human soul engineer

lately i have discovered this singer, angel olsen, and her music has really changed my outlook on life

it's inspired me, and made me happier

here is the song "acrobat" from her latest album, half way home

if you watch it, you'll notice the quality of her voice and how it sounds so rich and full of longing. she's closely associated with artists such as will oldham/bonnie 'prince' billy, who describes his feelings upon hearing her voice: "It's almost like I get hollowed out and then filled, but I don't know what it's with. It's a mixture of apprehension and satisfaction at the same time."

 my favorite song she's done is "if it's alive, it will." here is angel olsen performing it in a videostore in NYC a few years ago. it's just a beautiful piece of music to me, very simple and folk-like and meaningful.


in other news, i am thoroughly engrossed in the 'shostakovich' debate for a research paper. was he a loyal Communist as he outwardly appeared (fay/taruskin) or did he harbor dissenting sentiments (wilson/macdonald)? i'm gonna have to say i side with macdonald on most points. he himself was an incredibly interesting character. a musician who wrote a comprehensive history of The Beatles, borrowing things from art historians, as well as his book on Shostakovich, he set himself apart from those such as fay, taruskin, volkov, and others who had their own agendas for writing their studies on the composer. despite not being as 'scholarly' or 'musicologist-y' as tarsukin or fay or wilson, macdonald really did try to understand what most people thought facts alone could explain, and that was what he assumed logic itself would be enough...

"Shostakovich was indisputably a tragic-satiric observer, not an introspective or bewildered Hamlet figure." (source, where he argues for a contextual approach to understanding the man who was shostakovich).

macdonald ended up killing himself in 2003 after suffering from depression for years, but his book The New Shostakovich is a beautifully written account of the events leading up to and during and after shostakovich's life, each chapter sectioned off as if a scene in a movie. no one on earth can imagine what life could have possibly been during those times, for composers or for anyone, when the USSR really was the most militant and violent and all-powerful regime in history.

here is the gorgeous first movement of his piano trio no. 2, op. 62


i am completely OBSESSED with the san francisco-based post-hardcore/noise rock band Lowercase, namely their third album The Going Away Present. i just listen to the entire album from beginning to end on repeat, over and over again.

here is the opener. it is fucking incredible.


i also have discovered a swiss painter named Félix Vallotton whose paintings are really something. i have no art history background, but it's said that he was associated with Les Nabis, a group of "post-impressionist avant-garde" artists in France during the 1890s who sort of got things going into the great and wonderful 20th century, where art became full of symbolism and the abstract. however, it's said that compared to others who were also doing more modern things, these artists were considered conservative with their impressionist-inspired use of colors and figures.

the definition of painting, to a member of Les Nabis ("the prophets"): "a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order." well, whatever.

here are some paintings i like. aren't they just amazingly beautiful?

i want to be made out of love 
i want to be made into life