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|on the road with DOCSPORTELLO ROAD TRIP|
this is a tale
At 19:02 BST I received the following message from DocSportello via discord:
「About 2 hrs into a 9 hr drive, got any recs to get me thru Arkansas??」
oh shit how's the weather?
「Not so bad BUT flat, so flat, mostly cloudy, a maze of big rigs」
h m m m m do you need colour or do you need to embrace the flatness
「Anything to pass the time. Ideally long, not literally going to put me to sleep or distract me too too much but ultimately a highway hypnodid supplement」
I recommended him the album TNT by Tortoise, for it is chill and selectively hypnotic and very good and although I do not drive, I think that I would listen to it in the car if I did.
Over the course of the next few hours, the good Doc and I exchanged a series of voice memos and recommendations (respectively) and I found myself in the virtual backseat (tbqh my ultimate comfort zone) of a logistical undertaking of epic proportions, near-insurmountable fatigue and neo-noir terror (hold on a while for that one).
It was agreed that a *list* must be made and um I have therefore extrapolated everything I know about this Epic Roadtrip into a v-travel blog so that you too might share it. This is the list. We are on the road. Close your eyes stop snoring.
The first leg of Doc's journey was defined by MILD BOREDOM, through which he maintained good spirits and delivered many thoughtful verbatim thoughts to me with great articulation. I would describe the vibe I got from his first memo as "mi car tua casa" and I felt that I had tuned into to a legitimately engaging podcast experience.
Where were we going?
What would happen next?
I had no idea, but was along for the ride - and on it went.
Doc was tided over by TNT's jazzy meandertimes; it's one of those records where you can get equal reward from active or passive listening and a reliable go-to for when you're unsure which side of the boredom line you're one. This produced the following appraisal:
Driving value: 5/5
Music value: 4.65/5
|4||Do Make Say Think|
& Yet & Yet
here is a related recommendation that did not appear within the journey
and anot- actually, this one does appear! but not yet! stay posted!
Tortoise may have reduced the friction, but they failed to put a stop to the burgeoning critical mass of Doc's ennui. We therefore move into SEVERE BOREDOM territory, and when he asked if there was anything else I'd suggest, I got the sense that smooth chill jams were not going to cut it. A little screwball flair and PERK was needed, but I didn't want to explode his ride with too much polyphonic fuckery - this called for balance. Hmmm.
Shohei Amimori's Sonasile is a really fun gem that takes lounge and light classical stylings and refracts them in all kinds of zany, bouncy direction through glitch and IDM. The result is surprisingly tasteful, loungey without being listless, perky without being obtrusively energetic, colourful but not quite gaudy. Imagine Iglooghost if you could play him at cocktail parties, or Sweet Trip's kaleidoscopic qualities minus the dream pop pandering. Sparks fly, but the upshot is less than disruptive.
This, I reasoned, would surely catch Doc's ear without blasting his attention off the road.
Doc's follow-up almost made me wish I'd gone full Venetian Snares, or maybe Kirlian Selections - the man was frazzled. He had entered Tennessee! Shohei Amimori's zany glitch had been just enouggh to keep him going, but he was in clear need of an energy boost and his podcaster manner, though no less affable or enjoyable to follow, had nothing like the focus of his first transmission.
He is lucid enough to mention the phenomenon of the dad-playlist-you-suddenly-love-when-you're-the-passenger as a loose analogy to the Shohei Amimori experience, aka something that he would likely never have sought out or tuned into otherwise, but which very much does does hit the spot for whatever reason now that it's on. Success!
However, his karma had turned momentarily sour.
Hoping to pick up a potent restorative beverage to see him on his way, the Doc had stopped at the first roadside station in however many miles, thirsty for fuel. Person fuel. He stops the car, turns off the engine and gets out. The shop is just ahead, the lights are on. The drinks are inside. He is maybe 25 paces away from that boost. 20 paces. He opens the door and steps inside.
All the lights go out.
There is no power.
The system is not working.
They need to reset the system. That will make it work.
Just wait a minute.
Doc gets back in the car. He has places to be. He is gone. But can he go on with no energy drink - and at what cost?
To be continued.
Driving value: 4.5/5
Music value: 4.5/5
The third and final album I recommended for Sir. DoctorSportello was Supercar - Highvision, in part because his journey and the day were both coming to the end and it is a very Things Ending/sunset deal, in part because it's a 5.0 classic, in part because i think it hit the spot last time i caught a lift from england to scotland with my folks, and also because it's gorgeous indietonicagaze perfection and very easy on strained nerves.
Doc didn't see this until somewhat later, and he wound up jamming Cerberus Shoal in the meantime. Their brand of post-rock is at once more languorous and more momentous (huh) than Tortoise's, and although they seem to have held the floor respectably, it's no surprise that they don't seem to have had quite the same effortless chill factor
Driving value: 3.93/5
Music value: 4/5
The road went on, the show goes on and Supercar bridged much of the remaining distance between Doc and his family. His final transmission (gosh that sounds awful - I did have a nasty ongoing fantasy throughout these voice memos of "what if something awful happens and the last thing anyone ever hears from the poor guy is him rightfully complaining about a dumb album I should never have distracted him with *touches wood furiously*) OF THIS JOURNEY was that of someone who has almost reached the place he has been heading for over many hours and, um, desperately needs to be there and probably asleep right now actually. He has since arrived and was glad to hear that this record just about kept things going on the final stretch.
Driving value: 「I would say uh 4... 4...point...five? No- uh... 4- 3- I'm gonna say 3... no. Uh- it's a 5」/5
Music value: 4.3/5
Um you thought it was over? Well NO! Doc also gave an inevitable spin to the boundary-breaking SPUTNIKMUSIC RELEASE OF THE MONTH Babylon IX by Yune Pinku. This is good! The basis for our discord correspondence *in case you were unaware* is actually that I was badgering him to deliver a blurb for the monthly blogpost, which he did in marvellous fashion and it is up and you should read it: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/blog/2023/05/10/sputnikmusic-release-of-the-month-april-2023/
But did Yune Pinku hit it in the whip? Uh, not quite! I feel this is above all a bedroom record and can sympathise with Doc's struggle to transpose her beats and bops into actual concrete road mileage.
*BABYLON IX review*
Driving value: 3/5
Music value: 4/5
Sleep Well Beast
WELL THAT WAS OKAY DOC ARRIVED AT HIS FAMILY'S PLACE THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THIS ROAD TRIP TIL NEXT TIME!
|the new Zelda is out is this a coincidence join us|
|NW arkansas is very beautiful |
|i know that name ?|
|omfg Johnny ya nailed it! massive thanks for the sweet recs and for entertaining my increasingly frazzled whims lol. was a genuine delight. ok ahHHH back to sleep|
|Can't believe I read all this.|
I was eagerly awaiting for a zombie apocalypse ala Resident Evil 2 remake's intro but the horror was cut short, tsk tsk. Glad the Doc made it though!
|Storm In A Teacup|
|There’s a story I tell my students, it’s a metaphor of sorts, to get them thinking about the writing process. I tell them about a course I took in my final years as an undergraduate, an interdisciplinary English-ecology course that had us engage thoughtfully with material well beyond the harbor of the lecture hall. This was just under a decade ago, in Nashville, which also happens to be my home; and it was indeed right around this time too that I began to recognize that this place was not, in fact, the same home (a blitz of construction, a vibe shift). I was keenly aware then, as those sunset Tennessee years exploded into view, that I would need to savor as best I could what time was left with the spaces that had moved me most. It was around this time that Radnor Lake State Park, a gorgeous little nature reservation and hiking area oddly nestled between various suburbs, had obtained a sizable swath of land, extending its boundaries and marking the occasion with a series of off-trail hikes led by one of the park rangers. One of the general requirements of the English-ecology class I was taking entailed participating in one relevant “event” of my choice, so signing up for one of these curated hikes was a no-brainer. Doubly so, the park being a two-minute walk from my childhood home . . . it would be fair to call this lake and its surroundings the most profoundly formative open world space of all the spaces I’ve internalized|
|The hike took place on a chilly but graciously wind-free November afternoon – quiet, partially cloudy, all the leaves well fallen and crunching underfoot, but not wet, not muddy. There were maybe thirty of us and the ranger. The three-hour hiking tour of Radnor Lake’s new and undeveloped zone would have been a revelation simply for the raw beauty of rolling hills seen from their own peaks; but the thing that elevated this pleasant walk through the woods into a scene I would refashion time and time again had nothing to do with the park’s immediate reality. It was something the ranger said. A detail, honestly. We were about twenty minutes from getting back to the parking lot and one of my fellow tourists asked the ranger if the park would be turning some of what we’d seen into public trails. A good question. The ranger didn’t know or wasn’t at liberty to satisfy the answer, but he did know this: a healthy ecosystem needs room to breathe, and the general rule of thumb in park management is that 60% of total land should be left to the land. It was matter-of-fact for the ranger, no frills, just reality, but even in the moments immediately after he’d answered the question I saw how the general principle of it echoed a truth about the health of a text, since a text is in many ways a perfectly flawed microcosm of an ecosystem proper. It suffices to say that this minor epiphany presented to me a range of exciting suggestions about the nature of language and the ways we should use it. When I have told this story in the past, however, I have not come to the conclusion that I will now: when you need to fashion a trail, sometimes it’s imperative that you flat-out ignore percentages, proportions, scale. Sometimes all that matters is moving dirt|
|a brief reflective transmission from home : )|
|bump for no reason |
|hittin the road again tomorrow hmmm|