I”m going to just share whatever it is musically, but lots of ambient and mellow stuff. The Sea and the Cake “The Moonlight Butterfly“.
Ambient Sunday: 4
Here’s a relatively new release for your listening enjoyment. This is Ian Hawgood’s Mysterious Shapes and Remembered Rivers, which makes one think of China Crisis’s Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms. It came out in 2022. He does a song with Stijn Huwels, with whom he’s done a lot of great music, and Friends We Found, who I know nothing about, but will. It’s just great ambient music. That’s all.
Ambient Sunday: Thursday or Friday edition, depending on where you are right now
Being that we’ve veered a bit from Sunday, let’s veer a bit from traditional Ambient. Susumu Yokota‘s “sakura“. It’s an amazing record by a young man that I came across in 2014 and started following him and he died suddenly in 2015. It was a really strange feeling. I had the same experience with Mitch Hedberg. But this record is just a stellar example of what this man created. Check him out! If you’re into that sort of thing.
The same 327 people
“It was reported that nearly a third of all shoplifters arrested in New York City were the same 327 people”
This fascinates me. But it also makes great sense. We tend to think that we’re surrounded by bad people, but bad people will always make up a tiny fraction of people in general. There are people I know who won’t come to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, because they’re certain they’ll be shot. This just due to listening to the news, which, of course, reports murders in the Twin Cities – as they would anywhere. But it never seems to occur to them, if they actually read the articles in any detail, that most of those murders are just people who know people and are mad at those people and so, for whatever reason, kill them. Being randomly killed anywhere in the world, and even here in the land of school shootings, is exceedingly rare. Yes, you should fear coming to the Twin Cities, if you’re meeting that guy, to whom you owe a lot of money, to purchase some more drugs, and tell him you made love to his girlfriend. If not, go for it. You’ll be fine.
Ambient Sunday: 3
Biosphere is the nom de plume of Geir Jenssen, a Norwegian electronic musician and composer. He lives in a place called, Tromsø, which is within the Arctic Circle; in other words, way the fuck up there. You can see how someone living in such a achingly dark and cold place could create the sort of Ambient music he does. (Of course, they do have some long, long summer days.)
Substrata is his masterpiece. As I’ve mentioned before, talking about Ambient music isn’t easy, so it’s hard to even tell you why I believe this is so. It’s haunting, has lots of overdubbed old recordings of voices and even singers, chilly effects, and yet remains (often) really quite upbeat. So, there you go; A masterpiece.
There are more than one Biosphere-named artists out there – just an FYI. I will definitely be sharing more of his work as I go through my favorite Ambient albums.
Cats are weird, but you can still learn from them
Cats are creatures of habit. Some years ago my schedule changed a bit and I was always sitting in this upstairs room from about 10 to 12 AM. And one night both cats came up and I petted them for a really long time. The next night they came back up and the next night and the next night, and the next night, always at the same time. Which became frustrating. Because not every night I wanted to pet them.
And sometimes I would quit for a while and not go up there at all, so it would all stop and then I would go back up there, f￼or whatever reason, and they would come back and I would pet them, and they would come back every night again at that same time for more petting.
Well, it’s happened again, but this time I realized that rather than getting mad at them because they’re sitting there, staring at me and waiting for me to put down the ukulele and pet them, I quickly put down the ukulele and pet them, and off they went. Just like that. And then I picked up my ukulele again. Isn’t that just the way life works? You gotta work with it.
Ambient Sunday: 2
Rest in peace, Mr. Sakamoto. So my ambient Sunday 2 will step back to what I consider the first, and maybe still best, Ambient album ever. Brian Eno’s Ambient One Music for Airports. I bought it after having bought Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain and Before and After Science, and I honestly thought there was something wrong with my turntable. I fucked around with it a little bit and it slowly dawned on me that this was exactly what it was supposed to be. I learned just how brilliant Brian Eno is. 1/1 is sublime.
The Ultimate Discovery
Electricity! This might be the most important book I’ve read in, well, forever. I’ve always been fascinated with the fact that there is only energy, and that all matter is just energy. If we could somehow turn the energy of the universe off, everything would disappear. That blows my mind. And in my book, I talk about Energy as a sort of God, that which gives us life, that which sustains us and IS us – and everything else. So I talk about the fact that God is Everything and Everything is all a part of God.
I’ve been waiting for this book: “We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body’s Bioelectric Code, and what the Future Holds.” The author, Sally Adee, (I believe) coined the term, Electrome, much like the gut Biome, of which we’ve talked about quite a bit recently. She does a deep dive into the history of how we came to understand energy and our bodies and life, with great stories of the scientists and others who worked on this over time, then how every cell has energy, and on and on. I won’t give it away, because it’s really, really interesting.
As our understanding of how electricity manages our body and, as she points out, is a sort of separate nervous system, and what it can already do and what can be possibly done with it in the future, it really feels like I’m reading about the future of medicine wrapped in lots of great stories at the hands of an amazing author. She’s obviously super smart, but makes it not only accessible, but quite the story! If you’re into this sort of thing, I would strongly recommend it. It’s a blast to read and also a glimpse into the future of medicine. We are electric. We need to recognize it and see what we can do with it to better ourselves and our future.
Rooting out a Comet
This is all George Carlin as quoted in Lapham’s Quarterly (sign up and support it if you can), which is an amazing publication bringing in old and new writings on a quarterly theme, and in this case, Freedom:
“I found a very liberating position for myself as an artist. And that was I sort of gave up on the human race and gave up on the American dream, and culture, and nation, and decided that I didn’t care about the outcome. And that gave me a lot of freedom from a kind of distant platform to be sort of amused, kind of to watch the whole thing with a combination of wonder and pity, and try to put that in words…Not having an emotional stake in whether this experiment with human beings works.”
Then: “I root for the big comet, I root for the big asteroid to come and make things right…I’m rooting for that big one to come right though that hole in the ozone layer because I want to see it on CNN…Philosophers say, Why are we here? I know why I’m here. The show. Bring it on… We’ve seen a lot of comedians who seem to have a political bent in their work, and always implicit in the work is some positive outcome, that this is all going to work. If only we do this, if only we pass that bill, if only we elect him. It’s not true.”
“It’s circling-the-drain time.”
Wow. And don’t it feel just like that sometimes? I watched the most surreal thing I’ve seen in years of the Tennessee, I believe, House of Representatives, kicking three of their members out for disrupting for a moment during session (then they called recess) but continuing on arguing that they, the house, needed to deal with children being exploded into flying flesh, bone and brain, with AR-15s. These were two very young representatives and they made the point that this is their future and deserved for it to be looked at in terms of Tennessee gun laws. Instead, the republicans tossed them – threw em out. Well, at least one, when I last looked. No due process, no, like, okay, you’re going to be stripped of your committee assignments. The Tennessee legislature with a something like 70/30 republican to democrat hold, tossed three dems, two of which were young people of color, for using a bullhorn and, well, telling the truth.
How can we live in this world without feeling just like George Carlin? I’ve been watching for decades and more recently watching the Republican Party unravel into some sort of angry group of victimized, fearful and fear-mongering tribe. They did it and with pride (hubris) and a sense of goodness. What would Jesus say? That should be enough for any sitting republican. Are you doing what Jesus Christ would do?
But I can’t go so far as the brilliant comedian has. I’m still pissed watching them undermine all of our sacred laws, our constitution and everything else to soothe their fragile egos. It’s sad. It’s like some sort of movie about some kids who were dissed by the cool kids and so now are into their revenge. Not cool, republicans. Not cool at all.
This from an obituary I recently read: “_______ had a love of family, cars, motorcycles and Fox News. Headstrong and decisive, he had no patience for foolishness.”
But, well, never mind.