Gira is one of the most inspiring figures in music I think. Something about his commitment is deeply heartening and obviously the music is awe-inspiring in its own right. The new album is a complete beast and it also makes me want to listen to every Swans record back to back forever. Two hours is not enough.
I finally got around to reading this after having it bookmarked for ages. It’s a fantastically well-written piece first of all and the subject matter is tough. Certainly interesting to read it now, post-Olympics. I wonder what the same tube ride would reveal today?
Hahaha, that is pretty funny. (Because it’s recursive humour!)
But if I can make a mansplaint, and a mansplanation, I really detest the term ‘mansplaining’ (in terms of polite speech, that is - it’s not a slur or otherwise offensive term that would be truly detestable to all of us). It’s reductive, asinine and not especially meaningful; it attempts to shut down debate by moving the issue from argument to privilege and perspective (which could be a good way of framing things, if it didn’t also collapse them); and it’s not particularly clear what is non-mansplaining, save for some subjectively welcome comment.
Like I get that there are many ways in which men and others in positions of power shut down discussion. But aren’t there also ways in which good debate and the free exchange of views rest on principles that are not reducible to gender, even if they are supported by structures of power? I guess the whole thing is the Foucault v. Habermas debate, between the postmodern subversion of knowledge and the modern liberal attempt to create an even, fair transfer of knowledge. We can do both, can’t we?
What is criticism? Karl Marx had a pretty good idea. On a perfect day in a perfect world, he wrote, a happy citizen might ‘hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening’ and, finally and best of all, ‘criticize after dinner,’ perhaps with a bottle of wine on the table.
Marx understood that criticism doesn’t mean delivering petty, ill-tempered Simon Cowell-like put-downs. It doesn’t necessarily mean heaping scorn. It means making fine distinctions. It means talking about ideas, aesthetics and morality as if these things matter (and they do). It’s at base an act of love. Our critical faculties are what make us human.” —
Lost count how many times I vehemently agreed with this article. Brilliant stuff.
Really good interview
The Quietus: Surely, with a mode of music that’s as obviously reactive as dance music, the temptation to please the crowd must be enormous.
Jeff Mills: But the idea of people deciding whether they like it or not gets in the way of music being a way of developing musical creativity. Making them happy denies that. I eventually decided they had to be taken out of the equation. The music is for them but your intention should not to be loved by the crowd and to make lots of money.” —
Nice interview with Jeff Mills over on tQ.
I hope to interview Mills again some time in the future, when I’m more prepared, more knowledgeable. I hope it’ll be in person.
His set at Twisted Pepper the other week was one of the best musical experiences of my life. It had the kind of over-powering musical weight that I’ve only really experienced at the best punk shows, where you’re struggling to breathe and your heart is pumping and your body is moving in ways unrelated to your thoughts. It’s all just happening at a pace you can barely keep up with. You give up control to it. Punk shows usually last about half an hour, Mills played for over three hours. An unbelievable, mind-melting, life-changing night.