Monday, August 28, 2006




Today: another day at work. I will not elaborate.

After work, I spent a few hours in the studio and got a lot of blackbirds down on paper. Working on two albums while drawing: Ulrich Schnauss's "Far Away Trains Passing By" and I Am Robot and Proud's "Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing." I downloaded both yesterday while waiting for the gray pizzling drizzle to end. (It never did.) Schnauss sounds good...but it's just too slick, too symmetrical. A never happens without B following closely behind. I know, it's electronic so it's supposed to sound that way. But I still feel like I could be a little less polite. And the IARAP's album can be easily forgotten. Sounds like the burbling soundtrack of a Japanese videogame or a Jetta commercial.

A dose of Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins helped stiffen the atmosphere in the studio. Not a particularly deep album but it sounds good. Generally, I don't like the strum-and-sing albums, where the voice is the main melodic instrument while the other instruments are relegated to playing dull rhythm. I like when the voice and instrument share the duty of melody, or better yet, the voice is couched nicely is a cushion of instrumental melody. This Lewis/Watson album is a perfect example of a genera I usually avoid. But there's something to it: the lyrics are a little forced at times but Lewis knows when to step down and let the sisters come to the fore.

Lately, Stars of the Lid's "The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid" has been creeping into the basement of my consciousness. Check them out here under "artists" at Kranky Records. They're a tough listen: there are some very beautiful and moving tracks on "Tired Sound" but, maaaan, can they induce torpor. It's hard to describe the stuff: atmospheric, yes, but that's doesn't cover it. Droning. Pulsing. Throbbing. Imagine if you had the strength of attention to sit and watch a single tree sway in a gentle breeze. You wouldn't ponder anything but the tree itself, the air tickling the foliage, the light peeking deep into the interior of the tree as the as limbs sways, the exact motion of birds as they come and go through the canopy. You give yourself over to learning the patterns in the bark, noticing the traces of old scars and the trails of beetles and ants across the trunk. You imagine how the roots thrust and coil invisibly through the soil, what the tree looked like 25 years ago, what it looks like naked in the winter. Now imaging doing this for 10, 14, 18 minutes. You're now edging into Stars of the Lids territory. I have a hard time saying that I love the music but there is something to it: it keeps drawing me in. They're so spare and minimal sounding most of the time--especially on "Tired Sounds"--that when then play an actually melody (Requiem for Dying Mothers Pts 1 & 2, Ballad of Distances Pts 1 & 2) it's very distilled and intense and nearly hearbreaking.

Good news: a possible job with a major publishing company for design work. I am trying to schedule a meeting with the director late this week or early next. It's four days a week which is PERFECT. Hope something comes out of that.

Some sushi from Bai tonight, along with some tofu salad I made yesterday. Two Coronas and nothing else. Off to bed.

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