Amoeblog

I REMEMBER JOHN ABERCROMBIE, 1944-2017

Posted by Rick Frystak, September 4, 2017 02:12pm | Post a Comment


-photo Doug Proper

by Rick Frystak

Guitarist John Laird Abercrombie passed away of heart failure last week at the age of 72, too young an age for an artist who had so many more years of creativity left. John was one of my all-time favorite guitarists, one of only a handful of unique, tasteful ''jazz-rock'' guitarists who managed to create his own style and mature with it for all the years that he was active and making records.

John's playing had a swing, a lilt, perhaps a swaying effect that was captivating and had me eagerly anticipating his notes to see where he would go with a tune or a solo. His songs were quite often effectively moody and dark which I loved, but alternately funky, and always a good melody but left room for discovery. When he really let go, as he soon highlighted on his early solo records and the Billy Cobham big band records he could bring the house down. But when he turned inward, it was like telling a secret or a heartbreaking whisper. And his compositional directions were such an amalgamation of the old standard beauty and a new, ear-bending edginess.

I first heard John on the small, independent Oblivion label album, Friends, featuring Marc Cohen playing a searing electric alto sax, inspiring John to higher highs of energy I'd rarely heard outside of heavy rock, the whole group developing music that would be years ahead of it's time. Then came his first of a 43-year ECM Records relationship, the immortal, iconic Timeless, with Jack DeJohnette  and Jan Hammer (fresh out of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Billy Cobham's fantastic Spectrum album),which took the heaviness and beauty and made some of the most intense trio jazz since Tony Williams' Lifetime. He excelled in the trio format, and in his group with Peter Erskine and Marc Johnson they swung hard, burned.  He released his last ECM record this year, Up And Coming, which would be, as the press kit notes, his first album played without a pick, just using his fingers. This sound seems more buttery and lyrical, perhaps like a fine scotch,  the tempering of John's later-career approach and character.

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Inception: A Borgesian Heist Film?

Posted by Charles Reece, July 18, 2010 08:34am | Post a Comment
He understood that the task of molding the incoherent and dizzying stuff that dreams are made of is the most difficult work a man can undertake, even if he fathom all the enigmas of the higher and lower spheres -- much more difficult than weaving a rope of sand or minting a coin of the faceless wind.
-- from "The Circular Ruins" by Jorge Luis Borges
 
 


Christopher Nolan's Inception is another one of those sci-fi tales confronting the problem of infinity lurking behind subjectivity. Because it uses dreams instead of virtual reality, the film is structurally closer to the short story quoted above than the cyberpunk-influenced Matrix (although the action puts it closer to the latter). In Borges' tale, a sorcerer spends years dreaming a man into reality only to learn that he, too, was given life via the same method. And it's just as likely that the dreamer of the sorcerer is himself being dreamed, etc., ad infinitum. This is the old phenomenological problem of the Transcendental Ego.

In order to have a collection of intentional states (which are always regarding some mental or physical object) cohere as a self (the 'I' that's doing the believing, desiring, etc.), Edmund Husserl posited a transcendent pure subject that couldn't be objectified. This I was pre-reflective, the guy who was there each time an intentional state was being reflected upon (the I thinking "it is I who likes pizza" at one time and "It is I who hates the rain" at another). As with all such metaphysical "buck stops here" explanations (cf. the final cause argument for God), the question soon arose as to why this Ego didn't require another, more transcendent one to ground its reflective relations.  And since then, many theorists from various disciplines have been perfectly happy with the notion of a fractured self, that the I is nothing but a comforting mask for deterministic forces (cf. the death of the author, social Darwinism, or connectionism). Causal language is more scientistic, but problematic for suggesting the possibility that we humans have free agency, that there is something of a self not purely reducible to objective control, or material determinations. Thus, philosophical libertarianism sounds suspicious to many, like a new agey charlatanry.

(어떤 점에서 우리는 새우와 꿈을 읽어 보시기 바랍니다.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 23, 2009 11:06am | Post a Comment
seafood
This should be enough to get me season 2 of Lost on Blu-Ray...

The first thing my boyfriend told me upon awakening this morning was this:

“I dreamed that… there was an Amoeba that sold shrimp. Like, instead of a music store, it was a place where you could go and sell your used shrimp and… they’d re-sell it to places like Iraq. Saddam was actually buying the shrimp, so I guess he was still alive. I got good money for it, too. Like, $112.40.”

Okay – there’s a lot to love about this dream, and needless to say I started my day with laughter, but I think my favorite element is not that Saddam was alive again and personally brokering shellfish trade with my favorite record store, or even that the concept of “used shrimp” is so utterly disgusting as to be hilarious, but the fact that, in his dream, my boyfriend received and remembered such a distinct trade quote: $112.40. Not bad for a bag of second-hand, decapod crustaceans, no?

This was just after we’d been woken by our iHome. For our alarm, I have a playlist filled with classical music pieces specifically selected as the least traumatic way to start the day. One of the best is this little gem…


If I had to name my top five favorite composers of all time, Claude Debussy would be one of them. If you thought the above piece was lovely, I cannot recommend his other chamber works enough. I mean, I love everything he wrote – but his chamber pieces are what really kill me dead. Come on in to Amoeba Music Hollywood sometime and I’ll hook you up. Your life will be so much the dreamier for it.

Gingers

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 17, 2007 11:43am | Post a Comment
I had a dream in which the modern world was invaded by a formerly secretive race of small, very pale people with curly red hair. They set up shanty towns in abandoned lots and parking lots and started little weed gardens amidst the cracks in the asphalt. With the encroachment of development, they felt the need to go public. I thought to myself, "These people must've inspired the belief in Leprechauns." These folk were not the mischievous, gold-hording, dog-rustling, cobblers we've heard about. They were poor farmers struggling to survive and they were generally quiet as the breeze blew through their ginger hair...





*****


Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

Cat People

Posted by Job O Brother, April 17, 2007 01:12pm | Post a Comment

               INT. JOB'S APARTMENT - MORNING

               CAMERA PANS, SHOWING JOB'S IMMACULATE AND ECCENTRICALLY
               APPOINTED LODGINGS. SHOT ENDS ON JOB.

               JOB, (early 30's) is in bed, sleeping.

               At his feet, curled into a black round, is his cat, FANGS.

               ZOOM IN ON JOB'S FACE.

               His mouth and brow twitch slightly; he is dreaming.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

               INT. JOB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Job is in bed, sleeping.

               He tosses.

               He wakes suddenly, from a nightmare.

               He looks around, dazed.