the refugee seeks

music again,
familiar rooms hidden
deep and empty spaces
in sound here

sleep one
thousand years in a
cocoon the
color of burnt amber -

white sun
illumine velvet
-green leaves
tasting of
old dust
y air

 . . .

bring me a glass of brandy, darling, would you please?


there are notes that sound so alone...

so desolate are their worlds

so brave,
so quiet


blanketing the garden


an outstretched hand

yours, dimly lit


ad delirium

every love i could ever and did never dream of envelopes me without permission. every night i sleep so peacefully, having expelled as much energy as i have been given during the day, as if i was still in a womb.

for the past several days i've been swimming in a lake formed 12,000 years ago from molten magma and volcanic eruptions. the bluegreen water is clearer than bathwater and surrounding the entire lake is a rainforest completely filled to the brim with wildlife of all kinds, including some potentially dangerous animals and insects. when i sit in the shallows near the edge of the lake black and white striped fish, completely unafraid of me, nibble on my skin. they don't shy away when i extend my hand.

me in front of an incredible old tree in the aforementioned rainforest

as i write this i am staring into the face of a mother sunbird sitting on her two little eggs in the nest she and the male sunbird have been building for weeks. no one taught her that this is what she must do, it is just happening. i am grateful that i can witness such a beautiful, simple thing.

life finds a way to exist. though it is crushed out by the night and by unimaginable obstacles it still finds a way.

MY life is finding a way.

at this moment i couldn't even conceive of wanting to give up and that, in this day i have been given, on this day to which i owe everything, is enough reason for me to be happier than i have ever been on any other day.

i don't think about tomorrow and i don't think about yesterday. why would when i have this bird keeping me company, this beautiful sun goddess hugging me and a breeze so lightly playing at the tops of the trees?

A Day Called Zero - A Day Called Zero EP (1996)

this album keeps getting played even when i have countless other things to listen to (see: infinity).

something about it has caught me like a mermaid in a fishing net. the mood of the album is a color, or palette of colors, that intrigues me - the sounds are dark, eerie, hauntingly beautiful.


bright reaction

it smells like cigarette smoke mixed with a hot spring breeze

out here on the verandah i sit on a thin futon-shaped piece of foam, covered in a white sheet on which dirt has been scattered by wind and stray feet

i just woke up from a nap in which i listened to spiderland through speakers

the song "good morning captain" woke me and sent my mind spiraling back to a day buried deep in my past

something about the guitars and the atmosphere created on that album makes me feel like it has integrated itself into the fabric of my being somehow

i don't really like listening to it often


an album that accompanied me through the final horrific days of my most recent job was this:

polvo's exploded drawing

every song is weird, asymmetrical, at times humorous, then endearing; one moment the chorus of jangly guitars is intense like punches to the stomach and then the next they regress into an introspective calm. upon listening for the first time you might get seasick, or, it will be the most enjoyable, wild ride of your life.

for me i can say with every ounce of honesty and truth in my body that this album has saved me from many a sad day.

they are actually from a city only about a half hour away from the one where i grew up, a place i thought was (and still think is) the squarest and most mind-numbingly uncultured place on earth, a creative and topographical dead zone.

i fucking LOVE YOU, POLVO

the sun slants in like a golden sword as the odds grow shorter

i am in the great country of AUSTRALIA right now. it is hot and the sun is dangerously strong. two olive-backed sunbirds construct their dangling nest off of a clothesline each morning and i watch as they pay my close presence no mind. at night three or four geckos crawl slowly across the ceiling of the verandah in the candlelight, then stop at mysterious intervals and are completely still. kangaroos of varying sizes stare me down from afar and, when i have been deemed not a threat, continue about their scavenging and general mischief. bright green flies and the tiniest bees i have ever seen along with butterflies of every color constantly fill the air with their delicately-humming, swirling presences.

my time is spent reading misanthropic stories and poems and

strangely enough

not thinking

when a thought i admire does come across the horizon of my mind i try to write it out as coherently as i can so a future self, if she so needs a helping hand, can find the little encouragements i like to put out for her

like cookies little kids put out for santa

or something like that


when one ceases to think one calms the storm of thoughts, passions, emotions that usually battles itself out during every waking moment

you'll find that the cessation of thought is not equivalent to the cessation of life

lay down and immerse yourself in sound! become enraptured in the ideas and themes and art that bring you closer to a constant dream state, that place where life suddenly feels less like a re-run of the same cardboard people saying the same cardboard things and more like an endlessly vast field

RUN with a fury to the highest peak of your consciousness and never look back


let love flower


i am forever asking the same questions of myself and of the world.

not forever, though.

theoretically i will some day be a person who has gained a certain amount of wisdom from a lifetime full of experiences and,

at that point,

will i still have the same questions to ask?

will i still be a cup full of cracks?

will i stop looking both into future and past, but rather toward something for which i as yet have no words?

asking questions in question of questions.


l a b r a d f o r d
Prazision (1993)


i am actually listening to post-rock again. it has been years! to be quite honest, i am nearly at a point where i am so unused to long and quiet parts in songs by bands that when they happen i feel slightly confused for a second before i realize what's happening.

this is the very first album by Labradford, a Virginia-based all-bass trio active throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

here you will find music that is quiet, meditative and spacey with some really warm moments.

"Soft Return" (@ 3:28), in all its soft sweetness, is now in the running for one of my new favorite songs of all time (which changes often), followed incredibly closely by the Bark Psychosis-esque slinkiness "C of People" (@ 4:58).

which reminds me,

my favorite genre of music in the past 2 or 3 years would belong to a genre called something like "Driving Alone at Night while Stars and Melting City Lights Illuminate Dirty Backstreets and Distant Suburban Trees."

there's something so fascinating about being alone in such a self-indulgently introspective mood, somewhere as isolated yet freeing as within your own car on an empty highway at night.

American Football, Mogwai, Slint, Bark Psychosis, Talk Talk, Suicide, Rothko.


r o t h k o

In The Pulse of an Artery (2001)
~sadly no track available~

Wish for a World Without Hurt with Blk. Bear (2003)
Track 4, "Dropped From Clouds"

Not Gone. Not Forgotten. (2001) live album
Track 12, "Time Out"

Rothko was a UK-based post-rock/minimalist/field recording/noise artist, primarily (if not exclusively) instrumental, and active during the end of the 1990s and throughout the first decade of the 2000s.

i listen to albums like these by Rothko because of the same reason that i listen to a lot of music i enjoy - without words, the mind can truly be free.

music, when not overlaid with words or concepts that conjure pre-configured associations, naturally speaks this wordless language. when this unspoken language is given a world in which it can thrive it communicates in a very similar language to the one i have always spoken in my head (if that makes any sense).

some of my favorite music that i listen to and find to be a completely soul-drenching experience (where all senses and mental energies are focusing on what is being heard) like Debussy or Frey or Bach or Scelsi is almost exclusively wordless instrumental music (a term which does sometimes include vocals sung in a foreign or nonexistent language).

i prefer these wordless sounds because to me they convey the purest expression of music - sound. like noise. or silence. this freeform existence is the truest state of "music" because it -is- despite being heard and comprehended. it must only be heard to be identified with by any sentient being, to be felt.

// i realize i'm speaking in rather abstract terms but the subject of emotion is a highly relative one anyway - how can one's emotional response to a piece of music be exactly the same as that of another? how could two disparate beings agree on a definition of any emotion in totality? //

the way that Rothko's wordless instrumental sounds speak to me is peculiar, perhaps, because i am a wordless instrumentalist myself. i much appreciate their indeterminate repetition of bare musical ideas, which always seem to be stripped of any excess.

Forty Years to Find a Voice (2000)
"Shock of Self"

do you see what i mean now? if a band were to take away everything but the beating heart of the beast, perhaps along with some shadows of fire and emotion, it would sound something like this.

"A Search for No Answer"

and this, THIS could easily be seen as something like a Bach fugue. it is pretty much identical in form - a canon, if you will, of two crystal-clear guitar voices intersecting at precise angles, looping around each other - unmapped twists and turns of both harmony and melody. what more could you even want?

in addition, the track's title - "A Search for No Answer" - strikes me as descriptive of what composition essentially is. the search itself is what is heard or not heard, experienced or not experienced, but it always occurs within a duration of passing time. whatever answers that do exist are never experienced - the end of all is indeed silence, nothingness, absence but... not relating to sound or time.

true silence and nothingness occur when there is no longer silence or nothingness.


the distant cry of deer

can you imagine working on a piece of art, a work of music, for 5 years? for decades? for a lifetime?

it always astounds me, stops me in my tracks, when i hear of something like that. how can an artist ever consider his or her or itself "finished"?

in 20th-century composer Morton Feldman's writings, Give My Regards to Eighth Street, it is related that his friend, the painter Philip Guston, "tells us he does not finish a painting but 'abandons it.' at what point does he abandon it? is it perhaps at the moment when it might become a 'painting'?"

that book is incredible, by the way. incredible in a different way than i have found Feldman's music to be. so many thoughtful remarks on the construction of music, the nature of the process of creation, and plenty of lengthy expositions on the multitude of similarities between painting/painters and music/composers that command study and contemplation.

estampe japonaise papier riz
paysage bambous oiseaux rivière 

xix-ème siècle

i stand before you today as a new human, completely reborn. my cells are still in the process of regenerating themselves but my mind can regenerate much more rapidly, as it is located outside of an observable place. my whole body is my mind, the entire universe is my mind.


I Am I, And So Are You

helpful in the fight to resist the belligerence and vulgarity of parts of this human world is an act which has taken on new meaning for me: meditative stillness.

as thoughts and desires swirl around and inside of me i liken myself to a leaf that has fallen from a tree onto the surface of a pond. currents come and go, push and pull me in every direction, but i strive to be like the leaf.

calm, stable, still.
this, like a mountain does,
endures -
watching passing winds.

nothing makes feel so peaceful, so ready to fill my life with love and admiration for the natural world, for music, for my own capacities to learn and grow. it might sound too good to be true, but it is nothing of the sort. it is truth found through practice. the truth of the universe is revealed to the mind that is open, receptive, grateful. everything passes in phases - from unbearable pain to unbearable beauty, and all moments in between.

as i grow older and gain wisdom, impulses to fret, anticipate, even to analyze, are losing all meaning, all urgency.

breathing and being alive does not require anything more than to be.

bruce goff, architect
(1904 - 1982)


it is now time to dive into that world where sound rules the oceans and skies. here, a moonlit landscape of field and rock is juxtaposed against crashing waves lit by a constant sun.

mapping musical sources and their contributions creates a topography of that which lies inside all living beings, translated from thought into sound and word, conceived by a singularly-exiting brain. on the receiving end is me, Allison, who is affected and transformed so strongly by the process itself; birth to death to rebirth.



i have decided that the greatest place to start is with the music of claude debussy. his piano music accompanied me for a large part of the past several months almost incessantly.

after discovering the book Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy at my school's music library, i realized things about Debussy's music that had completely escaped me beforehand. the influence that ukiyo-e, "pictures of the floating world," and colored woodblock prints of the Japanese had on Western European artists during the late 19th-century is monumental. the artists and painters surrounding Debussy during this period of Impressionism and then post-Impressionism were concerning themselves not so much with the redundant ornamentation and elaboration of a subject but with the minimalistic structure of portraying a subject - visual art as "arrangements of lines and color," as put by painter Gauguin, or in the case of Debussy's compositional language, a certain “glue-less”-ness that bears "striking similarities to the traditional Japanese arts" (source).

when listening to Gieseking play Debussy's Préludes i can visualize a painting with all its brushstrokes and colors placed beside each other brusquely, clearly, and unashamedly. the music is "angular without any harsh bends," as my friend observed. in the following piece, Debussy's Prélude No. 11, Book 1, "La danse de Puck," i hear brief, texturally-unrelated fragments placed beside each other with no explicit threading tying them together - blocks, bare structures of color and mood, just as in (post-)Impressionist visual arts.

to further exemplify this quality of Debussy's music (which isn't always apparent on the first listen, or even the hundredth), here is an excerpt from the aforelinked blog post which compares traditional Japanese flute music to Debussy's compositional style:

"The shakuhachi honkyoku tradition, for example, is carefully attuned to the aesthetics of 'the single tone.' Rather than focusing on the relational 'glue' binding phrases and sections within each honkyoku piece, players focus on sound itself as the most important single parameter of the music. This attitude is best summed up by the adage ichion joubutsu (一音成仏), 'with one sound, one attains Buddha-consciousness.' In other words, the sound’s the thing, not the syntax. This idea probably would have resonated with Debussy, who once remarked that he loved development sections during symphony concerts because they gave him an opportunity to go out and enjoy a cigarette.

[To give you a sense of the timbral richness and variety of the shakuhachi, I’ll close with a video of one of my favorite honkyoku pieces, shika no tone ('The distant cry of deer'), performed by the masters Aoki Reibo and Yamaguchi Goro.]" videos below~

yamaguchi goro & aoki reibo: "shika no tone" part 1
"shika no tone" part 2


the following album, Persian Surgery Dervishes, is a recording of two live solo electric organ concerts, the first held in Los Angeles on 18 April 1971 and the second in Paris on 24 May 1972. the performances were done by American minimalist/avant-garde composer terry riley.

in a continuously flowing display of improvisatory magic, daydreaming is induced by a naturally-unfolding current of soundwaves that appear to be almost nearly identical in color. almost nearly.


following in a similar meditative mood, here is a brand new artistic figure in my sphere of influence - giacinto scelsi.

he was: a self-taught and composer from Italy who kept to himself, active in the early to mid 20th-century, and a frequent traveler to India and Eastern Asia who therefore became interested in Buddhism, meditation, and Eastern philosophy.

"Scelsi’s artistic ideas and compositional procedures thwarted Western concepts of composition, improvisation, interpretation, and performance. He did not consider himself a composer, but rather a medium or vessel who transcendentally received musical messages while meditating and improvising at the piano or on the guitar and percussion instruments" (source).

the following piece in particular off of a mode record of Scelsi's complete works for double bass is completely meditative in nature. a single note is explored in a dimension beyond time; time appears to stretch and break free from human-made musical laws, such as barlines and measures. through indeterminancy (durations of sound being solely the choice of the performer), time becomes a purely variable element.

Dharana (1975) for cello and double bass
Robert Black, double bass
Felix Fan, cello
first recording


last but not least, in our journey of transcendence, i have placed jürg frey's string quartet no. 3.

a small excerpt of the piece can be listened to here.

i really want to hear the rest of his string quartets. i have obtained this, the third, released on the edition wandelweiser record label and listen to it for days on end, it seems. i feel like i am purposely wanting to never leave the dreamlike world where it takes me.

from the liner notes:

"The string quartet sounds sometimes like the silence of a square, a room, a wall or a landscape. The music is silent, but not absent. It is not speechless, and it also does not move with virtuosity bordering on silence. The music gets its vitality and its radiance, not from gesture and figuration, but in quiet presence – everything is there: colours, sensations, shadows, durations. The music is silent architecture."



everything is good
don't say anything
close your eyes
think of nothing
believe me
everything is good
everything is good

please, turn your volume up as far as you can possibly bear and click play.

that is an order.

DAF - Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft.

Alles Ist Gut, released in 1981.

two beautiful men. one beautiful album of exremely danceable tracks. this is another example of music that i hypnotically listen to on repeat and subconsciously internalize, like a sonic mantra. i begin to breathe it and speak a language that requires no words at all.

it is bodily, sexual, the way those synths hit you. experience this album.


this is a short album and i have been meaning to mention it for a while because i listened to it non-stop during the month of July and have since moved on to other things but it's been difficult to come up with some kind of summation of my impression of this album.

simultaneously sweet as candy, innocent, reminiscent of 50s rock-and-roll and sinister, trance-like dark-as-black house from the slimy backstreets of New York, suicide made sounds that none other had ever dreamed of before.

between alan vega's moans and martin rev's surprisingly decadent organ harmonies which so frequently overlay such intrinsically sick beats i find this album also sexual and bodily to the extreme - a fucking magnificent trip through some kinda delicious hell.

my personal favorite song is "Girl" (see: moans) which can be found around the 12:45 mark.

here is an electrifying live performance of the duo performing the first track, "Ghost Rider," off their 1977 (can you fucking believe it?!) self-titled album in 1980:


and if those two weren't enough, there is even more goodness to be found in late 70s/early 80s industrial/techno new-wave music~

liasons dangereuses

"Kess Kill Fé Show" from their 1981 self-titled album
live from The Hacienda 7th July 1982

the album is full of highly addictive and danceable tracks sung and spoken and squealed in french, german, spanish. would mucho recommend.

- some italicized quotes and analogies shared here were shared first with me by frrrndds -


music for 18 minds

with each day that passes i can feel perceptual shifts inside of me, inside of this world. while they are indebted largely to the presences of new musical and artistic ideas in my mental sphere, i am noticing that thought as a process of discovery is becoming clearer and clearer, more purposeful, even more optimistic. i wish i could say it is through some personal strength found on my own but no, it is from willful immersion, soaking in ideas fresh out of oblivion. how else do i open myself up to possibility?

i can't keep up with the changes of the mind, but life gets its infinity from such things, does it not?

i like to think that it does.

still ruminating on the thought of what it means to be an artist and how to even reconcile one's self as one when you are perpetually unconvinced.

Cy Twombly
"Scenes from an Ideal Marriage" 1986 *

the beginning of this, dare i say it, romantic (though not in any way related to the Western art movement) phase began with a work. a masterpiece. something that, were i to claim it as my own (an idea that actually seems grossly unholy), would be sufficient to define my whole life as transcending a typical existence.

the piece is Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians. Reich was an American composer who dedicated his life to things that truly inspired him. the definition of a composer. he didn't really teach, as he felt it would take away from his creative energies. he took odd jobs that had nothing to do with composition, really, until he was able to sustain himself purely on composing and performing his own music (an artist's dream in this society).

the work was completed during 1974-1976 and lacked a traditional score for 22 years due to it being primarily a collaborative creation between ensemble and composer, in turn preserving the work largely as a sort of oral tradition. i followed the admittedly challenging score throughout the piece's entire duration one day and could hear the audible cues that Reich often talked about, the ones that link him to his main influences - West African drumming and Balinese gamelan, where the head drummer/rhythm-keeper in a collective is in charge of cuing sections. Reich was incredibly interested in the idea of music-making as a gradual process (he wrote a manifesto of sorts on the idea in 1968, Music as a Gradual Process, which served to distinctly voice his chosen ideals and laws regarding composition), one that didn't attempt to conceal factors of the music's structure and mystery from its listener.

to me, it seems like he arrived at these ideological conclusions of his purely by accident, or by a chain of events that did not intend to result in his becoming a revolutionary musical thinker. he began experimenting with tape loops, first, realizing that by allowing two electromechanical elements to play a small fragment of original music simultaneously, naturally-occurring intervals will begin to form between the two, something that he would call phasing. this concept followed him throughout his entire compositional career and i would say shaped a large amount of his artistic thought, but he left the tape loops far behind once he began experimenting with how to reproduce this "natural" process in a live setting. this, he found, could be achieved in two ways: by instructing performers to play a compositional fragment simultaneously at first but then slightly faster in one voice, thus naturally changing by varying degrees the space in between them; or, as i believe was most directly influenced by the Eastern music traditions mentioned above, objectively syncopating the musical lines by placing and displacing beats. tapes were still used in some of his other compositions but i believe he really liked the process of constant metaphormosizing, and the span of his life's work underwent changes due in part to his environment and to his own maturation.

Music for 8 Musicians is separated into 14 or so sections all based around 11 chords. these chords are then elaborated upon by various groups of instruments including pianos (4 of them!), voices, clarinets, strings, vibraphones, marimbas, and xylophones, throughout the entire duration of the piece - around 55 minutes. each group of instruments that is dependent on human breath is instructed to time their phrases exactly as long as it takes to draw a breath, with a natural crescendo to the middle providing those alluring "waves" of sound you hear. there is a rhythmic spine to the piece in the low notes but also in the constantly-pulsing percussive instruments, but with all of the changing sections which highlight varying instrument groups i feel a sense of controlled timelessness (Reich made a point to say in an interview that there is no chance in his music, none).

it is structural music, as a friend pointed out, but i find it meditative in a really intellectual way. you aren't hypnotized into a state hazy confusion, you are witnessing pure rhythmelodical (what a wonderful word) expression that, i believe, truly exemplifies Reich's desire to create a sound that is at once process and sounding music. i can't stop listening.


* i know nothing about this artist but i love visual art that does not attempt to construct our known reality, but rather portrays something completely indifferent to us, something almost unrecognizable. it shows that the mind can create worlds untouched by learning and evolution using something as simple as color, something as mechanical as physical motion. mindless creation that is entirely mindful. rejecting what the brain wants to see, what it wants to construct. at least that's what i believe is happening here.


lit from behind

there are certain moments of life that shock the mind back into life, give it something on which it can really thrive.

as someone once pointed out, it can happen that these moments amount to only five minutes of time within an entire lifespan. five minutes of feeling alive. i refuse to think this way.

it is customary among the allie's of this blog to ritualistically go through everything that has been saving her from the edge - all of those glimpses of life, musical or visceral, that meet or nearly meet her desired ferocity. through this process some things become clearer; feelings more pronounced, judgments organized, thoughts categorized, eras of life put in place.

living might be a condition of the mind that leaves one perpetually suspended in the seconds directly leading up to the present.

that sounds needlessly complicated and philosophical but it's what i'm here for.

Katsushika Hokusai, Floating Logs Down a Torrent, from Hokusai Manga, volume II, c. 1834.

i confess that i am extremely ill-equipped to face life head on. whether this statement further secludes myself and solidifies some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy or frees me from a false idea of destined failure, allowing acceptance and self-awareness, i am not to judge.

the biggest challenge i am faced with is a combination of:

1. fighting against societal norms/political propaganda for the sake of perceived "freedom" (which would hopefully allow me to act on desires born out of a self that intentionally avoids the collective consciousness, if such a thing is possible ((it is)))
2. balancing inner voices and outer voices that want authority over my course of action (the voices are a natural result of having been raised in this society, right?) and
3. attempting to mentally retain "important" concepts behind what i see, read, and hear (important in the sense that i would like to recycle fragments of someone else's creative energy for personal endeavors in the mind or in art).

all of these invisible entities which exist in so many dimensions and as so many variables constantly try to absorb themselves into my brain. actually, they do absorb themselves but it is up to something beyond me what gets through and what is filtered out. it's a constant blizzard of activity here in the depth of my summer, although technically summer has not quite started yet, out there.


this giant world is no bigger to me than the outermost layer of my body or aura is to my core. the deepest part of me extends infinitely inward and i must navigate counterintuitively cosmic/ microscopic layers of self utilizing feelings, senses, and abilities learned and integrated. every day. is it all just a mental game? it's incredibly difficult, whatever it is.


the funnest thing i find myself doing nowadays is sitting in a relaxing place, somewhere warm, and filling my head with new ideas, the goal being constant mind expansion - sonic vibrations that produce waves of q y p, written symbols signifying x y z, whatever... all these ideas and concepts and imaginations, expressed through some medium, resultant of suffering or of living arbitrarily at some time or in some space. sometimes, as was pointed out to me by someone, it is beneficial to cease consumption, for a time, in order to increase mental production.

self / world

speaking of flying (were we speaking of flying?), i am absolutely obsessed with watching birds, and bugs. they fill me with wonder and amazement like not much else. i think i might actually worship nature, the natural world, without my realizing it or formally acknowledging it as such. even more than sound, nature is an eternal "other"ness that fills the mind with something the body cannot react to in any learned, conditioned way. it's easy to say that nature fills one with inspiration, or peace, or something humanistic... but to me, when surrounded by parts of the world that are set apart from constructions, architecture, gestures of mortal purpose, i can feel myself losing touch with the modern, conditioned style of living. this inevitably reverts one to some notion of anti-purpose that has been divorced from whatever  definition humans have given "purpose," and i find it incredibly liberating, iconoclastic, somehow approaching a thing human have called "destiny."

maybe it is therapeutic, maybe it is an absolute necessity for my being, but to be surrounded by the absence of meaning, even the absence of human expression, makes me feel like i don't have to explain to myself or to anyone anything. it just is. nothing else has to be said, spoken, uttered, explained, described, etc. you just look, with eyes open, if one is so fortunate. you feel, you breathe. am i demeaning the powers of the mind by suggesting that they have little to no purpose in the world? why must we derive our meaning as a species simply from inherent abilities? our minds can cause terrible things, purposefully, with clear knowledge of consequences.

i don't believe that humans are above any other living thing in this universe. not one bit.


this world could very well be as complex only as i see fit for it to be, or only as simple as i allow it to be. with the more research i do, the more complex it will become, to me.

is not perception all? who can argue on the contrary?

just you
and i



quiet monuments are erected and destroyed like so many empires gone past. what are these sounds? are they even human? i am so impressed with this band, 2 Litre Dolby, an Australian collective whose only album, El Caballo Rojo (1999), has been surprisingly giving in its wonders. i suppose i have overstayed my welcome with the band by now, but i thought it necessary to include them, as this song in particular, "Dead Letter Office" somehow made its way deep down into me for a while.

and if the album seems to be hard to find i actually have a handy little link right here. to quote a friend:

"It's epic, intense long forgotten post-rock from the 90's! How is that not irresistible to you?!"


this band, Josef K, has been an interesting discovery. i am always fascinated by music released at the very end of the 70s and at the beginning of the 80s, which is sometimes referred to as "new wave." there is a special sound i hear when listening to bands of this era, and as hard as it is for me to write concretely about music, an audial experience, let's just say this music is intense, cerebral, sometimes fun, sometimes brooding. i don't know, man. what good are opinions if you can't listen for your SELF.

here is one of my favorite tracks, "It's Kinda Funny" (version from the 2006 compilation Entymology) ~

and if you like that, here is their original 1981 album The Only Fun in Town ~


this next song wasn't supposed to become my new favorite thing ever, but somehow, it happened. i didn't even know it was queued up to come up next, but there it went.

Eluvium's 2007 album Copia, and it's second track, "Indoor Swimming at the Space Station" ~

it is simple, sugary sweet, cinematic, almost as if out of Hollywood, almost too succulent, but that is alright with me. its structures are delicate, like they might give way at any moment to each other, and while listening it feels almost as if my own imagination is building this world along with these sounds, as if they are working together... my mind feels like it has found another energy with which it can symbiotically create, and the end result is a lucid dream, a waking experience of free-flowing creativity.

i'm reminded of when i was in those awkward teenage years where school was hell for me because of the other people there (or just myself), and as a result found avenues of life and art that allowed me to feel happiness. among those were really cheesy young adult fiction books from the library. fantasy fiction, science fiction, historical fiction. romance. i'd get lost in the library stacks going through books, trying to find the perfect one (i often would pick books based on their cover designs - how could you not, being a visual predator on the lookout for a "world" to enter?). the cover of this album reminds me of so many color schemes of the covers of those books that i would end up reading. a lot of the time i'd get a stack of books and read them in one sitting and become utterly gone, utterly lost in a world of someone else's imagining, and it would feel like fun. maybe that's a sad thing to remember.


M Y     D I S C O

i found out about another band that sounds Shellac-y and got really interested there for a while. their sound makes people tell me to turn it off, quickly, and i'm okay with that. they are Australian, not extremely well-known, energetic, frenetic, kinetic, and fucking cool. that's how i'd describe this trio. they have evolved from just sounding "like" Shellac (and that's not all that they ever were, either, it's just how i approached them in the beginning) to something new and wholly themselves (i.e. their 2015 album Severe).

but here is their 2006 album Cancer, one of the first i heard of them, and probably my favorite (especially the opening track, "Perfect Protection"). the bass is heavy as fuck. it's jarring music. it makes sense in a really satisfying way, it's heavy-handed in parts and then mellow in others (duh). a maze of cacophony.


this next group, Idaho, was always something special to me, but i just randomly heard this following song one day and played it over and over again for many subsequent days. the thing about this band is that as beautiful as they are i don't know if they even really are aware of it, of their own power. it kind of sounds like naturally-, imperfectly-unfolding sound; as though almost unintentional... i could be wrong, but i get the feeling that they don't masterfully orchestrate their beauty, rather it falls into place, in some arrangement, sorta how like life does (how about that for awkward syntax). anyway, moving on - here they are!

"Live Today Again" off of The Lone Gunman (2005) ~

my old favorite song of theirs was this one, "Hearts of Palm" off of Hearts of Palm (2000) ~

what the hell is he even saying?



and last, but not least, we have Claude Debussy making his appearance, neither for the first time nor the last, in my hall of fame. i love old recordings of his preludes by Walter Gieseking.

i have a particular affinity towards Book 1 No. 1, "Danseuses de Delphes" (Dancers of Delphi), Book 1 No. 5, "Les Collines d'Anacapri" (The Hills of Anacapri), Book 1 No. 10, "La Cathédrale engloutie" (The Sunken Cathedral), and Book 2 No. 10, "Canope."

they're all lovely/beautiful to listen to, either way.

dark lady, as yet unravished / i desire you almost nude / on a black sofa / in a yellow boudoir, / as if in 1830. / almost nude yet not nude / through a cloud / of lace revealing / your flesh where / my delirious mouth runs free.

pictures of the floating world


i don't know how to swim

are you supposed to get upset if the person you make a playlist for doesn't like any of the tracks you put on there?


des pas sur la neige

R.I.P. Isao Tomita

this track, an analogue synth re-work of Claude Debussy's piano prélude "Footprints in the Snow," is, to me, a very fitting choice to show a first-time listener of Tomita's work. the original piece is a collection of notes to be played at certain volumes and at certain speeds - mostly up to the performer - but this rendition is the atmospheric expression of a multitude of characters, voices, and images that could only lie so still as notes on a page, as keys pressed on a piano... here we have the electronic married to the impressionist, that which lies inside both Debussy and Tomita, and nothing could be more divine.

he worked with the music of Maurice Ravel, too ~

it is almost too perfect to be true. as a kaleidoscope of different mesmerizing sounds i think Tomita did more than pay homage to Ravel, who was a musical genius in his own right; he expressed an intense and absolute adoration of the composer's music and through this love he created an even further explosion of the original composition's majesty. a humbling thing to witness. nothing like this could have been created without love.


i don't think people realize how much of an impact they may have had on you, willingly or not, and why should they? they were simply existing, just like you, plodding around thoughtlessly or thoughtfully. when you interact with others you rub your essences off on each other (no, not like that! but sometimes like that), and those ephemeral invisible energies can stay with you. forever. and ever. the smallest things like their smell after running, or something they said at a time when you were completely receptive and eager to learn from them - these and more you can confidently recall exactly, word for word, years down the road. you could write an entire essay about how they made you feel at that certain point in time, and they had no idea how much of them you would take with you.

it kind of makes me sad...

there is someone in particular who affected me exactly like this. completely separate from their experience of the world and of me was a deluge of information that i was storing because it truly mattered to me, and was important to me. it helped me in such a way that i am still reeling from it. it is true that they had no idea. i was a mere passerby in their life, perhaps i made a mark on them too, deep in their memory, but it appears that... my memory of them is solidified into a monument that i've resurrected in this large field in my mind, a place where statues and gravestones representing people and places and things dot the grassy land, eternal remnants. they will never know the mark on me. i don't know why it isn't any other way, but really nothing is any other way than how it is, unless you forcefully try to create change.


heart and soul

i have traversed into dark territory... murky, maze-like, a place with subversive undertones.


i have never been happier in my life. i am so fucking comfortable here. it feels like pure bliss.

let me try to explain ;

music has always been the truest window into my soul. having this companionship with music and the voices that hold me up gives me confidence to believe in something that had always been inside of me. i haven't been really making music as much lately as i have been listening to music that inspires me and really does give me energy to live and breathe much like food powers the body throughout the day.

the phrase "brain food" cheesily applies here in this situation - my brain feeds and thrives on all this new music, and i'm going to share it with you right now. i am utterly ecstatic here, folks. it's a new development in my life and i've done more fantastic and ridiculous things lately that i would have never done had i not been living under the influence of all this pure reckless sound creation.


you all have encountered the band Joy Division before, correct? if not, i'm sure you would have already if given the chance to have knowledge of their existence. your life won't be the same once it really hits you.

i used to think they were boring, to my great shame. i would have thought much of the music i am about to show you was boring, because i was a stubborn shortsighted human who thought that i knew the extent of my own potentiality. in any case, take a listen -

"Wilderness" (Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures, 1979)

someone very special to me once gave me a huge boxset that contained all of Joy Division's music along with a sizable booklet detailing their story, and this person told me that within the boxset i will discover all of the musical education i will ever need. i didn't quite know what was meant by the statement, but...

this album is pure and utter darkness. it isn't the darkest we are to see, but it is so on a level that i haven't really heard before in music. there is such a bleakness that comes through the slinky bass that seems to cut through you with its deep tone, through the singing almost melodic lead guitar, the reverberating drums that echo off the walls inside your head as you listen, and the somber wavering baritone of ian curtis' voice - it comes together in this marvelous orchestral-like way, where one voice is introduced at a time until the whole comes into view as this astonishing display of four disparate souls intertwining in a single expression.

"Twenty Four Hours" (Closer, 1980)

choosing a song off of their second and final album, Closer, was difficult because they all embody the truest sense of what Joy Division is to me. however, this song is probably my favorite. it is upbeat, foreboding, self-exploratory, and ian is speaking directly to the listener here. soul completely bare. i can't think of anything that cuts to me deeper... the lyrics combined with their chilling sounds. i'm sorry i don't have anything much more intellectual than that to say about it but i very much would recommend just sitting down and listening to these two albums. allow yourself to get lost in it, and if you haven't already done so i think you will become addicted.


"Courtesan" (The Sidewalk Regrets - The Sidewalk Regrets, 2000)

i have been completely obsessed with this seemingly-unknown band from australia lately, going so far as to listen to the entire album endlessly for days on end, as loud as possible. i think i am finally getting to the point where i don't even want to listen to it anymore, even though it's only been about a week of me knowing its existence. still, it fucking kills.

the bassline of this song supposedly was ripped off of "The Pink Room," an Angelo Badalamenti classic from the Twin Peaks soundtrack where a double bassist plays this mournful yet sensual line amidst pure slinky nightclub swinging jazz. this song is sensual too, darkly so, and the singer's voice is as pure a tone as i've heard from nearly any singer. i feel as though i'm listening to someone project words and emotions directly from their soul with absolutely no filtration process, as completely unaware of or unconcerned with the self as is possible, only sound being created from within. i think that is the most sensual thing that could ever be done... it is sexual, really. sex requires one to put everything in, to make your entire self bare and vulnerable and open to an other. music, real music, is much the same.

"Jason's Song" (same album)

here is a slower, more melodic song that showcases a different direction for this incredible band that has literally almost no fanbase in the world (to my limited knowledge) for absolutely no good reason. i find it to be rather elegiac in tone, yet wryly humorous and lighthearted in its own way, and it's just all around a fantastic thing to behold. the first time i heard it i thought it was my favorite on the album because of all the pure, dripping passion.

for fans of Rowland S. Howard, HTRK... even Joy Division.


and finally, to top off this trio of perfection, a band who has eluded me for far too long, too long to have been legal or socially acceptable, so long that i find it hard to believe i was really existing before...

okay, now i'm exaggerating. still, this shit is

Solid Gold

by Gang of Four (1981)

no one song could be cherrypicked from this album because they are all so fucking god damn on fire. literally on fire. from the very first introduction of the instrumental voices, as though a foreign element was introducing itself to me for the very first time, i fell weak at the knees. or really i think i just became infinitely intrigued. i wanted to know what more was there to this band that i was missing. and upon the unfolding of this album it all became clear.

slow, plodding structures building upon themselves. bass and drum interplay disjointed yet mechanically synchronized. the vocals of jon king commenting on a way of life, a societal infrastructure, with bleak yet poignant yet sometimes absurdly silly honesty. just like what punk was all about; here we have a form of expression that didn't attempt to hide any part of the truth of pure emotion, i feel as though i'm listening to an honest and valid display of discontent, dissatisfaction, frustration, observation.

i hear so so much Steve Albini in this. so much Big Black and Shellac. it's eerie yet amazing. some of the best most punch-in-the-face music ever.

i think my favorite song actually is the second track, which begins at 03:23 and is called "What We All Want." there is just something about the pure grooviness of the rhythm that is so fucking attractive to me, it is like the missing piece to a puzzle inside me that i didn't even know was missing a piece. i feel just that much more complete just upon having heard this awesome fucking track.

PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS ENTIRE ALBUM. and then we shall move on together to their other ones, of which there are quite many...

another day, another day


have also been listening to and eating up music by Joanna Newsom. she continues to amaze me. this album, excluding the two (annoying) songs where she isn't playing a harp, is quite a lovely little stroll into an imagination that is at once childlike and pure, yet somehow ancient in wisdom. she is one of the most talented musicians still living today that i have ever seen perform, and she appears to be very fearless in her approach to music-making. heart eyes

The Milk-Eyed Mender, 2004


i have begun to fall

the absolute constant motion i have found in certain musical forms has given me wings with which i have begun to fly.

it is an incredible discovery, one that i hope to share successfully with you; it will give you a newfound energy you didn't know you possessed. the music, in a word, is -


"My Black Ass" (At Action Park, 199fucking4)

first introduced to me when i was 15, now 7 or so years ago, Shellac... well let's see... i initially must have written them off as cheesy stoner rock or something, just not anything revolutionary or important to me, because i never gave them their due listening. i can't believe this stupid shortsightedness of mine!

beyond words is this band. the descendants of earlier punk and hardcore acts such as Rapeman and Big Black, both bands including Shellac's main vocalist and guitarist Steve Albini, Shellac is a band that fucks with your head in the most pleasurable way. the following evaluation of their effects on the human mind is that of a young girl who has heard the following albums of theirs: At Action Park of 1994 and 1000 Hurts of 2000. the latter was her favorite album before she heard, for the first time in 7 years after hearing it only once before, the former - her new masterpiece in the world of art. at least for the time being (subject to change: often).

At Action Park's opening track, "My Black Ass" offers a nonchalant attack on the senses. i would classify most of Shellac's music that i have heard just like that - an attack. the lyrics by no mean betray their style - it is all brutal, forceful, quite a session of wonderful and sometimes not so consensual intercourse of the internal world and that which penetrates it.

in their album notes, under "Personnel," they classify themselves as mass, velocity, and time.

need i say more about their awesomeness? and when you watch them play live,



i can't even believe my ears, especially at witnessing just how tightly wound and together the bassist and drummer are at all times. they coexist so beautifully, and of course Steve Albini was just the most ecstatic performer and guitarist. the vocals come and go in this set because it's all about the energy, that pure unadulterated momentum.

this music does nothing but caress your most violent sentiments with a similar reverie. it sweeps one away in rapture, inducing a yearning for expansion in all directions. i find it to be just... intelligently-handled anger, seductive almost. am i going too crazy here?

"Watch Song" (1000 Hurts, 2000)

i posted earlier my obsession with bands such as Unwound and their doppelgangers but this thing with Shellac, it is... different. so much more raw and mangry (a new word i just made up, deal with it). i think i'm so attracted to this sound because, much like Tyler Durden from Fight Club, i have become fed up with being a complacent sleepwaker.

they call themselves a "minimalist rock trio" and i would have to agree with this assessment. minimalist to the point where it isn't minimal in substance but minimal in redundancies. basically, everything about their sound is real, true, reaching you from heart to heart. the heart of one heavily-breathing beast to another - to you.

"Crow" (At Action Park, 1994)

the bass and the drums work together in unbelievable contortions, and Albini's guitar is a conglomerate of uncomfortably perfect sound convulsions and pitch modulations. they create sounds you didn't even imagine could be created.

the end of this song - "Crow" - is a sound of constancy, of repetitive endless fluctuations of the mind's fancies. i don't fucking know man. i am out of words to describe how i feel.

time flies as a crow flies
in a straight line
through you not around you
your life is only that with which
has its way with you


currently i am experiencing the first initial pangs of falling deeply in love with something. someone. it stings in the most beautiful way. the desires are almost completely one-sided, it seems, and the struggle lies in conveying these desires in a way that will alert the other to your state of being, without startling them. to be desirable in your desire.

i have never felt so sensual in my entire life. it is like the color red has suddenly washed all over me after years of being merely pink.


editing this 4 days later


now i have heard shellac's album Terraform (1997) and can say with confidence it has given me another dose of acceptance that Shellac as a singleminded unit is now one of my favorite artists in the history of the world.

it opens with a 12 minute track, the majority of which is just four notes repeated consistently without hardly any variation.

it's called, "Didn't We Deserve a Look At You the Way You Really Are?"

a brilliant track, an interesting concept, another installment of beautiful repetition that grinds away at you but does not bore through you quite yet, because of how much it moves you. the next track, however, is my absolute favorite! you can even hear it on that live album video i linked up there, at the 4:08 marker. the song is called, "This is a Picture."

a perfect example of exactly what i look for in music. the instantaneous change from the harsh-edged angularity of the beginning repetitious riff to the harsh yet resounding seconds/sevenths, intervals that call to me with beautiful dissonance and continue to pop up in my musical journeys. when Albini begins to speak-sing with his midwestern-sounding accent, his drawl if you will, i go weak at the knees... it is definitely one of my favorite Shellac songs of all time.

of course, the bassist and the drummer in this sync are so painfully, intricately intertwined in a way not matched anywhere else. at least not to my knowledge.



hold this guitar, be careful
can't you see i've got my hair full
of heartbreak, girl

this man embodies "the idea of creating and living in your own delusion/fantasy world, outside of what everyone else expects you to be, committing to creativity above all else" - words from the greatest thinker and musician alive today regarding another fantastic musician.

my favorite RSM song is and has always been and probably will always be this one, "Showing Shadows" off of his arguably most popular or at least most accessible or if not either of these it's the first one i heard - 1976's Phonography.

what i love about RSM are his chords... he is in touch with the greatest sounds, and although the textures and structures are primarily of a pop sound (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just something i don't experiment with as much when i personally make music) he makes wholly unique and seemingly unending worlds out of these songs, of which he has made over 2,000... a never ever ever ending artist until the end of life.

it is quite incredibly, really. how can someone not give up to this extent? in the face of all kinds of obstacles - time, time, time always one of them...

fuck time


time is never time at all


it keeps going by, minute by minute.

in my experience it's always just day by day

by day

by day...

when the sky moves and the stars are suddenly in a different place, when i observe my shadow at the exact same time on two totally separate days, when i visit old friends that i haven't seen in months and months, and they tell me exactly how long it has been since the last time - 180 days, two years and two days exactly, etc... i feel like no time has passed and yet something irretrievable has been lost.

no time has passed because in that moment of reuniting the elements which were separated, whether it be two humans in the same room again after years or the same being at the same place on two different dates, what is said to have occurred in the space between those two elements might as well have not existed at all. what memory remains after the time has passed is only in the mind; a fickle place full of fickle and disparate ideas, intangibles.

are we all just living the same day over and over, and the only change that occurs is in us?

is there such a thing as linear progression, degradation, and are we all feeling it at the same rate? are we feeling it at all?

~ ♪ ~

i present to you one of the single most influential albums to my life, as well as one of the most beautiful i have yet heard in this life.

please enjoy!

森田童子 - A Boy (1997)

you will become my memory



i believe that the most important job of musicians is to make something beautiful out of ugliness. to make something ugly, and to call it beautiful. to find it beautiful anyway. to find it gratifyingly wholesome, to find yourself being drawn to it inexplicably, to eat it up like it was the only food that will ever exist again.

i feel whole when i listen to ugly, beautiful music. why? because of REPETITION

my most favorite music is repetitious to an almost inane amount... repetitious riffs, repetitive loops, small building blocks that create larger wholes. patterns. structures. fragile, tenuous connectors build and build... until your mind projects new reasons for the structures to exist, new creations out of the same parts.

i am so, so, so very in love with this album ~

Unwound - Repetition (1996)

a relatively later album of theirs, this album strikes me as more consonant than their earliest releases. to me, it is the most repetitious yet scrumptious, ugly yet beautiful piece of music ever. ever that i have heard, at least. i call it repetitious but it is nothing new for bands to be repetitious in the age of musical genres such as rock and roll, pop, and jazz.

phrases that repeat - small sections comprised of four chords or less - are the very backbone of modern music, and it could perhaps even extend further into history as far back as early Western classical music. of course, Western music is by far not the most all-encompassing exploration of what sound can be - i would much rather look to the East, or, at least to not further develop a paralyzing dichotomoy between both hemispheres, the other musical cultures of the world that are not contained in "the West," in order to find explorations of sound that most closely align with my own.

Unwound's brand of sharp, harsh sound that sounds like it could brutishly bulldoze over entire countries actually makes me swoon. it doesn't happen to be because of the abrasiveness but because of the softer, more melodious moments that peek through, as sunlight does through a curtain. i live for these multifarious framings of what feels like pure, unadulterated bliss. beauty is bliss, or maybe ugliness is bliss, or maybe this sound just resonates with something in me and i feel so very much like it is what i was meant to listen to...

and now i listen, for the first time, to an earlier album of theirs ~

Unwound - New Plastic Ideas (1994)

here we are with an earlier album. upon this first listen i am noticing the rawness that comes with the purity of beginnings, along with hints at what was to come - their culminating effort and i think ultimate magnum opus is their 2001 album Leaves Turn Inside You. mmm... words can't describe THAT album! but, alas, that is for another time.

please recommed me some more post-hardcore melodic yet noisey bands!? i already love Lowercase, and of course Unwound, and then Polvo and people like Kolya and of course Slint, but what else is there? i love bands that have screaming vocalists but i think a trend in my favorites i just listed actually contain not exclusively screaming vocalists, but rather heartfelt and confident voices that speak of abstract things, absurd things, meaningless yet the most meaningful things.

does everything/anything have to make sense?


cold and white

you have found yourself in the furthest corner of a world that is cold, white, and dying.

it is dying as we all are.