||The annual MoPop Conference in Seattle is an experiment in being bombarded for about 72 hours by variant ways to think about music.|
||The vectors range from music critics talking about the chart anomalies of Hall & Oates' imperial phase|
||to assistant professors of cultural theory classifying the gender politics of country/hip-hop crossover singles|
||to ethnomusicologists contrasting the idioms of dissent and community in breakup songs set against different continents' civil wars|
||Architecture of a God
||to forced marches of erratic personal discovery undertaken to strange and magnificent soundtracks.|
||"Star Of Sirrah"
||(And me, using math to try to understand people. Or to try to not be as dismayed by not understanding them.)|
||Red Moon Architect
||David Byrne, asked on stage what he's been listening to lately, calmly took out his phone and flipped through his playlists for at least a full minute in order to give an answer that the question deserved.|
||"Lost In Your Light (feat. Miguel)"
||It is a gathering of a tribe of people for whom this seems perfectly reasonable.|
||"Carry on Wayward Son"
||For some, it is a convocation about writing about music, and papers are delivered aloud, verbatim, in the spirit of a slow poetry reading.|
||For some it is a conference about listening to music,|
||"The Child and the Bitch"
||The Child and the Bitch
||for some it is the universe of liner-notes crossing into the three-dimensional.|
||"Smoke And Lace"
||Make The Best Of It
||For 20 minutes, some place I rarely think about is vividly revealed as the center of the world. And then again.|
||Memphis: Stax + Crunk + FedEx = the distribution center of the universe. Or New York without subways.|
||A bright presenter half my age struggling for a moment to think of a current band as powerfully revolutionary as the Raincoats were in 1978.|
||Sinners Are Winners
||"Queen of the Damned"
||Greil Marcus rhapsodizing about the Mekons, with Jon Langford sitting beside him with a guitar as a human sound-clip generator.|
||The competing demonization and weaponizations of nostalgia.|
||The Winter Passing
||"She Was a Rose"
||Double Exposure 6
||Insistence over resistance.|
||Curiosity over tolerance.|
||"No Nights Dark Enough III. Fear and Grief and Pain"
||Robert Christgau rising to the "Music and Politics" theme-prompt with a WTF rant and a T-shirt reading "TRUMP KILLED LEONARD COHEN".|
||"A Course of Strengthening Medicines"
||Brexit prefigured in Brit-ambivalence about constantly losing Eurovision.|
||Girls Rock Camp graduates growing into adult assumptions and expectations about their politics.|
||Activisms both partisan and non-.|
||Spectrum - EP 4
||Ways in which stages can be safer than studios.|
||"Play This Game"
||Performative gender. Maybe the idea that all gender is performative, or that "gender" is performative by definition.|
||"For Miles & Miles"
||The constant repeating revelation of new layers of meta above and between the ones I thought I knew.|
||"See Through Me"
||Power as a personal force.|
||Solstice EP 3
||Violence as a quality of self-esteem.|
||The conspiracy of ZIP codes, and what Ed Sheeran smells like.|
||"Tired Of You"
||Class, religion, charity and insincerity.|
||Between the Lines 4
||Tower blocks, dictatorships as discos, bad ideas we had as kids and how to keep having them as grownups.|
||"Zip Me Up"
||The narrative-class privilege of having somebody else take care of your kids.|
||Audiences who nod at your musical citations, vs fellow fans who get out of their seats when you hit the volume.|
||Trap's simultaneous quests for respect and independence.|
||"Faint of Heart"
||Songs from Once Upon a Hell of a Time - EP 4
||Cultural currencies of consensual disdain.|
||"Bad Guys Win"
||The Album as Western ego.|
||The single as Western impatience.|
||"Hablarán de ti y de mí"
||Guitars as magnified tone of voice.|
||"El Ataque de las Chicas Cocodrilo"
||Elusive frontiers, glamorized.|
||"El Amor Coloca"
||El Amor Coloca +1
||Dancing, not about architecture but against it.|
||Authenticity as a rearguard retreat.|
||Identity as spectacle.|
||Outrun The Sunlight
||Spectatorship as the act of imposing spectacality.|
||From Sorrow To Serenity
||Hotel-breakfast omelet stations and indignant karaoke.|
||Segway tours passing under monorails.|
||"Louder In Outer Space (feat. Louise Post & Nina Gordon)"
||Allusion over elaboration, and maybe also under it.|
||It's OK +1
||And maybe, afterwards, the single most-unifying idea that the opposite of politics|
||Conference proposals were due on US election day.|
||I was impressed by how many people seemed able to deliver the same talk they had conceived before the Chaos Monkey reign and rain.|
||"Oh! Sana (feat. Ivan Ferreiro)"
||I'm always impressed by how Seattle seems to turn sunny and beautiful for the few hours a year I'm there.|
||The New Raemon
||"Tan Valent - Unreleased Track"
||Our government and society are fracturing and destabilizing, and yet we still have good days.|
||We still turn around in a line for coffee and find a distant friend we barely know standing there.|
||Night Thinker - EP 6
||We gather our courage to ask famous people questions that will expose us as much as them.|
||We gather our courage to become tiny parts tentatively famous ourselves, for a few minutes at a time.|
||We learn that the challenge is sometimes to explain things so they become less clear.|
||"El Ciclo del Agua"
||Privilege is dangerous, and dangerously abstract, and even more dangerously and thrillingly relative.|
||Something that comes easily to you is desperately coveted by somebody you don't even realize is watching.|
||El Arte de la Guerra
||Today's mistake is tomorrow's lesson|
||"Young and Wild"
||and next week's moral|
||"Soul from Ocean"
||Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, Volume 5
||and someday memoir.|
||In the middle of the conference, or almost more accurately with this neurosis of temporary music-geek safe-space in the middle of it, the Seattle instance of the March for Science suddenly appeared and then suddenly paraded past for an inspiringly long time.|
||I snuck out of a conference room to join this movement for two blocks, walking literally underneath the monorail.|
||No science, no monorails.|
||No science, no synthesizers, no microphones.|
||No rationality, no society; but so too, without irrationality a much longer methodical walk to joy.|
||When Icarus Falls
||"Into the Storm"
||As urban infrastructure, the Seattle Center Monorail is fading spectacle.|
||It covers barely 1 mile, and just to make sure you can't board it while still mistaking it for the future, tickets can only be purchased with cash.|
||"The Great Leap (Godflesh Extended Version)"
||The Great Corrupter
||Imagined futures are a distraction, and you should question their motives.|
||But this one happens to run from right where the light rail from the airport stops|
||Comandante EP 3
||to one of the many scattered places where my heart starts.|