Ask A Former Banking IT Guy Who Wants To Become An O-Chemist (Or Something Like That)

mediciT. is part of my e-minarchisto posse (much love for the gry massive) but sometimes he’d say things about music that would make me cry blood. This is my attempt to eff the ineffable.

You and I are ebony and ivory (I probably tan better than you do) musically-speaking. If you’re into it I’m out of it, and vice versa. However, we both seem to like James Blackshaw. How is this possible?

Both of us liking James Blackshaw is possible because the universe is a vast and confusing place.  I mean, it’s like electrons right?  No two in the same atom can have the same quantum state, but they can have a few quantum numbers in common.  Our tastes, well, they’re both in an outer shell around n = 4, but you’re l = 3 and I’m l = 2.

You famously hated your old job. What kind of song evokes the grinding hatred for you? Or is it merely a lite-fm circus running about your brain? (Bank music in New York tends to be horrible as all hell.)

What kind of song evokes grinding hatred? Depends what you mean, I guess. What do I listen to when I need to get my hate on? Black Sabbath, maybe Alice in Chains or STP.  I was fortunate in that my banking employer did not pipe music around, so other than the lite Christian Rock stylings of Michael W. Smith drifting over from the next cubicle or the endless bad slide guitar and out-of-tune wailing commonly known as “country” coming from any number of small radios on the floor, I was left to my own devices.

In terms of things I actively hate, rather than just not care for – anything from any number of basically indistinguishable bands along the Fall Out Boy / Panic! At the Disco / Simple Plan kind of axis.  It’s all the same, it’s all about how dad didn’t love me enough or whatever, and it’s all Chorus Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Chorus Chorus Done.  It’s kind of like that abominable third Weezer album, the green one with “Island in the Sun” on it.  2:15 – Uncreative guitar solo!  Might as well be Tin Pan Alley or Bill Fucking Haley and his Motherfucking Untalented Comets. Their drummers are crap, their lyrics are crap, the instrumentation is all derivative of better bands and they wish they were punk. I mean, I know that the Sex Pistols and The Clash were image conscious up to a certain point but they were not just trying to ape their betters.  And when your betters include Green Day, well, you’re pretty much fucked.

What’s local music like in your neck of the woods? Do they have “bass cars” in other parts of ‘merica? If so, what’s your favorite kind of bass car?

The local music scene here is okay.  Less in San Antonio than in Austin.  There’s a lot of country in SA, Robert Earle Keane and the like, not my bag (I prefer music in a discernible key that isn’t about losing your truck and marrying your sister).  But there’s some local jazz that I’ve heard in coffee shop sort of settings that’s been pretty good.  I’ve also been up to Austin to see a few post-rock bands like This Will Destroy You and a local outfit called MOM.  The latter was two dudes with orchestra instruments and a loop machine, it was pretty epic.  I really love guitar + good rhythm section which is why early metal appeals to me some, but a lot of classic rock really moves me (in particular why I think The Who >>>>> The Rolling Stones), so some music that really distills that down and strips out the vocals while still managing to have a powerful emotive or experiential effect is pretty boss.

We have bass cars here.  In fact the neighbors with the five chihuahuas sometimes exhibit bass-car-like behaviors, although thankfully not very late at night.  My favorite kind of bass car is the white trying-too-hard bass car. Because I’m a college student again, I’m spending a lot of every day on campus just kind of walking around and I’ve been seeing a lot of pretty nice cars that have been absolutely ruined by their conversion into THUMPA THUMPA mobiles. The most hilarious ones are tricked out Mitsubishi Eclipses or the like with bad body kits with some douchey suburbanite in the driver’s seat.  Popped collar and perhaps visor in full view.  At this rate generation veal will be too deaf to hear us screaming at them from the home.

On the plus side they won’t be able to hear oncoming traffic. Circle of life and whatnot.

I’m going to give you some youtube links, and I’d like your impressions:

1) Autechre – Gantz Graf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfwD05XA2YQ

This kind of reminds me of Aphex Twin / Richard D. James.  It also explains what Basement Jaxx were trying way too hard to sound like. It feels sort of incomplete however, like it’s an introduction to something and it never quite gets going all the way. I want it to go from this kind of static-laden collection of sounds with the occasional harmonic to something kind of organized with a discernible time signature, so I can try to make some sense of it.  In any case, it’s better than Stereolab.

Discernible Autechre certainly exists. I do find it odd anyone has anything remotely bad to say about Stereolab, though.

2) Six Organs of Admittance – All You’ve Left

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtO8SoFpPPg

This I liked almost instantly.  The introduction is very mellow without being boring.  The guitar is very rhythmic, the bass line moves you along at a steady, relaxing clip.  And the vocal is wispy and insubstantial in a Rufus Wainwright or Sufjan Stevens kind of way, but without the same kind of purity, it’s just a little raspy and still on the high end of tenor, which is hard to pull off in a good way.  Jeff Buckley-esque, maybe?  The song itself reminds me of what Greensleeves would be like if it weren’t utterly awful in every way.  The video, well, I can take or leave that.

The video is more or less what you’re stuck with in this particular genre. Cute lady walks about with no shoes on because, like, nature.

3) Burning Witch – Sacred Predictions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV-3QTJk658

Is this Swedish?  It sounds Swedish. I like the music, it isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but it has potential.  The vocal, however, makes me want to tear out my ears. There’s the screaming bit, and that’s just so terrible like “Oh look at me, I’m yelling and crap!  I sound so EDGY AND SHIT! LOOK AT MY COSTUME I AM FROM SWEDEN!  WE HAVE ALL WINTER TO DESIGN COSTUMES AND NO HOBBIES! SWEEEEEEEEEEEDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!”  Take out the chick screaming about whatever she’s yelling about and this has potential.  The more musical vocal parts are okay, but still kind of meh.

They’re American! That sound you hear is a million Sunn 0))))) fans being angry. Also the vocals are awesome because he sounds so tormented but the lyrics are so blank it’s like a stereotype is yelling “I’ve got all of my pills and things” at you. Because he is.

If music is math, and life is chemistry, then what is the music of chemistry?

Depends on the reaction, really. I imagine that Sn1 substitutions move along to “Dance of the Sugarplum Faeries”.  Certain kinds of reactions are probably more “1812 Overture”. Whatever it is, it’s probably in German.  Maybe Wagner.

I’ve always imagined science in general to sound definitely German, as you’ve pointed out, but more experimental, like something off of a Raster-Noton cd.

Pretend this is twitter and we’re both incredibly vapid rather than the devastatingly handsome and intelligent minarchistos we actually are: defend the Decemberists in 140 characters or less.

Who doesn’t like fanciful, archaically styled stories about drowning + interesting vocal harmonies? Nazis, that’s who.

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4 Comments

Filed under music

4 responses to “Ask A Former Banking IT Guy Who Wants To Become An O-Chemist (Or Something Like That)

  1. This made me laugh. Thank you.

    (do you know where else in NYC always has horrible music? Duane Reade.)

  2. re: your House comment: I don’t like Twilight, but yeah, your comment is pretty much accurate.

  3. simplicio

    I love these.

    And according to google you’re the first person to ever dub someone a minarchisto, at least in English.

    Congratulations on your reproduction, by the by!

  4. thank you. i fancy myself a neologist, and sometimes take credit for the phrasing “apagnostic” back in the early 2000s (i.e. apathetic + agnostic).

    minarchisto appears to be either french or polish, however. even “dhex” is a somali word (and a hex editor), so nothing under the sun is new after all.

    there’ll be another “ask a…” coming up shortly if joe ever gets off his virtual keister.

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