Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Portions Of Thoughts

Due to a lack of recent updates I’ve been trying to think of some interesting topics to scribble about, culture to proscribe, psychological anomalies to elucidate, surrealist backdrops set to the most banal of activities. But nothing has become physical from it, and when I say physical I mean of course digital, for all our physicality is now mediated via technology. And so I’ve decided to do a short, non-committing, pseudo-list of recent remarks and reflections.

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Firstly, last night (that being the Monday late darkness) the first part of Richard Dawkins’ two-part special on religion The Root Of All Evil was broadcast on Channel 4. Unfortunately I was off on some wild gallivant at the time, and my ineptitude was highlighted when the VCR (which I had painstakingly set earlier) failed to record the dictated program. Luckily I was able to acquire the show via a mysterious phenomenon that will not be drawn upon at this junction.

The show is based around Dawkins’ proposition that religion is a virus on our social being (see his essay Viruses of the Mind) and is the cause of much of the unrest between different human factions. It was a great show and presented numerous instances of religious hypocrisy from both Christianity and Islam. It also showed Dawkins getting some right shit from an evangelical pastor early on (the pastor then kicked our presenter and his crew off the premises), and then some right castigation from a Islam-convert (who hilariously blames Dawkins for women in the west not dressing in complete cloak attire).

One fantastic aspect of this is that the show was broadcast at prime-time (8pm), so hopefully it got sufficient viewing figures (and hopefully at least a few of those were of the open-minded variety). Look forward to part two.

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I recently picked up the latter two Rilo Kiley albums, The Execution of All Things and More Adventurous. Rilo Kiley are an excellent alternative rock/folk/indie band from the urban sprawls of Los Angeles. Their major attraction is probably the sublime vocals by the lovely Jenny Lewis, enchantingly sweet singing but she can also swear like the best of them (and I include Paddy Considine in that).

The Execution of All Things is their second album and is my preference between the two. Whether it’s the wonderfully catchy Paint’s Peeling, the energetic My Slumbering Heart, or the musing The Good That Won’t Come Out. The album also features subtle experimentation in the field of electronic meandering that only serves to enhance the sweeping soundscapes.

More Adventurous I hold at an angle of slightly less inclination due to a couple of songs being a little too ‘country’ for my aurals, plus the song Ripchord that only features the guitar/backing vocals guy. Despite that, it does include what is probably my favourite Rilo track, Love and War, which is a mix of rousing chorus, experimental arrangements, and sweeping background keyboards. These two albums have been constituting themselves as the soundtrack to my current state of being, oh how associations are being constructed around me right now.

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I’ve also been listening to, as a complete antithesis to the low-fi of Rilo Kiley, Norwegian metallers Spiral Architect and their only album A Sceptic’s Universe. Uber-technical metal is the only description worth being dished out on this one, it sometimes hurts my head just thinking of the musical skill required to play the multiple time changes, intricate guitar histrionics, and jazz bass present on here. Not much catchiness here, just an expertly assembled piece of complex and elaborate music pumped out by a group of awe-inspiring musicians.

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Oscar contender! Hollywood at its best! Rollercoaster of emotions! Some of the responses to the film Crash (the one from last year, not the Cronenberg flick; unfortunately the worst Cronenberg flick, who would have predicted a Cronenberg/Ballard collaboration would fail?). I know no one who has seen this film who hasn’t smothered it in compliment and helplessly fallen at its feet in fits of clear salty liquid, so I may be the first to say it, and I don’t want to get all polemical here, but it must be said, this film was full of shit. What a bunch of pretentious nonsense. Put simply, it tries way too hard to be an epic social statement, with its interweaving narrative and varied collection of characters.

Get this, let me tell you something you never realised before, not once has this come into the public’s way of thinking, social discourse is without this profound concept, but racism, yes the discrimination of people based on the colour of their epidermis, is wrong. For fucks sake, c’mon, are we not all enlightened, free-thinking individuals here? Well no actually we’re not, but those who are encased within their racist shell of absurdity are unlikely to be decamped by this. Sorry Paul Haggis, I’m not actually five, I’m well aware of social stereotyping and how it does not reflect the person underneath the socially constructed exterior (skin colour is only given pertinence inside our society, nothing to do with natural processes).

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Clearly a lot of this demonstrates the fact that I couldn’t be bothered writing full, proper reviews, so a strategy of thought recording was conjured in response to this lazy practice.

Further reading
Richard Dawkins Viruses of the Mind
Rilo Kiley
Spiral Architect

3 Comments:

Anonymous Duke De Mondo said...

i fully support these occasional fragmented presentations! the only trouble is keepin in mind what i had to comment about regarding rilo kiley whilst also forming new thoughts about crash.

i intend to watch Crash this very eve, in fact, but then, we all know how these things pan out. and thanks muchly for the Dawkins link, i'll inspect that in moments to come.

oh, an a note of disgruntlement (E major 7th minus sharp) i must confess i find Crash (the cronenberg number) rather a fantastic slab of deviancy. granted, i haven't seen it years, and perhaps a re-watch is in order to get any worthwhile opinion formed. but i remember it bein strikingly beautiful AND grottily dirty. a fine mix, i feel.

10:10 pm  
Blogger Miss Templeton said...

By the powers, have you attracted your first blog spam there? I've put a stop to all that, but I used to treasure the one that said "Even though Lesbian Vampires in 19th Century Literature* is different than what i was looking for I found it intresting i see why your blog got my attention." Yes! You and half of Hollywood on that one.

But I was attracted to comment by this religious program you describe. Sounds provocative. Over here, the program I thought extremely worthwhile on this subject was called The Question of God and its premise was to juxtapose the lives of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. By doing so, the site says, it would look at human life from two diametrically opposed points of view: those of the believer and the unbeliever. We will examine several of the basic issues of life in terms of these two conflicting views.

Only just recently learned, via all the Narnia hoopla, that C.S. Lewis was from your neck of the woods.

11:11 am  
Blogger Aaron Fleming said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Duke - You should indeed watch the flick, I'd be very interested to hear your take on it. And the talk of the Cronenberg Crash is worthy of further discussion.

Miss Templeton - I often do get spammy comments but they are always deleted as soon as I come across them, and yeh it is pretty funny the different little nuances they use to try and conceal their true purpose. That show sounds interesting, I will have to look into acquiring it. And I wasn't aware until now that CS Lewis was born in Belfast, how about that.

12:15 pm  

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