Sunday, March 12, 2017

Soft Landing

Hey there, it's been a little while. Ready for a brain-dump? These thoughts should probably all be their own post, but, well, I've given up coffee for nearly a year, and the cup I had this morning won't allow focused composition (either that, or my abilities have decomposed...).

  • Americans are increasingly xenophobic due to development decisions made in previous decades. Most folks drive solo to work, drive solo home, and then exist in their castle or bubble, only interacting with a few people of choice. If Americans had to ride transit or walk through public plazas on a regular basis, we wouldn't so easily "otherize" huge segments of the population – Muslims, Latinos, the poor. So not only is suburbanization economically unfeasible, a driver of poor public health outcomes, and a development Ponzi scheme, but suburbanization = increased xenophobia. In the same way that traveling to diverse places widens your perspectives & engenders cultural understanding, so too does coexisting with a wider body of people. And this is coming from a natural introvert...

    Oh, hey – Indianapolis passed increased transit funding! Miracles do happen. The one good that came out of the last election cycle.
  • Electronic music is more diverse and exciting than rock-and-roll. I've been burnt out on almost all current rock-and-roll (except for a small slate of standard bearers from the 90s; which may invalidate my whole point) for more than a minute. But studio-engineered rock records lack almost all draw when they come from less-than-outstanding songwriters – few instrumental oeuvres and/or sound-fingerprints gel into je ne sais quoi – or, very rarely does the sum of the parts become greater than the ingredients. And, let's face it, most songwriters ain't that special. Have you read the lyrics to a recent Flaming Lips record? It'll make you junior high notebook look deep (though let's leave mine out of the equation).

    Electronic music, meanwhile, is incredibly wide open. From the near-operatic melancholy classicism of the latest Arca, to the brutal soundscapes of PAN releases, to the jazz/beat-set spanning the gamut on a single label from the brainy pop/soul of Karriem Riggins to the rigidly avant compositions of Deantoni Parks (and maybe I shouldn't even be lumping them into the open-armed barrel of electronica). Point being – electronic music retains better the ability to surprise and is more reliant on ideas and execution and often times (though not always) less dependent on 'songcraft'...whatever that is. I'd rather listen to a new electronic record I'm pretty sure I'm going to hate than the latest vanilla release from *cough* know who.

    Or – maybe my tastes are just calcifying and I'm not open-minded enough to understand 21st-century rock records. (I mean, c'mon, I just made & released one. On cassette. Shit!) Or maybe I just had my mind blown last night by a Prins Thomas record (though earlier in the same day, I was totally psyched and into the latest Bardo Pond).

(Get it? "Poor". They're not poor! They have phones & refrigerators!
The lack of empathy in this country is disgusting.)
  • The Republican/evangelical white Christian (because, let's be honest – white folks, particularly Christian, are the only socio-ethnic group who voted majority for you-know-who) war-on-the-poor has crossed the line into absurd. Because you have a working refrigerator, you're no longer poor? you know any impoverished people? Work with them? All you need is a single (I know, anecdotal) interaction to know that being poor is far from a cakewalk. Just because we've sold our souls for cheap commercial goods doesn't mean that somehow the poor of 100 years ago were more noble, more hardworking, etc. Guess what? More of them also died in a gutter. Prayer is not a substitute for legislative action that drives and funds social safety nets. We're all a medical emergency away from bankruptcy...but, y'know, keep acting like 1950 is some kind of utopian fever (wet) dream.
Next time, let's keep the vibe more playful, okay? Here's a live boot for you to chew on. You can almost hear the snarl.

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