Hellish!

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Chris

Chris lives in Austin, TX, where he once shook Willie Nelson's hand.

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar dhex
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    says:

    the role of ugliness in all its forms is an often underlooked component of beauty, especially when it comes to music.

    see also: swansReport

    • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex
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      says:

      That’s certainly true. I know I like a lot of elements in music that would, taken independently, be ugly. But I find it fascinating that someone like Baudelaire (or Bosch) can have as their subjects such ugly things, selected precisely for their ugliness (Baudelaire, at least, was very up front about that), and make it into something beautiful. I think it probably says something important about the world.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Chris
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        says:

        context is king?

        heh, no, seriously though, i dunno. i’ve always liked ugliness and ugly things. plus with baudrelaire, et al, there’s the whole dramatic (or overly dramatic depending on your pov) quality to the entire thing – the drama of being aware of watching the world and yourself slowly rot, etc.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to dhex
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      says:

      Particularly music that doesn’t resolve; it leaves a question hanging in the air that discomforts. Beautifully.Report

  2. Avatar Glyph
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    says:

    I have to get my son to school so will listen to the tracks later, but after reading the text only, I have to say it’s gettin’ all Goth up in here. I like it. “The Ghost”, in particular, looks like alternate lyrics to “Lullaby”.

    I know this isn’t exactly what you are getting at here because it’s not “subject matter”, but in music I’ve thought a lot about how sounds that we would consider “ugly noise” can be deployed in ways that are themselves beautiful, or which throw into relief other elements in the music which are. All the way back to the apocryphally-intentionally-damaged amp in “You Really Got Me”, to the shrieking metallic industrial sounds on “Psychocandy” providing energy and texture to the rhythm and melody. There’s also the “distancing” effect it creates – if the receiver has to work harder to get to the core of the art, it seems more meaningful when they get there (both sender and receiver have *put effort* into the joint creation of meaning).Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      It’s a bit of a different thing in video games, where you can have “mood music” in the background, but it needs to play nicely (and be distinguishable from) sound effects.Report

  3. Avatar zic
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    says:

    I think this may be why photography is such an interesting art form. We all love to take the beautiful, inspiring landscape. But honestly, unless they’re prints made with Adams-like eye to detail and quality, they’re mostly like so many insipid inspirational posters hanging in high-school guidance-counselor offices.

    No, it’s the ugly transformed into beauty; the action not quite completed. Photography has the power to reveal the decay we don’t see happening in our movement through life.Report

  4. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    By the way, this is the first post I’ve written that is comprised of music I expect absolutely no one hear to have heard before.Report

  5. Avatar Boegiboe
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    says:

    Though you don’t actually say this, I doubt Bosch would have tolerated the word “beautiful” to describe his work. However, you’re spot on with Baudelaire’s intentions. He thought all of life was worthy of poetry, of careful and inspired description, including what most would call “ugly.” He’s still my favorite poet and had a huge effect on my personal development. Thank you for this excellent essay!Report

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