Jan 29, 2005

...And everyone that's so unkind gets swallowed by the tide.

I have accomplished many goals and projects this past week. First of all, I landed a part-time job working for the university's agricultural division. I should be able to start by the end of next week, and it should carry me through the rest of the semester, providing I am not miraculously chosen for a higher paying part-time job. I also took the initiative of consulting an academic advisor to determine when exactly I can graduate. It turns out there is a distinct possibility I can be out of school with a degree by December of this year. I cannot say I mind that likelihood. Assuming I pass all my courses this semester (of course), I'll need eight more courses (23 credits). The best path, it appears, is to enroll in a couple 3-credit summer courses, then take 18 credits in the fall. Since each course in the brief summer sessions go for three hours a day, five days a week (for a total of 15 hours of class time per week, as opposed to the usual three during regular semesters), taking more than two courses at a time would be a killer. Even two courses is not far off from full time job status. Having that kind of schedule will feel quite a lot like high school, but the catch is, it goes for a mere four weeks-- May 16th to June 9th. Providing I can enroll in suitable courses for that particular session, that would leave the rest of the summer open. I would have plenty of time to, say, travel to the mainland for awhile, then return to wrap up those 18 credits. What happens after that remains to be seen. I haven't planned quite that far. Also, Hindery commented that I produce some of the best chapter summaries/critiques in the class, but my geographical rhetoric can get pretentiously glossy and circumlocutory at times. I was already half-conscious of that, but hearing that from him rang a few bells for me. In this region, direct language is most commonly preferred, and I have always had a penchant for being a little dodgy in my academic writing. I suppose it's time I force some self-improvement out of... myself.

Having my own notebook computer back from the repair centre feels luxurious, to say the least, and it's enough incentive to begin a new web-building project. I may start by updating my existing web site, and then creating another one with a more focused theme. It might help to restore some of my interest in and involvement with the world wide web and its participants.

I would like to comment on the evolution of my musical tastes within the past year, if only for my own future reference. It seems no more than a year has passed since I proclaimed that metal is the musical genre that suits me most. I was heavily into cheesy bands like Sonata Arctica and HammerFall for one reason or another, the foremost probably being that they seemed so gloriously "different." Before exploring metal more intensively, I was listening to average, mainstream rock music. That was before I ever realised that so much better music was to be found ... most of it originating outside of America's borders, and not readily available in your local Wal-Mart. The dark, phantasmagoric themes and hard, melodic sounds of the metal I got myself into appealed to me greatly. ...It touched me in much more dramatic ways than my mom's light jazz or my dad's 60's classic rock. Of all the bands I became fascinated with, Dream Theater was the whopper. Obsession would be a more precise term to describe my connection with their music. For many months, I hardly listened to much else. Very gradually, that obsession began to fade, and simultaneously, I was introduced to the splendor of electronic music last spring.

Certainly, I had known about electronic music before. Techno acts like The Chemical Brothers and rave/house artists like Antiloop have entertained me for years. I simply wasn't aware of how much more the genre had to offer, and how stellar that material was. In my brother's collection of digital music files, I had found a trance composition entitled "Zone of Consciousness" by Ghost in the Machine, and I recall being mesmorised by it. In the same year, 1999, I discovered a few mp3s by an artist called "Infected Mushroom" -- also downloaded by my brother. The music was unlike anything I had heard before, and I instantly became enamored of it. Hence my later obtaining any of their material I could get my paws on.

Until spring of 2004, however, I was exposed to very little electronic music, aside from psytrance/goa groups like Infected Mushroom, and a few techno groups. Fortunately, I met someone who was positively passionate about electronica, and would become a very good friend. Upon receiving the first batch of CD's he burned for me, I was plunged into the incredible world of trance music. I must admit, since it was so dramatically different from metal, the sound took a little while to absorb. I knew right from the first time I heard "Afterglow" by Plastic Angel, though, that this was something special--that this music would undoubtedly become a passion of mine as well. I could not then predict, though, that it would outrank metal as being my absolute favourite genre of all.

It's something about that rhythmic, throbbing beat serving as the supporting foundation of beautiful, harmonious synth melodies. I can usually feel it as if it were my own pulse ... like the music is pumping through my bloodstream, not just through my speakers. Many trance songs feel much like a ride on the back of a giant mythical avian creature through eternal time and space, and the pulsating beat is the heavy flapping of the bird's wings as we ascend higher and higher. When the beat subsides and the multi-textured melodies continue to weave around one another like the vibrant threads of aural quiltwork, I feel as if we are simply floating, effortlessly suspended above the clouds as our hearts witness the beauty that drives our celestial kinetics. The climactic focal point of the song equates to our spiritual transcendence.

So, I believe it's safe to say electronic music is my new me; be it trance, techno, industrial, EBM, drum & bass, acid jazz, or what-have-you. I'm already familiar with countless artists in the genre, and I must have more. In a way, I am disheartened that the genre seems universally ignored by a mainstream audience in America--most Americans are all about their country, or their rap, or their whiny punk/emo, or their awesome metal singers who cough up course-grain sandpaper more often than sing, or their horrible pop stars that more or less define the mediocrity of America as a nation through their formulaic lyrics and dreadfully hackneyed musical contributions. The best music, I have found, is usually foreign.

I still enjoy many different genres of music. I heard an Uncle Kracker song the other day, and liked it. But electronic music is in my blood, now. It's a far cry from the usual guy on bass, another guy on lead guitar, another guy on backing guitar and vocals, another guy on keyboards, and another guy on drums. How refreshing.

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