“Bastard” (Tyler, The Creator)

Following Tyler, The Creator and his critics feels a bit like watching high-schoolers and parents fighting, with both parties alternating roles. (See, for instance, the fairly ham-handed critique in “Bitch Suck Dick” with the patented shock of both mainstream and aspiring lefties.) Premised as a confessional but continuing the offense, narrator impresses/confounds his counselor, Mr. TC. As listeners, though, we hear below this—where “demons” dwell. Form isn’t a strong preoccupation here (see minor nods to horrorcore minimalism), but conservatism is. The psychological subject emerges, abandoned (yet maternally protected); self-mutilating (and outwardly violent); and apathetic in general. The latter is the most confounding, since apathy is an “inherit[ance]” without end—an embodiment literalized and formed through paternal worship. Speaking out, but not acting up.


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“Continuum” (Jaco Pastorius)

Via Cantor’s logic, a finite set is never equivalent to its own subset(s), while all infinite sets are. Equality, then, only appears amid infinite particularities without exhaustion. Given this, a continuum properly thought must have no limit point, no possible incarnation or subjectivity to mark either terminus. Repetition of root braces the four-note ascending figure in multiple registers (whose only differences are in timbre and vibrato). Improv section approaches relation via timing (phrases eventually beginning in the last quarter of the bar, for example). Track ends with root and harmonic ringing out simultaneously, with the latter endless—proving that the note, physically, is a node which initiates relation by remaining still (and in the middle).  Presence, presently, registers positionality and not (proximal) possibility.


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“A Horse With No Name” (America)

The journey into the desert represents a politicized movement to get under the problem of naming and interpellation. The desert not a wasteland, but a place with teeming “life underground,” seeking out “heart” below the process of subjectification. Resistance which does not neglect the fundamental exclusion: the anthropological foundations of the “political.”


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