Tuesday, August 24 2021

Reader Sarah Gale told me about the playlist Kieran Hebden has been assembling since 2016. He—Kieran, the Four Tet guy—adds five or six songs every couple of weeks and the results simply accrue (unless he prunes as he goes, which he might). It is a tree ring thing, a compressed narrative formed by taste over time and 1,713 songs. Inspired, I made my own drip castle, which is called “∞ ∞ ∞∞ ∞ NOW ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞.” My playlist is more blobby than Kieran’s (from which I stole) and will wobble towards destiny with nothing but whim to push from behind. This kind of junk drawer playlist can allay some of the anxiety around “Which one?” Fear of missing out seems less common than the fear of choosing one of the many things you did not, in fact, miss. Just choose this!


If you want to jump around or vacuum, try this mix by Basic Rhythm of his own work. It’s half drum and bass, half whatever music matches drum and bass for lifeforce. Or, if you want to go in the other direction, try this mix by DJ Patrick. He describes it like so: “I used to work at a wine bar in downtown Berkeley and we carried a bottle of wine called ‘Sexual Chocolate’ – a Syrah-Zinfandel blend from Santa Barbara with a nice, warm feel and a smooth, deep, and refined finish. This mix feels kinda like that! 80-minutes of adult contempo sounds: street soul, rnb, etc. Mixed mostly on vinyl save for a couple CD-plays and personal edit here and there. Enjoy with intimate company, candle-light, and your favorite low-key red (maybe a Lodi Zin?) ~ chin chin!!!”


Please buy the new Garielle Lutz story collection, Worsted (which is more “recent” than shrinkwrap fresh). If you do not know Gari, try this story from her 1996 debut, Stories In The Worst Way. This is “Sleeveless,” in its entirety.

This new roundtable discussion of Lutz in BOMB does a good job of isolating her completely uncopyable way of choosing words and wiring sentences, though this new interview with Lutz in LARB is even more Lutzy, unsurprisingly. I think her writing is a bit like Mitch Hedberg fused with Lydia Davis, which nobody has yet said (to my knowledge).


The new short (24 minutes) film by Bob Burnett, What Is Man And What Is Guitar? Keith Rowe, is one of the best films about a musician I’ve seen. The decision to make music rather than do something else can present immense logistical problems for a person. Rowe, and his band, AMM, have always seemed to me like people who thought they were precisely doing everything else by choosing to play music. Which is to say that the difficulty of Rowe’s music seems more about his decision to include more of himself rather than a desire to exclude more of you. His gentle brand of iron-willed is pure inspiration.


Pitch in, if you can.


On Twitter, Nikhil Pal Singh called this piece by Nicholas Guillhot a “profound essay on conspiracy theories as anti-political responses to times of cataclysm and collective impotence, and on the limits of ‘information vigilantism’ and ‘reductio ad Hitlerium’ responses in the face of them.” This is accurate. I’m also happy to see a political piece that frames our predicament in terms of a widespread (and not abnormal) need to form cohorts and respond emotionally, as previous political categories seem insufficient to properly describe the death cultists behaving us all into oblivion and operating according to principles that do not favor coherence (and may not be principles at all). If you want to get up to speed on almost everything else, I recommend Kim Stanley Robinson’s new piece on climate change in the FT (sub required), and Jason Smith’s magisterial review of the George Floyd rebellion in The Brooklyn Rail.


This was the most expensive item sold on Discogs in June 2021 and this fact depressed me no end. I don’t know why. I like KISS!


Death has a way of bringing a person into a kind of essential clarity, possibly because the people who love that person have the power of grief pressing their memories into deeper focus as they try to seal the beloved one last time. The memories of Lauren Berlant in n+1 and Critical Inquiry (where many of their pieces can be read) and Art In America are all worth reading, especially if you don’t know their work.


In Ill Will, you can re-read this this address by Raoul Vaneigem to the Greek anti-authoritarian movement during Thessaloniki’s Direct Democracy Fest in 2010.


In another riff on the Greek state, there is CLR James’s 1956 classic, “Every Cook Can Govern,” a study of Greek democracy. Elect officials by pulling names out of a hat? Why the fuck not!