This was finished roughly a year ago. I shot the footage. Sachar Mathias edited both sound and image. In the course of this thing, you will see both Catherine Lacey and Emmy The Great. Everything was filmed in LA.
In May of 1998, I gave a talk at the Fuse 98: Beyond Typography conference in San Francisco. I had no business being there; my brother finagled me an invite. I gave a talk on the dangerous surfeit of possibilities presented by non-linear digital recording software like ProTools. I called it "Too Many Knobs." Organizer Jon Wozencroft found this pun too crude, so the title was changed (to what, I can't remember). I got to see my brother speak, which was fun. I also saw David Carson speak.
The highlight, for me, was the fact that Panasonic was scheduled to play. (They had not yet been forced to change their name.) I met Russell Haswell at the conference, and walked about with him a bit. He wore a track suit jacket, was wired, and used the word "diamond" repeatedly, for anything he thought was not terrible. I liked him immensely.
Before the scheduled show, Panasonic became unscheduled: customs had seized all of their gear. The oscillators they used at the time were military green boxes with huge bakelite knobs, made in Russia and covered with Cyrillic. Since these items looked "like weapons" to the airport authorities, they would not be released.
In Russell's company, I met the band at the club they were supposed to be playing. Ilpo and Mika were below deadpan. They didn't smile or speak. In their stead, Haswell played a set on MiniDisc.
I have encountered lots of abrasive noise since 1998, but I haven't heard another set like the one Haswell played that night. I don't have recollections of sounds as much as a sensory impression tied to images: wedges of aluminum and glass, stacked up like plates, rotating and grinding into each other, creating a range of high-pitched noises that suggested the number of unpleasant, high-pitched noises was much bigger than I'd known. Russell could get around up there.
Everyone left, except for maybe ten or fifteen people. Neither member of Panasonic had said anything since I met them. About half an hour into Haswell's set, Mika turned to me and said, "I don't like discos."
That is the only thing I ever heard him say.
I put some thought into that headline.
The church is on Lafayette Avenue. It's two blocks from 25 South Portland, where we lived during the seventies. I learned how to play pool, piano and guitar at this church. I met my first crush there and was yelled at by enormous pastor for liking music more than religion. He wasn't wrong. (Photo by Nikola Tamindzic.)
Do it in half as many episodes.
Writers tend to fall into three groups: one, two, or more. This means, at root, they write about one one person, the interaction between two people, or describe big narratives with a large cast of characters.
ONE: Franz Kafka, Ottessa Moshfegh, Lydia Davis
TWO: Mary Gaitskill, Norman Rush, Zadie Smith
MORE: Anton Chekhov, Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood
I saw Pearl Harbor and The Explosions open for someone, maybe The Boomtown Rats. (That doesn't sound right.) I assume people find this kind of music corny. Live television is unusually hard, and I doubt many bands could sound this good in this situation now. Pearl is very good at moving, so dedicated that I can't figure out if she's a total dork or a completely suave kickboxer hero. Maybe being both is the goal.
Ruth Asawa, Poppy, 1965.
Robert Motherwell, The Basque Suite: Untitled, 1971.
From Sirius, Coleman Hawkins' last studio session, recorded on December 20, 1966 in New York.