Riding the Breadcrumb Freeway to Glasnost: The Return of Slint

By: J T. Ramsay

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Posted 03/28/2005 - 03:09:06 PM by mtwill:
 Having just seen Slint ,yself a week or so back, I was excited to see a review of the show on Stylus. Sadly, this essay is completely incomprehensible. I was dazzled by the writers inspired use of intellectual buzzwords and jargon like "hermeneutics," "exegesis" and "praxis." Wow, did you go yo college? "Commercial transubstantiation"! I wish they had done that at the show I saw. I do wonder in what sense a song can be "ineffable." I'd love to know. How silly! As for me, an original issue Spiderland junkie, it was great to see these songs played live with intensity and power. Britt Walford was completely sick. These songs - at least the Spiderland ones - haven't aged a day. Great show, check it out if you get the chance.
Posted 03/28/2005 - 04:18:49 PM by IanMathers:
 A song can be ineffable insofar as there is something in the performance or experience of it (or any other aspect of it), which is not conveyable in words. In the context of "More Than Words", it's probably a (pretty good) pun. That help?
Posted 03/28/2005 - 08:46:56 PM by mtwill:
 In that case I suppose it would be the quality or aspect of the song in question that would be ineffable. Is possible (or even sensical) to refer to a song itself as ineffable? In any case I'm not sure how it makes sense in the context above. Unless maybe it has something to do with chanelling the "commercial Zeirgeist" or the "vainglorious, relativistic thralldom" or the way the "transparent nostalgia revealed itself in the hypermediated space" or one of the other concepts in this CONCERT REVIEW that are just over my head. . . I mean c'mon guys, its SILLY . . . But even a dope like me spotted the genius pun.
Posted 03/28/2005 - 11:55:45 PM by maxwellk:
 For a few very basic reasons, I find this completely incomprehensible and incoherent: 1) your writing lacks the focus and organization to convey the basic thesis of your essay (and if there is no basic thesis or idea, why are you writing it? And why should I read it?). 2) You average about 7 commas per 200 word sentence. Cut out the run-on sentences. Your final paragraph consists of only 2 sentences, neither of them readable. 3) The paper is littered with small grammatical errors that would be no problem except that they contribute to the overall unreadability (I'm sure I'm guilty of the same, so no need to point out any poor grammar in my comment). Far too many poorly used pronouns and commas, forgotten prepositions and syntactically baffling sentences. The essence of a concert review should be posing the question: "Do you want to go see the new/old Slint?" and then answering this question. As of now, I have no idea (actually, not true, of course I want to see Slint, but the important thing is that your review has influenced me in neither direction). This reads like the kind of thing I wrote after getting high when I was a university student. Doesn't this kind of jargon-heavy, meta-review belong on Pitchfork?
Posted 03/29/2005 - 08:37:14 AM by dubidet:
 Why don't you guys/gals cut J.T. some slack? Despite the showy tongue, he did actually write a pretty provocative "concert review." The diff w/ his writing and the stuff at the 'fork is that J.T. really understands the jargon he's using, even if you don't. And, Herr Ramsay, if yr reading this, take my advice: Don't bite. OK?
Posted 03/29/2005 - 10:30:32 AM by mbloodyv:
 "In spite of their precision and the clockwork tempo of their set (or perhaps because of those things), when Slint departed the stage, sweaty from the hot green and red lights that haphazardly lit them during the unremitting darkness, their gracious thank yous seemed somehow more genuine than the tossed off goodbyes of more familiar acts, and, once withdrawn, the feeling that you’ve seen a dissipating mirage vanish considerably more confounding." (Is it just me, or is there some noun-verb disagreement there?) I appreciate the effort to come up with a non-cliched concert review here, but I'm not sure if all the effort really builds up to anything more substantial than, "They sounded good."
Posted 03/29/2005 - 02:49:59 PM by IanMathers:
 "But even a dope like me spotted the genius pun." I don't believe that for a second, mtwill, but nice backpedal.
Posted 03/29/2005 - 03:06:58 PM by mbloodyv:
 (By the way Ian, I don't believe for a second that it's either an intended pun or a particularly clever one.)
Posted 03/29/2005 - 03:29:20 PM by Amandalucia:
 I went to see Slint too. It was like getting an excellent beating. You can take your exegesis and your hermeneutics -- I went for a punch in the gut and I got it. Practicing lexical restraint doesn't hurt. Sometimes it feels good. Also, Pajo wore a snug, adorable Voivod t-shirt when I saw them.
Posted 03/29/2005 - 03:58:54 PM by paperdrums:
 Lexical restraint: Yes. You're not writing a paper for an academic journal, Mr. Ramsay, you're writing a concert review for an online music site. "Praxis" could easily be retranslated into "practice" without - in this particular context, anyway - changing the meaning in any significant way; words like "fait accompli" and "exegesis" just sound arrogant (not in the self-assured Gore Vidal way, but in the "underclassman who's trying too hard" way). They artifically distance you from the common reader, which is the complete opposite of what a good journalistic essay on pop culture should actually do. Believe it or not, very few of us are impressed by your awkward turns of phrase, most of which would never pass the editorial test at any self-respecting print publication. Journalism is meant to be a comprehensible exchange of ideas between the writer and the reader; try to keep that in mind the next time you consider waxing faux-intellectual.
Posted 03/29/2005 - 05:54:04 PM by Compunction:
 Whether you like the review or not, please don't play the "pseudo-" intellectual card. This story's "intellectual-ness" (for lack of a better word)is just what has prompted so many negative reactions. MANY intellectuals, the world over, speak in language just as (if not more) abstruse than that employed in this review, often alienating their audiences (as JT seems to have done in this case). To put it simply, smart people like to sound smart. I'm not saying that there aren't exceptions to the rule, but they are certainly exceptions. So if you think JT's diction seems forced or inappropriate, okay. But he just may be an intellectual.
Posted 03/29/2005 - 11:18:47 PM by maxwellk:
 It's fine to use big words when being an "intellectual" but it's NOT fine to to write 100 word sentences full of subject-verb disagreement and pronoun errors. I think it's more "intellectual" to write a focused, clear piece than to ramble endlessly. I agree with whoever it was that this would not receive a pass from the editorial board at any self-respecting publication without serious revision. The essay has the germ of some interesting idea (at least as far as I can tell) but it needs a complete rewrite. Academic style writing is supposed to be readable, and while JT Ramsay clearly has a great vocabulary he needs to reevaluate how he's using it. Studying critical theory and using long sentences does not make you into David Foster Wallace.
Posted 03/30/2005 - 11:05:21 AM by olavbjortomt:
 My main problem is that this review attempts to use intellectual jargon very much aware that it is doing so (here's one in the eye for you Derrida wankers), but it just doesn't work. It's far too clumsy. I feel the sentiments but the language just makes me go fucking nuts reading it. By the way, I saw Slint at ATP. They were great. Please see them before they or you die.
Posted 03/30/2005 - 11:04:02 PM by The-Disexists:
 Well well, the review`s responses thus far substrated certainly produced an insouciance only ever considered kinesthetically irrelevant by the zero-minority, meaning that Slint, by dint of their own self-important passe-fie-vouz, are equally and pathogenically entitled to blame. I mean you can hear it even on the album, an afflatus by any circumlocutory standards, set in the Can days before Suzuki even. I`d like to add that after reading the review my own phlegm gargled it`s non-linear spastic retreat into the hyperbole of linguistic theory. Themes that modify Spiderland were never incongruent against Herrick`s note-for-note prism analysis, eh guys! Yeah! Rock on JT!
Posted 03/31/2005 - 03:29:47 AM by knockturn:
 erm, can anyone recommend a decent bollock, as I seem to have stumbled into a bath. ah yes, here it is. where's me jumpsuit?
Posted 04/01/2005 - 07:50:44 PM by manis5:
 hey I'm all for long sentences, Kafka, for instance,famously took much of the punctuation out of many of his novels to great effect. However, he did this purposely, and with a strong sense of composition and syntax that our writer here lacks. It's not that he used some of the word incorrectly (which he in fact does) but that the language is not appropiate to the task at hand and he clearly does not have enough controll of his writing to direct a 200 word sentence with any type of focus(I am not saying that I do, though one day perhaps I will achieve that level of mastery). He would do well to remember another great writer, Shakespear. He too used long sentences, but there is a fine line between Hamlet and Polonius, or even Dogberry for that matter.
Posted 04/01/2005 - 07:51:56 PM by manis5:
 ok its shakespeare not shakepear I know
Posted 04/01/2005 - 08:00:14 PM by patient:
 caught the DC show. they opened w/good morning, cpt. and closed w/ rhoda. holy shit that was amazing. wall of sound, a music orgasm. but yknow, i bet it would have been 10 times better to see them back in like, 91.
Posted 04/02/2005 - 02:51:26 PM by shredded77:
 man.. someone turn down the pretentiousness in this piece please!!