out, although I was awake for a few minutes before I remembered I had all these things to do, sll of which I want to do and yet aren't worth describing.

To wit, I didn't think it would work, and had every reason to think it wouldn't, and you might not even think it did--but you will (as someone said at the end of an old movie, followed by 'be kind...)

How could it work with someone as uncompromising (or who is always aiming to be) as you?

So what happened was I had to take the chance, and there was little choice but to choose between Xenakis and you, and I would have to take the chance of Xenakis, because that was something that was left unfinished, and still is. It was something I had left out. So the whole week I took this very deep plunge, which is the only way you can get to Xenakis, he never tries to make it easy for you, and is worse that way than the others of the period. I gradually found it very satisfying, and it only mattered that you didn't want to talk about it anymore because I thought of you as maybe more 'tyrannical' than you are, and about some things, indeed you are adamant: "It is impossible for mainstream anything to know what consciousness is, or to replicate my work." That was yesterday, and I got all troubled about that, but the night before I realized I had gone ahead and 'secured my stuff', which included the Xenakis (with the 4 String Quartets--not recommending, mind you, I know you're through with that) and also this 16th c. lute music by one of the world's top lute quartet of Milano. It still felt like I was carrying heavy bags almost like the cotton sacks of childhood (you may well imagine certain of us had to do little of this), and toward the end of the afternoon I felt released in a brand new way, although you knew nothing of that (unless you read my mind--about that, I wouldn't mind, but still won't 'say stupid things', as I said several times).

After that revelatory moment, the evening ensued and I found your late-night twitters, which simply had me in ridiculous states of mirth. Outside the Overton Window doesn't keep you from being incredibly funny, and I still think 'wit' and 'humour' are better for you than 'jokes', although some of them are.

I was dreading feeling heavy about my decision, until I saw this morning's tweets, which were just as outrageous (esp. the one about the black rapist), so even if you think X. and P. and the other ricercare composers were 'mainstream'--and even if you do--it didn't cancel out any of the pleasure reading you gives me. The scary ones I revert to some other activity, where I find them exciting, and the hilarious ones don't need anything extra.

I just wanted you to know that it really was work to get through this, I don't care if it was hard, just so I could do it. Plus you put all that difficult stuff about hardware and software. But even during the hard parts of the week, there were so many funny and enlightening things--plus the serious ones I don't know about--that one sees you are extraordinarily creative, and that it goes in severe mood swings.

I'll just my name, I don't care if I'm a namefag.

patrick j. mullins said...

You know, it really WAS hard, and at this stage of the game, sometimes felt really hopeless. But I sort of have the feeling that if I hadn't done it, that THAT would have been the thing that made me unworthy of your listening to me. I could have been fatuous, and sometimes when I haven't been, I've lost people because I was so serious--once I had someone over I liked, but he wanted me to play one of my shorter pieces of a suite I wrote at the time, and went to sleep during it. I was in highest dudgeon at this rudeness, and the relationship was basically over (which I hadn't really wanted it to be.)

I think I see what you mean by 'strain', and the "I should mention also that writing about consciousness is somewhat difficult. The effort I'm putting out will affect the style of the output. The strain I'm feeling will come through. Especially as it makes editing less effective, as I can't easily hold the actual words and an alternative in my mind at the same time." But you really have this side to you that lets go and is all charm. You are more secretive than most (some talking about their lesb'an [that's a warholism I thought funny--the actress could NOT be coached to pronounce it properly], and any of it would be all right to me. But we could have a Kir Royal in New York if you're ever here, I'm sure you're nice (but I don't know if even that is 'too social' for you), and I wouldn't, you know, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES...we'd go to a place and have a few Kirs, where they cost a little too much, but not $100 apiece, I consider that ridiculous, and they don't even do that at the Pierre, which is especially nice for something like that. I know that sounds a little forward, and may be totally off the wall, but I don't mean anything bad. I met one of the NRx people, a peripheral one, but was in a disaster state at the time, and hadn't wanted to anyway. But this is the only place I can say anything to you, since I won't do Twitter, so I guess I just felt 'seamless' this morning. If any of that's uncomfortable, it was just a thought I thought you deserved to get anyway.

LOVED your piece on The Courts of Love, and have reread it many times; you have some tortuous passages, but I don't think that guy was right about it being 'full of Manginas' (maybe toward the end, and those probably got utilized in what would have seemed *mere brothel* before in an unseemly way, as the mulatto in Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom!), otherwise how the French become such 'good lovers'? (they certainly are, I should know.) One of Gore Vidal's early novels was about Blondel the Troubadour, and it's one of his best, which is to say--none too good, he's so oily and unsavoury, only Myra Breckenridge worked, and that was Gay Shock Jock, I guess. I saw that docu about the old feud between him and Buckley, and most though Buckley lost. I didn't. Yet there was one perfect scene in which Blondel happens upon the enormous estate of a crazy queen who has petrified everything in her kingdom, including the people. I don't know if I ever understood how Blondel got out.

patrick j. mullins said...

P.S: Did you see that thread at Nick's Twitter about the lesb'ans whor have a 'vagina fetish' and don't want to date 'transwomen' because they are 'penis-phobic'. Probably you did, it was even crazier than I thought things would get this fast. But again, it's this forcing anyone to date since the advent of the Incels. This one went a step further and it was as if already unattractive lesb'ans were being forced to be attracted or they risked ostracism from the transphobia committee. So even the 'perfectly lovely ladies' are under siege, it seems.

Anonymous said...

The Consul sat perfectly still staring at the floor while the enormity of the insult passed into his soul. As if, as if, he were not sober now! Yet there was some elusive subtlety in the impeachment that still escaped him. For he was not sober. No, he was not, not at this very moment he wasn’t!

But what had that to do with a minute before, or half an hour ago? And what right had Yvonne to assume it, assume either that he was not sober now, or that, far worse, in a day or two he would be sober?

And even if he were not sober now, by what fabulous stages, comparable indeed only to the paths and spheres of the Holy Cabbala itself, had he reached this stage again, touched briefly once before this morning, this stage at which alone he could, as she put it, “cope,” this precarious precious stage, so arduous to maintain, of being drunk in which alone he was sober!

What right had she, when he had sat suffering the tortures of the damned and the madhouse on her behalf for fully twenty-five minutes on end without having a decent drink, even to hint that he was anything but, to her eyes, sober? Ah, a woman could not know the perils, the complications, yes, the importance of a drunkard’s life! From what conceivable standpoint of rectitude did she imagine she could judge what was anterior to her arrival?

And she knew nothing whatever of what all too recently he had gone through, his fall in the Calle Nicaragua, his aplomb, coolness, even bravery there — the Burke’s Irish whiskey! What a world! And the trouble was she had now spoiled the moment.

patrick j. mullins said...

Yes, the Pierre was a ridiculous Freudian slip--just go to anyth8ng La Chatte--I can get a date for the Pierre easily enough (even alone is better, since you wouldn't have the clothes), so fuck you with your proud intellectual insults. I didn't know you were this low, but that's usually the case when I give some internet freak the time of day. I'd say got to hell but you already had long ago, and I should have *noticed*.

Alrenous said...

Seems blogger decided to stop notifying me of comments on my blog, so I flagrantly missed the last...many. I'll catch up in a bit here. Somewhat preoccupied at present.

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