Archive for:April, 2010

Hear Hums – Change (MP3 review)

April 30th, 2010

     Hear Hums is a three-piece band out of West Palm Beach, making terrific, underwater, melon-nectar pulse. I first found them on MySpace (here), and was smitten quick with “Collocational Time Systems” & its opening animal croaks, delicate sound details, chiptune hints and languorous groove. I loved the quirk, the haze, the loping rhythms.  (Read More . . .)

[posted by: C Way at 12:29 PM]

[file under: Music ||| music - mp3s]

A Week in Paris, Part 3 (of 4): Cottage & Folly

April 28th, 2010

     The third bit of this travelogue (part one here; part two there) was originally set aside for the visual-arts. I had an idea to assemble, in a loose narrative essay, some of the most beautiful things I’d seen in Paris, whether framed & hanging in museums, pedestalled in the Jardin des Tuileries, carved into old buildings’ facades, wrought from iron in door-knockers’ visages and gates’ dense scrollwork, sprayed in graffiti’s curl and code, or arranged in the symmetry of the flower-lined paths of gardens. But then I got to thinking about gardens, how not all of them are so symmetrical and arranged, and eventually decided to take part three and change tack.
     A little backstory is in order:
     My girlfriend and I were in Versailles, walking towards the Petit Trianon, in search of Marie Antoinette’s charming faux-medieval hamlet. We were on a lush path, winding along a snaky stream, surrounded by trees and growth that felt different from what we’d seen on the main Versailles grounds. We drank in the view, and my girlfriend made some remark appreciative of the surrounding “English garden” style. I asked her what she meant, and she explained it to me: how the English style’s scaled smaller than the grander French garden style, is more relaxed, sweeping, less constrained and formalized; more about abundance & burgeoning & little ornaments called “follies” (think fake grottoes and bridges and little temples). I thought a lot about that, about how many of the gardens we’d been in so far in Paris were beautiful because controlled, with highly-defined symmetries & geometries, low sculpted hedges, stout cone-tree topiary. But this part of the Versailles garden, this was different, less grid than ramble, and it seemed to me to be gain in beauty and soothing aura from being allowed to breathe, stretch out and sprawl.
     There’s actual planning in an English-style garden of course — it’s not just a vegetal free-for-all — but the plan is to ensure one doesn’t notice the plan, or focus unduly on geometry & symmetry. The idea’s to create a calming simulacrum of nature untrammeled (this is just what I needed, having found myself vaguely disconcerted by the grand-scale formalities of the Versailles grounds: too much held breath and tense muscles, all those clipped branches straight plantings, like thousands of people ordered to stand perfectly still). Doing my own research later, I found there’s a subtype of English Garden know as the cottage garden, which is even more informal, featuring asymmetrical path-work and an encouragement of grass and shrubs to cross boundaries with flower-beds.
     And so in the spirit of the English cottage garden, here’s part three newly-conceived, not so much essay as seed-scatter of distinct Paris art-impressions offered in loose meander, circuitously pathed together and hubbed at occasional follies, weedy and a little overgrown, thick with hiding-places and benches & rogue veggie patches:
 (Read More . . .)

[posted by: C Way at 12:06 PM]

[file under: ABOUT ART ||| non-fiction & essays]

A Week in Paris, Part 2 (of 4): Madeleines in Reverse

April 22nd, 2010

     If you travel to Paris an ascetic, you come back an epicure. If you go there an epicure, you come back a hedonist. And if, god help you, you go to Paris a hedonist, well, you’re not coming back. Come the hour of departure you’ll be gobbling ganache in the back-room of some confectionery, rifling through rues for one last macaron shop, or just sitting in some square, serenely feasting on the fresh memory of how a tomato or chanterelle or asparagus spear startled you into new recognition of a food you thought could not surprise you.
     Of course, we do come back — bellies full, livers bruised — but some part of us never really does in quite the same way; this of course holds true for any place we visit that deeply moves us. We come back with some faculty or sense transformed, and that changed part of us is perhaps the most satisfying souvenir we can hope for when we travel. Maybe it’s the texture of the pillars in the Place de la Concorde or the brocade wall-coverings in Versailles that gives us new eyes; maybe it’s a week of being balmed in the honey of spoken French that gives us new ears. Maybe some lingering walk through the medieval Ancien Cloître Quartier‘s street-tangle awakens us to history, opens it within us like a nova, revealing to us the depth of ages, a gift of an awakened sense of what has preceded us. All these things and more were true to some extent for me, but the simplest way I’ve come to feel altered by Paris is in my relationship to food, drink, and all the collected table pleasures of texture, vision, taste and smell.
 (Read More . . .)

[posted by: C Way at 6:26 PM]

[file under: Culinary Arts ||| non-fiction & essays]

A Week in Paris, Part 1 (of 4): Before the Love

April 17th, 2010

     I was in Paris with my girlfriend recently, first time for both of us. And yes, yes, every single thing that’s said is true. The bread, the wine, the cheese, the markets, the veggies, the haricots verts, the chocolate & desserts, the views, the history, the grands boulevards, the Art Nouveau, the monuments, the métro (I love living in New York, love its subways, but 468 stations and 24/7 don’t give license for running a broke, broke-down, filthy public transport), the museums, the fashion, the beautiful people, the ugly people, the chainsmoking hipsters, the prampushing families, the squares, the jardins, the light at 5pm, at 10am, at goddamned _:__ _m, the gutters, the homeless, the doggies, the birdshit — you fall in love with it all whether you want to or not, are jetlagged or not, are homesick or squabbling with your partner or nervous about how wretched your french is or not; christ, you end up falling in love with the spit hanging from a wino’s scabby lip by the time ParisLove is fever-raging in you. That city sexes you to pieces with both the myth of itself and the sensual richness of its actual substance and you get to where you don’t care where the line ends separating the ideal of it from the real of it. Somewhere between your first café dinner & your last pain au chocolat you fall headlong, succumbing to all the starry-eyed movie clichés with unembarrassed abandon.
     But before the love stuff, there are other stages. The fingernail-chewing what-if-they-laugh-at-our-American-asses stage. The mundane get-our-Euros-figure-out-Métro-ticket-machines-get-the-hell-out-of-Charles-De-Gaulle stage. The I’m-airsick-maybe-we-can-stay-in-and-watch-BBC-and-eat-cheese? stage. And because I’m sadistic, and I believe in build-up, I’m going to frog-march you through these stages (not all of them so ordinary, some in fact quietly thrilled or outright celebratory, just not that roseate Paris-Love) before I get to the sunset on the Seine in a snug rowboat (it was a big catamaran with tons of other folks on it, but still).  (Read More . . .)

[posted by: C Way at 5:58 PM]

[file under: non-fiction & essays]


April 5th, 2010

Image File

[posted by: C Way at 9:40 AM]

[file under: Ekphrasis]