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Thursday, August 29, 2002

Feedback would be nice
I am still there and I had planned not to write before I get a comment to my last post but as you see my plans never work. Sorry if the following seems like a little bath in self-pity but sometimes I feel like that (I made a similar post a while ago). By the way the music which fits quite well to my current mood is Down Colourful Hill by the Red House Painters.
When I started this weblog it was intended as a therapy, a daily exercise to put into words what I hear in music and what moves me in general. I also wanted to practice my English a little which I forget more and more. During my seven year stay in Luxembourg I spoke English every day but now I only read and write. After a while I gave up the discipline of daily posts, I have always hated routines, my work is full of them and I don't need too many of them in my free time. After a while some people started to read this blog and I got some feedback via e-mail and comments. I really appreciated that. Since then the aim of writing this blog has significantly changed. Now I write not only for myself anymore as my main intention was in the beginning but for others who have a similar music taste or similar thoughts. And with whom I would like to discuss, to exchange ideas. Somehow it doesn't seem to happen. I know that I will never get as many comments as for example (link is in the sidebar) as I don't write too much about personal, everyday stuff and I don't write well, but still I am a little depressed about the current situation.
So instead of blogging which does not seem very interactive in my case I just posted an answer to the music forum I Love Music concerning a question by Tom Ewing on "profound music". And guess what happened? Shortly after the ILM site stopped working. Is this a conspiracy or what? In any case I repost the question and my attempt of an answer here. Maybe we can discuss here, who knows?

Q: Andrew's search for profundity on ILE inspires me to ask this - tell me about some records you think are profound. It's common for people to dig at bands and songs for not being 'deep' but an actual claim of psychological or philosophical depth is much rarer - and yet surely that's what's being implied in any criticism of bands for being shallow or meaningless. (Some ILM writers - Marcello most notably, but also Anthony and I think Sterling - aren't afraid to invoke ideas of profundity and claim that the music they're talking about is meaningful, others shy away from the notion.)

A: I am very ambivalent towards the use of the word profound to describe music. The word profound in itself is rather problematic I find.
Somehow profound seems to imply meaning but something meaningful is not yet profound. Concerning music the most obvious thing which could be meaningful are the lyrics. Concise lyrics which describe universal truths or situations could be profound. Like maybe the lyrics of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Joni Mitchell. The lyrics of New Order would mostly not qualify to be profound in this sense and probably neither in the other sense mentioned in the next paragraph. But their music could well be profound.

On the other hand profundity seems to suggest something difficult to grasp, a meaning which we don't get immediately but which we think is hidden behind. Something almost mystic, rather unclear. This connotation of profound can be applied both to the lyrics and the music itself.

The first band which came to my mind when I read the word profound in your post, Tom, was already mentioned before: Joy Division. Their dark, powerful music seems to hide a secret. The same is true for their lugubrious lyrics. Of course Ian Curtis suicide adds to this.
Another band which I occasionally find profound are Godspeed YBE!. Their last double album Lift Up Your Skinny... as most their music had this apocalyptic, foreboding feel both in the music and in the few spoken word samples.

Profound and shallow are often not very far apart. The Flaming Lips have been mentioned upthread. When reading what Wayne Coyne wrote about his last two albums on his (or the record company's site, I don't remember) it gave me the impression that his music and lyrics (or the story they tell) are very well thought out. On the other hand when I recently listened to The Soft Bulletin I had the impression that this is really the most bland and empty record on earth. Grateful Dead, Yes and other progrock bands also walk on the edge of both extremes. It seems profound in the beginning but then it is just noodling, bombast and kitsch.

People have said before that their relation to certain music is profound and they hesitated to call the music itself profound. That shows that this term is problematic when used outside our direct experience.

I'd prefer to use the terms complicated or difficult instead of profound as they are more easily measurable and less subjective.

P.S. I know that my blog often loads slowly and that is another reason I plan a move.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Cherchez la femme
Yesterday Neu!'s first self-titled disc from 1972 arrived in the post with some other CDs which I couldn't listen to properly as I was too much immersed into the six tracks on the Neu! album. How could I miss out on that album before? It is absolutely stunning and didn't age at all after thirty years. A propos 1972, I just saw that cos from monkey puzzle is currently listening to Giant Sand's 62 seconds guitar freakout 1972 from their last real disc Chore of Enchantment. A song I didn't get neither but probably like because of that. When checking the database with my albums I found out that I had 36 (!) records from that year. 1972 was an amazing year for music:
there was the first Big Star, Nick Drake's Pink Moon, Neil Young's Harvest, Lou Reed's first self-titled and Transformer, Genesis Foxtrot, Little Feat's Sailin' Shoes, Curtis Mayfield's Superfly, Joni Mitchell's For the Roses, Oregon's Music of Another Present Era, the first Modern Lovers, which was released three years later, the first Roxy Music, Exile on Main Street, Paul Simon's self-titled, Sun Ra's Space Is the Place and Velvet Underground's Live at Max's Kansas City was released.

Back to Neu!. What I said about Autechre's version of Weissensee a couple of days ago still holds nevertheless. The original which may well be the weakest track on the album doesn't grip me as much as the cover. It is extremely slow and sounds like dark ambient. Additionally there is the beginning of a sugar-sweet melody at around 1:20 which kind of destroys the track for me. It comes back later as well. That alluded to tune reminds me of Pink Floyd but I wouldn't know which album (maybe from Dark Side of the Moon? which came out two years later). I am pretty sure that this melody comes from Michael Rother, who became quite popular in Germany later with the romantic instrumental guitar/synth album Flammende Herzen and who didn't really fit into Klaus Dinger's Neu! with his rather conventional guitar playing. What actually is missing on that track is Klaus Dinger's endless constant drumming which became Neu!'s trademark and can be heard in all its trancelike glory on the 10 minute opener Hallogallo. It has been referred to as motorik but Dinger sees it not as machine-like at all but rather as a human beat. He talks about it in the extremely enlightening interview he gave to the Swedish magazine Pop in 1998:
Instead I called it "lange Gerade" or "endlose Gerade". It's a feeling, like a picture, like driving down a long road or lane. it is essentially about life, how you have to keep moving, get on and stay in motion. (lange, endlose Gerade = long, infinite straight line)
It wasn't by chance that Dinger gave one of his rare interviews to a Swedish magazine. Apparently Neu! and the Neu! beat were inspired a lot by a love story (actually the love of his life) Klaus Dinger had with a Swedish girl called Anita which started in the summer of 1971, to whom he also sang the last song on the album Lieber Honig (dear honey, but in German we don't usually use Honig as a term of endearment). It is one of the strangest vocal deliveries in music history. I couldn't find out what he sings (impossible to understand the words by listening only, they sound like children's gibberish). There is a later version on La Düsseldorf's last album Individuellos where the words are different. Dinger's voice on the Neu! version is hoarse and extremely high at the same time. It reminds me a little of Chet Baker singing but much less accomplished, more crude if you want. I found it hardly bearable at first listen as it is rather disembodied and false in places but I am getting used to it. At the end of Lieber Honig there is the sound of a rowing boat which can also be heard on Im Glück (In Happiness) including some people talking. One of them is Anita and the song tries to retain the moment of perfect harmony and bliss Dinger experienced in that Swedish summer in 1971. The long road trips in Sweden are probably also responsible for the Neu! beat in Hallogallo and Negativland.
The second piece Sonderangebot is a sound collage with gong sounds and features the most avantgarde noises on the record.
The outstanding track of the album for me is Negativland which later gave the name to the ironic experimental media music collective and foreshadows Einstürzende Neubauten with its drill sounds and probably the whole genre of industrial music. It is the hardest rocking song on the record.
What I like about Neu! is that they were not the typical Krautrock outfit like Amon Düül with their long stoned collective jams à la Grateful Dead or Tangerine Dream with their purely electronic soundscapes. Both these bands haven't aged well whereas Neu! as the name implies did something new. Their music is the missing link between Krautrock and what was later to come. The bridge between the then and now. They integrated an almost tribal but still modern repetitive rhythm into their music which is as fascinating now than it was then. And all songs on the first Neu! album are distinctly different and each one almost spawned a new genre of pop music.
Further reading: Junkmedia on Neu! and Neu! 2. Michael Rother interview and Music for Mind & Pants ("The Shock of the Neu!") from Perfect Sound Forever. An interesting list with Julian Cope commenting on his 50 krautrock favourites and the feature The Guitarists of Krautrock.

Meta: By the way the Google search often leading to this site finally dropped to #27, Google seems quite unstable in its results after the dance, so though I intend to move away from blogger one day this probably won't happen too soon as I am much too lazy to do a new page somewhere else. Phil Ringnalda with a round-up of Blogging Ecosystems, i.e. programs which analyse the link structures in between blogs.
In the ILM thread Plug your Blog you can find enough music blogs to read for the rest of the summer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Some Google stuff
- Apparently the Google Dance is going on, that is the monthly crawl of Google. You can see this when results of identical queries on the three Google servers www, www2 and www3 are different. The new results are on www2 and www3. After about five days they appear on the Google main server www. I checked the infamous "s*x"-query for which I was #4 two months ago with the Google Dance Tool and found that my blog dropped from #16 to #23 on www2 and www3. Funny that the query for "sax", part of the new name, went up at the same time from #23 to #16. Even though I am happy about this development I would like to ask all people (and there are still 20-30 or even more) who use the anchor text "s*x and sunshine" to link to my blog, to change it to "sax and sunshine" so that I drop even further for that query. I am still using a redirect script for search engines arriving to this blog to get less dubious visitors. They are deviated to my old home page.
- A minimal Google search interface which returns 100 results with only the titles and the descriptions when you move your mouse on the titles here.
- An interesting article on the central Google concept for evaluating the importance of web pages: Pagerank. Google's PageRank and how to make the most of it by Phil Craven (via ho). There I learnt that linking to another site without being linked back decreases your PageRank (PR). It's logical. As your PR is distributed via your links to other sites, a new not reciprocated link decreases the PR of the linked pages who do link back to you which in turn decreases your PR you receive from them.
- A PageRank Calculator which seems to be more theoretical.
- Parallax View links to an article on Google I am not going to link to (I would if there would be negative links which decrease the PR of websites). The article is called PageRank: Google's Original Sin and is by a webmaster who is apparently unhappy about the low PR of his sites. He cites Google on their PageRank system:
"Votes cast by pages that are themselves important weigh more heavily and help to make other pages important."
and then he writes:
In other words, the rich gets richer, and the poor hardly count at all. This is not "uniquely democratic," but rather it's uniquely tyrannical.

I have never read such rubbish about Google before. This guy should be sentenced to use Altavista for the rest of his life.
P.S. The Google Dance wasn't good to me at all, finally. I am now #9 for this bloody query. And the Atomz site search which doesn't work very well anyways is also redirected towards my old home page. I am fed up. I will move to antville soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Knives Out again
I wrote about the Flaming Lips version of Knives Out by Radiohead they performed at Morning Becomes Eclectic a couple of days ago. I could not imagine that at least five other weblogs would take this up and comment on this cover. Fluxblog, Badgerminor, Stumblings in the Dark and Virulent Memes like the new version by the Lips. Only Clive from Somnolence who writes one of my favourite well thought out music weblogs doesn't appreciate it too much. He misses the pain in the Lips version, he finds that they at least partially missed the point but writes that it is still a good effort.
When I first listened to the original on the radio, time seemed to stand still for the moment when I heard Yorke's voice joining in after that almost serene guitar theme. It was absolutely devastating. I didn't listen to the lyrics really. But his delivery moved me in a way only very few singers do. It moved me so much that it almost became unbearable after subsequent listens.
I must agree that the Lips version is almost an entirely different song. It is another take on the song. Less grim and less despairing. But rather creative and innovative. They add some extra spices like piano, distorted guitars, epic synths, siren sounds and take away the monotony a little. I think great songs need great covers and great covers have to change the original. If they copied the original one to one they would miss the point much more. I guess I immediately liked the cover as it made me remember what a wonderful song Knives Out is, a modern classic if you want, and that there is more in the song than the original reveals. Or more precisely that it also works in an extrovert version.
By the way I am not a fan of the Lips. I have got Soft Bulletin and when relistening to it recently I found that it is a bland empty record. Bombast pop with one or two appealing tunes but no depth. I have seen them live as well and they have a great show but it really was more gimmickry than anything else with these strange video projections and the enormous gong Wayne Coyne hit every minute or so.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Montgolfier Brothers - The World is Flat (Poptones)
was released yesterday. Their first album Seventeen Stars was one of my favourite records in 2000. In its intimacy and delicacy it conjures up the mood of Nick Drake's first album Five Leaves Left with more open space in it. Via DJ Martian I found a striking announcement of the new album by Pinnacle Entertainment:
"Like its predecessor 'Seventeen Stars' (Poptones first ever release), The Montgolfier Brothers' second album 'The World is Flat' combines six vocal songs with four instrumentals, and was recorded and mixed in various flats in Manchester and Salford. Those after reference points might try Michael Nyman, Johann Pachelbel and the Durutti Column for the music and The Smiths, Momus and late 60s Sinatra for the lyrics. Hardly an album you'd reach for at a party, more one you'll visit when everyone else has left you alone and gone home."
The new album has also been praised (by doomie who writes for the NME) at I Love Music.

I have never been a fan of electronic music. Electronic music always seemed too mechanic too short-lived for me. I mean that I usually got bored very soon of it. There is something lifeless in most of electronic music. When I was in my teens there were these bands like Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk or electronic hit producers like Jean-Michel Jarre around. Their music never did anything for me. I was more into prog (or is it artock?) like Genesis, some Pink Floyd or Eloy, a forgotten German band but that's another story...
Recently I got a little more into new electronic music which is usually labeled IDM standing for intelligent dance music. That's a ridiculous term: what an arrogant assumption that normal dance music is stupid! It is even more misleading considering that to dance to e.g. Boards of Canada seems to me a rather unworldly idea. The starting point was an mp3 I downloaded from filepile I think called Everything You Do Is a Balloon by Boards of Canada. I wrote about it here in this blog, a gorgeous impressionistic ambientish instrumental with discrete beats and dreamy synthesizer soundscapes in the second part. I then bought Geogaddi, Boards of Canada's latest offering which couldn't live up to that song. Recently I got their first LP Music Has the Right to Children which has a nice flow but still some tracks I almost hate. It nevertheless is the best electronic album of the last ten years I know (I hardly know any though).
I also bought Autechre's latest record Confield but I must admit that I never got past the first track. What I heard was like a dentist's drill and that was enough to put me off. I will certainly try to listen to this album one day but I am not yet ready for it. In any case Autechre seems to be one of the most important bands in the IDM genre. Therefore I listened to a couple of mp3s from them I had downloaded from the web. And I found that their music was exactly as I remembered electronic music: dull and soulless.
But then I stumbled upon their version of Weissensee, a track from the first album of Neu (a Kraftwerk-offshoot who pioneered punk and techno). And I was totally blown away. Weißensee is a city in Thuringia (in the East of Germany) who used to be the capital of Thuringia and Hessen (the Bundesland where I live) long ago. They claim the oldest German Reinheitsgebot (beer purity law) dating from 1434. I am not even sure if this Weißensee inspired the song but this is a nice connotation anyway.
Autechre's version is almost nine minutes long. It is one of the most hypnotic songs I have ever heard. The beats sound like African slow-motion drums announcing a war, tribal and dark. Extremely powerful. They are garnished with some scratching sounding like duck cackle, bird's chirping or the squeaking of rusty doors. The synthesizer layers add a floating spherical flair to the song. If you want to know what trance is listen to this. I can't refrain from dancing to the beats with my buttock in my fully mobile office chair at home when listening to the song on my computer. What a perfect marriage of ambient and refrained dance beats.
There is a 30 second real audio snippet on this page. The original seems to be less successful according to the snippet here. I nevertheless ordered Neu's first album from 1972 to check the full version.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

The Search for Meaning
Some pointless ramblings on an old philosophical question, probably THE philosophical question.
- Couldn't it be that when you come up with this question (what is the meaning of life?) you have lost it already? There was a meaning before when you were innocent and didn't ask yourself these kind of questions. Asking this question is maybe being too nosey like biting into the sweet apple which triggered the expulsion from paradise. Or like opening Pandora's box which released all evils.
- If there would be ONE meaning of life AND we would be able to find it we were all robots. Life wouldn't be unpredictable anymore. Everything would be clear. There would be no mystery anymore. Life would be boring. We would all be striving towards that meaning like the moth flying towards the light and getting consumed in the flame. The multi-facetness of life would be lost. Therefore when we speak of meaning here we actually should use the plural meanings. Everyone has to find his own meaning. Only one meaning for all would mean totalitaristic ideology. Actually we had that, last time it was called communism. I think the word meaning is just a placeholder for something else and this something else is something different for everyone. A little bit like the word God. And some smart people don't use the words God and meaning of life anymore as they don't mean a thing.
- Another approach leading to the same result: What does this question mean? What does meaning in the context of life mean? Originally meaning relates to words. Words in a foreign unknown language have no meaning for me. I can't understand them. I don't know what the words stand for. Applying this line of thought to our question: wouldn't it be hubrus to assert that one has understood life? I'd guess someone who says this actually proves that he has not understood life. The meaning of life is a meta question which doesn't lead anywhere. It only leads to paradoxons like the one of the Cretan who says "All Cretans lie".
The meaning of the word life is something I can maybe try to understand (where does life start etc.) but not the meaning of life itself. The question simply doesn't make sense.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Some good music to download
Planet Claire is a radio programme of the French private station Aligre FM 93.1 from Paris with live radio session songs in mp3 format by Piano Magic, Radar Brothers, David Grubbs (real audio), Jane Weaver, Kat Onoma (the French Joy Division), 16 Horsepower, Mary Timony, Kings of Convenience, Cat Power, Field Mice (10 tracks) etc.

Monday, August 12, 2002

When It's Over
I decided to delete this entry as it was too personal.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

The Mathematics of ... Auctions (via a&l daily)
Going Once, Going Twice
By the time an auctioneer shouts "Sold!" most bidders have already gone too far

The phenomenon that bidders in auctions pay too much can be seen at Ebay every day. The irrational behaviour of bidders is probably an important reason for Ebay's success. Another striking example were the state-organised UMTS auctions in Europe for the new mobile telephone technology networks where many companies paid much more than they will ever get back from future clients. The Nash equilibrium which implies that there is only one optimal strategy in a competitive game assumes rational participants knowing that their opponents are rational as well and cannot explain this. A new approach by the economist Thomas Palfrey called quantal response equilibrium takes into account that people are risk averse in the sense that they prefer to bid too much to losing the item altogether. The last paragraph of the article illustrates the problem of predicting what the other bidders think strikingly:
"Even the most rational people can be predictably irrational, Palfrey concludes. In some business schools, professors make an exercise of auctioning off a dollar to their students, stipulating that both top bidders will have to pay. The best strategy is simply not to bid, Palfrey says. 'But then it's tricky, because if everyone else realizes this, then why don't I bid 10 cents? It would be irrational for anybody else to bid 11 cents. Well, the problem is that some clown out there is going to bid 11 cents.' Once the bidding gets going, he says, often only the professor can stop it."
Further reading: The 29 page scientific paper Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions for the geeks.
Could the exaggerations (in both directions) at the stock market also be explained using this theory? In a bull market stock prices usually go up too much and in a bear market they go down too much. The efficient market hypothesis which states that all the information available now is in the current prices never convinced me. Not only that it is tautological and does not really explain anything, it also does not take into account misinformation and irrational behaviour which is very common. There definitely is an irrational hysterical element here as well. People don't want to miss the boat when prices go up (men are greedy) and hop on the train when prices are already too high and they sell their stocks when prices fall so that prices fall even more and even more people sell. The stop-loss limits which are nowadays carried out by computers even enforce this phenomenon. I have to dig deeper into this.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

The Flaming Lips did Knives Out (mp3 via elasticheart) at Morning Becomes Eclectic on Thursday (whole show in real audio). This brilliant bleak song had almost been killed for me by too much listening to it. Thom Yorke's mumbling detached sad voice is something I can only take in small doses. After a while it starts to annoy me. And Radiohead's original version of the song is too polished, too stream-lined for my taste. Though the guitars have an unbelievable fluid lightness about them which collides heavily with the grave singing. The Flaming Lips give the song a fresh touch. After the piano intro the drums join in and some nice squeaking distorted guitars which are all over the song. Wayne Coyne's voice which isn't too far from Yorke's fits well and is much more intelligible. He sings to us and not to himself like Yorke. What probably irritates me most about Yorke is the coldness of his voice which sounds like he is singing out of his his own grave. At the end the cover becomes a soundtrack to a film not yet directed. About the beauty of alienation or something like that. The spacey keyboards take over and repeat the musical theme of the song. The song finishes with guitar feedback sounding like slow sirens. Bliss in a post 911 world.
By the way John Darnielle aka The Mountain Goats wrote some interesting stuff about Knives Out on his site Last Plane to Jakarta.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Link sidebar update
This was long due. For now I only did the music blogs. In detail:
- waking ear with good concise writing on music I like, e.g. Wilco, Sonic Youth and Interpol.
- vain, selfish and lazy: Fred Solinger with some interesting condensed link rich posts.
- monosyllabic: a mixed bag of private and indie music posts. Excellent reader-friendly design.
- shazam: David Howie needs some more readers.
- technicolor: Jess Harvell with a new blog on indie. He has been posting like hell recently.
- no rock and roll fun: Loads of music news daily, mainly pop.
- the rub: page title - the unbearable lightness of boring. The post length is perfect for my attention span.
- restate my assumptions: Dan Emerson is 17 and from the UK and writes on music and film.
- stumblings in the dark: Australian blog on electronic music mainly.
- double americano: Brandnew blog by Wendy K on UK indie, etc.
- land of a thousand dances: Mike Daddino currently listens to Merzbow.
- flaskaland: Barbara compiles the best online articles on music.
- fluxblog is a return to form. Radiohead seems to be a favourite.
- popshots fakebook: Sometimes I am an idiot.
- alacran: sorry I don't speak Dutch.
- listen missy: not my cup of tea really.
- popshots: what happened to the music David?
- mostly music: I never read this classical music blog from Brazil with loads of private stuff.
- the modern age: Strokes, White Stripes, Sigur Ros etc. are bands I almost hate.
- den of ubiquity: the posts are too long, my attention span is too short.
- musicrag is on summer holiday.
- instant enemy is an empty page.
- gygax is coming soon.
- soft music for stupid people doesn't update enough.
- jiffysquid, quicksilver shapeshifter, in review, let's build a car, sink and collating bones are on hiatus.
I hoped to have less music blogs in the side bar than before the operation and it worked! They are even in alphabetical order now, like my CDs. There are 55 of them. Keep on bloggin'!
P.S. Most of the music weblogs (plus some other non-pinging music sites) can also be accessed via my handy blogroll powered by freshblogs (last updates on top).

Mineral Waters of the World
" is a non-profit consumer web site that offers information about and around bottled water. Over 2'500 brands from more than 100 countries are presented with their contents. Have a look a the list of brands, sorted by country or sorted alphabetically. Alternatively, search the water that fits your needs in specific mineralisation. "
Evian is the most viewed water but the most controversial as well. Some people think it is the best water in the world, others hate it. My favourite comment: "I wouldn't piss on this if it was on fire. Trash." It only gets a user rating of 3/5. It took me some time to get used to it, compared to German waters like Gerolsteiner or salty Apollinaris it lacks sodium and minerals in general. Definitely a good water for babies.
The argument some people bring against waters with lots of minerals and sodium that they do not go with wine is convincing. Or do you like wine with salt? On the other hand in some cases like when you sweat a lot mineral rich waters make sense. And they have more taste. Nevertheless a water like the Spanish Agua de Carabaña with 26,882 mg/l sodium and 54,980 mg/l sulphate is probably fine for a bath but I would not drink such stuff.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

My interpretation of the lyrics I posted three entries below.
The song starts low-key with the singer on the left and the guitars on the right channel: "Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you Julia" is a rather mysterious opening line. The singer makes clear that he does not sing the song for the big audience but to reach one person, a woman called Julia. Everyone else trying to find meaning will be only half successful (I'll try nevertheless). But why and how can Julia be reached with words of which only half are meaningful? Something about this Julia is bizarre from the beginning on.
After this introductory verse the two channels are melded (mixed) and the volume goes up. The following tune is a soothing lullaby. Simple, calm and extremely tender. Melancholic and wistful. A dreamy very intimate song.
Julia has been calling the singer (how she did that is not explained) and he replies with a song of love. She is everywhere where he looks, in all three elements: water (oceanchild, seashell), earth or matter (moon, sand) and air (sky, cloud).
In the middle of the song the serene melody is interrupted: "Her hair of floating sky is" and then higher "glimmering" and higher again "shimmering" the pitch going down again "in the sun". These lines indicate that Julia is ethereal and high up in the sky.
In the next and the second last verse the singer wants Julia to touch him. But she is far away like the moon and the clouds. The descriptions "sleeping sand" and "silent cloud" make clear that Julia cannot speak and therefore cannot reply. The verse in between those two "When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind" points again into the direction that words are not so important but the singing and therefore the tune come from deep inside.
P.S. Julia Lennon died in a car crash in 1958 when John Lennon was 17 years old. He wrote Julia for the Beatles White Album in 1968.
P.P.S. With Yoko Ono who was eight years older than Lennon he had found a lover who also served as a mother ersatz and apparently participated in writing the lyrics to Julia.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Referral faking
According to my Sitemeter people came visiting my site via Cornered Whispers and
(title pending). What leaves me puzzled is that none of these sites has a link to mine, not even a random link like via the Indieblogs webring or via Blogsnob textads. I can really live without these fake referrers. They are worse than spam. I look at them, search for the link to my blog with no avail and usually can't refrain from reading a little to see if they are interesting. Needless to say most of them aren't. What a waste of time. Actually wouldn't it be a good promotion for my weblog to link to hundreds of others weblogs, to click on all the links and then to remove them again?
The titleless blog from above had at least a nice motto by Aldous Huxley: "Maybe this world is another planet's Hell."

Further reading
- Five IQ Tests (via daypop top 40). If you score 126 or more in one of the tests you can become member in the elite club called International High IQ Society.
- Great idea to connect blogs and to understand where they came from: - Weblog Genealogy. My inspiring parents were Robot Wisdom,, wherever you are, josh blog, badgerminor, Wortwerkstatt and sofa blogger (via daypop top 40). As I just found out on my blogtree page I already have a child: largehearted boy.
- links to cool music videos (via daypop top 40)
- A stupid question Beatles: Classic or Dud?
- Which obscure band are you? (via parallax view) I was Mouse on Mars, to which I have hardly ever listened.
- Some very good writing on music at Waking Ear (via Stevie Nixed). My favourite of Murray Street was as well Rain on Tin. The concert version was especially brilliant and went on forever.
- An open knowledge project like everything2 but music centered is rootnode (via waking ear). Another good open internet music site where everybody can contribute is - The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music organised by artist which I found when looking for Robin Holcomb who was compared to Joni Mitchell in the book I read about her.
- The Church Of Me (scroll down the entry is called Who's a Liar, Marcello's permalinks don't work) on the postpunk band Gang of Four of which I still haven't got any of the early albums. The album to buy seems to be A Brief History of the Twentieth Century (The EMI Compilation) which apparently contains everything interesting they have ever done.
- Better late than never. I discovered Mark Sinker's interesting long essay on noise & music: The Noise Piece (Director’s Cut) and The Noise Piece (Director’s Cut Part Two)
- Recently I mentioned a story in German about a physics exam with Niels Bohr as the clever candidate. Apparently it was all false according to Urban Legends Reference Pages: College (The Barometer Problem)
- Ist Pi völlig "normal"?. Höchstwahrscheinlich sind die Nachkommastellen von Pi gleichverteilt. In der interessanten Diskussion geht es darum, ob Pi als Zufallszahlengenerator brauchbar ist und darum, dass alle Werke der Weltliteratur incl. meines Weblogs irgendwo in Pi vorkommen.
- smi ist ein sehr lesenswertes Metablog. Die Posts sind häufig recht lang und zitieren meist aus vielen anderen Weblogs, da steckt eine Menge Fleiß-, Surf- und Lesearbeit dahinter.

The song I'd like to listen to now:
"Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you

Julia, Julia
ocean child calls me
So I sing a song of love

Seashell eyes, windy smile calls me
So I sing a song of love

Her hair of floating sky is shimmering
Glimmering in the sun

Julia, Julia
Morning moon touch me
So I sing a song of love

When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind

Sleeping sand, silent cloud touch me
So I sing a song of love

Hum, calls me
So I sing a song of love for
Julia, Julia, Julia"

As so often when I try to write about philosophy when rereading my thoughts I am unhappy about them. In hindsight my conclusions often seem too unsubtle, too undifferentiated, too simplified, too arrogant and the statements are too sweeping. My pessimism concerning mankind which I uttered yesterday is probably more based on man's hubrus (mischief) than its mediocrity. And on the other hand there are moments when I am more optimistic about our future. But I still feel something has to change maybe more inside each of us than from outside so that future generations can live on the planet earth. Man can do it, we can do it, but we cannot continue as before.
Actually my Nietzsche obsession dates back from my adolescence (I am not the only one) and it has faded long ago. Nevertheless I still feel I have to defend Nietzsche as he was so dear to me when I was young. I couldn't refrain from writing yesterday's post as I am subscribed to the Philosophical Quote-A-Day Service newsletter which yesterday included Nietzsche's Übermensch statement. Additionally I read in a German biography of Joni Mitchell (my favourite songwriter) that she has started to read a lot of Nietzsche recently.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Today's Philosophical Quotation
Ich lehre euch den Übermenschen. Der Mensch ist etwas, das überwunden werden soll.
Nietzsche: Also sprach Zarathustra
I teach you the Overman Superman. Man is something which shall be surpassed.
These are some of the most famous words of Nietzsche, they are extremely ambivalent and provocative and the term Übermensch has been trivialised, misunderstood and discredited by the Nazis in Germany's dark age from 1933-45. I'd like to explain a little how I read them.
In contrast to what most people associate when hearing this quotation I think Nietzsche does not think about race or even master's race (Herrenrasse) here. Those words do not appear in Also sprach Zarathustra. This is a statement of modesty and farsightedness. Man is not the crown of the evolution as the bible implies. And the evolution which lead to man does not finish there. Man is just a stage, not a final state of evolution. The big question is how the overman can be reached. Probably Nietzsche thought the overman can be bred (by man), but here I really have my doubts. That sounds like Münchhausen's paradox/dilemma (to draw oneself plus horse out of the mud by oneself's shock of hair) to me. But I think mankind can only survive long-term if man surpasses himself. If mankind stays on its current mediocre level it will be doomed soon. A good starting place to get a grasp of Nietzsche's thinking is his short essay from 1873 (when he was 29 years old) Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinne. English-only readers should either use Altavista's Babelfish translation service or look for the English translation "On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense". That essay illustrates the problematic limited nature of the concept of anthropomorphism.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Song lines
This morning I listened to Giant from The The's third record Soul Mining. I didn't remember how good this song was. The percussion play peaking in the second half is absolutely addictive. African tribal rhythms plus synthie plus "iyeai-yeai-yeai-yea-aa". And Matt Johnson sings "How could anyone know me. When I don't even know myself?". That is logical but I immediately thought the reverse is true as well: How can I know myself when I haven't looked at me from the perspective of a stranger?
In one of her few covers Joni Mitchell sings "How do you stop before it's too late" on Turbulent Indigo. I have to relate this to smoking, Joni's voice has gone down at least one octave in the last 15 years because of all those bloody cigarettes. I don't know if she has stopped now but I know I have to stop and I hope that it is not too late. At the moment I switch between one/two days on and off all the time. And the next day after a slip I usually waste the tobacco which is left. Ridiculous, no pathetic is the word. The best part of a cigarette is putting it out. That is like stopping smoking. A release. At least it gives me the feeling of how it would be to stop this bad habitude. In my twisted smoker's logic I restart smoking only to stop it again. And as I love to stop I have to smoke again to stop again. A vicious circle.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Why I don't post right now
Regular readers of this blog must have realised that I got a little bit tired of writing here. One reason is (I have to admit) that I don't really have to say anything. Another is that a lot of my energy in the last couple of weeks got into (you won't believe it) trying to learn inline skating. I must be the worst skater in the world. When Catherine, me and some friends skate around Frankfurt I am always the slowest and last. I sweat like hell and I think it is not because of the exercise but because of the fear to fall. I never did roller skating, downhill skiing or ice skating when I was young. I am fascinated by the challenge to roll on eight wheels. It is like starting to walk the only difference being that I didn't realise how difficult it was to walk on two feet when I was one or two years old.
What else did I do recently? I started the following two threads at I Love Music:
- Free music for music webloggers (an interesting but I think doomed idea, applications are closed for now)
- Ministry. S&D.
And I participated in the following discussions at ILM (because right now I prefer to talk to others than to blog for myself):
- The The: C/D, S&D
- What Do US Pop Musicians Have That UK Ones Don't?
- ABBA: Classic Or Dud?
- Jacques Dutronc
- Satie's Trois Gymnopedies: Classic or Dud?
- ILM Snapshot: The Last Five records you bought pt 2 (The one-year anniversary edition!)
- Interpol - Ian Curtis reincarnated?
- neneh cherry's homebrew: isn't it better than overrated raw like sushi?
- After The Goldrush
And some others which I don't want to remember now.


Copyright 2001, 2002 Alexander Fritz
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