Regrets and Gratitude

And so we look back, regrets and gratitude
For those last words not uttered to the departed
For affection envisioned and clumsily scattered
For a youth further faded, the one we never lived.

A wealth of failure and antagonism turned acceptance
A heritage of misgivings turned forgiveness
What could have been
Now sways, brimming with hope: we still can, somehow.

Promises of self-discipline, soon to be swallowed
Through the cracks in our character
The ones we are blind to, the ones
That fall prey to yet-unwritten disasters
And oh, they will come.

And yet we persist
While this Life belongs to us.
I am thankful for this Year
To you, my protagonists, I am indebted
You know who you are.

 

 

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Comet loops

I first saw Telectu live back in 1985/6 at Teatro Carlos Alberto; they played “Halley” alongside a performance by our dear departed Brinquinho, who enmeshed himself in silk tunics and incarnated a comet among the audience. I remember the acoustics being vast and majestic, my young ears opening up.

A few years later I saw them again in passing at Pinguim Café; the vibe now was of course very different, this was a bar, not a seated auditorium. People drank and chatted (myself included) as Jorge Lima Barreto grooved away on the keys and Vítor Rua held it together as ever. Somehow it worked, as a hesitant prescience of this future-now-turned-present where music is the backdrop to the self-fixated feature film called “our lives”.

I look forward to Telectu tonight at SEMIBREVE, no doubt a very different experience from the previous two. Sparse crossings that help read a broader map of our brief time in this particular cosmic guise. Or if you’d rather, a recurring intersection, much like the loop of a comet.

Image: detail from António Palolo’s cover for Telectu’s “Halley”, 1985

Zooming out

I’ve been silent because I believe the issue resides elsewhere… this is simply a local manifestation of the widespread inability of contemporary culture and society to acknowledge and incorporate transgression. Transgression cannot become mainstream without losing its soul, and hereby resides the paradox – and the imperative of context. Rather than visiting an exhibition as “cultural experts”, they should instead be getting a crash course on the history of counter-cultures that emancipated so many from stigma – and paradoxically ended up tamed in this perverse wave of sanitised eroticism. Zoom out, guys, it’s a sign of the times.

R.I.P. Charles Aznavour

Deeply saddened by the passing of Charles Aznavour… with him a bit of the post-war dream of a gentler world fades away. His voice conveyed so much beyond the lyrics and the melodies, there was a charisma, a presence in his delivery that was in itself a message. And so quite a bit of the soundtrack to my early years becomes more distant, and a lighthouse to my parents’ generation goes out.

Smarties!

I believe the word “smart” is still the best available example of how our lexicon is being turned into its opposite, short-circuiting our expectations and narrative legacies in the process. The latest example is Gmail’s brand new “smart composing” function. It prides itself in predicting what one will write.

Should’t that be… “dumb composing”?

Of course, the issue here is that the word “smart” is qualifying the technology, not us; we… we’re supposed to be dumb lazy users who cannot be bothered to work out the sentence we mean to write. Progress!

Afar

There is a kind of longing that lives in the recordings of Hans-Joachim Roedelius that I have never quite heard captured elsewhere. It’s in the wandering melodies, for sure, but in the acoustics as well… there is an “afar” to it, an Autumnal evening feel, I don’t know how else to put it…

This absolute gem is from 1986 and it precedes by decades so many of the ambient trends. And it’s still far above most of them. I bought it for the first time on cassette in San Francisco in 1991 and worn it out not long thereafter…

Storm L’Oeil

alvelos_stormoeilw

The stormy skies yesterday night made for some fascinating optical illusions… at times, whenever the full moon peeked through the odd opening among the thick clouds, it seemed that the negative space itself became a bright, otherworldly cloud.

 

 

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Design in the age of hyper-legibility

My friend Erik Stein’s audio release just got its cover nixed by digital distributors…
The reason? The name of the band is presented in too cryptic a fashion.

Uh… yeah, and…?

This is our eyes and our brain being invited into sheer laziness, this is graphic design being dragged into the age of hyper-legibility, the discreet yet forceful annihilation of nuance and ambivalence. Interestingly enough, a barcode or a QR code do not seem to pose a problem, do they?

i.e., the promotion of preceptive laziness is paralleled by the efficient hermeticism of automated codification.
i.e.2, text garbling is reserved for coding, alright y’all?

I quote myself from another recent context: in our daily lives, in the smallest details, we are being sold the illusion of the absence of ideology. And this is itself an ideology, made dangerous as it mimics its own disappearance and thus renders it impossible for us to transcend it.

I know this is “just an album cover” – but that’s exactly the point. It seems innocuous. It’s not.

The magic trick of non-ideology

Re: web summit and all that. Proclaiming a space for the absence of ideology is an intrinsic paradox. The absence of ideology -is- itself an ideology. It is the magic trick of its supposed disappearance, and thus the ensuring of its unregulated advancement. Zuckerberg has been doing this for a while… look where it’s brought us.