Masonic Boom

"Crazy" "Oversensitive" "Feminazi" "Bitch" bloggin' bout pop music, linguistics and mental health issues

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Music Diary 2012 Day 4

I had no headphones this morning, so I wasn't able to listen to music on the bus. Well, I wasn't able to listen to mine own music, instead I was forced to listen to the clicking insect buzz of other people's leaking earbuds, probably my least favourite sound in the entire world.

Again, listening at work was out because my boss was in, but we talked a bit about music at lunch. It's known that I'm a music obsessive - and my boss joked that I'd get on fine with the company owner because he is also a music obsessive, though he then modified that, saying that we probably didn't listen to the same music. But that's not really even the point, as I tried to explain. I don't really get on with casual music fans. People who say "Oh, I just like whatever..." - I can't even talk to them about music, it's like it doesn't even mean the same thing to us. But people who are obsessive about it, the genre doesn't really matter. If someone says something like "oh, well, I listen to Jazz, specifically 1970s Jazz, but only West Coast, and preferably this scene and label instead of that one..." then I know that even though I can't abide Jazz, we're likely to have minds that connect in the same way.

At least I've believed this since I was in my early 20s. After 10 years of wandering in the land of internweb music obsessives, I'm not so sure any more.

On the way home, I listened to Voices from the Lake some more. I don't know why I'm finding this record so compelling, it's so nothing-y, there's so little to it, like it should be flimsy. And yet it isn't. It's one of those minimal designs whose lines are so clean and sparse that you admire its elegance, and how much they do with so little. I got off the bus a mile early and walked home through Biggin Woods and Streatham Common again, the smell of the woods after the rain is just so evocative and the music was so perfect. As I walked up the muddy path to the top, back, far, overgrown corner of the woods, a flock of crows descended noisily on a tree above my head, the sounds interweaving perfectly with Twins In Virgo, which is fast becoming my favourite song - and possibly the only track which has a recognisable melody instead of just textures washing across the insistent beat, though the melody all happens down in the bassline.

It's hard to explain, again and again, how everything I love about techno are exactly the same things that I loved about dronerock, back in the depths of my obsession. The preponderance of texture and dynamics over anything else, the disappearance of melody, the transcendence and the delicate relentlessness.

It's one of those records that could so easily be a cheesy "deep forest" type thing, but because of how simple it is, how stripped bare, like tree branches in winter, it manages to be beautiful.

Got home, and to my great joy, my fan fiction comm had actually been updated, and had new comments and a work in progress from one of my favourite authors. I'm so meta I've started to wonder if I love talking about fan fiction more than I love reading it. Seeing how people - read: women - interact with music through these imagined interactions with the people who create it. I love when fan fiction writers write about *fandom* the most, I think. Although that kind of "wouldn't it be hott if the singer and guitarist were totally ~doing it~" slash obviously has its totally prurpient appeal, my favourite stuff is when fans write about what it feels like, what it means to be a fan. But there are so few people who can really do that well - or else they get bogged down in following the rules and conventions of the fandom without actually addressing what the fandom is. But this writer - she writes about that kind of heart-stopping euphoria of loving a band, going to shows, following them on tour, the heady bliss of a really good gig, in a way that makes it all seem so utterly real to me.

So I'm listening to Thom Yorke bits and bobs, the unsteady drip of demos or unfinished pieces, the soundtrack textures he wrote for Rag and Bone fashion show. It's total comfort food, both emotionally and musically (he's playing magpie with the bits of electronic music that I love most, wubby arpeggios and cut-up vocals repeated into nonsense phrases.) And I would love nothing more than the upcoming Atoms for Peace album to be a series of ten-minute pieces of textured electronics, because that would please me and piss off the messageboard rockists that I hate. Hey, a girl can dream.

I mean, that's it, isn't it? Spending more than ten minutes on a Radiohead messageboard makes me hate the band and myself for loving them. So perhaps it's not even the quality of being a music obsessive or putting the fanatic in fan, it's about kinds and qualities of obsession. About whether you use your obsession as an uplifting thing, to increase the amount of joy and happiness not just for yourself, but as a kind of sail to lift those you share it with - or whether you use it as a kind of status symbol to tear down those around you. I don't have time for those games.


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