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I'd like to get in the habit of writing about music. The way people did it on Livejournal is yet another thing I miss about the place; I got some of my favourite music that way, through colourful descriptions of tracks with YouSendIt links by people whose taste I knew I liked. I've always hesitated to do so myself because I thought there were prerequisites I didn't have, but increasingly I think I shouldn't let that stop me.

One of those things was knowing about massive numbers of bands in trainspotterish detail (to the extent that you would be able to name all their members and everyone else on their record label at a pub quiz) and being able to situate each one precisely in a timeline/tree diagram of changing genres, enabling you to make statements like 'X are like Y and Z jamming in the tour bus of early A, heavily influenced by the [genre/style] of B while C was still their bassist'. But over the years I've come to realise I do know a fair few music facts, though they don't all interconnect into a cognitive map; and also that there's something annoyingly rockist (and frankly, willy-waving) about the idea that you shouldn't try to comment on music unless you have that map in your head. And further, that I didn't require that level of knowledge from anyone else to enjoy their writing about music, which meant it was just a self-silencing tactic.

The other 'problem' is that I'm not usually up to date with new releases. I can only take in so much new music at a time, and I prefer to explore it slowly, dumping new stuff into my unfashionably large iPod and munching gradually through it. I often trip over music in there which blows me away, sometimes years after I put it in there and forgot about it. And then there's whatever Spotify decides to play at me, which is always a bit divorced from context. From proper musos' point of view I will have gaps in my knowledge and be very late to some parties. But eh.

So here we go, the Dreamwidth music meme, albeit several weeks after everyone else I've seen doing it (starting as I mean to go on). Including but not limited to assorted dance/electronic, various kinds of psychedelia, folk, 'oh god does this count as indie, what even is indie these days', and whatever the hell the Magnetic Fields are. 


This song makes me think of the claim that we can never completely understand our own consciousness because such understanding would always require it to be slightly bigger than it is. I've been trying to put why I like it into words, but I think if I could describe it perfectly it wouldn't be the same song, or do the thing it does so well (and/or I would be some kind of mystic wizard). 'The thing it does' is hinting at inexpressible stuff, at numinous things you can't quite articulate but which make your chest ache to try and think about. It gives me a sort of delicious vertigo by shifting the scope back and forth between oblique references to mind-buggeringly huge cosmic stuff ('time, gargantuan bead', or is it 'beat'?) and the specific, intimate details of a relationship between complicated people, with histories, increasingly wrapped up in each other. They're making their own space ('our own private sea', sometimes stormy perhaps) within the enormous strangeness of the universe. And maybe I'm projecting here, but one of the things that makes the relationship work is that they're both aware of that enormous strangeness, that they can both feel it always there in the background. But everything still feels precarious and trust still feels like a risk.

Appropriately enough, it sounds familiar and uncanny at once. The soft vocals are like the voice in your ear from the other pillow, but also kind of dreamlike and yearning, and the off-kilter percussion sounds they use add to that feeling. When Tunng play live (they rock surprisingly hard given how gentle they sound on their albums; see them if you can), as well as a drum kit they have a bizarre percussion rig thing with all kinds of objects hanging from it - keys, rattles, shells, kitchen utensils - but listening to them at home it's impossible to tell what mysterious artifacts are making these twangs, clicks, etc. It all makes you feel like you (and your partner, perhaps) are sailing out on a sea of things you don't fully understand. One of which is the inside of your own head.

(See also: Cans, also by them. Also does that zoom in/zoom out thing, from shooting stars and high weirdness to cornflakes and TV and cans of beer and back again, with a close relationship at the heart of it.)

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