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A Few Short Words

Dense not thick

Insolvent

Squat in the street with a sign that reads, Bet U $2 U Keep Walking, the kid looks Hollywood homeless, definitely lean but too clean for the gutter, sullen eyed with a certain kind of cunning leering out from under the lip of his beanie. He must be freezing, only wearing a threadbare sweater and denim jean scratchings that seem more like stitch testing for a seamstress. I like your sign, I say, it’s really legible. The kid tucks his knees beneath his chin, folding up on himself and watching me not going anywhere. ‘Double or nothing,’ he says.

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Assistance

She’s got one of those out of date names like Claudette or Glenda but I miss it for the lipstick on her teeth. Staring herself, she asks if something’s wrong in the style of spun yarn. I lay a finger to the bruise on my cheek and say I might not be coping. She smiles, sharing that porcelain stain again, and tells me she might have some literature about the possibility of help. I think about practicing origami in school when they still thought an education might help. I tell her I’m grateful and leave her to her teeth.

Desalinate

I can sense a rime of salt caked into the upper rim of my ears. After tears. I shouldn’t cry on my back but I like the way it feels, a milder misery than the wracking hunch or mirror stare manoeuvre. The tears run of course, down my cheeks and into the auricles, crusting, sometimes for days, as though the sandman had missed his mark, wept and moved on. I do feel tired though, which is different from sleepy and accrues an internal kind of crust. I cup my hands around my ears and listen to the ocean die.

Cushion

I tell her I feel like the inferior pillow. Casual, she says, ‘What now?’ You know, the other pillow on the bed that get’s used for everything but cradling your head. The fucking shit pillow, taint and pit mashed into shapes to fit. That’s how I feel in all this, like you’ve decided I’m the one who should mould my skin to suit and should never want appreciation for it. ‘Come here,’ she says, pulling me to her chest. As she strokes my hair I can feel myself soften, supple in supplication. ‘Calm down, isn’t that a bit melodramatic?’

Domestic

I don’t want the confrontation but she needs it, so I go out there and put the kettle on. She doesn’t say anything at first, just overpacks her bag and triple checks the unnecessary. Looking beyond her reflection in the buffet mirror, she asks, ‘What are your plans for the day. Busy?’ Two sugars, one of coffee, seven eighths water, top with milk. Things taste so sour. Through the steam I tell her, I’ll probably play it by ear. One last lick of eyeliner goes on and a small tut comes out. ‘I won’t be home later,’ she says.

Various: Twin Peaks (OST) / Twin Peaks (Music from the Series)

Article originally appeared on 4ZZZ Sep 29th 2017

Have you heard about Twin Peaks? Well the internet has and it’s gone ahead and explained it far more lucidly than David Lynch’s shrugs ever could. It’s back, anyway, peak Peaks hype. Well, been and gone, actually, and left the soundtrack behind, a twin disc release that’s part nostalgia bomb, part zeitgeist heist, part curatorial curio. It’s an official score and a diegetic OST that hangs its entire value on the chasing and cataloguing of ungraspable Tulpa.

So, if you aren’t part of the cult then why the hell would you want to drink the Kool-Aid? Oh, maybe it’s because Angelo Badalamenti has been an instrumental composer for some of screen’s finest achievements: National Lampoon’s Christmas VacationHoly Smoke!The Wicker Man, not to mention Law & Order, the film that birthed 70 years of procedural pleasure and a sting that just won’t quit. On top of that noise, David Lynch is actually a badass curator and odd little experimental artist in his own right; the kind of presence that people flock around to applaud while asking their neighbour, “What the heck did that mean?”

Well, the meaning has to be about the value in each track right? Sure. Anything that can smash around between Blunted BeatzEddie VederZZ Top, and Otis Redding is worth at least a little look right? Yes, of course, but then maybe you get a little more curious, you’re saying, what the heck do these songs have to do with a show that everybody claims to understand but everyone including the creator is dubiously vague about even at their most verbose, then the next thing you know you’re twenty-five years deep in an unresolvable circular goddamn art piece screaming helloooooooooo at the world with a big damn smirk feeling smug that you’re in on a joke nobody gets but claims the journey of not getting it is actually the joke. So um, RIP Bowie, RIP Log Lady, RIP pop culture man, because here we are, neck deep in the event horizon with no idea what year this is and a glowing ball of light ready to burst out of our collective faces.

Bonus points for keeping your copy wrapped in plastic.

Fatality

I think back on the invisible deaths of Shakespeare’s two great ignored outsiders while Graham flips his coin over our heads, catching it palm cupped down upon his forearm. ‘The result is not important,’ he says, ‘whichever side is facing was deemed so.’ His eyes are surprisingly dull behind the spectacle’s glint. ‘What matters is how its face came upon us. Why would it be so and what does that mean?’ I feel like we’ve been here before. I ask if it’s fate. Graham tells me I’m still not seeing it and continues expounding on the nature of change.

Ibeyi: Ash

Article Originally appeared on The Music Sep 25th 2017

Singing in mixed English, French and Yoruba, Ibeyi have a unique voice, but their position as a potential voice for an ostensibly outsider perspective and the dignified potency they wield it with makes them distinct. Ash is both persecuted and powerful in equal measure, something that feels less like balancing than soaring. Sparse and otherworldly percussion interspersed with found sounds and hypnotic harmonics, it’s sonically sumptuous but thematically sharp enough to cut you from the first chord. This isn’t just good music, it’s important.

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis: Superscope

Article originally appeared on The Music Sep 25th 2017

Rolling around in their antiquated sounds, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have landed far more than they’ve missed, and they’ve always played with distinctive mirth, but their fourth time out feels flat as hell, almost as if they had nowhere else to go after Smoking In Heaven.

Pinpointing that lack in Superscope is as easy as finding a hole in the dark, all you can do is say that something’s missing. Structurally the pieces are there, but they lock together with the dry joie de vivre of a Swedish construction manual.

Despite a few standout tracks, and the Durham girls outshining their brother, most of the songs feel dutiful rather than doting. Oh, Lewis still lets out the odd exceptional wail and there’s a whole lovesick redemption through-line to enjoy if you care to construct the narrative, but Kitty, Daisy & Lewis really make you work for that emotional oomph, then they even spoil that by serving Broccoli Tempura as the last track. It sounds roughly as delicious as it sounds and works wonderfully as something for venues to play while rousting patrons after last call.

Superscope lacks some intangible element, but still serves a small plate of passable tracks. Unfortunately just having the right ingredients doesn’t default to making meals taste great.

Character

I break the silence when I tell Sarah I consider myself an enpeecee. She doesn’t play many games, so she says, ‘What the fuck is that?’ A non-player character, I tell her, some badly drawn sprite quietly polishing shields and waiting for the hero to purchase wares or whatever. ‘Well you’re definitely no hero,’ she says, ‘but you’re no catalyst or passive assist either.’ A quest giver at best and scene colour at worst. ‘You could probably just be backdrop if you stopped trying so hard.’ All I need is lack of purpose and obfuscated off-screen thoughts.

Jordan Rakei: Wallflower

Article originally appeared on The Music Sep 18th 2017

If you’ve woken in a sweat worrying about Jack Johnson putting down his acoustic and picking up a Korg, don’t worry, Jordan Rakei already has you covered. After shedding his debut, Cloak, Rakei has picked up a collection of sensitivities to add to his soul style, steering away from the rougher auteur elements that originally endeared or intrigued – ambient deviations and break-beat constructions – sliding instead into an introspective funk. Rakei’s rhythms are skin-rakingly soothing and his voice is anachronistically attenuated to an evaporated era, singing Wallflower as a shy piece of work, a current-smoothed river stone sparkling in a bed of thousands.

Monogamy

You know how when someone you love, someone you’ve shared everything with and you trust and respect and have complete faith in but also enjoy that passive acceptance bred out of total familiarity, when someone like that says I love you and you say I love you back in a totally rote fashion, not disingenuous but so automated through fidelity that it becomes an ignorable key structure in your day to day? You know that feeling? That voice tells me I deserve to die and I always say, of course I do, in a totally rote fashion, of course.

Kedr Livanskiy: Ariadna

Article originally appeared on The Music Sep 7th 2017

Where last year’s January Sun carried strange warmth wrapped in cold Siberian grit, Ariadna radiates light without giving off heat. Kedr Livanskiy’s latest is dangerously indistinct at times, walking you through a synth-based tundra where any distinguishing landmark is a meagre joy celebrated simply for being distinct in its surrounds. The halfway mark holds a small spoken word beacon that hasn’t respite, revelry, or revelation but is rather a reminder you might want to visit more hospitable climes. Maybe it takes patience to traverse, though there doesn’t seem to be enough payoff for it to matter unless your desire for indecipherable Euro-gaze pop is unusually high.

Dialectics

I want to talk with you about you but that’s not how this works is it. Fuck, I wish we were objective. I get, I hate talking too but then you scratch up questions like prying scabs. I put down the marks, I’ll pry the scabs. Can’t you let me not hurt you? Bad enough I break myself without you snapping off pieces of yourself to stab me with. I wish I loved me how you wanted so I could love you how I’d like. I want to talk to you about it but you make it about me.

Subsumption

The beach has always been cold to me, no matter how I’ve loved it, but I go there often and take my loves with me. Like Caleb, confidant and strong with beautiful form and numbing passion. ‘You can’t help me,’ he said, stripping to skin, ‘even if I’m struggling,’ and walked into the waves without hesitation. I’ve always respected the tide and its wishes, the soft inevitability and reassuring repetition of predictable chaos. So I sat above the water line with the prickled edges of pre-glass sticking to my flesh, thinking of love and watching while Caleb drowned.

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