What’s Up? (3/2/16)

Vaporwave
I’m falling into a vaporwave rabbit hole. What the hell is vaporwave? Good question. Honestly, I don’t even think the internet exactly knows what it is. It’s a genre of music and art that has evolved greatly from its origin point, and in a short span of time. It’s defined largely by 80’s and 90’s nostalgia and commercialism,  and whether artists are embracing or criticizing that differs from case to case. One of my favorite artists used to go by the name Saint Pepsi; his album Hit Vibes is a collection of sampled funk/disco beats, sometimes slowed down, sometimes chopped together — not unlike what a low rent Daft Punk record might sound like, and I don’t mean that insultingly. One of the more popular tracks on the album, “Cherry Pepsi” is just a slowed down version of “BYOB” by Sister Sledge, but looped in an infectious way that required a lot of talent. I know first hand that sampling music is harder than one would think.

Still, as I think about why these stolen funky / elevator music tunes from the past are so great to listen to, I think it’s more about welcoming nostalgic/commercial feelings into yourself and rejecting them. Listening to Cherry Pepsi doesn’t make me want to drink a Cherry Pepsi, in fact, associating the word “Pespi” with a musician takes the power of Pepsi branding away entirely. A fun Pepsi commercial will only make me want to listen to Saint Pepsi’s music, instead of pursuing the product. Likewise the echoey songs of MACROSS and Master Stryker may remind me of 90’s shopping malls, VHS rental stores, and the good old Playstation and Nintendo 64 days – but carrying those memories in your pocket via Mp3’s completely removes the power that nostalgia has over you. When people remember what malls and Blockbuster Videos used to be like, they have this rose-colored glasses thing going on. They think about VHS rental stores once a year maybe, and say “wow I miss those, remember them?” But when you carry music that evokes those feelings, and listen to it regularly, it’s like you have a more well thought-out nostalgia. “I think about those every day, and while you may remember them fondly, there’s something eerily unsustainable about those businesses. If we think long enough about malls, and VHS stores and whatnot, their demise by the hands of the internet is so inevitable — and the internet didn’t destroy those businesses so much as it freed us from them.”

Dieting?
I think I can only go so far with all of my exercise before I face the unfortunate truth that one of these days I’m going to need to go on some diet. I really do mean unfortunate, because damn it, I love junk food. And not like fast food and potato chip junk food, but rather your hamburgers, fries, and cheesey sandwiches junk food. Carbs and fats. And pizza. Oh god I need to cut back on pizza. There’s only so much I can work off with exercise and sooner or later I’m going to need to find a way to cut a lot of meat, a lot of cheese, and a lot of breads from my daily routines. I’m not making any promises because, well:

That never worked in the past. 

Advertisements

What’s Up? (2/26/14)

A job interview doesn’t need to be this formal thing, why should it be? There’s room for being polite, yes, as there should be, but what do you get from asking me: “Can you tell me about a time that you had to act quick on your feet and hit the ground running?”
“Well, yes, there was this one time during a job interview that I had to come up with a solid answer that wouldn’t make me sound like a loon.”
Trust me, if we sat down and had a conversation, I’d learn more about your business, and you’d learn more about me, than we could from going through a questionnaire together. Let’s talk politics, let’s talk television, let’s vent our frustrations and tell stories like two human beings; especially when this job is all about talking to people, why not test a candidates ability by talking to them? Two interviews went in two very different directions in the last two days. Two nights with two hours’ sleep, two buses to one bus stop, two mornings in one suit. One brief questionnaire, one two-hour conversation, one bagel, one cup of tea, three pleasant folk, one neighborhood, nine blocks, three dogs, two men in lady liberty costumes. One hell of a week.

St. Vincent released a self-titled album today, er, yesterday (I’m up at 4AM again, so, to me it’s still February 25th). I think it’s really telling about the way my life has gone, or where it is, that even as an avid Beck fan, it’s St. Vincent’s new album that I’ve purchased and listened to – and not Beck’s “Morning Phase” (2014). I know where Beck is on his new album, a callback  to “Sea Change” (2002) which might be my least-listened-to Beck album; which is to say, he’s in a dark, sad place. St. Vincent isn’t exactly in the happiest place either, though it feels lively and smiling through confusion and disillusion; and I know I’d rather ride along with St. Vincent right now than Beck. I’m going to need to review both albums at some point, though I have some reviews from 2013 I promised I’d write, so perhaps I should get to writing those first… 

I feel like a lot of people reinvent themselves during their Freshmen year of college, but I find myself feeling very renewed and perhaps even a little reinvented this semester. New clothes, new synthesizer, a new rotation of music on the iPod, new clubs, new friends, new interests, new habits, new, new, new. And yet, there’s a lot of old coming back ’round. Autobiography and The Creative Impulse has put me down a path of deeper self-examination, just as I wanted it to, which means I’ve dusted off some memories and passages of life to put them on paper. Even outside of class, I’ve been experimenting with trying to figure out just how I’ve ended up where I am. In the last post, “On Revisits” I tried tracing the roots of my present life to coincidences and odd beginnings. I think chiptune culture has to have been the hugest coincidence-launcher of my life, butterfly-effect style. The music and art of 8-bit videogames has formed friendships, networks, and potentially even jobs, and realizing that has only increased my love for it. So I’m not out with the old, in with the new; but rather cultivating a better preservation and appreciation for the old, and recognizing and using it to create the new.