Look at this little dude. Those deep red wings. Those magnificent antennae, that look velvety like antlers. I've never seen anything like him outside the Burren, where I took the picture.
( 3: A song that reminds you of summer )
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.
( 1. A song with a colour in the title )
Suggest a year of the 00s in comments, and I'll tell you the ten songs that defined that year for me, and why they were important. I'll include links where I can - to youtube videos or similar - so you can hear them yourselves, or at least to the lyrics if there are any. I'll try to resist choosing the coolest ones and stick to the ones that really meant something at the time (though I can't promise not to do that at all).
And I'd really like to see this turn into a meme, so if you comment saying you'd like to join in, I'll give you a year too. It doesn't have to be ten songs - that just seems right because it's an amount that will probably fit nicely on a CD, and then I can badger people to make them for me ;)
BeeCDs and dinner makings
Originally uploaded by bluedevi
Yesterday was a bleak sort of day, despite the crisp autumn sunshine. I was out of sorts with work, and apprehensive about money, and kept veering towards the dangerous here-be-dragons shores of "what's the point?" in relation to my non-work projects, and in general it was the sort of day where the whole mechanism of living seems a bit much and you just want to be asleep. It was like my brain had been running for too long without a reboot and now was full of cruft, memory leaks and zombie processes, and desperately in need of a defrag.
(Someone will now tell me I need a different operating system.)
But I got home to find a parcel of music and goodwill from beecd, put the first of the three CDs on and started cooking lasagne while waiting for Dan to come round, and there was a moment when I just stood back and looked at the objects on the counter and thought it was ridiculous to be glum when I was this absurdly lucky.
I'm not supposed to talk about the CDs in detail till everyone has got theirs, so we can all listen to them without preconceptions, but the two I've heard so far have been fantastic.
So it seems like a good time to do jinty's earworm meme...
( Seven songs I've had stuck in my head lately )
I hardly ever tag people for memes, but I want to know about other people's earworms. So, with the usual caveats about no obligation to do this, I tag, hmmm... undyingking, puritybrown, inannajones, braisedbywolves, miss_newham, parallelgirl and minnesattva. And anyone else who wants to, obviously.
It starts with something I thought would be a confession, a dangerous one of the sort liable to get me lynched or get objects lobbed at my head. Now the results are in, I feel a bit safer saying it. I like dance music.
Thing is, I also love indie music and (a lot of) goth music and all manner of verse-chorus-verse music, music with lyrics that make sense of life, and it doesn't even have to be well-sung or well-played, if the lyrics are good enough to carry it. I like music that's right next door to spoken word performance, where the music takes a back seat to the lyrics, but the lyrics are shiningly brilliant.
This makes perfect sense to me. Music is for different things, serves different functions. Dance music is for, well, dancing to, that sort of hypnotic wild trance-dancing that strips you of self-consciousness and daily worries and leaves you elated. (Hello ultraruby!) And it's for spurring myself to work - I write faster and maybe better with a pulse of beat in the background, with slowly evolving melodies; lyrics are too distracting. It's music that provides a soundtrack for travelling at speed, or for travelling in your imagination. Music with guitars, by bands, with words, is for something else entirely. It's about that twinge in your heart when you hear a lyric that expresses something perfectly. It's music you live through and feel through, music that helps you explain things to yourself, music that puts you on an emotional rollercoaster from hope to misery and back, or that just helps you laugh at life. Music that provides a soundtrack for walking in the dark or standing moodily down in a tube station at midnight.
I couldn't do without either of these things, even though they're such different experiences it seems clumsy even to call them both 'music'. Fair enough, you say. Eclecticism is good. The poll results seem to bear that out.
But back at Dublin City University it was a different story. I didn't know any other eclectics who liked, say, Orbital as much as they liked Radiohead or the Smashing Pumpkins. You were a rocker or a raver, and the rockers and the ravers tore each other to bits in a perpetual scrap on the music boards of the BBS, and never the twain did meet.
And the divide seems to have persisted among my various groups of friends (or at least I thought it had until I did the poll). I've always felt like the lone advocate of electronica among a nation of trad-goths and indie-kids, and when I try to defend it, I'm told more often than not that it's chav music, stupid music, music for people with no brain cells. I reply that they're probably not listening to the right dance music, that it can have intelligence and complexity, that I like it with the same bit of my music brain that grew up on classical and for a lot of the same reasons (Pachelbel's 'Canon' has much the same effect on me as Orbital's 'The Girl With The Sun In Her Head'). But things remain the same: I have a yen to go to dance clubs and no one to go with.
And it looks like the whole world is going that way too. Alexis Petridis wrote recently in the Guardian that dance music is dead. (Though, if you read the article, I think I'm pleased that he says it's going back underground. I'd prefer little underground scenes to great big impersonal superclubs any day.)
So my poll had several purposes. Firstly, to see if the rocker/raver divide still exists, and to find other eclectics. Pleasingly, there are quite a few of you.
Secondly, to see if my flist was actually as anti-dance as I thought, and it's true that the indie/rock/etc people - those of you who chose no dance at all - vastly outnumber the eclectics and the dance-only folk. But there are more of the latter two types than I'd been expecting.
Thirdly, I wanted to investigate my half-formed hunch that people who liked dance would get along with classical, and vice versa. This wasn't borne out at all. In fact, it was the indie/goth/rock folk who tended to like classical, rather than the other lot. I guess I'm on my own there, then.
There's another post bubbling under in my brain, about what clubbing is for, but that's for another day. Thank you all for ticking the tickyboxes.
Who's coming to Synthetic Culture tonight?
And a poll, because this has been on my mind lately. Which genres of music do you like? And I mean really like, makes hairs stand up on the back of your neck or tears come to your eyes or your foot to tap uncontrollably or makes you feel all's right with the world, that sort of like.
This isn't supposed to cover all genres. My purpose will be explained shortly. (I should have put in an 'Other - please state' thingy, so please state your others in the comments.)
Can anyone point me at mp3s of Lose Yourself? Or Dream On?
I'm still going to try and get it done, and give some out at the next meeting - but for those who don't want to wait that long, or aren't in London or aren't Nanoing, you can take advantage of my new-found ability to use the post office. I will send you the compilation, and all I ask in return is that you send me a mix of your own, no constraints, just anything you think I ought to hear. Who's interested?
The trouble is that I've only thought of four songs so far (Lose Yourself by Eminem, Goethe's Letter to Vic Chesnutt and Lee Remick by Hefner, and the 'this is your life and it's ending one minute at a time' theme from Fight Club). Which is frankly pathetic.
So. Anyone have any suggestions? What's the song that makes you want to make art? The song that kicks you in the arse and tells you to get on with it?
Edit: Oh yeah, "There She Goes My Beautiful World" by Nick Cave as well.)