Wednesday, October 29

Media, Messages, Equality thereof, importance of the former to the latter

Ian posted a meditation on the importance of media to messages today. Of course, Mr. McLuhan comes to mind (although his point was more about which of media and messages is more worthy of study than anything else). The choice of medium is an important one for any message; announcing a product with a press conference is different from announcing it with a press release, which is different from announcing it in an advertisement. Heck, this blog would be a different place if it had black text on a white background, or red rather than lime green titles. And you can alter the perception of the words 'I love you' any number of ways, depending on your choice of body language and tone of voice.

I'm tempted to see all this from an anthropological/biological perspective, to return to my constant theme of our monkey brains being way more important than we think they are. How fine is the line between being a good communicator and being manipulative? How much of that distinction is based on mastery of the parts of the message we normally call 'media'?

Thursday, October 16

One Track Mind: DLZ

Dear Science,

Let's not be humble. We both know what you are: the most successful attempt to systematize and organize knowledge in the history of the Universe. Your method is madness, your technique impeccable. You drive my life; I live your drives. You dot my eyes and tease my cross.

Science, sometimes I wish you were more than the realization of my thoughts. Other times, I feel that my thoughts are the realization of your wishes. There are no other times, because time itself is an illusion. Thanks for that one. I.e., Thanks for that identity element, so long as we're talking about the multiplication operation. If the subject is addition, I guess I should say thanks for that zero.

Is free will neutral? By that, I mean to ask, is free will free of charge? I mean, is it balanced? Am I?

Here's where I sign off. Off with my sign! I am neither positive nor negative. I am nothing.


P.S. I will leave the rest to TV On the Radio, as expressed in DLZ:

Never you mind
Death professor.
Your shocks are fine,
My struts are better.
Your fiction flies so high,
Y'all could use a doctor
Who's sick, who's next?

Tuesday, October 7

One Track Mind: Float

Artist: Flogging Molly
Album Title: Float
Track Title: Float

Melodic, melancholic Irish bar rock is always good, isn't it? Well, Maybe. This review on Sputnikmusic nails the album pretty well. Money quote:

As sea-faring analogies go, Float definitely fits the description, but only just. Despite the conspicuous absence of a Nathan Maxwell pirate shanty, or an instrumental, that might have injected its middle ranks with some welcome momentum, Float is rescued from abject tedium by the deep, poetic lure of the subject matter and a couple of genuinely outstanding compositions in ‘Float’ and ‘(No More) Paddy’s Lament.’

Fortunately for Flogging Molly, this track has enough reeling violin, drunken banjo spirit, and emotional resonance to almost redeem the whole album. The song wouldn't feel out of place lilting from the open, beckoning doors of the Irish pubs of my youth. Pour yourself a pint, listen to this song, and imagine yourself on King Street.

Thursday, October 2

One Track Mind: My Favourite Book

My Favourite Book is track 4 on Stars' 2007 release, In Our Bedroom After The War. It's a female-vocalist love song with a soft-pop aesthetic: light, thin drums, syrupy organ playing 7ths on the downbeat, flute backup, strings on the bridge. It's as mushy as you'd expect it to be and as universal as any love song. Romance. Long walks on the beach at sunset. Holding hands in the grocery store. Typical Stars.

One Track Mind: Rooks

Song Title: Rooks
Artist: Shearwater
Album: Rook

The AV Club is hosting the song in its review of the album here. Go listen. But first, one comment and a few warnings.

Comment: Shearwater is, by far, my favourite band with an ornithologist front-man.

Warning: That front-man is also a member of ingratiating indie darlings Okkervil River. Don't hold that against him; in fact, let that bump the latter band up a few notches. It worked for me; after thoroughly enjoying this album by Shearwater, I want back to Okkervil River after dismissing the "The Stage Names," and I don't regret it. Their follow-up, "The Stand Ins," is even better, but don't tell my hipster friends I think so.

Warning: Falsetto. Get your eardrums ready for some high-pitched male vocals. Don't let the similar, embarrassing vocal efforts of the Dandy Warhols, Beck, or David Usher taint you with prejudice. It works here, against all odds.

Warning: at 1:43 in this song, a pounding bass drum and a triumphant trumpet line enter after a dramatically descending melodic theme in the vocals. Like the unabashed guitar solo in a Dinosaur Jr. Song, it may cause you to take notice and stop working.