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February 1997 index
February 24, 1997, Monday
Strange thing to say today: if people build a new door into your house, either wall it up or make it pretty.
Searching my logs, I found that this guy thinks my "homepage" sucks and that he suspects I'm probably a homosexual too. But he linked to my punk rock page all the same.
Today I went on a spending spree of sorts. It was a warm sunny day and I fired up the Dart to go cruise around. My major goal was to find a cheap cheesy electronic keyboard to use as an electronic rhythm device. I did not care how cheesy it sounds, I just wanted it to be physically small and relatively inexpensive. I can always put it through some cool effects no matter how ridiculous it sounds to begin with and build it into something of a monster. I have a romantic notion of producing a really evocative demo tape and then being able to claim that I bought the drummer at a Toys R Us.
I have a romantic notion of producing a really evocative demo tape and then being able to claim that I bought the drummer at a Toys R Us.
First I went to the Downtown Mall and looked around in Snooky's, the pawn shop. He had a real drum machine for under $200, but that was not cheap and it certainly wasn't the tinny solution to my rhythm problems which I was seeking. So I forewent my spending spree temporarily.
Up on the tacky and treacherous US 29, north of Charlottesville, I actually went into the Toys R Us. But they had no music toys in stock designed for anyone older than about three. They had plent of Star Wars junk, however. Let me just say that Toys R Us contains almost nothing that a creative kid would ever enjoy playing with except maybe Legos.
I went into the Fascist Square Mall and "obtained" a couple of audio samplers from a business well known for inadvertantly donating to the poor and unscrupulous electronics hobbiests of America. These can be used to do what music technicians traditionally have used tape loops to do; they store 20 seconds of audio data, probably in some sort of low-fidelity form. As an excuse to be in the store I bought a couple of flashlights for future use in "missions." Anomalously, I ran across Ray Snabley with a couple of younger Nelson County High School kids. His doe-eyed blondy blond girlfriend was nowhere in sight. He told me he'd seen some of the animations in the Big Fun Glossary, but had been unable to hear the sounds. Taking advantage of Ray's infinite wisdom as manifested in a lunch recommendation, I sat alone and ate a slice of Sbarro spinach and tomatoe pizza.
I also went into the K-Mart but there was nothing there for musical creation at all. So instead I bought ramen, canned soup and shampoo at the adjacent Food Lion. Further north on 29, Circuit City had huge keyboards that really weren't too expensive, but they weren't the sorts of things I would ever want to own or be seen with. Their cheapest keyboard was entirely too cheesy, but it was $40 and small. I started wanting the one I'd not purchased from Snooky's. Understand, the idea here is not to play keyboard music on my four track recordings. I just want a cheap and reliable rhythm source that will do exactly what I want it to do, simply, in the manner so unfamiliar to real live drummers with egos and talent to prove.
I went into Audio World and bought two used car speakers for $5 each. The plump middle aged guy working there had such a patronizing attitude that I don't think I'll be returning soon. One of the speakers he sold me has a buzz in it too. Boycott Audio World!
I went to Crutchfield hoping they stocked a variety of music equipment. They don't. They just carry an uninspiring array of consumer stereo gear for the man who has everything and wants to create nothing. I was gradually becoming amazed by the general lack of music equipment available in a town as supposedly progressive as Charlottesville.
Walmart was equally dismal, partly for its own monopolistic reasons.
Earlier, when I'd been at Albemarle Square (where Circuit City and Audio World are to be found) I'd gone into the Plan 9 Records there. I've already mentioned in these musings that that particular Plan 9 is different from the one on the Corner. It caters to more of a blue collar, less up-and coming, less-progressive market. But, as I'm discovering, occasionally rare goodies can be found there in the used CD rack. Today I found two CDs that I had to purchase: Sepultura's Roots (1996) and Superchunk's Here's Where the Strings Come in (1995), each for $7. During other parts of the day I listened to them both and here's what I have to say:
Sepultura's Roots is another step away from their "roots" as a sludgy metal powerhouse. This album could well be considered to be industrial as much as metal. It is more complex than most music you could hope to find. The drums are actually a bit on the funky side with every bit of the scary machine-like industrial precision retained. The vocals seem to be getting increasing influence from both rap and hard core, if you can imagine that. Then there is the multi-cultural apect. There are distinctly hip-hop influenced tunes that twist forth from scratching turntables around peculiar sounds of what I take to be traditional Amazonian instruments (what the hell is going on in track 4: "Ratmahatta"? It's a weird trail mix, but I enjoy it). The guys in Sepultura obviously have a lot of respect for Brazil's increasingly endangered traditional cultures; why else would they pose in Amazonian face paint in their only photos in the pamphlet-sized liner notes. As weird as this album is, I have to hand it to the band for their willingness to push the envelope of metal.
I'm familiar with Superchunk's Here's Where the Strings Come in from much college radio airplay (mostly on WXJM, 88.7 in Harrisonburg Virginia, an excellent station responsible for almost all of my contemporary musical knowledge). I recorded much music off of WXJM, especially Superchunk, Sugar, Guided by Voices and all kinds of metal. The thing I like about Superchunk is that it's fast and just the right amount of pop without being anything remarkable. What's unique about Superchunk is that the music is both sad and reassuring at the same time. But I could listen to it over and over and not really notice. This doesn't sound much like praise, but I purchased the CD because I like what's on it, on the whole. I actually like this particular CD better than my other Superchunk CD On the Mouth.
I actually did another session of work at UVA's Cocke Hall and then returned to my house. I found Monster Boy and a remarkably well-scrubbed Cecelia the Brazilian Girl (she cleans up well) watching the Simpsons. This particular episode was overburdened with celebrity cameo performances and was not particularly funny, which is rare for the Simpsons. Then we watched Melrose Place, or part of it. The thing that we kept finding so amusing in Melrose Place was the fact that all the acting amounts to one of two things: fucking or fighting. And any fucking that happens just leads to more fighting. I pointed out that it is very similar to Goth Central, except that we all have to be pretty drunk to do what the beautiful Melrose Place people do completely sober.
The thing that we kept finding so amusing in Melrose Place was the fact that all the acting amounts to one of two things: fucking or fighting.
I slept from 9pm until work.
At work I've created an little animation of the astrological signs morphing from one to the next starting with Aries. I've gone as far as Virgo and will eventually have all of the signs all the way around the zodiac.
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