In true RPM fashion, I’ve changed my mind re: plans for RPM album. It’s not going to be all about Trump.
While the thought process going into it is more personal/intimate, what I can say is why I’ve decided to switch gears.
In talking with e about the project — because she’s started painting and I wanted to use her art for the album — we started talking about art that challenges the artist and why many male artists (of various forms), in particular, use pain and suffering and misery as inspirations for their art. In music, you can hear it in Trent Reznor (especially early NIN but pretty much everything he’s ever done, ever), Kurt Cobain, I mean the list goes on. Pretty much the entirety of “alternative” music is some dude bitching about how everything is horrible. Isn’t the world bad enough that we don’t need to add more misery and suffering into it through art?
I’m no different. For a long time, I believed that a) all art was created through suffering and b) the only things I had to say were things that came from my own personal angst. I used to channel and hone the worst possible feelings in order to produce music. I would actually make myself unhappy in order to channel that negative energy into art.
Since then, I’ve learned that art (even, gasp, good art) can be made from emotions that are not harmful/painful. For me this is much more of a challenge having believed the other thing for so long.
So, how does this relate back to RPM? Well, the original concept was basically more of the same. It’s easy to get angry about Trump and make art from a place of anger and resistance. But that’s not challenging anything and that’s not changing anything. That’s Trent Reznor’s entire career. Maybe the topic for him has gone to “she dumped me and I’m unhappy” to “the world is shit and I’m really angry about it”, but the basic point is the same “life is shit, I suck, I’m going to go drown my sorrows in some good old fashioned substance abuse”.
We also talked about doing a collaborative project where we’re basically taking the same source/topic/emotion and creating art based out of it. In talking, this felt like a much more exciting project than bitching (musically) about Trump, so I’m much more interested and excited about this idea.
I’m in it. I’ve committed to doing RPM again this year. It’s been a couple years since I’ve done RPM which basically means it’s been a couple years since I’ve done any music at all and I can’t handle it, anymore. I need to do something.
I hadn’t decided what I was going to do for this year’s RPM, but it’s the 10th year I’ve been a member (though not my 10th RPM — I’ve skipped a couple years), so I wanted to do something special. Also, having a theme has always made my RPM albums better (I think) (see: The Signal and Wasp). I think I’ve decided.
February comes after January, as you know, and January 20th we will be inaugurating into the White House possibly the most terrifying man who has ever held the position of President. This is inescapable. This is fact. It is not some nightmare we are collectively living in. To say that the world will be a less safe place with him running America is an understatement — he’s not even in office and it’s already unsafe for many American citizens.
It seems fitting, then, that as a punk rocker, as a musician, and as we are making albums in the first month of Donald Trump’s presidency, that my RPM 2017 album be about this political cycle, somehow. So here’s my idea:
- Every day I sit down to work on a new song, I start by doing a Google search for Trump.
- The title of the song comes from the headline of the article (but removes the word Trump. Doing a search today gives me “CNN/ORC Poll: Confidence drops in Trump transition”, so that song title might be “Confidence Drops”).
- The song mood/theme is built around the topic/title.
- The article body becomes the basis for found poetry. Fragments of sentences/paragraphs become lines and verses for spoken word. (I’m not going to attempt to be so ambitious as to commit to singing, though it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.)
I have a feeling this will be a very dark album. Just the hypothetical first song title gives me shivers.
Teh s3quence – Halloween 2015 by Jazzsequence on Mixcloud
It’s been a while since I put one of these together so I thought it was time. This year’s Halloween mix collects a bunch of stuff that I could hear being included in a horror movie. Think of it as the soundtrack to the horror movie in my brain. Enjoy!
This came in the Noisetrade email today. Garage Blues from Mali that’s pretty freaking incredible. Check it.
It’s the time of year when everyone is making end-of-year lists of various things. I decided to make a list of the top songs I’ve listened to in 2014. Now a few things went into this and there should be some things stated up front.
First — I almost always listen to music on random. Usually it’s a playlist I’ve created and there are a couple playlists I have in iTunes that have been my go-to work music this year. But what that means is that for any single song to appear multiple times it means I was probably listening to that artist a lot.
Second — Since I listen to so much stuff on random, and since that “random” list often comes out of a playlist with a bunch of stuff by a bunch of specific artists, a lot of songs cropped up from the same artist or album. So, in compiling this list, I made an effort to select songs by unique artists so it wasn’t all clogged up by Chromeo and M83 and nothing else.
Third — The way I ranked items was based on a combination of Last.fm stats for the year and iTunes # of plays. Now, iTunes doesn’t reset the number of plays each year, so its’ numbers are cumulative . And Last.fm wasn’t working 100% through the whole year, and regardless, the numbers were very different from Last.fm to iTunes so I really don’t know how these things compare.
The stuff from this list, therefore, has a fair bit of fudging around specific tracks and artists to be a more accurate representation of what has been playing through my speakers this year. Since each artist on the list could be taken as an entry into “most listened-to album“, I also pared this list down based on artists I played more frequently.
Eyes Be Closed
Within and Without – 2011
Single – 2013
Hurry Up We’re Dreaming – 2011
White Women – 2014
Eyes Wide Open
Making Mirrors – 2011
The King of Limbs – 2011
Dear Science – 2008
The Rip Tide – 2011
My Head is an Animal – 2012
Yr City’s a Sucker
LCD Soundsystem – 2005
Put Up Your Hands
You Know You Like It – 2013
Out of Frequency
Out of Frequency – 2012
All Your Gold
The Haunted Man – 2012
This Mess We’re In (with Thom Yorke)
Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea – 2000
Get Lucky (featuring Pharrel Williams)
Random Access Memories – 2013
The Family Jewels – 2010
Days are Gone – 2013
It’s Blitz! – 2009
Stellar Motel – 2014
Fly Away Another Day
Passing By Behind Your Eyes – 2009
Crying Lightning – 2009
Nabuma Rubberband – 2014
Baby When the Light
Best of David Guetta – 2007
Push the Sky Away – 2013