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Old 12.18.2007, 07:11 AM   #1
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Project X Presents Sense and Sensibility, Starring Kim Gordon and "Fact" Magazine





 


As part of Idolator's continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Jackin' Pop editor Michaelangelo Matos breaks down rankings from every genre imaginable. After the click-through, he tries on a pair of very different sensibilities thanks to 2007 Top 10 lists from Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and the U.K.'s Fact magazine:



One of the reasons I wanted to write about lists instead of simply making them--though of course I did loads of that too--was to try and wrestle with other sensibilities. Lists by rugged individualists don't necessarily have something over the will of the mass public (or press) in terms of intrigue, as I hope is demonstrated by some of the prior Project X columns. But usually a sensibility is particular, and its particularity is the pleasure of it. You may not want to wake up insisting on the truth and rightness of Alanis Morissette, but you're glad someone smart enough to be able to make a case exists, just so you can think like someone else for a while.
My own early rock critical tendencies came from this place, and a lot of my work shows it only too clearly. But now when a particular writer strikes me, I try to hear what they hear the way I imagine they hear it. This produces a kind of pleasant (and usually short-lived) double-consciousness, because I have to figure out how I'm hearing it, too. Obviously if I find another sensibility persuasive enough to bask in it for a spell, there's going to be some overlap in our perceptions: I can see where they've got a real thing for bells and sub-bass; mine isn't quite so pronounced.
Recently two Top 10s got me thinking about sensibility. I know zilch about fine art, but I look forward to no magazine's end-of-year issue more than Artforum's. The new Best of 2007 issue, as with each of their year-ends since the decade's turn, is scrumptiously designed, particularly the art critics' Top 10s in the back of the book. The layout--writing page left, lively arrangements of images from the lists page right--is clean and thoughtful, investing the lists with authority but also with air. The front of book operates similarly, though on a different plane. As it has for most of the decade, Artforum offers appetizers in the way of film and music Top 10s (five each), as well as 13 contributors' favorite-book squibs and, under the title "The Artists' Artists," a smorgasbord of creators' quoted raves.
My initial response to this year's Music Top 10s was typical of a working rock critic all too aware of the dwindling opportunities the profession affords: I was disappointed and a little insulted. After all, I'd started reading Artforum in high school, for Greil Marcus's "Real Life Rock Top Ten" column; the magazine kept the format but has a guest writer in the Top 10 slot every month. I wasn't surprised, though, that each of the five contributors to the 2007 year-end Music 10s are best known as musicians, though Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi), Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), and avant-garde composer Alex Waterman have written notable journalism, and David Byrne keeps an entertaining Web journal. (The fifth Music list comes from singer-songwriter and fine artist Marissa Nadler.)

Kim Gordon's Top 10 of 2007:
1. Mouthus, Saw a Halo (Load Records)
2. Charalambides, Likenes (Kranky)
3. & 4. MV & EE with the Bummer Road, Green Blues; MV & EE with the Golden Road, Getting' Gone (Ecstatic Peace!)
5. Islaja, Ulual yyy (Fonal)
6. Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards, Las Vegas
7. "Monster Eyes" in Jonathan Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet (Doubleday)
8. The Bastard Wing, To Contain Love (Ultra Hard Gel)
9. Negative Approach, Center Stage 1, All Tomorrow's Parties, Minehead, UK
10. Karen Dalton, Cotton Eyed Joe (Delmore)
\
The first thing I noticed was how many of the items concern people Gordon knows well. The MV & EE albums came out on the label run by Gordon's husband and bandmate Thurston Moore, who also curated the December 2006 All Tomorrow's Parties festival at which Negative Approach appeared, and whose solo album Trees Outside the Academy features Christina Carter of Charalambides, who also appeared at ATP.
Big deal, you might say. I do, too; of course we want an artist's Top 10 to mention the artist's colleagues. If they didn't, what kind of colleagues would they be? I'm unfamiliar with basically everything Gordon lists, but I'll hazard a guess that it falls under the general lines of sensibility she's established as a public figure and band member. Anyway, it's not her sensibility I wonder about here. Am I wrong to worry what it means for music writing generally when a magazine like Artforum, a long-standing champion of informed critical writing, uses no full-time critics to summarize Music In 2007? Right, I'm overreacting; freelancing will do that to you
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Old 12.18.2007, 09:19 AM   #2
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He should be happy Kim wrote a list of things he is unfamiliar with. Maybe he should take some time and try and learn something new? What did he want, his tastes to be validated? I'm not familiar with this critic so I don't know.

Ok I went to the original post and he comments that he barely heard of acts on another list including Panda Bear, Vampire Weekend, Battles, on and on. What does this guy listen to? Pretty lame.
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Old 12.18.2007, 12:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgekrz
Ok I went to the original post and he comments that he barely heard of acts on another list including Panda Bear, Vampire Weekend, Battles, on and on. What does this guy listen to? Pretty lame.

I've come to realize those of us who really have our ears out are an incredibly small group of people - statistically insignificant - but we are dedicated and will sell out pressings of 300. For me, Panda Bear and Battles are too overground to pay attention to...but instead of bitching he should exhibit some curiosity. Typical american.
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Old 12.18.2007, 12:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesla69
For me, Panda Bear and Battles are too overground to pay attention to...
???

p.s. thanks moshe <---- I should put this in my sign.
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Old 12.18.2007, 01:31 PM   #5
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i wish i could see negative approach live. even though they're around 40 now, but still it'll be a fun show i'm sure.
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Old 12.18.2007, 03:14 PM   #6
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I think there was already a post about this.

What a shitty list.
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Old 12.18.2007, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicfit
Originally Posted by tesla69
For me, Panda Bear and Battles are too overground to pay attention to...
???

they only play the big clubs in Manhattan now - I don't patronize them - you have to get felt up and patted down to enter. Fuck that, let the slaves endure it for their entertainment.
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Old 12.18.2007, 03:23 PM   #8
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Battles - B EP is really good.
Panda Bear - Young Prayer is really good.
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Old 12.18.2007, 03:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesla69
they only play the big clubs in Manhattan now - I don't patronize them - you have to get felt up and patted down to enter. Fuck that, let the slaves endure it for their entertainment.
I dunno, I can understand your pov (especially becuz livin' in ny gives you many chances to get to see many other interesting bands, I guess) but I still don't get why the venues they play should interfere with enjoying their records/music , if you ilked them "before"... Hope what I mean is clear enough..
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Old 12.18.2007, 03:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atsonicpark
Battles - B EP is really good.
oh yes, I made a fake "Derorrim" album with songs from mirrored and the eps, now THAT is a killer (fake) record.
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Old 12.24.2007, 04:59 PM   #11
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so I must be getting a bit jaded in my old age.

that mouthus disc is TERRIBLE.
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Old 12.24.2007, 05:12 PM   #12
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Old 12.24.2007, 05:19 PM   #13
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ohh, i forgot follow this house on my list.

didn't listen to saw a halo, but follow this house is very awesome.
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