Passion in context

Is this a model of creation? If we make music—primarily the form, at least—to fit these contexts; and if we make art to fit gallery walls; and if we make software to fit existing operating systems: is that how it works? Yeah. I think it’s evolutionary; it’s adaptive. But the pleasure and the passion and the joy is still there.

This is a reverse view of things from the traditional Romantic view. The Romantic view is that first comes the passion, and then they outpouring of emotion, and then somehow it gets shaped into something. And I’m saying well, the passion is still there, but the vessel that it’s going to be injected into and poured into: that is instinctively and intuitively created first. We already know where that passion is going.

When David Byrne started performing music from his CBGB days in Carnegie Hall and Disney Hall, he realized that it didn’t sound as good in these grander venues. He began wondering about how venues shape the music that is performed in them. This utterly fascinating talk on how architecture helped music evolve was the result.

David Byrne’s Perfect City

David Byrne’s Perfect City is well worth a read. He’s been taking a folding bicycle on tour with him, and exploring the cities he visits. In the process, he’s been thinking about what makes a perfect city. He seems to draw quite a bit a lot on Jane Jacobs’ work.

I love this bit on density and why L.A. is so weird.

If a city doesn’t have sufficient density, as in L.A., then strange things happen. It’s human nature for us to look at one another— we’re social animals after all. But when the urban situation causes the distance between us to increase and our interactions to be less frequent we have to use novel means to attract attention: big hair, skimpy clothes and plastic surgery. We become walking billboards.

(via Near Future Laboratory)

My 15 Albums

So, my brother has taken to tweeting his memes instead of tagging people in facebook. I’ve posted this on facebook, but I I’ll probably just post this type of stuff here (at least the memes I find interesting). So here goes:

Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of, musically shaped your world.

  1. The Police – Synchronicity – 1983 (1983-1984)
  2. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II – 1969 (1985, 1987)
  3. Paul Simon – Graceland – 1986 (1986-1987)
  4. REM – Fables of the Reconstruction – 1985 (1988)
  5. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique – 1989 (1991, 1995, 2000, 2009)
  6. Sonic Youth – Dirty 1992 (1992)
  7. The Master Musicians of Jajouka – Apocalypse Across the Sky – 1992 (1993)
  8. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless – 1991 (1993)
  9. David Byrne and Brian Eno – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts – 1981 (1994)
  10. John Coltrane – Blue Train – 1957 (1995)
  11. Stereolab – Transient Random Noise Bursts with Announcements – 1993 (1995)
  12. David Bowie – Hunky Dory – 1971 (1996)
  13. Radiohead – O.K. Computer – 1997 (1997-1999)
  14. Mississippi Fred McDowell – The First Recordings – 1997 (2001)
  15. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? – 2007 (2007-2008)

I feel badly for not including too many albums from the last 8 years. The problem is I just haven’t had enough time to determine whether or not they have a profound effect on me. These are the albums that I keep going back to time and again.

Update: I’ve created a Spotify playlist with 8 of my 15 favorite albums (the other 7 aren’t available on Spotify).