Years ago, I started this massive, meandering, almost undefined project. What did I want to listen to? Working in Chicago's Loop, I would rush out during lunch hour and rummage through the Chicago Public Library's massive music collection. I would pick up anything that I could find -- classic albums I'd yet to hear and albums by bands I'd missed, as well as music from around the world, classical composers, you name it. This winding project did not seem to have a purpose at the time, but in hindsight I realize that it had a sort of objective, cataloging ideal attached to it. Rather than simply listening for purposes of expression, or sheer enjoyment, I was also following the back story of music that I already loved, or filling in gaps in my listening experience.
In 2011, I joined the ranks of Foxy Digitalis's writing staff, thanks to a tip from Travis Bird and the generosity of Brad and Eden. Not long after joining Foxy, I received this wondrous brown box crammed full of promotional CDs and CDRs. Opening the box was one of the most shocking experiences of my life, as I was thrust into a world of concrete, physical copies of music that I had no clue existed. This music stretched the globe -- my initial shipment featured labels as diverse as Rune Grammofon and Kill Shaman, and I was introduced to artists such as Conrad Schnitzler and Pleq.
From the start, I dove into researching and learning about the music I reviewed. I had no clue how to write about drones or electronic beats. I had no idea how knowledgable I was supposed to sound about the music; how could I place myself within the massive catalogs of these labels, genres, and artists whose existence just smacked me in the ears?
While I started writing reviews in tentative descriptions, I soon caught on to trends I liked, and I started to feel the music. Following my jump into Permanent Records Chicago's well-curated aesthetic, and my explorations of psychedelic music, I learned to submerge my mind into the expressions of these fiercely independent artists I was faced with reviewing. Slowly, I learned to join forces with them; to let their experience of making their independent statements run through my blood, to try and view the world from their perspective, to try and convey the feeling their music provided me.
Foxy Digitalis turned me on to a world of truly independent artists; independent outside of strong distribution networks, independent bedroom labels, independent apartment shows, independent artists working in galleries, independent visionaries incorporating music into one element of their overall design. My being shifted from cataloging and building this amazing history of music, this wonderful knowledge of what was released and pressed into consumable format, and shifted into embracing the experience of music.
I learned to embrace the subjectivity of music. With no possible way to catalog my knowledge of releases and genres I had not experienced, I blended in with the music. What did this song convey? What was the goal of the artist? How did they use their space? How did it feel, listening to it? Did it stop me in my tracks? Only then might I move into cataloging the specific sounds that appeared on each disc, tape, piece of wax, whatever -- I could no longer afford to simply sit and write a report of what appeared on each recording; I now understood that I had the unique opportunity to convey experiences of art.
I learned that there is no subjective and objective reality. Rather, each point in reality has objective and subjective aspects. There is a subjectivity to each object, and an objectivity to each subject; they run together, corresponding with one another as mind/form or spirit/matter, exuding a sort of pre-established harmony -- if you want to see it, showing a type of vital hylomorphism, where the aspects of form and matter cannot be treated separately or considered without the other. There is no independent object, there is no independent subject; there is creation, moving, existing, constantly shifting, unfolding in its very being. I learned this through Foxy Digitalis; I learned to turn away from the mere cataloging, and to embrace and merge with the creative surges.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Brad and Eden, and the community of my peers at Foxy Digitalis, I was able to experience music I never knew existed. I was able to constantly enter a world of wonder, a world of pure creativity, a world of expression, of powerful, anonymous music. I thought that I previously loved music, but in many ways, my time at Foxy Digitalis transformed my very being into communion with music; there is no longer any separating my experience of music from the music itself. I am now at ease with what I have not heard; my urges to hear everything no longer stem from some desire to understand and catalog the history of music, but to engage with and experience each artist's expression.
Although Foxy Digitalis will no longer exist in its classic form, I believe that our group of writers will carry its spirit forward into our new endeavors. The lessons I learned over the last two years will never leave me, and for that, I am grateful.
Thank you, Brad and Eden.
Foxy Signing Off
My author archives: http://www.foxydigitalis.com/foxyd/?author=77
Best of 2012
2011 Year Review
Castles Galore! Or, how Thee Oh Sees Recovered America
A Place to Bury Strangers Interview
Instrumental Express: Disassembly Aims Beyond Jazz & Rock
The Men Interview
Moniker Records Spotlight 1 and Spotlight 2
Rotted Tooth Recordings Spotlight
Beyond the Garage: Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees
Inspiration and Derivation: Music Critics and their Times
Intense, surreal, remote, dynamic. Come along with us as we chronicle the adventures of the soul through psychedelic, drone, noise, experimental, pop music based around Chicago bands in particular and local bands everywhere.
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