Friday April 9 2021
Giancarlo DiTrapano, the founder of Tyrant Books, seemed to care only about doing the thing right, no matter how many times the thing had previously been fucked up. Losing him on March 30 was not the right thing. In a year of too much death much too close to home, the illogic of pain had me hoping that, even though my loss made no sense, other people’s loss would conform to some kind of reason. This is, obviously, not how anything works. Grief builds these dumb, blinding walls.
I didn’t know Gian the way these thirty-three writers did or the way Christian Lorentzen did or the way these four writers did. (Click all of those links and read them, please. Death changes everything around it, including the copy.) Gian and I only corresponded a few times. I admired him immensely. He ran a genuinely independent press. He kept good writers in all of the light and some of the money. Scan the Tyrant catalog—the hit ratio is no joke. This interview with Gian was recorded only a few months ago, and it captures his brio and lack of fear. It is rare to find someone who regards himself exactly as others regard him. This quote from Jordan Castro will hopefully lead you to read everyone else’s thoughts.
I am not sure what the right music for a funeral is. During Gian’s live-streamed ceremony, mourners heard Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake. Maybe that was right for him. I wouldn’t know. I’ve been working on a thing about Ghédalia Tazartès, who died earlier this year, and his music feels like memorial music to me. He created his own language, and his music is not exactly music as much as it is a language-based interpretation of the world he saw. (While looking for his obituary, I found this insane website “about” death. For death? For death-related spam?) Andrew Nosnitsky made a mix that begins with Ghédalia that somehow captures his energy throughout. It is not chill. It is alive.
This Anne Boyer piece about the internet manages to include many points I would want to make while also not feeling like something I have thought or read. This feeling is common when reading Anne Boyer. I bet Gian liked her writing.
When I visited Éliane Radigue in Paris two years ago, it was easy. I mean that it wasn’t at all easy and then it was. The idea of meeting this 87-year-old master, someone who practiced sustained listening on airplane propellers and then created a world from that memory and a synthesizer—this was not small. There was daunting. When I got to her house, that changed. My French is incomplete, if that, but it didn’t matter. Éliane was so eager to speak English that the translator left.
This short film about Radigue, made by Eléonore Huisse and François J. Bonnet, will be up for a few weeks. It’s stunning, as still and patient as Radigue’s music, and it’s full of Radigue herself. It feels almost exactly like a film of my 2019 visit. Éliane breaks out the same pictorial score she showed me, the one based on the Fibonacci sequence which is still unrecorded. If you have ever wondered about this person, there is no better half-hour introduction.
The recent history of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” in rap goes as follows. In March of 2018, Kooda B put out “Walking Through The Ville.” The joke-meter is sort of in the middle here, as he’s fucking around but also not. Almost immediately, Skinbone put his goofball spin on the Kooda B song and laid it over the viral video of Carlton’s song paired with the piano driving around in Grand Theft Auto. Skinbone’s version disappeared because of GTA copyright (I think?), so he made his own video for the rhymes, which don’t really land with the GTA visuals stripped out.
A few weeks ago, Spinabenz, Whoppa Wit Da Choppa, Yungeen Ace, and FastMoney Goon ignored the comedy angle and used Carlton as a plain old sample. Combining that peak-Starbucks-CD song with the status vibes of a golf course for the “Who I Smoke” video puts all of this culture into the insane center of American who-me?-ism.