Wildernessking, out of South Africa, is interesting. I was immediately struck by the drummer, who’s clearly a central part of the songwriting in a way reminiscent of Danny Carey (in the good sense, not like most of his imitators). His use of brushes on the third track of Mystical Future blew me away, not just because I would have never expected it, but because the sound was perfect. The warm slap of the snare and the open wash of the cymbals remind you that he is fundamentally playing for the song, as technically proficient as he is. This is rare, as most drummers this skilled simply overplay.

I am at my best when I don’t worry about my score. I simply give you everything. You decide whether or not it’s valuable.

A mouse is a protocol: we have absolutely no idea what it is doing behind the scenes to make the pointer go where we want.

ADHD is a myth perpetuated by those who are bored. Be like us and stop being fascinated by everything.

**

It is not an inability to focus. On the contrary, it consists in being hyper-focused. This makes it hard to dismiss things, for there is no way to know a priori what is important.

**

Or another way: you do not learn the way we insist on teaching you, therefore you must be medicated.

**

I’m not saying it’s not hard being this way, it certainly can be. It’s not just that we live in a world that values depth over breadth, it can genuinely be difficult to go as deep as we ourselves would like in any given area. For example, I had to throw away half of my books, and hide the other half in a different room, in order to make serious progress in networking and Linux. It took everything I had to think about each title and decide whether or not I needed it. This is not the same thing as coming up with reasons why I think it’s important to keep. To convince myself that each title is is child’s play. But that’s precisely the challenge: to me any work of insight is important. I simply have to choose, a task that is easier for those who are unable to see the beauty in every choice.

Society deceives itself with this label. The assumption is this: you have a problem learning, we do not. It barely takes a moment’s reflection to realize the utter absurdity of this. Yet no one questions it. How one learns is no indication of what she learns.

We think life will go this way.

Life goes that way instead.

We learn to love the beauty that lies before us that way.

Is this not also Daoism?

Alcest

I’m on my third or fourth listen of Écailles de lune by Alcest. It’s as if a lush forest has grown out of the ashes of black metal.

**

Now that I’ve seen Deafheaven live I feel like I can focus on Alcest. Écailles de lune is better than I realized. I remember listening to it the first time. I played it while doing other things around the office, only to have to sit down half way through the second part of the title track. I realized I was a fool for not paying attention to it. I texted the friend who recommended them: what kind of magic is this?

**

It’s one thing for me to want to listen to an album again. It’s another for me to want to do so as soon as it has finished. Each of the last few times I’ve played it I restart from the beginning. There’s something gorgeous about it, something that pulls you back, making you want to experience it all over again, as you promise yourself you’ll pay even more attention this time.

**

I remember Heidegger saying something brilliant about the danger of labels, along the lines of the fact that they conceal as much as we assume they reveal. As with many things, I wish I had written it down in something I still had (was it on paper?), for the quote was much better than my memory of it. Nevertheless, this is a lesson I need to learn. I was thinking about how ridiculous black metal fans are in so many ways, not the least of which is their hyper-vigilance against bands being labled black metal against their wishes. (The necessary and sufficient condition seems to be Darkthrone. Of course, not really Darkthrone, just their first three albums, for Fenriz himself had to later defend their own legitimacy in the eyes of fans.) The fact that Alcest’s first album was proclaimed not black metal says something telling about us, not the artist. We are the only ones who care about such tribalism: this is what I like, this is my label for it; I do not like you, therefore you cannot use my label. And we either forget or never stop to consider that the bands themselves are almost never the ones who care about this. They simply create.

If my understanding is correct, Alcest, Spirit Adrift and Panopticon started as solo projects in which the artist played each instrument. And in each case the band became better when it allowed other musicians in.

**

I’m listening to Les voyages de l’âme. There is so much to explore.

**

I wonder if fans were panicking when Shelter came out? We have such a hard time seeing a work as part of a larger whole–the next steps of which, let alone the end–the artists themselves don’t know. The public side of an artist is never the full one. There is so much that they write that will never, short of a discovery like that of Emily Dickinson’s trunk of hand-written fascicles, see the light of day. Yet we limit them to the tiny parts we (think we) know.

**

I’m on my fourth listen of Kodama. Until now the lens through which I judged them was Écailles de lune. With Kodama they have taken my lens, smashed it, and constructed a masterpiece out of its shards.

**

And now Kodama has helped me understand Les voyages de l’âme. The latter hangs together as a whole in a way that Écailles de lune does not. As such it also paves the way for Shelter: he understands that telling a story is more important than obeying a genre.