Update: to see everything i’ve posted so far, visit this: http://melancholyflower.com/tagged/Favorite_Music_of_2011_Project
‘Preface’: The thick of this post is full of my thoughts and ideas of music in the context of personal existential quandaries. Skip to the last paragraph if you are really just interested in the ‘Favorite Music of 2011’ project (Though everything else in this post does tie in with that).
Most of you who follow me most likely realize that I am enthusiastic for the exploration of new music: traversing the realms of both new sounds as well newly epitomized sounds — but also (more-so this year) adventuring into past roots of music and savoring the emotive condition in ‘time’ the artist or band was able to preserve. It is roughly (and hopefully) a search for a feeling/condition/emotion that has been successfully captured and enunciated by the band or artist specifically through the [unlimited potential that lies in the] language of music.
“anything that moves my feet or my soul”
Anyway, this can be seen in view of the fact that much of my posts are audio posts. Additionally, most of my followers [who are the people most likely reading this] were accumulated on account of music related posts.
Some of you may recall that last year I compiled a list of my Favorite Songs of 2010 (Dec 9), a dozen of my Favorite Live Performances of 2010 (Dec 13), and a pretty comprehensive list (which I’m still proud of) of my Favorite 40 Albums of 2010 (Dec 30 - Jan 11) — in which I gave each album at least a paragraph or a few paragraphs expressing my admiration. Later, in May, I happened on a list I made in my literature notebook of my “favorite songs of 2010 that haven’t had an album released yet, or the band doesn’t have an album yet.” I posted a picture of the list and a link to download a zip or rar containing the mp3s. The post was reblogged a lot and quadrupled my followers — most of my followers are probably from that post. So I guess, while music is my favorite element to this blog, it also just so happens that it is generally my followers favorite element to this blog. However, I don’t think of this blog as a music blog, but simply more as an expressive blog and its favorite language of expression is music.
This year I intend to continue toward a descriptive focal point / practice as I write about my favorites. Starting tonight. Before I explain how this will play out, a main point has to be addressed:
It’s November 16; the year still has a month and a half or burning away, what???? Last year I made a point not to publish an albums list in the middle of December — not until the year was over, because I am peeved when major publications release some ‘year-end-list’ December 1st because they want to get those first google hits when people search ‘Best Albums of [year]’ and they want to be first to get their opinion out so that they can ‘feel influential’ or a lot of other speculative reasons. Music needs to soak in the mind a bit before a best of or favorites of list can be made. I mean why does it matter? This isn’t a major publication. But I look back at things I record, and really it’s for me, so I want to do things properly. I still think music needs to soak in the mind but A) the difference of an extra month really isn’t enough either and B) I don’t for-see myself immersing myself in finding any new music because i) I’m in existential crisis #39143 and nothing appeals to me besides examining my being and ii) supposing it goes away [which, in an existential crisis — in my experience — seems impossible] it will be the end of the year. So why not wait and make this meaningless documentation later? How is familiar music more valuable compared to new music? How does it have ANY value in my situation?
This leads to the point of memory (this is not a different point, but more of a joining of points). If you’ve gotten this far in this blog post you’re probably A. relatively few and B. you’re someone who also likes music which means that you have probably experienced that phenomena of which music is so so so capable; in which music can remind of you of something you’ve ‘forgotten.’ It isn’t necessarily a thought or a set point in time, but it is more of a foggy ghost of a state of existence that tends to be remarkably relatable and lucid in an emotive sense. It has nothing to do with the lyrical content of the song or piece of music, just the musicality and feel (which is why i’ve deviated from a attention of production and things that simply ‘sound so sick’ and moved towards the ‘rawness’ in the expressive nature — unless of course, the production is enhancing a sense of realism and fidelity as opposed to a polished curtain, then it becomes highly admirable. this is a whole different topic of its own.) Compared to short term memory, long term memory is relatively permanent and its capacity is virtually infinite. Long term memory is a dynamic network of similarities or organizations of links and experiences; it is a dynamic interdependent information network. It is highly organized. But it is also passive. It doesn’t remember everything without help or association. This is the best way I can think to explain it: it would be incredibly difficult to list all the letters in the alphabet from memory without utilizing or having any type of A, B, C,…. order. You would come up with maybe 15 letters or something, but then you’d have difficulty figuring out which ones you’ve already listed and which ones you haven’t. And then when you get to 24 or 25 letters you’ll have the most difficult time recalling those last two letters without going through ‘the ABCs’ in your head. It isn’t that the letter is absent from your mind, you just don’t have any type of order in your mind to help you remember it. Or suppose the 50 states of America: if someone pointed me to a map of the United States, I could fill in the names of all the states. But if someone gave me a sheet of paper and told me to write the names of the 50 sates of America, that would be incredibly difficult without utilizing some type of mental map in my head. We remember things by associations and patterns and order; neural pathways. In a way, we never actually completely ‘forget’ things once they have made it into our explicit or implicit long term memory, but we do experience retrieval failure because of lack of association, patterns, or order (or interference as well.) Music you’ve listened to often will relight those dark neural pathways and create a lucid feel of another time; that time being the subtle point when the music and a current state of being became associated — and while without that music you may be incapable of recalling that state (in fact you might not even be aware of that state of being), the music associated to that state of being will illuminate the pathways in your mind leading to a ghost of that state of being. It is important to note that it is a type of ghost, and not the actual state of being. You are still rooted in your current state of being, whatever that means (I think). You do not and are unable to switch back to that old state of being and that is a good thing. But you can remember it lucidly and examine the associated past and that, I suppose, answers the question posed in the last paragraph: “How is familiar music more valuable compared to new music? How does it have ANY value in my situation?”
The question I posed myself which I still haven’t directly answered is this “So why not wait and make this meaningless documentation of my favorite music of this year later?” When better to explore and examine all the associations or ‘states of being’ associated to my favorite music I’ve listened to throughout the year than in this current confusion? When better to put the thought into describing, hopefully thoroughly and intelligently and definitely emotionally, that which I loved in music this year; to navigate the year in music to shed light and remember that which I’ve forgotten. And do so in order to see how I’ve arrived to where I am now. What have I overlooked?
Here is how I’m going to do this. Last year I created a ‘songs list’, and an ‘albums list’ with descriptions of each album. I will move further into the direction of descriptive writing and I will mostly eliminate the usage of isolated lists (i.e. one list for songs, one list for albums, etc…) and completely eliminate the usage of numerical lists (I will not number down favorites and then ‘crown something best’ because, quite frankly, itdoesn’t actually work like that). Instead I intend to create a constant stream from now through December of favorite musical anythings of 2011 (primarily albums and songs but also artist profiles, blogs, live shows/experiences, album artwork, vinyl packaging). Every time I post something I will write about it (and of course, I will only post that which I have something to write about, otherwise it is tedious and unnatural.) And I will also write the month of the year that [whatever it is I am posting about] belongs in for me. Oh and while nothing will be numerically ordered (because, as I said before, It doesn’t work like that) I will tend to write about my favorite favorite favorite favorites of the year more and more toward the end of this project because, while numerical lists aren’t how favorites really work, neither is the idea that ‘they are all the same.’ Instead there will be an abstract ‘countdown’ type of progression from that which I loved, to that which I loved loved, to that which I loved loved loved, hazing the subtle lines between these tiers. Similarly the sky changes color before our eyes during the course of a sunset, but when precisely does it turn from light to dark? I don’t know.