Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In The Open

"Statistically speaking, you will die having missed almost everything." This is the sad truth in life. 

I came across this article from NPR from two years ago and it kind of hit a nerve. We all know the days we have in this lifetime are short and precious thus, some of us live it meaningfully while others go batshit crazy and start saying 'YOLO' in attempts to make life more adventurous.

Though the article doesn't actually go that route. It focused more on being well-read and knowledgeable about books, music, and films and how it is physically impossible to know everything especially since new content is being made every second of every minute of every hour. Now that everything is practically handed to us, it is our choice to decide what we'd want to be well-versed in. This is a problem for me because sometimes I feel like I want to watch all episodes of the The Office and Arrested Development or watch all of the classic Doctor Who which is about 695 episodes or know all the words to every Black Keys song and there's at least a hundred of those or watch all of my dad's dvd collection which I can calculate as 200+++. There's so much to be taken in when there's only one of me and 24 hours in a day. That's why sometimes I end up falling asleep at four in the morning while listening to some podcast that I probably wouldn't be conscious by the time it finishes.

Although the reality that I'll die having not known about some film that could've changed my life is a little bit haunting, I guess, the flip slide to all of this is that this just makes life more interesting and giving you something to look forward to. There'll always be something new to discover, new records to excite you, new films that will inspire you, and new books that will bring you to another universe. If I had finished my list of everything I want to see, read, hear, and everything else, then I'll probably end up being bored to death. But then again, I'm pretty sure my list will never stop growing.

Linda Holmes concluded the article well saying,
It's sad, but it's also ... great, really. Imagine if you'd seen everything good, or if you knew about everything good. Imagine if you really got to all the recordings and books and movies you're "supposed to see." Imagine you got through everybody's list, until everything you hadn't read didn't really need reading. That would imply that all the cultural value the world has managed to produce since a glob of primordial ooze first picked up a violin is so tiny and insignificant that a single human being can gobble all of it in one lifetime. That would make us failures, I think.  
If "well-read" means "not missing anything," then nobody has a chance. If "well-read" means "making a genuine effort to explore thoughtfully," then yes, we can all be well-read. But what we've seen is always going to be a very small cup dipped out of a very big ocean, and turning your back on the ocean to stare into the cup can't change that.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Thinkin' Ahead

"A storm is coming, Frank says. A storm that will swallow the children and I will deliver them from the kingdom of pain. I will deliver the children back to their doorsteps and send the monsters back to the underground. I'll send them back to the place where no one else can see them except for me."
Listen to Thinkin' Ahead by Bastille (feat. Ric Elsworth & O.N.E)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Darkness of the Dawn

 First, let's talk about James Blake.

Recently, I've been listening to some podcasts and in this one station that I tune in called All Songs Considered, they briefly talked about James Blake and from then on I became interested in his artistry and virtuosity. I've listened to his song Retrograde multiple times before but I've never really gotten to know him as an artist. And going back to that podcast, the hosts, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, caught up with him after a show and spoke about possibly having a song that has changed his life. He was quick to say that it was Trouble Blues by Sam Cooke, which came out back in 1963. He said, "It's the hum. In some subconscious way, I filtered that into Retrograde." When you listen to Cooke's track, you'll definitely understand what he was talking about. What actually drew me to Retrograde was the humming. I remember first hearing it and couldn't get it out of my head, which is not at all a bad thing.

Trouble Blues by Sam Cooke

There's a touch of a soulful vibrato when he sings showcased especially in his cover of Feist's Limit To Your Love. But don't call him a soul singer because he doesn't see himself falling into that category. In an interview with Pitchfork, Blake said, "I've never felt like I was a soul singer. It's not really who I am." He goes on about how he feels when people call him "soulful" in the interview, which you can read here. Whatever genre he may lie, it doesn't hide the fact that he's got an amazing voice. 

His take on songwriting has always been about being true to himself, as cliche as that may sound. He says, "When I'm writing a track, I feel like I have to produce something that totally represents me and, if it doesn't, then it's stopped immediately. There's not even a second thought -- I'll close it and do something else. Being honest is an individual thing. It's not something that other people judge you on, although they can smell it.  

I've fallen in love with his song, The Wilhem Scream. The lyrics go, " I don't know about my dreams. I don't know about my dreaming anymore. All that I know is I'm falling. Might as well fall in. I don't know about my love. I don't know about my loving anymore. All that I know is I'm falling. Might as well fall in." and that's it all through out the 4:36 duration of the song. It's so simple yet when he sings it, it feels like it has so much weight to it and meaning to every word he says. With every verse he sings, it feels like he's asking me a question about life and where it is headed to or rather, succumbed to.  Although, I might just be thinking way too deep into this and it's probably because I'm writing this into the wee hours of the night. And so, I am really excited to see him perform live next year at Laneway Singapore because all I've heard are amazing things about his live performances. They're making live electronic music and he and his band do not have pre-taped samples or sequences with them. The looping is all done live. I can't wait to see it for myself. 

Watch him perform The Wilhem Scream live on Later With Jools Holland. (Watch)

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