The Greatest Conversation

The Žižek Experience

Posted in Old Music, Random Things, Video by Brian Park on October 6, 2009


Slavoj Žižek is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian theoretical psychoanalyst, Marxist political thinker, film theorist, and cultural critic; he is also batshit crazy in the best of ways. My brother introduced me to him, and ever since I’ve been oddly fascinated. I stumbled onto an excerpt of his on the very odd Turn On The Lights blog, and I think it is a good introduction to the strangeness that is Žižek:

Let us recall the example of a (’straight’) sexual relationship. The success of Peter Hoeg’s The Woman and the Ape indicates that sex with an animal is today’s predominant form of fantasy of full sexual relationships, and it is crucial that this animal is as a rule male: in contrast to cyborg-sex fantasy, in which the cyborg is, as a rule, a woman (Blade Runner) – that is, in which the fantasy is that of a Woman-Machine – the animal is a male ape copulating with a human woman, and fully satisfying her. Does this not materialize two standard common daydreams: that of a woman who wants a strong animal partner, a potent ‘beast’, not a hysterical impotent weakling; and that of a man who wants his female partner to be a perfectly programmed ‘doll’  who fulfils all his wishes, not a living being? What we should do in order to penetrate the underlying ‘fundamental fantasy’ is to stage these two fantasies together: to confront ourselves with the unbearable ideal couple of a male ape copulating with a female cyborg, the fantasmic support of the ‘normal’ couple of man and woman copulating. The need for this redoubling, the need for this fantasmic supplement to accompany the ’straight’ sexual act as a spectral shadow, is yet another proof that ‘there is no sexual relationship’.

(Slavoj Žižek, The Fragile Absolute or, Why Is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? p. 59-60)

Now, what does that have to do with my blog? Very little, but I have a sound experiment for you to try. Žižek has a speech impediment that may or may not be intentional, but anyway it is hypnotic and almost soothing; I suggest you get relaxed (pot or scotch), and press play on both the video and the audio below. Adjust the volume ’till it sounds right; stop trying to understand the words, and just listen to Žižek as an auditory anomaly. Fuck you, do it.

Keith Jarrett – Last Night When We Were Young/Caribbean Sky

Okay fine, if you aren’t going to do it, at least listen to Keith Jarrett’s Last Night When We Were Young/Caribbean Sky from the album Tokyo ’96. It’ll do you good.


Newgrass: Foreground and Background

Posted in New Music, Old Music by Brian Park on September 6, 2009


There are certain artists that I only really enjoy as background music, like Joanna Newsom, and there are certain artists that I only really enjoy if I’m paying a lot of attention to them. That Keith Jarrett song I posted a few days ago is a good example of the latter. Occasionally though, I’ll find a recording that sits nicely in the background, and only gets better with scrutiny; you turn it up, sit in the perfect place, and go “holyshitholyshitholyshit.” Skip, Hop & Wobble by Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg and Edgar Meyer is one of those albums. They put together this album with a bluegrass foundation, but with a large dose of jazz and haunting space that, when you really listen, never crosses the line from memorable to obtrusive.

The whole album is understated and beautiful, but The Travels Of Mr Hulot is especially nice. I fucking love the dobro, and Meyer’s bass work is incredible–my fingers ache just thinking about some of the lines he maintains–. The best part is that when you turn it down it becomes unassuming and sits nicely under the mix of your life.

Fun fact: fuck fun facts.

First Post: Keith Jarrett

Posted in Old Music by Brian Park on August 28, 2009


Seeing as this is my first post, I should start with something amazing: Keith Jarret’s The Windup from the album Belonging.

I’ve been listening to this song a ridiculous amount since rediscovering it, and I think it utterly embodies a conversational aspect to music. The gospel piano riff and the main saxophone melody (played by Jan Garbarek) are disgustingly catchy despite being in 12/8 (I think?), Jon Christensen’s drums chatter along without ever giving away too much of the beat, and Palle Danielsson’s bass playing keeps the song from spiraling into insanity. Hell, even the two totally out there, paranoia-inducing solos are vividly memorable.

In terms of production, I love the “ECM Sound”; I wish more albums were recorded with as much depth and space. I’m not suggesting dance floor bangers need the drums panned to the right, but I love how this recording lets you hear the players very distinctly while maintaining the sonic coherence of the song.

Fun fact: the Indonesian website I grabbed the photo from is hilarious to read in translation. See below, god I’m juvenile.

“Maybe a little bit pissed, if a few years ago came the news that Keith Jarrett celebrated his appearance in Japan for the hundredth time. How not chafe, that in Japan alone has performed a hundred times while Keith Jarrett never even menginjakan foot on stage the show in Indonesia.”