Neglecting the Didjeridoo • 29 January 2007

Tonight made my fifth or sixth walk home from campus with The Knife, and I think some of the tracks – Pass This OnSilent Shout –are sufficiently in my body to go into heavy rotation for the morning drive. God this is a good band; and I don’t mind putting myself in overlap with Pitchfork’s (and probably everyone else’s) 2006 top ten to say it.

It’s nice to get to the point of comfortable excitement with them, because I’ve been with Talib Kweli, Bjork (just Human Behavior, a perfect song) and the poppier TVOTR for many weeks, and it’s passing over from pleasantly zone-invoking to played-out.

“When you practice a lot, you start to become very discriminating about what you expose yourself to—the food you put in yourself, the violence you’ll watch on screen, the music you listen to,” says a hilarious ISKON-punk-rock-hemp-ass yoga teacher so comfortable being himself, and so adept with the harmonium, that he delights me. (The notion of reacting strongly against bad nutriments contrasts, in a sense, with the Theravadan take that getting quiet dulls the edges of both your attractions and your repulsions—but said ISKON man is happy with dualism in many forms.)

Anyway, to the annoyance of many, I know this bit about increasing discrimination to be true. It’s not pretentious moral fiat, but something that comes up from your viscera, as your nervous system gets sensitive. You can’t help it. You’re tuning in, for as big of a Leary hippie or Pantanjali junkie that this makes you. You don’t like talking about it.

Admissions having been made, practicing a lot has also induced a new appetite in me for bad music, particularly between 5:46 and 5:55 on week days. In the dead of one morning last winter, the vipassana instructor who opened our practice space caught me in my car, in the dark, being loud with Missy Elliott. Then we went inside and I did my usual thing of not talking to her because I was, you know, in my space. Really inappropriate.

I should be refining my appreciation of the Steven Halpern legacy and didjeridoo solos, letting the rhythms take me straight into beta state during the 9 minute drive to practice. But somehow, and wrongly, this is so much more easily done with things like blues rock. Don’t Run Our Hearts Around by Black Mountain: love it at 5:46 sitting at an otherwise deserted stoplight. And I can’t even talk about the White Stripes without twitching.

Lengthening your brain waves isn’t mysterious once you get a handle on your own inner rythms, like any good raver, marathoner, zen monk or fiction-writer. You love going there, and you create triggers to summon the first few steps of the descent. However, that the uneven syncopation and crass instrumentation of blues rock makes it particularly good for me is perverse and often baffling.

I’m concerned that it might just be my feelings for Jack White.

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