The Rotten Plank

For writing about music, click on the MATERIAL/MUSIC tab.

For miscellaneous excavations on cities and other themes, click on the CHARNEL HOUSE tab.

fire

Fall in! Fall in! Ha ha ha ha ha …

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“You may not care much about music criticism; you may be willing to let it perish unwept. But you are something of a music critic every time you open your mouth about a concert you have just heard. Can it be that your words are meaningless, that you are saying just nothing with great vehemence? […] Why [do] the great musicians, the great critics, and the great public keep talking about music as if their words meant something[?] […] Whatever affectation we might be mouthing today about music being undiscussable must be deemed local and temporary. Music can be talked about like any other art; and perhaps it must be talked about if it is to give its devotees full measure in enjoyment and significance.” – Jacques Barzun

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“Rethinking music through the notion of presence and consciousness allows us to disturb the processual, cumulative standpoint to which we have grown so accustomed. If we can thus attenuate the valuation of process, […] we will ask why we value the presence of any given music and how we are present in the experience of that music. This is more difficult to do than it may seem, for the attempt to thwart current academic discourse is not to be construed as a refusal to think, in favor of some ‘be here now’ haziness, a ‘dumbing down’ in order to encourage emotional groping—it is rather the challenging business of talking about why music matters to us as something more than the occasion for a specialized branch of academic study. Indeed, this is the most difficult thing to do: although we all understand that music is vitally important to us, we do not yet possess a discourse equal to that understanding.” – Scott Burnham

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“What would criticism be like if it were not foremost trying to persuade people to find the same things great? If it weren’t about making cases for or against things? It wouldn’t need to adopt the kind of ‘objective’ (or self-consciously hip) tone that conceals the identity and social location of the author, the better to win you over. It might be more frank about the two-sidedness of aesthetic encounter, and offer something more like a tour of the aesthetic experience, a travelogue, a memoir …. A more pluralistic criticism might put less stock in defending its choices and more in depicting its enjoyment, with all its messiness and private soul tremors—to show what it is like for me to like it, and invite you to compare.” – Carl Wilson

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POSTHUMOUS PRAISE FOR HELLDRIVER’S PIT STOP

“I’d hate to take a bite out of Helldriver. He’s a cookie full of arsenic.” – J. J. Hunsecker

“That guy kills me.” – Brad Dourif

“The most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, from a personal letter email to Walt Whitman Helldriver congratulating him on his book blog Leaves of Grass The Pit Stop.

“A site so vile, it exerts a putrescent fascination on all who would dare wade in.” – Baciyelmo

“No other music writer gets it as consistently and fabulously wrong as Helldriver. I would take my hat off to him, except that my children have instructed me to leave it on. The scar, you see.” – Hafen S. Bergius

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The music writing on this site, baby and bathwater, is dedicated to Dr. John Spitzer (but he doesn’t deserve the blame).

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Yet it was for me not you I came to write this song

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