micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
Please send him email at email@example.com.
Holmquist's full archives are listed here.
Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Amidst celebrating freedom and somberly remembering the beginning of Pinochet’s reign of terror 30 years ago, I hope you are able to remember the events of two years past. For it was on that day that day -a day that could be called 911- that 3,016 brave souls died in terrorist attacks against the United States. They left behind families and friends that were every bit as real as those in Chile that you hear so much about. Many of them had yet to massacre surrendered Iraqi soldiers or bomb a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory.
Christopher Hitchens says something interesting in a Slate column from Monday:
I didn't at all mind what some critics loftily dismissed as "flag-waving." Indeed I was surprised that there wasn't more of it than there was. But I never displayed a flag myself and argued quietly against putting one up over the entrance to the building where I live. This was for a simple reason: How will it look when the effort tapers off? There's nothing more dispiriting than a drooping and neglected flag and nothing more lame than the sudden realization that the number of them so proudly flourished has somehow diminished.I wrote entries on this general topic on at least two occasions in the year that followed "September 11." Now, with a little more time for reflection, but going almost exclusively by what I have physically seen, I have come to the conclusion that people treat Old Glory with about as much respect as they treat their vehicle, house or lawn, which is to say that they don't treat it with any more importance than the everyday details of their lives despite its greater value in the realm of symbolism.
Natalie Davis, who recently suffered the loss of her father, has reminded me of protest records, a site featuring good stencils, good [and generally non-trite] music and good fun that is run by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
SY's first period -up to 1988's Daydream Nation (Enigma), that is- is interesting because the group was producing what I would term pre-post-rock. The instrumentation was straight rock –bass, drums, guitar and vocals- and a pop feel is an integral part of the structure. Yet there is nothing “pop” about the final result and very little “rock” in it. Those genres, even in the best cases, generally rely on a common denominator that can’t accept that which is outside and, unlike Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire, enjoys being non-universal. The music of SY doesn’t do that at any point in this period, a quality quite apparent on Daydream Nation where pop and rock influences on the same footing as those of avant stylings. The band regularly seems like it is about to unleash an anthem that will get the fists pumping or a ballad to get the lighters lit, but they always pulls back at the last moment so as to preserve a cliché free exercise.
Clocking in at a little over 70 minutes and full of unconventional tunings, Daydream Nation alternates between meditative passages and aural explosions so seamlessly that the recording feel more like a single track than a collection of 14. (The final three tracks are list as a trio but I don’t see how they are any more connected than any of the other tracks.) Tone is form and pacing has little effect on mood. And it is all beautiful.
Moore appears on DJ Spooky's 1999 ep Sublimal Minded: The E.P. (Outpost Recordings), a disc I've been listening to a lot lately. A mix of dub, rap, rock and trip-hop, the release meanders greatly and seems to exist merely as a collection of what could easily otherwise be unrelated recordings that when collected as a single volume create, in a manner not unlike what is heard on Daydream Nation, an even playing field for each and all of the styles used. “Rappers Relight” may feature Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine but it would be plenty funky if it wasn’t so fucked up (in a decidedly non-rock way.) “Dialectical Transformation III Peace in Rwanda Mix” is a duet between DJ Spooky’s beats, electronic effects and samples and the distorted guitar of Moore. The two work around each other, with DJ Spooky generally leading, during the roughly seven and a half minutes of turbulence nirvana that is the track.
Although recorded long before the beginning of the “war on terror,” Sublimal Minded: The E.P. seems like a perfect fit for this on-going period where the ending is far from clear. Universality screams from the ideology of the “war on terror” no more and no less than it does the e.p. Tragedy appears in both but it easy to ignore since what the Bush Administration deems will be the inevitable final product in the “war on terror” is as enticing as the music of Sublimal Minded: The E.P. is entrancing. The latter may exist in reality but not in a form that can change the lives on a social level while the former does nothing if not change societies.
Can they both be beautiful?