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Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can't buy.
Haruki Murakami

Some Thoughts on Roger Ebert’s Writing

I recently came across an aphorism which made me smile:

I smiled because – I mean – how many wooden, lifeless bits of prose have you read in your life which were caused by someone taking this idea too far? There’s a reason that this particular type of bad writing is often called “legalistic”: It is a joyless, bloodless, anti-human kind of writing – which is probably part of why you have to pay a lawyer $300 an hour to read it.

Most of the writers that I enjoy reading place their words on the page with a sort of lightness. It feels like someone speaking to you, like someone trying to be understood. If good writing is a sort of magic trick, then a good writer is the magician, the rabbit, and the top hat – all rolled up in one. It is craft combined with the courage to show yourself as you are that lets you pull yourself out of the hat.

It’s a hard thing, but some writers can seemingly do it with ease.
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Here’s the music that I’ve been listening to in March 2013…

Here’s the music that I’ve been listening to this month:

  • David Bowie quietly announced his first new studio album in a decade. ‘The Next Day’ (iTunes / Amazon) has been free to stream for weeks and now gets its official release. Some good stuff here!
  • Simon Green is a producer who releases music under the moniker of “Bonobo”1. If you missed his last album — the beautiful ‘Black Sands’ (and its subsequent album of remixes) — you’re in luck: He’s about to release a new collection called ‘The North Borders’. Its first single, ‘Cirrus’, is available now (iTunes / Amazon) and the video for it is already on YouTube. Enjoy the visual trip to M. C. Escher’s 1950’s Suburban fantasy:
  • Speaking of Escher, check out the track by that name on Chilly Gonzales’s “Solo Piano II” (iTunes / Amazon). Then buy the entire album.
  • Adrian Younge (of “Black Dynamite” renown) has collaborated on a new album with soul legend William Hart, the singer of The Delfonics. The somewhat literally-titled “Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics” is a fun mix of modern and traditional approaches to the genre and is now online as a preview on NPR’s site. Pick it up on iTunes or Amazon and increase your shhhmooove factor by several orders of magnitude.2
  • Dave Grohl’s new documentary film ‘Sound City’ (iTunes) is ostensibly about the arc of a well-known music studio but, to me, it’s really more of a look at what imbues art with life. So much of what I love about music — and music-making — is in Grohl’s film and the soundtrack (iTunes / Amazon) makes great use of that Rupert Neve console.
  • “New York – Addis – London: The Story of Ethio Jazz (1965-1975)” by Mulatu Astatke is rocking my world. Sooooo good. (iTunes / Amazon)
  • What do you mean you haven’t heard “Anywhere But Here” (iTunes / Amazon) by Killer Mike?!? Fix that. Fix it now. Seriously — Every time I hear this track, El-P’s nasty synth bass line gives me involuntary Billy Idol-grade sneerface. In case you missed it when it came out, Mike’s “R.A.P. Music” album (iTunes / Amazon) contains so many bangers, one after another, that I believe it may qualify as a full English breakfast. Solid lyrics, coupled with some fantastic production to support them, have kept me listening to this since its release last year. And I think you’ll agree — Ronald Reagan hasn’t been pilloried like this since the heyday of 80’s hardcore punk.3
  • Speaking of smart, cool hip-hop, make sure you didn’t miss out on “Raw Money Raps” by Jeremiah Jae (iTunes / Amazon) which came out about the same time as Killer Mike’s album.

For all you Spotify users, I’ve made a playlist of these songs (and a few more). Click here to check it out!

  1. That lovable, most priapic of primates… []
  2. The Delfonics?“, you say. “Didn’t they perform a song in “Jackie Brown” that Pam Grier grooved to in her bathrobe while Robert Forster tried to maintain his cool?” You’re right again, my smart and cultured Veritrope readers. []
  3. Somewhere — Jello Biafra is smiling. Well… you know… smiling for him. []