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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Author: DC (page 1 of 323)

The Biggest, Ugliest, Most Funtastic Thurston Moore Day Ever!!!!!! (circa 2007) *

* (restored)

 

‘I certainly don’t sit around in the morning making
pancakes listening to Whitehouse or
anything.’ — Thurston Moore

 

_______________________

Solo Artist

 

 

 

 Trees Outside the Academy (Ecstatic Peace, 2007): ‘Thurston Moore’s first solo endeavor since 1995’s Psychic Hearts will allow the noise police to stay away. The Sonic Youth ringleader goes at it acoustically, far from his customary cacophonic experimentation, forming a venturesome trio with the Fleeting Skies’ Samara Lubelski (violin) and SY’s Steve Shelly (drums) and giving his lyrical verve the latitude it deserves. There’s a euphonious, near pop-like palpability to tracks like “Frozen Guitar,” “Fri/end,” and “Honest James,” the latter spurred on by the vocals of Christina Carter (The Charalambides) and a guitar intro pawned from the Byrds’ “Feel a Whole Lot Better.” The isolation of the quieter songs allows Moore’s voice to flicker on lines such as “The pearl meets light/And the light gets lost” in the numbing “Silver Blue,” or in “The Shape Is in a Trance,” where he reveals “I’m not the one they called/But I showed up anyway.” So did Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis, whose notorious guitar heightens the volume on matching instrumentals: the daunting “American Coffin” and the six-minute title song, which ends bluntly before a final hidden track featuring a 13-year-old Moore making inordinate sounds with scissors, coins, and an aerosol can.’ — Scott Holter

Kapotte Muziek (Korm Plastics, 2007) Number 12 in a series of reworkings of Kapotte Muziek live recordings. In the past composers like RLW, Tietchens, Illusion of Safety, Leif Elggren, a.o. were invited by Kapotte Muziek to rework some of their work. For number 12 Thurston Moore accepted the invitation. So Kapotte Muziek delivered a recording from a concert that took place on april 16th, 2002, at Flywheel, Easthampton. Thurston Moore reworked it two years and a few months later, on a day in june. The result is a 25 minute piece that is offered now by this new Korm Plastics release.

Flipped Out Bride (Blossoming Noise, 2006) Two extended tracks of drone and skree from SONIC YOUTH heavy petter. Featuring artwork by Kim Gordon. Flipped Out Bride was originally released as part of the pygmy series, limited to 500 copies on blue marbled vinyl.

 

Root (Lo, 1999) Guitar Pieces by Thurston Moore Remixed and Reshaped By: Stereolab, Derek Bailey, Alec Empire, Mogwai, Luke Vibert, Underdog, Merzbow, Blur and many more.

 

 

 

Piece for Jetsun Dolma (Victo, 1996) ‘…accompanied only by two excellent percussionists…Moore revisits his gonzo, guitar-shredding youth, using harmonics and various extended techniques, and coaxes as many different sounds as possible out of his electric guitar….liberating stuff…’ — Option

 

Please Just Leave Me (my Paul Desmond) (Pure, 1996) In a jewel case with new & unique color xerox artwork. This Thurston Moore CD is 31 minute solo guitar work that mixes electronic high pitched drone and spacious assembly.

 

 

Psychic Hearts (Geffen Records, 1995) ‘What’s most impressive about Psychic Hearts is that it paints a 3-D portrait of Thurston Moore the artist, who has often come off as too cool, detached and attitude-laden for his own good. The album doesn’t hold together as seamlessly as Sonic Youth’s classic Daydream Nation or sustain the momentum of Sister or Dirty. It probably won’t win as many new converts as the Sonics’ major-label debut, Goo. But as a coherent statement of purpose, as confirmation that Moore remains committed to experimental music and fascinated by the precarious relationship between high and low art, Psychic Hearts offers hope for an endangered species: genuine alternative rock.’ — Rolling Stone


Thurston Moore – Trees Outside The Academy interview


Thurston Moore – Ono Soul (live)

 

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Visual Artist

 

 

 

Thurston Moore
STREET MOUTH #15 – Acker
2006
Archival Ink Jet Print
24 X 21 1/4 inches

 

Thurston Moore
STREET MOUTH #17 – Roxy Eno
2006
Archival Ink Jet Print
24 X 21 1/4 inches

 

Thurston Moore
STREET MOUTH #18 – Splat No. 9 D O A
2006
Archival Ink Jet Print
24″ X 21 1/4″

 

Thurston Moore
STREET MOUTH #20 – ALLEN
2006
Archival Ink Jet Print
24″ X 21 1/4″

 

Thurston Moore
STREET MOUTH #21 – Todd
2006
Archival Ink Jet Print
24″ X 21 1/4″

 

Thurston Moore
STREET MOUTH #22 – Iggy
2006
Archival Ink Jet Print
24″ X 21 1/4″

 

Thurston Moore 8-2005

That J.W. would fetishize a detail from a 1st generation US hardcore LP and present it as art resonated with me instantly. I, too, had a direct fascination with that particular subculture though from a distinctly different arc. I was already somewhat established as an experimental, post no wave downtown NYC art rock musician. A situation which gave immediate validity to be a bedfellow with any chosen discipline. Hardcore, as exemplified by the east coast faction of Dischord Records (Minor Threat, SOA, Void, Faith et al), NYC (Urban Waste, pre-hip hop Beastie Boys, The Nihilistics), Mid West (Negative Approach, Necros, The Fix), L.A. (Black Flag, Adolescents, Wasted Youth) and S.F. (Flipper primarily) was an incredible movement in its first generation. It took punk as an elemental tool towards an alternative teen identity recasting the music as a loud/fast cultural collective. As the players were so young their ritualistic dance and statement of purpose was deliriously genuine. In retrospect it is as vivid a living rock and roll subgenre as no wave, reggae, hip-hop, it’s predecessor of punk and the avant-garde transitions of glitter and glam. I am indeed a solid decade older than Jocko and was in full puppy love with glam as it strutted it’s gutter trash exotica through early 70s NYC and beyond. When the Ramones, the Heartbreakers, Television, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Talking Heads, Blondie et al began their earliest prowlings it was a delectable manifestation of what the New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Eno, Wayne County had been threatening and flirting with. The intellectualism of William Burroughs, the sex rock of Marc Bolan, the drop-dead insolence of Iggy Pop etc. etc. had lit the fuse and 1977 introduced probably the last great pre-wired introduction of culture shakers of the 20th century.

I so personalized myself into this history that I needed to clutch at any documentation of it in order to breathe. Of course the 80s/90s would lead me off into a whole new pertinent trajectory of community beyond glam, punk, no wave, hardcore but I always felt the romantic pull of nostalgia to these seismic periods and how they constructively inform me as an artist – be it music, literature or what we have here.

This series of collages entitled Street Mouth (1-14) I had been working on since seeing the early “poem-posters” of Charles Henri Ford which along with the living poetry of Ted Berrigan and friends on the mid-60s East Village, seemingly introduced Warhol to such starlit epiphany. Almost all the photographs are by a regal scene of photographers who will probably be livid at these appropriations. Leee Black Childers, Mick Rock, Bob Gruen etc. are as significant as the subjects they shoot and as the actual photos themselves but I am basing the work on exercises I did as a teenager cutting out pictures from Rock Scene, Creem and Circus magazines and collaging them as an obsessive diarist. Doing this work now utilizing some kind of punk Photoshop method where I can actually drop myself and other referentials into the pieces has allowed me at age 47 to create an ongoing open-heart bio-historagophy.

Thurston Moore @ KS Art
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__________________________
Record Exec.

 

 

 

 

Magik Markers

‘Taste’
Magik Markers @ Ecstatic Peace

Dead Machines

Dead Machines live @ ATP
Dead Machines @ Ecstatic Peace

Turbo Fruits

‘Broadzilla’ live at SXSW
Turbo Fruit @ ECstatic Peace

Pagoda (featuring Michael Pitt)

Live at PA’s Lounge
Pagoda @ Ecstatic Peace

Be Your Own Pet

‘bicycle, bicycle, you are my bicycle’
Be Your Own Pet @ Ecstatic Peace
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_________________________

 

Opinionator

 

 

 

Thurston counsels troubled teens!
Dear Thurston, There’s this guy that I really like. He tells everyone that he doesn’t even like me as a friend, but when we’re alone together we do things that are reserved for people who think of each other as more than friends. What do I do? A friend, more, or less? Huntley, IL

The guy’s a jerk. I know that won’t discourage you from liking him, but he’s got a major personality flaw: disrespecting you. Be careful of this kind of butthead, because his sleaze behavior may rub off on you, and then your life will become more and more hellish. Next time you’re alone with him and he tries to get “friendly,” tell him your friend Thurston Moore wants to kick his ass. And then tell him why.
(more)

Thurston: ‘Sonic Youth should’ve broken up’!
“The Pixies reunion was a real success, and Dinosaur Jr. seems like a big success, and both those bands play as good as they ever did. Mission Of Burma blew my mind when they came back. “But a band like us never did break up. Which was to our own detriment. “What would have happened if we did break up after (classic 1988 double album) Daydream Nation – or even after (1990’s) Dirty – and had gotten back together two years ago? “You’d be interviewing me at the Chateau Marmont as I’m waiting for my limousine. We probably would have made so much money. “This was our biggest career faux-pas – not breaking up.”

Thurston Attacks Young Rockers!
“I am playing with Yoko Ono, and she’s well past 70 and she rocks. Neil Young rocks. It’s certainly not John Mayer or Avril Lavigne. Those people don’t rock. If that’s the young generation in the culture, then forget it. In the underground, the old guys are cool. I like the fact that the older we get the more we can rock.”

Thurston Shames the Music Capitalists!
“Once again, we’re being told that home taping (in the form of ripping and burning) is killing music. But it’s not: It simply exists as a nod to the true love and ego involved in sharing music with friends and lovers. Trying to control music sharing – by shutting down P2P sites or MP3 blogs or BitTorrent or whatever other technology comes along – is like trying to control an affair of the heart. Nothing will stop it.”
(more)
Buy ‘Mix Tape: The Art if Cassette Culture’, edited by Thurston Moore (Universe, 2005)

Thurston … Sells Out?!?!
NEW YORK (Billboard) – In an interview published recently in Pitchfork, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore mentioned that the band needed to record a new song for a Starbucks compilation. Within minutes of his remarks hitting the Internet, chat rooms and the band’s fan sites were awash in cries of “foul” and “sellouts.”

Q: Are you surprised by the uproar your comments have caused in the blogosphere?
Moore: I never thought of it as being more radical than recording for Universal Music. They’re both corporations that have ties to things that people find sort of problematic. The compilation came out of the idea that I wanted “Rather Ripped” to be in Starbucks stores because that’s where people were seeing CDs. They aren’t going into record stores anymore. So, we approached Starbucks. But it was too late. You usually have to get that (process) going six months prior to the release. So we thought, “Let’s make a record that would be very appealing to that situation.” … I guess, for some, Sonic Youth represents something that they don’t really equate with Starbucks. But I kind of like the absurdity of it. Sonic Youth has always, in a way, made itself available to the super mainstream.

Thurston Grilled About His Deepest Secrets!
What is your principal defect?
Uncoordination in my fine motor skills.
What is sexy?
Physically, whoa — I mean, I don’t just like one aspect of sexiness, but I am certainly more into, shall we say, Buxomity than Slenderifousness.
If you were to ask any two questions of any two people, what would they be and whom would you ask?
Gerard Malanga: What was it like to stare into the face of Edie Sedgwick? Keith Richards: What was it like to stare
into the face of Anita Pallenberg?
What is humanity’s biggest failing?
The ability to rationalise the art of the swindle.
(more)
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Subject Matter *

* ‘Phoner’: my liner notes from Sonic Youth’s ‘Sister’

 

 

 

 

_________________________

No School Poet

 

 

 

clouds/prayers for milk jane

clouds/prayers for milk jane – she hitched from wonderland to new freedom– memory serves me fondly w/jane milk jane stealing wallets from rides dashboards. kicking coke machines busting phones – jane made LOVE cuz fucking was for dups – she was into hippie cumming to an END — milk jane knew about punk before the magazine was called PUNK – where the fuck is milk jane milk jane – pot pot and chicken fried steaks and milkshakes – jane hitched everywhere – thats how i lost track – so i moved to newyork — she liked anything – i liked onething: newyork – fuck l.a. – germs are OVER – milkjane probably could’ve loved the germs – probably desperately could’ve had germs burn and beat don bolles head to the wall stick nipple in his face, laff and leave him –stranded–. she’d do that to hippies – punkx would’ve been more fun – but she split – we split right before punk – she made a salad and ate it – she was into making salads and then hitching to this shit bar in brewster and we’d just fucking sit there and watch older fucks burn OUT — i heard about the ramones but it was too late – milk jane kinda booked – was gone – maybe she would’ve held me back from the snob art soho circle of sput. –but that would’ve sukked – i needed to witness such now-white-SMASH — milk jane is married dead happy burnt –write me mj read this in a bookstore one chance in a fuckingmillion – read this and write me . write me write me write me write me write me write me before its too late – before i lose everything i can hardly smell anymore – you were everything i can remember. and memory is nothing but the smell of your legs 1/2 drunk, no future, thai stick in the graveyard –

*

untitled

black hair patty waters 1966 patti smith 1974 black eye james chance 1978
black man schooly d 1985 black woman jeanne lee 1972 peace to be black free
to be black
out

*

ode to a nurse

belong
ing

to
nothing
I

underestimated
yr worthlessness

no values
no time to fight

fuck with me and I will drink you
down

the british girl who paints her body
has one chance
to get my attention

I wish hard enough
and am impatient

*

this is allen ginsberg:

baby girl reaches for his face
his nose
glasses
anything

tries to stick her thumb in his mouth
a curious and favorite past-time

children everywhere
do it

the viscuous
pulpous
mouth

and now:

heres one
with beard!

shes 3 yrs old

he sucks her thumb
into his mouth

and out

and in

here is a grown up
who’s into it

unreal

 

*

Top ten from the free jazz underground

No matter how you listen to it JAZZ is ostensibly about FREEDOM.

FREEDOM and the MYSTERY surrounding it.

And, like MUSIC, it is an ABSTRACT.

It’s SHAPES, FORMS (SOUNDS!) are DISTINCT and PERSONAL and SENSITIVE to each player’s DESIRE.

And the DESIRE is INFINITE.

FREEDOM is not just another word for nothing left to lose.

We know this from MESSAGES beamed from the space-lantern of his cosmic highness SUN RA! The MESSAGE was clear:

“NOTHING IS.”

Buy TM’s poetry book ‘Alabama Wildman’
Buy copies of TM’s ‘Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal’

—-

 

________________________

Experimentalist

 

 


Thurston Moore and the Bang on a Can All Stars


Thurston Moore & Mats Gustafsson – Live session


Thurston Moore & Nels Cline live at Rhino Records, 1996


Clark Coolidge & Thurston Moore, Maison de la Poésie de Paris


MIRROR/DASH (Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon) @ 21 Grand

 

FRED JUNG: How did you develop an interest in improvised music?

THURSTON MOORE: Improvised music as a genre, I was somewhat unaware of in the Eighties. I started playing music around ’76,’77 in New York, when I moved there as a teenager, playing in punk rock bands. I moved there specifically to do that. I was eighteen and I was responding to underground music that was in New York, Television, Patti Smith, The Ramones, and stuff like that. Moving there and getting involved in that community, there is different facets of music that were interlinked with the punk rock scene, specifically the poetry scene that Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine, and Richard Hell, certainly had a connection with, which sort of was connected to people like Allen Ginsberg. So it was much more of an exploded scene. There was a lot of different music going on. There was a lot of indigenous kind of ethnic music on the street and there was a lot of avant-garde jazz music that you would see peripherally as a teenager then. It wasn’t until I met Kim (Gordon), my wife, who plays in Sonic Youth, and she grew up listening to jazz with her friends on the West Coast, John Coltrane, etc. I became interested in it through her. I started really listening to classic Sixties jazz, to Coltrane and Mingus and to Ornette, and became very immersed in it, especially the New York school of it, and reading Leroi Jones’ writings on it. Black Music, I believe the book was. That really opened up my ears to people like Frank Lowe and Rashied Ali and Milford Graves and some of the more expanded playing ideas. The idea of improvisation in jazz was elemental. I never really thought about it. As far as the way I was approaching music myself, the idea of creating compositions with us getting together and playing free and making composition from ideas that were coming out of this free playing, I never thought it as belonging to any school of improvisation. I found out about a club called the Saint and this was a little club on the Lower East Side that was curated and run by John Zorn. I knew about John Zorn because he was around town and he was part of the scene of slightly older guys who still had facial hair, which in punk rock, you didn’t have facial hair. You cut your hair. But these guys weren’t punk rockers. They still had beards and stuff. I remember going to the Saint because it was a hangout of some sort and there were these musicians who were playing unorthodox music, really, their instruments were unorthodox and the way they were set up was not very typical either. They were playing music that seemed to come out of the language of jazz, as far as it being improvised music, but it was something wholly other. It was completely free improvisation. It was somewhat interesting to me, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I didn’t get a handle on it and I wasn’t really that interested because the energy was so sublime. I was a little too young to hear it as anything of any importance to me. At some point, I discovered, just by the fact that there was a record store in Manhattan that sold only jazz records and it was an extension of this record store on St. Mark’s Place called Sounds and they opened up a store on 9th Street, which was where they shuffled all their jazz stock and sold it really cheap. I started going there because I was looking just for some more records that were akin to Coltrane and Mingus. Within all these records were a lot of European records by people on independent labels such as Peter Brötzmann, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, and these were people I knew were sort of part of what was being presented at the Saint. I became curious about it and I picked up a couple of them because they were cheap enough. Nobody bought these records at all. There was no hip cache to them like there is now at all. It was pre-CD too. Especially Derek Bailey, they really made me curious in a way as to who these people were because their music was so open ended and all about these communications that they were dealing with each other and I didn’t know how to look at it historically. One thing that really helped was a book that came out by John Litweiler called The Freedom Principle. He also wrote the Ornette Coleman bio. Litweiler’s book really showed the historical correlation between the European improvisers and American avant-garde jazz, Art Ensemble, Anthony Braxton, and the loft jazz that was going on in New York, primarily free jazz players, Milford Graves and what Archie Shepp was doing and the radical composition that Bill Dixon was doing. There was some commentary in there, especially by Brötzmann, where he said that one point at a young age, American jazz was very important to their development as far as players and their language, but at some point, they really broke away from it and developed and created their own identity outside of the genre of jazz as free improvisers, a whole other musical genre, to the point of it being this interesting geographic thing such as the ICP, people in Holland, the Instant Composers Pool. Their whole idea is spontaneous improvisation being played with the idea that you are creating spontaneous compositions, that they are compositions and it is not just jamming or free blowing. You actually have a sense of composing on the moment and also Derek Bailey saying things like how he didn’t understand why everybody didn’t respond to this music because it is more true to the actual nature of life, which is organized, yet completely improvised. I thought those were fascinating insights to what they were doing. It really opened it up. It wasn’t until I saw Derek come to town and play a duo with Paul Motian and I saw the level of years and years of sophistication that was going into what he was doing and how pure and how simple it was and how affecting it was and that really sort of blew my mind. I started really getting involved. This is all sort of late Eighties. I just really got involved with tracking it. The whole thing about independent, underground punk rock music that I was involved with had to do with a whole do it yourself esthetic, outside of and below the radar of the mainstream with a network of people who were creating their own labels and distribution, which we were very proud of. Then I saw that this had been going on at an even more grassroots level with the global free improvisation scene, artists creating their own labels and who were buying these records? Maybe a few academics and radicals like John Zorn, but it wasn’t a big music at all. It was catering to each other musically. To me, they were creating documents to communicate with each other, these records, which they would all sort of send to each other to hear. According to Evan Parker, they would listen to records on ESP, which was a small label out of New York that concentrated on avant-garde jazz playing and there was a lot of extended and experimental reed playing and all kinds of instrumental playing on those records that was pretty far out. He said that what they were really interested in were those moments that were at the beginnings and ends of songs, where the players were really sort of creating these little sounds, these spiky sounds. He said that that was what he and Derek really concentrated on and they wanted to create a whole music out of that, that kind of tension and release. They pretty much got to that territory on the first couple of sessions and everything is an extension of that to this day of a lot of what they’re doing. It is kind of a wild musical world they have created.

(cont.)
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__________________________

Contributor

 

 

 

________________________

The Black Box (Art & Music Edition, 100 copies, 2000)
‘Records and objects from various artists and musicians. Objects by Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Mats Gustafsson, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Sven-Åke Johansson, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, Barbro Ravander, David Stackenäs, Frauke eckhardt, Clara hall, Roza czulowska, Lee Ranaldo, Leah Singer, Sofia Kroon, Lotta Melin. Records by Crazy wisdom Sound System “Our pleasure indeed” & Random Buffs “Take six” vinyl single, Jim O’Rourke “jim : computer : hotel” cd, Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley, Mats Gustafsson “Without Kim I+II” cd, Sonic Youth w/ Mats Gustafsson “Lightning” vinyl EP, David Stackenäs “Stumble in the jungle” & “Rumble in the angle” vinyl EP, Zeitblom & Uwe Warnke “Liegend/Im fall” cd. Released during Kulturbro 2000. English. Edition 100. Published 2000.
6000 SEK

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Visionaire No. 53: Sound

‘If you close your eyes, what sense takes over? Do you consume the world in sound bites? Are you moved by the art of noise? Issue 53 of Visionaire — produced this time around in collaboration with the British car manufacturer, MINI — is dedicated to the theme of Sound. Packaged inside a specially produced domed case, it consists of five 12-inch vinyl records, imprinted with images (picture discs), that together contain more than 100 minutes of sound content–from audio experiments to unreleased songs, samples and spoken word pieces. Also included is a MINI Clubman “Vinyl Killer” record player: a battery-operated toy car, containing speakers and a needle. As the little car moves along a record’s groove, it plays each track, acting as a fully portable record player and sound system. Beyond all this, the issue also includes two CDs with all of the sound content gathered digitally, as well as a booklet of credits and instructions. Contributors include: musicians David Byrne, Courtney Love, Michael Stipe, Adam Horowitz (Beastie Boys), Antony & the Johnsons, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran), Karl Bartos (Kraftwerk), Andrew WK, Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Danger Mouse, Malcolm McLaren, Ruyuichi Sakamoto; artists Robert Wilson, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Doug Aitken, Gary Hill, Sylvie Fleury; DJs Miss Kittin, Trevor Jackson, Towa Tei, Michel Gaubert; fashion designers Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang; bands Littl’Ans, Fischerspooner, Unkle, Animal Collective, SunnO))) and many more.’

PUBLISHED BY: Visionaire Publishing, LLC
FORMAT: Dome Case,13.25 x 3.5/5 12-in. records/2 audio CDs/vinyl killer record player
ISBN: 9781888645682 ISBN10: 1888645687
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/01/2007

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Long March of Cleveland (Green Panda Press, 2001)
An anthology of art and poetry dedicated to the late outlaw poet D. A. Levy and the literary history of Cleveland, Ohio – the capital of underground mimeographed poetry in the sixties and seventies. Contributors include d. a. levy, rjs, Thurston Moore, Alex Gildzen, and many others.

 

 

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Glenn Branca Lesson No. 1, Symphony #1, Symphony #2, Symphony #3
“After playing in the seminal and influential New York City no wave rock outfits the Theoretical Girls and The Static, Glenn Branca made his first strides towards the more ambitious guitar symphonies he’d become famous for with his first solo release Lesson No. 1 in 1980. Lesson No. 1 For Electric Guitar is perhaps his most accessible piece of the period. It is a concise yet extended statement of forward motion, guitar motives repeating in a manner recalling the minimalist of Philip Glass, but unlike Glass, with a maximilist approach to sonic density and bombast. Upon its initial release as the first record on the influential 99 Records (Liquid Liquid, ESG, et.al.), Lesson No. 1 was paired with Dissonance, a more daring experiment that explodes sonic dissonance with rock and roll energy. For this reissue, Acute Records has added ‘Bad Smells’ (featuring Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore), composed as a dance piece for choreographer Twyla Tharp in 1982. And if that wasn’t enough, Acute has also included an 18 minute quicktime video of ‘Symphony #5’, recorded in 1984 at what was to become the legendary New York City venue The Kitchen.”
2004 CD on Acute (ACT5, US)

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Kill Your Idols, dir. SA Crary (Palm Pictures/AK Press)
‘Kill Your Idols is a guide to New York’s buzzing downtown underground post-punk scene. Director S.A. Crary kicks things off with the birth of No Wave in the late 1970’s, providing an angular rush with a priceless collection of live performances from Suicide, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, the Theoretical Girls and DNA. From this initial explosion of artistic energy, the film moves through the 1980’s, passing the torch to Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth and Michael Gira of Swans, before crashlanding in the noisy Now! of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Dice, Liars, A.R.E. Weapons and the Gypsy stylings of Gogol Bordello. Interviews connect the threads between the past and the present, an ever-fertile scene is defined, celebrated and trashed with equal amounts of enthusiasm, and the creators of some of the most challenging rock music of all-time get to explain what they do, why they do it and where it’s all heading.’

(Almost) complete discography of TM’s recorded contributions

 

__________________________

Journalist

 

 

When the Edge Moved to the Middle
New York Times, 2004

The boy looked just like Kurt Cobain. He was no more than 19. Same yellow hanging hair, fallow blue eyes, the sad square jaw, innocent and adult.

We were in a Brooklyn basement full of artists and sound-poets gathered to watch musicians throw down extreme noise improvisation. One performer played records with two customized tone arms on his turntable; the discs broke and scratched, creating shards of hyperfractured beat play. He was followed by a quartet of young women scraping metal files across amplified coils mixed through junk electronics. I was to perform a spontaneous guitar/amp feedback piece with a stand-up bass player on loan from his teaching post at Berklee College of Music and a free jazz percussionist who had traversed through New York’s downtown underground in the 60’s. Not your typical night of alternative rock.

And I had a feeling this kid was looking for alternative rock. It was the year 2000. Kurt had died six years earlier, and through whatever fleeting friendship I had with him, this ethereal look-alike saw me as some connection. (cont.)

 

The Stooges
Rolling Stone, 2005

For me, the Stooges were the perfect embodiment of what music should be — of wanting it to be alive, riding the edge of control. Their music was total high-energy blues, with the contemporary freakout of Jimi Hendrix and the free-jazz spirit of John Coltrane. Iggy wanted the Stooges to be what he’d seen in Chicago as a young guy — these old bluesmen playing so hard that, as Iggy once said, the music drips off you.

I was fourteen when I first saw a picture of Iggy onstage: shirtless, with his body spray-painted silver. He was sweating — it looked like glitter sweat — and he had a chipped tooth. He looked young and on fire. But Iggy’s parents were intellectuals — his father was an English teacher — and that gave him an edge. He had focus. Iggy believed what he was doing was important — this self-reliant, anti-establishment art form. (cont.)

 

Grabbing Ankles: Patti Smith Interviewed by Thurston Moore
Bomb Magazine, 1996

Patti Smith was, and is, pure experience… Her reign in the ’70s as a street-hot rock & roll messiah seemed to exist from a void. No past, no future — “the future is here,” she’d sing. I’d hear tales of romance, the girl with the blackest hair hanging out at recording session writing poetry. But I didn’t know her. I could only embrace the identity I perceived. I was impressionable and she came on like an alien. The first time I met her was in 1975 in a magazine. It was two poems about three wishes: rock & roll, sex, and New York City. Her photo was stark — no disco color flash. It was anti-glam, nocturnal starring eyes, black leather trousers. She was skinny and smart. She posed as if she were the coolest boy in the city. And she was. I could only imagine her world through her poems: telling, truthful, dirty, hopeful. I wanted to meet her and take her to a movie, but she was so unobtainable and fantastic. I could only entrust my faith to the future. The future would allow me to have a date with Patti Smith or at least hang out with her. And the future seems to have come. It seems to be happening, it’s happened. It’s here.

Patti grew up in south Jersey in the ’60s. As a teenager she became involved in a succession of religious experiences: “Catholic lust,” an intense relationship with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a full-on romance with Tibetan Buddhism. She completely immersed herself in the genius of Bob Dylan and Arthur Rimbaud. She loved (and loves) rock & roll with an unbounded passion. It instilled beauty and vision to a complex life of dreams. (cont.)

 

Bull Tongue
by Thurston Moore & Byron Coley
Arthur Magazine, 2007

Trans Industrial Toy Orchestra’s Alzheimer Underground LP (Ti Prod) [www.transindustriell.de] is a pip. They are a German troupe where the decidedly fluxus membership play and record by reading words without “e” with nuts cracked in a nut cracker and reading backwards while tearing a sheet. They also utilize record players in aurally illegitimate ways. Sounds dada, bizarre, unlistenable? Actually yes and no: it is indeed a fucked up thing but quite alluring in its tribute to brain blankness.

Very nice slab here from Liverpool’s Solar Fire Trio (Invada) [www.invada.co.uk]. Formed in ’05 by Spiritualized saxophonist, Ray Dickaty, alto player Dave Jackson and drummer, Steve Belger, their eponymous debut LP is classic squee-pileage in the post-ESP tradition. Unlike some Euro players, these three base their sound on loose sonic collisions and and interwoven blather in ripely extended fire-form, all revolving around theories of meat and its ability to burn. Solid, savage blurt.

Debut release by Weak Sisters is a cassette called Subterfuge (Basement Tapes) [myspace.com/boilerroomemissions]. Awesome cut up screams and dead-time pronouncements make this release unbearably savage. The fact that it’s not just wank but pretty taut and focused nihilist sense-slicing makes for killer listening. Weak Sisters is basically a solo spurt of Will van Goern of Other People’s Children and word on the streets of Fort Collins, Colorado is that this tape don’t come close to his live actions. Hopefully, we shall see. (cont.)
—-

 

________________________

Sonic Youther


‘Death Valley ’69’


‘Silver Rocket’ live


‘Brave Men Run’ live in ’85


‘Mildred Pierce’


‘Sunday’


‘The Simpsons Theme’


‘The Diamond Sea’ (Live Germany 1996)


Sonic Youth in China


‘Incinerate’


‘Do You Believe in Rapture’

Tons more Sonic Youth videos
Sonic Youth official
Sonic Youth unofficial
—-

 

*

p.s. Hey. To those of you who are having problems interfacing with the blog/comments, a report has been made to my hosting site, and I expect to hear from them with some kind of answer this morning. Hopefully whatever the issue is can then be resolved. ** Gregoryedwin, Hi, Greg! Big up! Is it true, that old saying, the ‘terrible twos’? I have friends who have told me that, in their case at least, the ‘wonderful ones’ hasn’t proved to be exactly true. Awesome that you’re managing to find time/brain to work on your ‘novelist/bookish’ thing! I think I’m like you re: breaking with past works when something new calls. What do I know, but I think, possibly by default, that that’s the only way to try to keep dipping your work in greatness. It sounds extremely exciting and is definitely extremely exciting to think about over here. Ultra-ultra always ongoing very best to you! ** Wolf, Oh my goodness, thank you, I don’t deserve it, Sublime Wolf! Well, my Ariana meet up was a comedy of errors. I said, ‘Meet me outside metro exit 1 at Republique’ not knowing there was a giant demonstration going on there. So I get there and all the exits are closed except one far flung one where everyone is being herded out. So then I spent an hour shuttling between eagle-eyeing the exitees at the far flung exit and the exterior of the closed Exit 1 and never saw her, felt woeful, and came home. Turns out she was doing the exact same thing but didn’t see me either. So, long story short, I’ll see instead in the next few days, and I can and will give her your massive hug. Zac is from some little town down south whose name I always forget, and his mom lives in Nice. Is Nice in Provence? I don’t even know. Bad Francophile. I’ll do the same thing with my upcoming week. Ooh, a collaborative project, fun! No, I haven’t seen that Quai Branly show yet, but it is severely in the cards for likely this week. As is the ‘artists and robotics’ show at the Grand Palais. News as/after it happens. Love, bud. ** Chris Cochrane, Hi, Chris! Yes, I’ll be astral projecting bouquets towards you ‘Them’ guys today. I arrive in the afternoon on the 7th. Is there a rehearsal that afternoon? If so, maybe I can catch it, or maybe we can meet that afternoon/evening for a catch up. I’ve always found it very valuable to stay friends with exes when possible, yeah. I want skinny! Lots of skinny! (You know me). ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. That is very true and very cool, yes. ** Sypha, Hi. See note at the top. I hope things can be righted. It’s very frustrating for me as well as y’all. Congrats on finishing the big BEE reread! Any new or unexpected insights? ** Alex rose, Hi, Alex!! Well, those books are brand new, so I’ve barely even myself. Don’t know that Jon Fosse book, but I will. Oh, so cool, thank you so much about ‘LCTG’. I’m thrilled, and Zac will be when I forward your words to him as he’s a big fan of your work as I probably already said. Thank you, Alex. I’m excited for you to see ‘PGL’. It’s a step up, I think. Love you too! Is all upwards and sonic and right in your world? ** Jamie, Hey, hey! I’m good. Oh, on your face, Jesus! So sorry. That’s … ouch. My brother has impetigo too, and his is always on his neck, which is bad, more debilitating than my arm one, but not as bad as face. At least you get your MRI today. I hope that goes super smoothly. I suppose you won’t hear the results straight away? Did they say anything? Yes, I really, really hope my host can solve these fucking blog problems. It’s annoying and stressful all around. Sorry. My day was an attempted non-meet up with a friend (see: my response to Wolf), a crazy storm that dropped huge hail stones on Paris even though it was 22 degrees (!), some work, some daydreaming, so-so. I hope your today marks the beginning of the world at large ship-shaping itself into your personal Eden in which you will frolick 24/7 even when you’re eating dinner and unlocking the door of your apartment. Punk rock love, Dennis. ** Steve Erickson, I will hereby never look at Film Twitter, thank you. Gaspar is actually a really funny guy, a card. Like I said, I am in the process of trying to see if the blog problems can be fixed. Yeah, writing for Pitchfork would be cool. I still look at and sometimes read the reviews there almost every day. I didn’t hear that about Moor Mother, but that is very intriguing, and obviously I think Moor Mother is amazing pretty constantly. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yeah, blog problems, sorry. If they can be fixed, they will be. Ha ha: ‘HRH Meghan, Inverted’, so simply effective. Shit, wtf (!) about the Generator. Man, I hope that gets sorted out pronto. How stressful. ** JM, Goodishness is inherently transformative, obviously, and, I don’t know, but I think you’ll beyond sort it. Just a feeling. My instincts are pretty good. Not paranormal good, but their track record is decent. ** Misanthrope, G. Like I keep saying, don’t know, re: the comments thing, but maybe/hopefully I will this morning. Sick of this shit. Chu Bops breaking or crumbling into pieces plus wondering how much that company paid for the rights to the albums’ cover art or whether they were instead paid by the record companies due to the publicity factor constitutes my entire memory of them. ** Kyler, Oh, thank god, finally someone not having problems with the blog. Thank you. Such a good feeling when you finish the final revisions. Enjoy. A Day would be A-okay and cool, of course. You have to get permissions for quotes? In my novel ‘Guide’ there were really a lot of quoted song lyrics from different actual songs, and Grove Press’s lawyer said permissions weren’t needed, but maybe it’s different with lyrics. ** Bill, Hi, Bill! Gotcha re: the snippet. Yeah, I do that too with the phrases and sentences and stuff that I manage to wrest from the upper echelons of my muse when in-between things and commit to scraps of paper. Have a sweet Wednesday. ** Okay. Today’s post is really old, 11 years old! It’s way out of date about Thurston and his work. But someone asked me very nicely to put it back up, if I didn’t mind. And I didn’t mind, clearly. So, outdated but still fun, I think, Thurston stuff for you today. See you tomorrow.

4 books I read recently & loved: Katie Jean Shinkle Ruination, Troy James Weaver Temporal, Ariana Reines Telephone, Harry Mathews The Solitary Twin

__________________

 

‘Anna’s boyfriend got his head blown off over five dollars.

‘We walk along the bridge where it happened, carrying a two-liter filled to the brim with various parts of our collective mother’s liquor cabinets. We swig and sway, we pass it along as if it were a secret, each pulling a cheek full, swishing it around, gulping loudly. We wipe our mouths on our arms. We do not say a word.

‘We walk along the same bridge where that one girl’s tit fell out of her shirt, where the boys threw her trapper-keeper homework in the river. We remember the way the girl looked at us crookedly, as if to say she didn’t want to go with the boys that afternoon or that maybe she did and didn’t understand why we were interrupting their go-ahead, their green light.

‘Across the bridge, down the street, is the church filled to the brim with blubbering people trying to forfeit their denial for a piece of understanding. We will all die here the brick building suggests, we will all end up this way. We hang back across the street, lingering, pulling weeds from the edge of the street the way we saw men on the side of the highway do, their green reflectors on the backs of their knees glowing in the headlights at dusk. They are always unshaven.

‘Anna’s boyfriend’s head fell apart like the Zapruder film, one piece slid backwards, one piece look liked it splayed across his girlfriend’s dress. If we could play the thirty seconds over and over again, we would see he was smiling and the blood didn’t come for a breath. His girlfriend would look like she was in the moment between laughter and tears and if the moment was on mute, we wouldn’t know the difference. Here is a mouth wide open and filled with future—a tooth for each year of life, a tooth for each child birthed to term, birthed at all.’ — Katie Jean Shinkle

 

katie jean
Katie Jean Shinkle @ goodreads
POSITIVE SPACE: AN ESSAY IN SIMULTANEITY
KJS @ zoran rosko vacuum player
Buy ‘Ruination’

 

Katie Jean Shinkle Ruination
Spuyten Duyvil

‘Katie Jean Shinkle is our new master writer of the nightmare. In Ruination she has created a classic world of infestation and prophets and terrorist sisters. It’s a world where girls are sent to eradication centers for sprouting flowers and mushrooms and forsythia bushes from their skin. The prose is tender and bold and sharp. If you were to carve the initials of this book on your knee, you would have to spell one word: amazing.’ — Scott McClanahan

_____
Excerpt

Darkness, and then. Rolling weather: a superstorm in-wait. Four clouds exactly alike, black outline as if spiral on paper. Stratus or cirrus. Paredolia in theory: what becomes a creature of wing in sky, what becomes one blink signal or two, what becomes the shape of genitals. If we take our shoes off, put them behind our heads, can we stay like this forever, pointing at creatures and penises, the largest span of blackbird ever seen?

Can we begin in the war of this country in the summer of us?
Paula, Allison, Callie & I all wear black swimming caps, swim in syncopation, a rising chorus of legs, arm-in-arm, splash.
Before the weather, before the war, us four girls would huddle around the computer and watch videos of syncopated swimming routines. We would lie face down in the carpet and emulate. We would begin to touch each other, first on the legs and then up under the shorts, the mesh entangling with our chipped gel manicures. The videos shift from film clips of Esther Williams to porn clips with titles like “She takes it real good 2” and “Busty Brazilian Luvs Anal.” The touching of the butts would lead to flashing breasts, comparing, poking at Paula’s because they were slightly pancakey, wobbly.

All the light of day is muted by fog, blocking the summer sun, no matter the time. The only light for miles at night comes from The Prophet’s tent. Holy, holy, holy, God Almighty, Blessed trinity. God in Three Persons. The only thing I believe in is the Holy Spirit because I have seen it. I have seen it when my father puts on a lacy dress and a choke chain and high heels and walks around the house like the queen of the world. Miles of corn and soybeans and my father in a chevron skirt and lashes so long. I have seen the transformation alight on his face, when my father is in women’s clothing he is the closest he will ever be to God, I tell Paula.
My father says he feels at home in women’s clothing but doesn’t want to be a woman. He says it has been a secret for so long, he doesn’t even know how talk about it. He is glad he can do it with me, though, at home, he says, my mother would never stand for it. She had only seen him dressed twice and she freaked out. How dare he? she said. But he wasn’t doing anything but expressing himself. Something she never understood about anyone, not me, not him.

The superstorm: we prepare in the following ways: catching rain in the cups of our goblet-hands, laced with gold lame. We put our goblet-hands under the muted fog and save a cache of rainbow spectrum for later. Our hands become hammers and we board up the windows, nails falling from the trees like fruits. We write in spray paint on the sides of the house in claimant fashion, we predict the outcome. The colors of paint: the numbers and symbols translated on the sides and doors of the houses: one alive, two dead, dog in here, zero crossed out one crossed out two crossed out three, please HELP. Paula and I huddle in the basement behind a twin mattress. My father is in Central City. We will not know Central City no longer exists for a while yet. The sky turns grey to green to greener than I have ever seen.

After, in-between, preceding, prolouging, eulogizing, the superstorm is here. Instructions: go to a safe place, if one exists at all in the world. Cover your head with. Don’t leave. Don’t stay. Don’t drive. Don’t be frozen adjacent to your largest window. At least you have a window. Emergency Broadcast System: this is only a test of your circulatory system, of your life force thumping against the middle of your forehead. The sky of my heart is a bottle shimmering, the color of beach glass. Ecstatic noise and then not. What angels. How the sky parts the muted sun.

The temperature goes from 80 degrees to 35 in a matter of one hour. Air made of inescapable wet humidity. Paula and I watch the mini-swirled cyclones skipping around each other, twisting at the base like two heads of the same monster, tunneling and dying.
Threatening and ominous weather, clouds like mushrooms, more a rolling dough, dribbling out, leak and smear of sky, streaks of what will stay in the stratosphere and troposphere, it is July and freezing.

Before the electricity is restored, Paula and I pull the mattress out onto the lawn and lay next to each other as it rains. Our hands are soft feathers, caressing, and I am touching her hips, stomach, tracing the outline of the beetle tattoo, I am down above her underwear line but not over it. The mattress starts stinking from the moisture, and it feels as if there is no one else in the entire world but us. Every time we kiss, her long dark hair gets into my mouth. We pull and push each other and it gets so rough that eventually she lands in the muddy lawn. We laugh until we realize every single lawn is flooded, the street below is waist-high water, everything washed out, cars floating and hitting the sides of trees, everyone evacuated but us. Houses plucked, gone like rotten eyeteeth. That’s how weather is, it can’t be trusted. (Confirmed: Central City is no longer a place. Central City is wiped off the map.

It begins with an unliftable fog. It enters, blocks the sun, frost and snow, kills everything.
The Men talk of crops. The Men talk of the unlifted fog. The Men talk of 1816, the year of No Summer, the devastation. From here to the UK and back again, The Men say, famine. The Men talk of war, how in the middle of the summerwinter aftermath all women must ship out, sail out, fly out, drive out, get out, go. Fight for our freedom. The Men talk of the first folded flag to be delivered by hand to a husband already, and the first batch of women were just sent. The Men talk of death and how swift it comes, the grief of having to raise children alone. The Men take off their snapback trucker hats and roll the bills in their scarred hands. The Men fret over food and children, fret over the flowers that they have all seen but will not speak of out loud yet. The Men talk of going elsewhere, to Atlanta or New Orleans, or to Ohio, Iowa, as far west as Missouri, maybe even Colorado, who knows. You be gettin’ into the Wild West now, son, one says to the other and The Men laugh. Anything with the word wild is scary. When The Men are scared, they resort to violence. Violence against the potential wild. So maybe not Colorado, or anywhere further. The Men talk of their daughter’s synchronized swimming practices, will they still be able to compete if it is so cold? The Men speak of frost, and then of snow, in July, August. The Men are scared of snow, of fog not dissipated, of a rebuild, of where Central City has gone to, of all of the deaths and destruction and now the women are gone and now the flowers are appearing. The Men don’t cry, so they hit their bodies with their own fists, waiting for someone else to hit. The Year of No Summer. The Oldest Men talk of the year 1816, the year of no summer. Volcanic winter. 1816 a fog like ours. Radioactive fog, one man says and the other says no, volcanoes are not radioactive.

The prophet stands before the lean congregation in the heavy, canvas, revival tent, leftovers from a circus fire a town over, charred at the top where a flag should be undulating. Instead, a burnt-out hole. Everyone cold and sweating.
God has sent us, he tilts. Alleluia, Hallelujah, Amen. Brothers! the Prophet says, this summerwinter is a gift from God. Two men take their pork pie hats off and hold them to their chests by their tops, they watch the rain of ash from above.
The Prophet laughs. Brothers! Our women have gone to war. Tell me how you will be a man in their absence! Brothers! We are men of the highest order. We must protect our homeland, our nation, one nation under God, remember, he laughs again into the microphone, but this time it is high pitched and nasally and makes my father uncomfortable.

My father joins the relief effort because that’s what he thinks he needs to do. He spends his days hauling trees off of houses and rescuing dogs. I watch him across the street one day shaking a chainsaw in a direction while talking because he can’t seem to stop talking with his hands. He is talking to a national guard, an 18 year old with an automatic weapon tied to his back, gesturing with the chainsaw and making the kid nervous. The kid looks so small compared to my father, who is a massive conglomeration of chest and shoulders and neck and arms. He revvs the chainsaw and stops talking to the kid, who still looks confused. When he bends over, I can see the lacy ruffle top of his pink striped underwear.

Paula says the real enemy, the real terrorist, is time. A wall of clocks all set incorrectly. Late summer and snow. One meteor length, far and wide. Sideshow, in a specimen jar, bell box. Lift for cake. Lift for sick sweet of rotten coconut, a jelly filling. Our hands against the glass and panting. Shelves of missing. One dough arm, one severed gingersnap head. Forgotten buttons down an abdomen never covered, black with burn and crisp of flame. Rush, and smash a window. The children take lead bats to the framework. Blast of weather, and then silence. Blast, and then a light ash film smog on everything. Make a peace sign in the window with your finger. Someone else writes fuck your mom underneath it.

And fuck your mom might be right. As of today, the last of the mothers are relinquished, and moved at once. Lines of ponytails marching one step two step, stomp, stomp. A solider, as big as a 10 year old, told our father our mother must go. No choices. In the ghostly hours, our mother still hangs in the air, too, a black spirit on the corner of the wall, talons out to claw the nautical themed wallpaper. She moves fast, backwards and forwards, over the fridge and the kitchen counters, we watch her sizzle her tongue against father’s ear and he scratches and bats as if something inside is attempting escape. All the mothers are presently at war, conscription.

 


The Arson People #1


The Arson People #2


Arson People #3

 

 

___________________

 

Temporal revolves around three best friends, rotating between each of their perspectives. Aaron has catfished another boy and texts him when he’s feeling down or unwanted. Cody’s mom has recently left his dad, so he spends most his time getting as high as possible, relying on his friends to keep him out of trouble. Samantha fought off an advance from Cody’s dad and isn’t sure how to go about explaining her situation to her friends. Through all of this, they are looking for the next party. They are trying to navigate the summer before they all move on from school or their city. Temporal is a book of quiet moments but reveals how important even the mundane can be.

‘There are dramatic moments in Temporal, but never any that feel sensational. Weaver writes in a matter-of-fact tone that helps keep the story grounded. These are characters I’ve interacted with in my life. Hell, these three are acquaintances of mine who like to sit in basements getting high and listening to music. I know these people. So, when I started reading Temporal, I had an immediate connection to them. These are characters I’m rooting for because they could be making better decisions, but the life laid out in front of them makes it too easy to choose differently. Weaver isn’t writing in a way to condemn or condone their behavior, rather he’s putting down their story without bias and letting the reader decide how to feel about them.

Temporal is a read-in-one-sitting kind of a book. The shifting POV from chapter to chapter could be confusing at times, but Weaver puts in subtle hints so that within the first paragraph you know whose head you’re inside of. Temporal is a master class in minimalism and allowing the characters in the story to move the plot forward in an organic and satisfying way. This is Weaver’s fourth book, and with each one his prose is getting a little tighter and a little sharper. I’ve been a fan from the start, but he’s starting to reveal himself as someone who has longevity in a writing career. Even now, holding Temporal in my lap, I can’t wait to read what he has coming next.’ — Joseph Edwin Haeger, The Big Smoke

 

Troy James Weaver @ Twitter
A Review of Troy James Weaver’s “Temporal”
excerpt of ‘Temporal’
CURIOUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH LIVING REPRESENTATIVES OF HEAVEN’S GATE
Buy ‘Temporal’

 

Troy James Weaver Temporal
Disorder Press

‘Set to a shoegaze soundtrack, Troy James Weaver’s Temporal is the story of one tumultuous summer in the lives of three teenagers in Wichita, KS.’ — Disorder Press

Temporal is a novel painted with the blood of damaged, disaffected teenagers. Imagine S.E. Hinton if she listened to Sonic Youth. With each new book Troy James Weaver writes, he’s creating more of an impressive landscape of American gloom and melancholy. But he’s also able to highlight an elusive beauty in the life struggles of his characters.’ — Kevin Sampsell

_____
Excerpt

Samantha

Aaron called and told me about Cody’s behavior at the party, and, to be quite honest, I was stunned. Cody had always been more respectful to people than that. But we both knew he’d changed, it was undeniable. I mean that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

Cody picked me up and took me out to lunch. Nothing fancy, just Taco Bell. We sat in a booth there, talking about his newfangled behavior.

“Look,” he said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know what I was doing.”

I shook my head, said, “I know. I guess that’s why it’s so fucked up. You don’t even remember doing anything.”

“Far as I’m concerned, if I don’t remember, it didn’t happen.”

“That’s bullshit,” I said. “You know that.”

He shook his head, “Yeah, I know. I don’t know, I’m just going through a rough patch. Things’ll get better. I’m working on it.”

I nodded, things went silent. We listened to people ordering their food.

Then I said, “Cody. Can I tell you something? It’s a secret, and I, I don’t want you to get mad at me, but I…”

He grabbed my hands, burritos between us, and said, “Shit, Sam, you can tell me anything.”

I looked at him, all of him, and knew he was telling the truth, that he wouldn’t judge me, if that’s what you’d even call it, if I came out with all of it and told him about his dad’s sorry fucking behavior, but instead, I shook my head, and said, “No, I can’t. I’ll tell you, just not now. I can’t. Sorry.” And that was it. I was scared of everything and nothing at all, felt like I was living inside a cage inside myself inside a hole inside the earth.

I wasn’t aware until much later that Aaron had had a similar talk with Cody. Apparently they didn’t do anything, these talks.

That was a week before all the other shit happened, if you could believe it, I still don’t, even when I’m right there, with that thick fucking glass between us, and I feel like screaming Why didn’t you listen to me? I was in so much pain.

*

Cody

Took me a few weeks to hang on to the hundred bucks I needed, but as soon as I had it I went back to Duffy’s place and smoked weed with him for a bit, then told him I wanted to give it a try, you know, with the kid. He leaned in close and said, “Hundred bucks, one hour. Anything you want.”

I handed him the bill and went into the kid’s bedroom. The kid was just sitting on his bed, playing with a doll. The light was dim. I sat down beside him and brushed the hair out of his eyes. He looked like a ghost just back from war, had a look in his eyes, something I imagine we’d wanted from our visit to Stull. Something I never want to see again. There was nothing in there, big eyes like drained pools. He was a shell. I put him on his back on the bed. He didn’t even try to fight it. I put him on his back on his bed and slid the pillow over his face. It was stained yellow with grease. It didn’t take long and he didn’t fight it. When he went limp, he looked less vacant, relieved, filled with light. I crossed his arms over his chest, put his head on the pillow, made my way out the window, and immediately drove to the nearest police station to turn myself in.

There were clouds. There was a sidewalk. There was a pole. There was grass. There was a flower. Then there was me. I was alive. I was so alive I looked up at the sun and knew it couldn’t blind me. It peeked through dark clouds forming. And as I stood there, ready to turn it all over, I thought: There is only us. Then the sky boomed, gurgled, cracked itself open, and down came a weeping of rain. The clouds weren’t crying for me, they were crying for all of us—cleaning the streets, making a rainbow—the loudest fucking silence I’ve ever heard.

 


TROY JAMES WEAVER X DAN DAVIS – KIRBY’S 5/20/16


Novel Night at Malvern Books with Troy James Weaver & Drew Hayes 10/8/2015


Troy James Weaver: The Continental Review

 

 

________________

 

‘There are phone lines to the living and others for calling the dead. TELEPHONE by Ariana Reines is a network for riveting acts of speech, and silence, and listening. I saw the play and never forgot it. The audience was lit like a switchboard by its storms of courage and mystical love.’ — Rachel Kushner

‘TELEPHONE is an uncanny parcel of theater in which the wishes of humans to speak with the dead meet the limits or the aspirations of technology. A woman wrapped in language is deemed insane and the lonely pastness of our present walks around calling for itself. TELEPHONE is a whild and visionary piece of art that announced to me a poet who is always tearing the future open like a trapped animal—their eyes reflect us. Don’t look! We mus. Bless you and love you Ariana for this great work.’ — Eileen Myles

‘I have been WAITING FOR THIS BOOK! When I saw it in the theater every word motion fell into magic stride utterly taxing the soul with its accuracy and mystery. The next night I was at the box office with a different friend and needed to return to my job is the only thing that kept me from the theater a third night. Examine for yourself the bewitching and sometimes misshapen communicative powers of life with the poetry goddess of the stage, Ariana Reines!’ — CA Conrad

‘TELEPHONE, the inspired and utterly original new tone poem of a play, probes feelings with the sensitivity and detachment of a heart surgeon.’ — Ben Brantley, The New York Times

 

Lazy Eye Haver
‘Beauty’
SKULL&BONES
Ben Lerner & Ariana Reines
Buy ‘Telephone’

 

Ariana Reines Telephone
Wonder

‘What are those distant, garbled voices on the line? What is the significance of that wavery technological hum that bears an alarming resemblance to heavy breathing? In such moments it feels as if there’s nothing lonelier than being alone on a phone. Reach out and touch someone? Ha.

Telephone is a theatrical triptych inspired by Avital Ronell’s The Telephone Book, an epic work that draws upon history, philosophy, psychoanalysis and literature to explore the nature of communication in the age of technology. Like the book, Reines’ play operates like a switchboard, connecting people and places across time and space.’ — Wonder

_____
Excerpt

3. THE LOVERS

a

A OK – he’s listening.

B Recording: a child half-singing half-telling a story.

Once upon a time there were two bunny rabbits. They were
friends. One day they went… to see the elephants jump over a
fence. But the watery grave wasn’t so tall. So they slipped. And fell.
And the little one laughed and… the little tickie went wickety
wickety. The end!

 

b

A Hang on a second.

silence

A Okay. I’m back.

 

c

All three, variously, repeatedly:

Uh-huh

Right

Yeah

Okay

etc.

 

d

A How did it go today.

B Great.

A Great.

B Yeah.

A silence

B She’s really the whole package.

A Really. The whole package?

B Yeah. She’s the whole package.

A Great.

silence

silence

silence

A So—

 

e

A Say something?

B What do you want me to say.

A Anything. Say what you want to say.

silence

 

f

B I think there’s a difference between World and Planet.

A Yeah. Probably.

B But I basically think it’s too late.

A What about culture.

B What about it.

A Will culture save the world.

B Definitely not.

A Really?

B I don’t know. I mean. Culture is the world.

A Uhm.

 

g

A Everything’s good with us, yeah.

silence

Oh I don’t know.

silence

I guess her quirks. Her personal habits. Are starting to lose their
charisma somewhat. But—

 

h

A What are you doing.

B Nothing

silence

silence

silence

A Um

silence

A Well. What did you mean. Last night. When you said you felt weird.

silence

B I just felt. Beholden to you.

A Is that why you didn’t wanna talk.

B Yeah. I just felt weird. And I didn’t want to feel. Beholden to you.

A Oh.

B silence

A What do you mean by beholden.

silence

silence

silence

B I don’t know.

 


REINVENTING THE WORKSHOP: Ariana Reines


The Holloway Series in Poetry – Ariana Reines


Ariana Reines – It’s Get Better II

 

 

_________________

 

‘There are writers who can draw out a yarn like Scheherazade, perhaps in some vain hope that the contours and detours of a discursive story might forestall death as it had on those thousand and one nights. In “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,” Laurence Sterne has his titular narrator, one of the ur-digressors of the novel form, explain, “Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine; — they are the life, the soul of reading! — take them out of this book, for instance,—you might as well take the book along with them; — one cold eternal winter would reign in every page of it.”

‘A list of Sterne’s digressive progeny would be as stylistically varied as it is long: Think Herman Melville’s deep-dive asides, Marcel Proust’s streams of involuntary memory, Henry Miller’s perpetual spirals of free association, Nicholson Baker’s meandering meditations stretching like taffy a character’s small moments, Zadie Smith’s hysterical realist excursus, David Foster Wallace’s footnote pyrotechnics, or Harry Mathews’ matryoshka dolls nesting stories within stories.

‘Early last year, Mathews, the first American ever welcomed into Oulipo — that French society of experimental, constraint-based “potential literature” founded by the likes of Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais — died at the age of 86 from natural causes. There was no mystery in his end except the mysteries that always cocoon around death, things left unresolved.

‘It’s always a shock to see our literary heroes and forebears pass, but there’s something particularly disjointed when the writer who dies is a digressive novelist: The life, by ending, refuses to mirror the writer’s dominant aesthetic principle of continuing to go on and on and on. …

‘Mathews’ death may darken our skies, but his writing continually offers what Sterne called the sunshine, the life, the soul of reading. One cold eternal winter does not reign on a single page of Mathews’ final novel because the stories continue, the digressions go on, and even though Mathews the man has passed away, Mathews the writer, the storyteller, continues — a now solitary twin.’ — Tyler Malone

 

Harry Mathews @ Wikipedia
The Many False Floors of Harry Mathews
Aaron Peck on HARRY MATHEWS’S ‘THE SOLITARY TWIN’
Harry Mathews’s Parting Gift: An Ode to Story
Buy ‘The Solitary Twin’

 

Harry Mathews The Solitary Twin
New Directions

‘Harry Mathews’s brilliant final work, The Solitary Twin, is an engaging mystery that simultaneously considers the art of storytelling. When identical twins arrive at an unnamed fishing port, they become the focus of the residents’ attention and gossip. The stories they tell about the young men uncover a dizzying web of connections, revealing passion, sex, and murder. Fates are surprisingly intertwined, and the result is a moving, often hilarious, novel that questions our assumptions about life and literature.’ — New Directions

The Solitary Twin is the perfect endnote for Harry Mathews and a superb point of entry for new readers, encapsulating his lifelong commitment to formal invention while simply being an excellent novel in its own right.’ — J.W. McCormack

_____
Excerpt

This is the story (Berenice began) of one man, a “man’s man,” a professional valet and a good one. I didn’t witness most of what I’m about to tell you, only one evening toward the end, after I’d been called in in a professional capacity.

The valet’s name was Hubert. He felt great ­esteem for his employer, and discreet but genuine affection as well. He did everything in his power to satisfy his master’s small needs and see that he was kept neatly elegant for his social and professional engagements. Hubert enjoyed his work, which—conscientious as he was—kept him as busy as he could wish. He was given every other Sunday off, as well as any workday evening when the gentleman he served had no need of him.

On a Sunday in late March, a sunny Sunday full of portents of the ­nascent spring, Hubert arrived by streetcar in the center of the sizable city where he had always lived. He got off at a stop opposite the main entrance of Fosdick Park, the largest in town. As he stepped to the curb, he at once became aware of a sensation that would gradually envelop him and would subsequently haunt him for the rest of his life.

The spring sun was hot, the air was still—utterly still. There was not the breath of a breeze. It was not only that no leaf or blade of grass so much as quivered: something like an inverse wind had apparently emptied the air of its invisible stuff and fixed leaves and grass in an immobility as absolute as that of a photograph. A ways inside the park, Hubert felt himself sucked into a comparable equilibrium—he could still move without the slightest hesitation, but he sensed, moving or not, packets of an indefinable substance falling away from him into the weightless air, first from the skin of his limbs (calves, small of back, shoulders), then from muscles (slender triceps, stubborn hamstring), from stiff bones (kneecaps), and even from his brain and its subversive nerves, until, at the end, a bar of steel that stretched from shoulder to shoulder across his sternum, of which he had never been aware, was gently lifted from him. This released a spurt of joy, also unsuspected grief upwelling, so as he delightedly smiled, tears rolled down his cheeks to drench his chest. He hid behind a tree so as not to be seen crying. He raised his arms as if in salute, not of any god, idea, or force of nature, just the unnamable source of his release. He quickly thought, I have to tell the world about this.

Still tingling with weightlessness, on his way home he reminded himself, I should let people know, and already a seed of doubt dropped into his mind. He could never realize this wish, he admitted—at least not alone: alone he would be merely a ranting idiot. He needed at least one person ­beside him who had shared, or at least believed in, his improbable experience; that would give him a first semblance of plausibility, which he might then ­develop. But how could he win over this first disciple? Why should anyone believe him? Why should he have been chosen for such exotic joy?

Hubert was not alone for long. One person in the Sunday park had noticed him; she never quite understood why, or why she kept watching him and so witnessing a transfiguration that bewildered and intrigued her. A small, slender man, fine featured but less than handsome, was slowly invested before her eyes with a visible ecstasy that had no visible cause. She did not understand, but he radiated such happiness as made her yearn to partake of his feelings. When he left the park, she walked after him, took the same streetcar as he, and followed him all the way home.

Her name was Rachel. Comely, not tall or short, her head capped with auburn curls, her body compact, lithe, and soft. That day she wore a yellow blouse, blue jeans, and penny loafers. She worked in a scholarly bookstore, selling the works of Spinoza, Walser, and Groddeck to “serious” readers young and old. She lived alone in a very small flat near the university.

Hubert had disappeared through a back door of the house where he lived. She walked up to the door and knocked on it firmly. There was no response, the door was unlocked, she walked into a kind of shadowy storeroom (racks of bottles and fruit) that led to a large, bright kitchen. A plump middle-aged woman put down the celery stalks she had been chopping and turned to face Rachel with not unfriendly surprise. Rachel: “Forgive me for barging in, but a gentleman was here a moment ago—I don’t know his name, but I need to speak to him, if he would consent to receive me. I’m Rachel Auerbach—that will mean nothing to him.” “And I am Rosina. Please to be seated. I go to make him know you are here. Without doubt he will be content in the company of such a pretty young lady.” Exit Rosina.

A few minutes later she returned with Hubert. “Signor Hubert, here is Signorina Rachel.” Rachel apologized for seeming impudent: she summed up her observations in the park and her curiosity to learn what was going on. Hubert: “We can talk in the servants’ sitting room. Please excuse us, Rosina.” “Naturally. Ought I to make tea?” “Coffee perhaps—and for you, Miss Rachel?” “Oh yes, coffee for me, too.”

When they were settled, Rachel asked, “Are you really a servant?” “Very much so: valet to the master of the house, a distinguished gentleman, Sir Bellamy Boeyens. A very kind man, too, and his wife, Constance, an equally kind woman. Not perhaps kind enough, either of them, to appreciate my fit this afternoon.” “It didn’t look like a fit.” “I’m very glad you’ve come. Did you notice anything peculiar about the place?” “I did notice the stillness. Unfortunately it didn’t affect me like it did you. I didn’t guess it was what had stirred you.” “But you’ve guessed it now!”

Rachel began to feel that they were concocting a very Jamesian situation. Since he was still “off” that evening, Hubert suggested they dine together. She accepted. Afterward, he in turn accepted her invitation to take her home, where he stayed till break of day.

So their love affair began, and their alliance. She was thirty-three, he fifty-one; he was a bearer of new truth revealed, she his disciple and scholiast; but differences of years and roles became no more than complements to their unpredicted, passionate love.

 


A Tribute To Harry Mathews | The New School


Harry Mathews l’OULIPO


Harry Mathews on Bookworm

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Ha. Ah, fire sale! I’ll go check out the goods. Everyone, Lucrative possible link and situation for you courtesy of Mr. Ehrenstein, i.e. David: ‘Attention all and sundry: Bill and I are having a Major Sale. Here’s guide to the items we have up on e-bay and elsewhere.’ ** Steve Erickson, Hi. There are some CD-based sound/art works, yes, but I can’t think of examples off the top of my head. Maybe I’ll try doing a CD post and see what happens. Loudmouthed twittering know-it-all ignoramuses, Jesus. Over here where people maintain their senses of humour, Gaspar’s poster was just considered funny. And it’s not the only poster, obviously, for goodness sake. Everyone, Here’s Steve’s review of Courtney Barnett’s TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL. Go. ** Wolf, Boneverything! Mm, it does sound to have been truly nice. I’ve barely creased Provence. Must correct that. I was going to say I love how Paris smells in the winter, but I think that smell is just my delighted eyes sending a hallucination to my nostrils. Welcome back to the big L. My week … Well, not five minutes ago, I got a message from Ariana Reines, whose new book is coincidentally upstairs in the post (!) that she’s in Paris for a couple of days, so I’m going to go see her shortly. You remember she was part of our gang for a long time, under the moniker … what was it … oh, yeah, Antler. Other than that, work on the new film script, probably last diddling with the TV script, see some art, pals, nothing too major. What about yours, eh? ** Damien Ark, Hi. Oh, duh, yeah, I was spacing just as I suspected. I know ECM, have or had a bunch of their product. Mostly Reich and Part probably. I don’t know why people want to be so hard ass and purist about their opinions. I guess it’s appealing like like living in a fortress. Thanks, man. You sound really good! It’s really good to hear! ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Wonderful to see you, my friend. I’m good. The producer situation is the same. It’s getting dangerously close to a big legal mess that will just cause problems for all of us. ‘Praying’ it doesn’t go that far. The TV series script is with the dreaded producer, and we’re harassing her to send it on to ARTE and not be her usual incompetent, sluggish self. Zac and I are using this in-between TV script working time to finish our film script, and hopefully we can. Very excited about that! Interesting: I don’t know that book ‘The Last Victim’. Up at a point, I think I read every serial killer-related book in existence, but, hm, I’ll check that out. That sounds quite curious. Yes, getting the balance is super important, obviously. Your own work is paramount! Any strategy about how to accomplish that? I’ve mostly been working, as usual, and seeing friends and stuff. Nothing too huge has happened. This week might be good, though. Well, I hope by the next time I see you, hopefully on Friday if not before, you’ve made some headway in your job/creativity balancing. Take good care! ** Tosh Berman, Thank you, Tosh! ** Bill, Thanks, Bill. Yeah, I want a whole bunch of them. 10 second piano snippet! Any ideas about its destiny yet? ** Jamie, Ha ha. Glad you dug the post. I used to have a shitload of sound effects records. I had one of ‘scary sounds’ that featured a photo of a house two doors away from mine on the photo. It was a scary looking house. You have impetigo. So do I! I mean not right now, but I’ve got the, whatever, virus thing so I get impetigo every few years. Where do you get yours? Mine is always in a spot near my right elbow. Man, so sorry. Impetigo has a weird, not fun effect. Your body’s immune system is a slut. No fair. Yeah, it seems like a few people had that optical illusion problem re: the comments yesterday. In the past when that happened, I asked my host, and they said there’s nothing wrong, so I don’t know why that happens to some people but not to others. Sorry. What’s your day like? May it be so wonderful that not a single idiot on Facebook wants to shame it. Love like a sponge, Dennis. ** Jeff J, Hi. Yeah, I have no idea why a few people here had issues with the blog yesterday. I will contact my host today, but, like I told Jamie, when that happened in the past, they never could find anything amiss on the blog’s end. The best fairytales always go awry, but that’s no comfort to you. I don’t know ‘King Cophetua’. I’m really behind on my Gracq. I should be able to pick that up here somewhere. Thank you. I see the new Noe on June 3rd. A bunch of the Cannes films are about to open here. Nothing must-see so far but they’re piling in, so there will be. Most excitingly for me, ARTE is broadcasting the new Godard next week! ** _Black_Acrylic, Thanks, Ben! Big up! ** JM, I utterly agree with you about chocolate records. Obviously. Hope you like ‘Stupid Baby’. I think you will? How’s everything on your end? ** Politekid, Hi. Well, it can be. It always is for me, I think. It doesn’t seem so at first, but then you kind of loosen your mind a little, and the space gets really conducive. ‘Process philosophy’: what an interesting name. I’ll investigate. Yeah, sorry about that thing where it says there are no comments when they are. I have no idea what happens to some people and not to others. I’ve tried getting my host to find the problem, but they always say there is no apparent problem. I’ll try to get to the bottom of that again. ** Misanthrope, Me too. At school, and at home too. Where are they now? I remember Chu Bops now, weird. I completely forgot about those. Those were cool, but the gum was shitty, which I guess is why they pooped out. MP3 chewing gum would be an interesting trick to try to pull off. Dude, congrats on the novel progress. Worth the headache, I am pretty much sure. Yeah, again, the 0 comments thing. Inexplicable, but I’m on trying to get that fixed if it can be fixed today. ** Okay. I loved those books up there, and I think you might too if you read them, but who knows. Recommended in any case. See you tomorrow.

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