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Archive for the ‘Cormac McCarthy’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BENJAMIN BOOKER-“Have You Seen My Son” (Field Recordings, September 3, 2014).

This Field Recording [Benjamin Booker: Newport Folk Gets The Summertime Blues] opens with Benjamin Booker taking his tuner off of his guitar and dropping it down a rain grate, never to be seen again.

Like many of the Field Recordings, this one also takes place at the Newport Folk Festival. NPR has a great relationship with the Newport Folk Festival, but they don’t have as much footage that’s available at any time as they used to.

There’s some kind of archway that they seem to use a lot for these Recordings.  Although in this instance, he is not in the archway, but just outside of it.

In 2014, Booker released his debut album.  As of now in 2018, he has quite a following. I know I hear his name on the radio a lot.  Booker has a distinctive voice, raspy and old, even though he himself is young (much younger than I realized).  And, as I thought last time, his speaking voice is so very different from his singing voice.

Even before releasing his debut album last month, Booker’s gravelly voice and bluesy swagger had guitar fans buzzing with anticipation. It didn’t hurt that he’d nabbed a gig touring as the opening act for Jack White, one of his idols.

With a borrowed acoustic guitar, Booker joined us outside one of the secluded secret tunnels in the heart of Fort Adams State Park after his set at this year’s Newport Folk Festival. While we were setting up for this Field Recording, Booker offhandedly mentioned that a few years prior, he’d applied to become an NPR Music intern. He didn’t get that gig, but he told us that missing out spurred his desire to explore another side of his passion for music.

“Have You Seen My Son?” is a quiet shuffle of a song.  Frankly it’s not that impressive as a song, at least you wouldn’t think much of him from just this song.  Except for that voice of course.

[READ: October 7, 2017] I Know What You Read Last Summer

This essay opens with an epigram by Ruth Franklin from Slate, May 8, 2017.

Michael Chabon has spent considerable energy trying to drag the decaying corpse of genre fiction out of the shallow grave where writers of serious literature abandoned it.

LeGuin has a lot of fun with this premise.  She begins with a scary opening about something crawly, squelching, stomping–an unknown force smelling of broken rotting flesh: Goddamn that Chabon, dragging it out of the grave where she and the other serious writers had buried it.

Could he not see that Cormac McCarthy–although everything in his book (except the wonderfully blatant use of an egregiously obscure vocabulary) was remarkably similar to a great many earlier works of science fiction about men crossing the country after the holocaust–could never under any circumstances be said to be a sci-fi writer, because Cormac McCarthy was a serious writer and so by definition incapable of lowering himself to commit genre. (more…)

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concavityStarting this month, Matt Bucher and David Laird, scholars and fans of David Foster Wallace have created the first regular Podcast devoted to Wallace.  And the intro and closing music is from Parquet Courts’ “Instant Disassembly” which is also pretty cool.

This introductory episode serves as an introduction to Bucher and Laird, their love of Wallace’s work, and what they hope to do in future episodes.

Matt Bucher lives in Texas, not far from the Ransom Center where the Wallace archives have been settled (he assures us that he moved there before the site was selected). David Laird is from Kelowna, in British Colombia (4 hours east of Vancouver).  The claim to fame of Kelowna is the mythical lake monster Ogopogo.  But in Infinite Jest, a character is spoken of as being addicted to a thick apple juice that comes from BC.

Bucher also runs Sideshow Media Group which published Elegant Complexity, Nature’s Nightmare, and Consider David Foster Wallace. He says he and his brother founded the press because no one would publish Elegant Complexity, and he felt it needed to get out there. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_10_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACK: NEKO CASE-“Man” (2013).

neko-case-the-worse-things-getIt was Neko Case who got me out of my NPR summer music doldrums. From her new,  wonderfully titled album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, comes this fast, rocking track.

It has everything that Neko does great—fast, clever lyrics over a simple but propulsive beat.  There’s a cool, unexpected guitar squiggle at the end of each verse that just makes the song seem that much faster.  But it is just an uptempo stomper from the great Case.

The song slows down in the middle with just a bass and drums and then as Case starts singing about her manliness, a harpsichord plays over the back giving it a nicely pompous air.  Which is quickly deflated by the buzzy guitar solo.  The song is clever and pointed and very well done.

The only thing missing is a great Neko Case wail, but the song (and the lyrics) are too fast for her to hold any notes for too long.  I’m really excited about this new album from her,.

[READ: June 18, 2013] “Scenes of the Crime”

The New Yorker doesn’t often tell you when something is an excerpt, but this time they tell us right up front.  This is an excerpt from an upcoming Ridley Scott film written by McCarthy called The Counselor.

Although I am told that I would love McCarthy, I have never read him with any seriousness.  And from what I have heard of his writing I don’t think I would like him.  This excerpt is more or less a useless attempt to try and get any sense for McCarthy as a writer.

There is no dialogue.  Rather, it is just a series of scenes–shot after shot, establishing the action of the movie.

I have no idea if there is dialogue in the movie or not.  I would be really impressed if there was no dialogue during these scenes and this whole sequence took twenty some minutes–with no dialogue at all.  That would be pretty cool. (more…)

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