because sometimes you can't turn the volume knob down

Saturday, April 12, 2008

really? really.

I wrote this rather angry blurb back in January. Reading this sentence now, with fresh eyes, I can forgive him for "atonal scaffolding", but "submerged rock" still leaves a thorn in my side.

"And, of course, the music itself, a nebulous but forceful concoction of sopping wet harpsichords, detonating percussion, submerged rock, atonal scaffolding, and unhinged electro-pop."

-Brian Howe's review of Xiu Xiu's "Women as Lovers"

"Atonal scaffolding"? "Submerged rock"? I now believe that Brian Howe enjoys writing purple prose for the same reason people enjoy watching internet porn or others put preachy bumper stickers on their own cars: for their own selfish enjoyment and self-indulgent joy. There's a preening present in his words, like a bird showing of its colorful feathers. Mr. Howe does not want to impart any knowledge and certainly doesn't want to give you any concrete impression of this album, sonically or otherwise, because he knows what "sopping wet harpsichords" sound like and screw you if you don't.

True, writing about music, explaining it, expressing it, is a foolish task. Music relies on no set form, rules or description. Trying to describe music is like trying to hear what honey tastes like. But writing like a pompous, pretentious shit certainly isn't the way to go.

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