Sunday, January 21, 2007

Song of the moment: Dharma - "Plastic Doll (Remixed Instrumental)", taken from the rather charming Italo Disco compilation, I Robots. Why is it the song of the moment? Because it sounds like music that could be the theme song to the evening news. This is a universal criterion for me: does it have arresting horn or synth hits? Sudden, urgent but momentary increases in intensity? Yes? Then it is good.

Other songs in this category include:

S'Express - Theme From S Express
The Pet Shop Boys - It's A Sin
Tatu - All About Us
The Pet Shop Boys - Can You Forgive Her?
A brief few seconds of No Doubt's "Don't Speak", just before the guitar solo
The theme music to the He-Man and She-Ra movie, The Secret of the Sword
Laura Branigan - Gloria

(The theme music from what used to be Channel Nine's "Wide World of Sport" could also fit in here...)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This new Sally Shapiro album is really growing on me. When I first heard the single "I'll Be By Your Side", I was suspicious. It was like someone had taken all my theorisings of the sort of pop music I like - melancholy, shimmery, lyrical content that suggests life melting into tears if it were to be taken by itself, but uplifts and becomes sublime when taken with the magic of pop - and then made a song by recipe, conforming to my formula. It's an eerie feeling: it's like I made this music by my own wishes...

In any case. It's a beguiling album, sung by the most fragile of singers to nostalgic-futuristic Italo Disco atmospherics. Sally Shapiro (an alias, apparently) puts you in mind of the wistful Annie of "No Easy Love". The synthesizers and big snares put you in mind of the overwrought soundtrack to a 1980s film - one watched on VHS tape with terrible picture quality, so that all the sound wavers. It makes me think of back alleys at night - cold, empty city streets, cars sailing past.

There are some great stories going around about the recording of the album, also. From Pitchfork:
The legend is, Swedish producer Johan Agebjörn had to coax little Sally Shapiro out of her self-conscious shell to record "I'll Be by Your Side"-- and once he did, she wouldn't sing while he was in the room.

How good is that??!! Anyway. First defining album for my 2007: Disco Romance.

I know you're my love
Even though
I will wake up
From this dream

( - "I Know")

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Well, I can't sleep, so I figure that I may as well use the opportunity to update my blog, even if it is only with griping about my heat-induced insomnia. Better some content than none, eh?

There is nothing so aggravating than tossing and turning in the night. I think I must have worried about every topic possible in the hours that I was lying there, unable to find a position that would satisfy the requirements of a) comfort and b) not boiling to death. I'm sure everyone has their own strange and particular pre-sleeping poses and habits. Mine involve covering my ears with the sheets (a little quirk that I developed many years ago when trying to assuage my guilty paranoia that other people could hear the thoughts I shouldn't be having when I was falling asleep. Just in case anyone in the vicinity was telepathic, I felt that an extra layer of doona between me and the world would muffle my booming internal monologue from the Big Other's prying ears. I'm a little less paraniod these days, but still feel nude with cool, fresh air about my noggin). This strategy is eminently not compatible with gross humid nights like tonight. Nor is any sort of foetus-like position conducive to a body that is radiating large amounts of heat.

And so I've been overthinking. Everything. From phenomenological questions about how I process thoughts and feelings (what is a thought? Do concepts exist before the feelings and things that they describe? Do I only think that words fit entities in the world because the words shape the things that I am looking for in the entities? Is this all just a tautologous circle? What is thought anyway? And language? Am I just a mass of chemical reactions that I like to think of as consciousness? And what happens when we die anyway? What is death? How does time work? My experience of it, I mean. What does it look like? Does something come after time? etc.), to considerations about how I relate to gender and sexuality, to miscellaneous ponderings over memories... I've done it all.

Actually, that list of questions looks quite funny now. I can laugh at my own small neuroses. Well, particularly after having a slice of toast and a cup of tea while creeping around the house, trying not to wake people or sound too much like a burglar.

And oh bugger, I've just woken my girlfriend. Whoops.

Happy new year folks. I think I'm about to make my second attempt.