22 April, 2008

Integrity Playlist

"Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day...He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his own ignorance - which his growth requires - who has so often to use his knowledge?"

- Walden, Henry David Thoreau.

I started Walden yesterday. I'm only about six pages into the story, but it's great. I already have about twenty quotations written on a piece of paper. Thoreau tested himself, tested his integrity, and tested the parameters of society and its intersection with human survival. You don't know where the edge is, until you've been over it.

"Reckoner" - Radiohead
From the already famous In Rainbows, this song hovers with looped percussion and Gospel-style harmonized vocals. They are absolutely the band that will be playing when the world - as we know it - comes to an end. Thom York is already there; he's already writing his songs on a different wavelength.

"Electric Bird" - Sia
This song has the benefit of a chorus that rises progressively, and a body that's perfectly understated. It finds the edge and balances perfectly on the knife blade, while breaking free of every constraint that Sia created for her own music on her first album. The song in itself is about constraints, and uses a caged bird (albeit a caged "electric bird") as a metaphor for art that has been boxed into a category.

"24 Preludes, Op. 28: No. 1 in C Major" - Rafal Blechacz (Chopin)
Classical music enchants me. It's the only genre of music that consistently occupies my whole mind when I listen, and I find it difficult to think of other things when it's in the background. This song has an energy, an almost soft anxiety that builds as the song progresses, and then drifts away. It reminds me of cherry blossoms being swept from a tree by the wind, and then swirling in a pond. Cathartic.

"Bertha" - Grateful Dead
"I had to move, really had to move..." basically says it all.

"Freedom Day" - Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach
Snap your fingers in the smoky catacombs of jazz basements, and feel the sound of revolution.

1 comment:

Sean said...

"Where is the division of labor to end? and what object does it finally serve? No doubt another may also think for me; but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so to exclusion of my thinking for myself."

Others may catch my fancy from time to time, but when asked for me favorite book, Walden is it. I've read it over numerous times and some higlighted sections are so old as to be fading and almost un-highlighted. Visiting Walden is almost a let-down in this day and age.