High heels, tight or fragile shoes, corsets and girdles, very full or narrow skirts…

“Women’s clothes and bodily confinements—high heels, tight or fragile shoes, corsets and girdles, very full or narrow skirts, easily damaged fabrics, veils that obscure vision—are part of the social mores that have handicapped women as effectively as laws and fears.”

Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit.

To construct out of the raw material of organic sound an elaborate intellectual pleasure

“For music is an intellectual or a sensual pleasure according to the temperament of him who hears it. And, by-the-bye, with the exception of the fine extravaganza on that subject in Twelfth Night, I do not recollect more than one thing said adequately on the subject of music in all literature; it is a passage in the Religio Medici of Sir T. Brown, and though chiefly remarkable for its sublimity, has also a philosophic value, inasmuch as it points to the true theory of musical effects. The mistake of most people is to suppose that it is by the ear they communicate with music, and therefore that they are purely passive to its effects. But this is not so; it is by the reaction of the mind upon the notices of the ear (the matter coming by the senses, the form from the mind) that the pleasure is constructed, and therefore it is that people of equally good ear differ so much in this point from one another. Now, opium, by greatly increasing the activity of the mind, generally increases, of necessity, that particular mode of its activity by which we are able to construct out of the raw material of organic sound an elaborate intellectual pleasure. But, says a friend, a succession of musical sounds is to me like a collection of Arabic characters; I can attach no ideas to them. Ideas! my good sir? There is no occasion for them; all that class of ideas which can be available in such a case has a language of representative feelings. But this is a subject foreign to my present purposes; it is sufficient to say that a chorus, &c., of elaborate harmony displayed before me, as in a piece of arras work, the whole of my past life—not as if recalled by an act of memory, but as if present and incarnated in the music; no longer painful to dwell upon; but the detail of its incidents removed or blended in some hazy abstraction, and its passions exalted, spiritualized, and sublimed. All this was to be had for five shillings. And over and above the music of the stage and the orchestra, I had all around me, in the intervals of the performance, the music of the Italian language talked by Italian women—for the gallery was usually crowded with Italians—and I listened with a pleasure such as that with which Weld the traveller lay and listened, in Canada, to the sweet laughter of Indian women; for the less you understand of a language, the more sensible you are to the melody or harshness of its sounds. For such a purpose, therefore, it was an advantage to me that I was a poor Italian scholar, reading it but little, and not speaking it at all, nor understanding a tenth part of what I heard spoken.

(…)

Yet, in candour, I will admit that markets and theatres are not the appropriate haunts of the opium-eater when in the divinest state incident to his enjoyment. In that state, crowds become an oppression to him; music even, too sensual and gross. He naturally seeks solitude and silence, as indispensable conditions of those trances, or profoundest reveries, which are the crown and consummation of what opium can do for human nature.”

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey.

They had been drunk upon green tea

“Some people have maintained in my hearing that they had been drunk upon green tea; and a medical student in London, for whose knowledge in his profession I have reason to feel great respect, assured me the other day that a patient in recovering from an illness had got drunk on a beef-steak.”

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey.

Most men are disguised by sobriety

“It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety, and it is when they are drinking (as some old gentleman says in Athenæus), that men εαυτους εμφανιζουσιν οιτινες εισιν—display themselves in their true complexion of character, which surely is not disguising themselves.”

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey.

The silence of a summer morning is more touching than all other silence

“The silence was more profound than that of midnight; and to me the silence of a summer morning is more touching than all other silence, because, the light being broad and strong as that of noonday at other seasons of the year, it seems to differ from perfect day chiefly because man is not yet abroad; and thus the peace of nature and of the innocent creatures of God seems to be secure and deep only so long as the presence of man and his restless and unquiet spirit are not there to trouble its sanctity.”

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey.

Invisible Cities

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”

Invisible Cities
, Italo Calvino.

I always loved the night and now you offer me eternal darkness

Some time ago a friend told me that my musical tastes are so weird and disparate that he never knew if I’d like something or not. I don’t think that’s true, I think that my musical tastes are pretty obvious and logical. In fact, I have another friend who always know if I’m gonna like something or not, so I guess that when you don’t understand someone or something is just because you don’t vibrate on the same frequency.

The first mix of this post is something that I did some months ago for MUTEK[ES], RNE3 and Hunger Culture. It was the first time that I did a podcast for a radio show and I did something pretty complex and layered, mostly using experimental music and noise because that is what I listen to most of the time.

The second podcast (it’s not really a mix because the songs are not mixed, just organised) is completely different, it’s something that I did one boring and sad afternoon. The truth is that usually I don’t listen to this kind of music, most of these songs are things that I listened to when I was younger, but when I’m sad or angry I tend to listen to these kind of things. Even this is completely different from the mix that I made for MUTEK[ES], I think that there’re a lot of things in common between this kind of dark love songs and the kind of experimental, abstract and noise music that I listen to nowadays.

Maybe the bridge between both things is Einstürzende Neubauten. I mean, bands like Pan Sonic or labels as Raster-Noton owe both Einstürzende Neubauten and Erkki Kurenniemi. In any case, for me the bridge between rock and electronic music was Nine Inch Nails, that probably is the band that best explains my personal imaginary (at least Pretty Hate Machine, Fixed and The Downward Spiral, I’m not really interested in what they’re doing right now).

Even I guess that I’m quite “dark”, truth is that I’ve never listened to gothic rock, alternative dark rock and the like. I’ve never been a fan of bands like The Cure or Cocteau Twins. When I was a teenager my favourite albums where Dirt by Alice in Chains and Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden, that are really dark and depressive, but not “gothic” at all. In my early twenties my favourite albums where To Bring You My Love by P.J. Harvey, Let Love In by Nick Cave and Pretty Hate Machine, Fixed and The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. Then I started to listen to more experimental things, mainly noise and electronic music, and nowadays I can’t stand most things with “real” instruments or lyrics.

I think that at some point I started to find sound more interesting than music, and I started to think that music is the capitalist organisation of noise. So now I hate music – fuck music, bring me the noise.

That said, I must confess that I can’t listen to Depeche Mode without crying because it reminds me of someone (“I always loved the night and now you offer me eternal darkness”), that I love Dead Man’s Bones (“The smell of my breath from the blood in your neck”), and that I like some George Michael songs (“But Wednesday was the best day, because on Wednesday night we made love”). I’m human and I have my contradictions…

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