I've been especially noticing TMG's gradual changes in sound over the recent couple albums, and although I understand that another album is a ways away, I'm interested to know if there are any new styles or instrumentation you plan on incorporating into your work?
ever since we moved from boombox to studio we’ve tried to change up the sound in some way on every album however I’ve never told anybody in advance what the changes are gonna be because then they get EXPECTATIONS which are heavy sometimes. but we do always try to change it up a little sonically from album to album.
I love your electric guitar sounds in Tallahassee. Did you mic an amp or is that a direct input?
I didn’t keep notes but I think it was an amp. I was really super-new to the electric guitar at that point, that guitar was an ESP I kept almost buying for ages but it was expensive for us - $400.00 if I remember - but I think I finally said “look you’re going to make this album for 4AD get an electric guitar you have to bring some new sounds in for this record.” I didn’t know what I was doing at all in terms of reverb or anything so if the guitar sounds nice you can thank Tony Doogan, who produced Tallahassee during a 6-day marathon all-tracking-and-mixing session that we’d never dare attempt now.
robbe-grillet is the best, i'm reading the voyeur right now and the things dude does with the passage of time are incredible. have you ever read steve erickson?
Story I’m ashamed to tell: several years ago, I gave a reading from Master of Reality at the Regulator. (I am not linking to those places so people can buy my book. I am linking to them in case people don’t know I’m talking about.) After the reading, one of the guys who works at the Regulator said “I want to give you this book; it’s my favorite book in the entire store.” It was Zeroville. I told him what I tell anybody who gives me a book: “It takes me forever to get around to a book.” This has been the case since I was a young science fiction fiend haunting the paperback exchange. I get more books than I can read, they vanish underneath one another, they go to shelves where they look splendid and then after I finish whatever I’m working on I go to the shelves or the piles at the bases of the shelves and sift through them and think about the things a worried progressive thinks about while choosing a book (how representative of the entire vast world of literature has your reading been this year? what on these shelves that might broaden the scope of your reading?) and the things a worried reader who knows he only has so many years left to read thinks about (which of these would you most wish you’d read if you learned you had only a few hours to live?) and then eventually I pick something. For about two years now, I look at Zeroville and I say “that guy said it was the best book in the entire store," which he did not say, actually - he said it was his favorite, important distinction. Anyway. It’s on the shelf. That you mention it in connection with Robbe-Grillet probably gives it a boost, but no, I haven’t read him yet.
“If you go on valuing recognition and praise of others, you’re asking to be ruined. The only value in expression is its inherent value. The object is the object, and will continue well after you’re dead. Even when the world burns up and even the object no longer appears, you were who you were, you made what you made, you valued what you valued, and nothing else.”—
Just finished reading Butler’s astonishing Sky Saw and I gotta say he walks the walk on what he says above. The book is “hard” or “difficult”* or whatever, i.e., the story does not come to you through the sentences, instead you must come at the sentences with a pickaxe and break the large and small shards of the story free from the phrases and sentences and sections that hold it, but as with other “difficult”* writers I like (Gass, Robbe-Grillet, Chelsey Minnis), once you lock into the rhythm of reading in a different way & with different expectations, of really hearing a voice that doesn’t speak like other voices, a new galaxy opens up and it’s magnificent
or in the case of Sky Saw, magnificent and terrifying
*this is both a bullshit word and not, because while it kind of sets up a lot of high/low binary oppositions I don’t like at all and want to distance myself from, it’s still fair to use, because it’s accurate
2. no children/ we are never ever getting back together
3. you or your memory/ all too well
4. international small arms traffic blues/ dear john
5. balance/ sad beautiful tragic
6. old college try/love story
7. this year/fifteen
people were telling me about this on Twitter so I made a mix of it minus You Were Cool because I don’t have any recordings of that* and it’s fun. both artists would be well served by more shredding guitar solos but I am sure they are both working on it
I am attaching a trigger warning to the song “Mean” because it made me cry
ok well have a great Saturday
*I know I could get one by ripping YouTube audio or from archive.org but for me that song is for playing in rooms with people in them who are listening while I’m singing in the present moment, I don’t rule out ever recording it but that is where I am at w/it in my life since I wrote it & at present and in all cases I can’t imagine listening to it, for me it is only to be sung
What's your general opinion of audiophilia if you have one? Do you think that MP3 bitrates vs CDs vs vinyl can really effect one's emotional experience listening to music, frex?
Yeah I think mp3s sound pretty weak just sonically - but that’s cool, it doesn’t really matter, you don’t have to have killer fidelity to have a transformative experience. my home set-up is really modest and small-time - but I think performances and compositions are generally stronger than the violence done to them (or the boost given them!) by various forms of compression. but having said that, for me, analog compression really does seem to make a song jump, and mp3 compression pretty much always makes it sound worse, considerably worse. takes the bite out of a song a lot of the time. (again, that’s “to me.”) my source for this is that when we make a record I hear the finished tracks in the following formats: 1) rough mixes, full size, first coming direct from 2” tape through studio monitors and then mixed to wav through home speakers & headphones; 2) final mixes in both wav and aac or mp3; 3) mastered mixes in wav and aac/mp3. I’m able to a/b the bigger files with the smaller ones; there’s just no comparison. straight off the tape through the studio monitors always sounds better than anything down the line, though the idea in mastering is to get as close as possible to the ideal. the smaller ones just don’t sound as good. it’s not that they sound TOTALLY AWFUL as some audiophiles hear (I accept that it sounds awful to them and I think it’s not really for anybody to say to anyone “you don’t actually hear what you say you hear”) but I do think that most people, given the opportunity to listen to multiple sizes of a given track, would find the pre-mp3 sizes sounding better.
I don’t know about affecting emotional experiences etc., anything on that front is going to be anecdotal. I enjoy listening to vinyl more than listening to other formats, but I listen to plenty of mp3s/aacs. 95% of my Amy Grant collection was bought from iTunes and some of those songs saved my life. In that format. Partly because it was portable, so I could be about to drop through the floor into what felt like no-turning-back depression in a friend’s apartment in Greenpoint and grab my laptop and listen to “Nothing is Beyond You” and get enough relief to stand up and face the day. That’s a profound experience to have and it wouldn’t have been possible without these swirly-sounding portable compressed files. It’s the music that counts in the end. I think anybody trying to make a sweeping “here’s the truth!” or “that there is bullshit!” claim about something as subjective as listening to music is probably posing: but I do think, if you ever get the opportunity to A/B compressed files vs. uncompressed files (I don’t know if “uncompressed” is technically what I mean there, but I mean wavs or aiffs) of the same track through the same speakers or headphones, you’ll usually hear the bigger file as being a lot better. You’ll also probably enjoy it more through a better system, but I mean…music’s fucking amazing, you can hear it through a wall and still get your life changed by it, it’s a lot bigger than compression rates.
I want some awesome soup recipes that are good for freezing. I’d especially like a good split pea recipe, but anything hearty and perfect for winter would be wonderful. I’m looking at a few of you in particular *COUGH* Rachel *COUGH* because I know you are royalty in regards to soup.
I would also like a good split pea! Left to my own devices I usually just do chicken noodle, lentil, or sweet potato. Internet?
Can't you just leave it long for a little while longer? For the sake of all things holy (and unholy), think of the children!
As I say I’m not gonna cut it short. But the camera has a hard time fully comprehending and conveying just how thick my hair gets. Eating dinner is a constant bangs-fest right now, I can’t even lower my head without the mane just spilling out over the fork. I think maybe the hair has become self-aware and is hungry. I could tie it back, but no I can’t, because come on now I’m not tying back my hair, that would be an insult to my hair, and besides, playing shredding solos in exotic modes on a Paul Reed Smith with is a prerequisite if you’re gonna tie back hair like mine and I cannot shred at that level.
this seems like as good a time as any to warn the internet that my nearly two-year experiment in growing out my hair, which began as a reluctance to cut it because a certain Mr. Roman Darnielle liked to hold onto it while riding on my shoulders, will come to an end at or around 1 p.m. Tuesday. I’m not going to cut it short, but the John’s Hair As Wildlife Preserve era ends tomorrow