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Jul 9, 2018

As I listen to “Lorelei” by Cocteau Twins, I’m reminded of last week’s post where I talked about context-free music and its virtue in my personal programming head-space. In writing down my thoughts on the matter I didn’t want to give the impression that there’s a strict dichotomy between sentiment-driven and context-free music. Indeed, there are many bands that bridge the gap between the two styles and a more nuanced musical landscape exists in reality. For example, some amazing bands that I love dearly that are able to create musical environment AND express sentiment include: Dead Can Dance, Boards of Canada, Beethoven, Grouper, Popul Vuh, John Coltrane, and Tangerine Dream.

Ever since I was a kid I can remember wishing for a-la carte television. Rather than cable or rentals I wanted to pay $0.50 here and $0.25 there to watch specific episodes of specific shows. While that granularity never materialized, the binge-targeted online video media publishing houses are moving in the right direction. Further, while television for a long time has followed the watch-and-immediately-forget philosophy, the binge-peddlers seem to have brought back the long lost art of telling a coherent and compelling story.

My favorite kind of sci-fi is the kind where each page contains a dozen throw-away crazy ideas. A couple of the best in this vein is Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and The Zen Gun by Barrington Bayley.1

When I was a younger man in college I had one floppy disk per class that I attended. My thinking was that everything that I would need for a class should fit on a single floppy and go with me in a shirt or backpack pocket. These disks included everything from my source files, to editors, to compilers, to essays, to research, to … you get the point. This thinking was instilled in me at a young age through my propensity to have a book with me at all times. I’d ride my skateboard around town with a paperback sticking out of my back pocket. I felt that any book worth reading was one that could fit into my back pocket. Indeed, often my choice of reading was wholly driven by the presentation format. To this day I’m fascinated by portability2 as an aesthetic.

For a long time I dreamed of programming a whole suite of useful applications that could fit onto a single floppy, but the weight of the task was too much to overcome given my other school requirements. I did eventually make a useable text editor, but the dream eventually withered on the vine. That said, the core aesthetic has stuck with me and has driven my personal design style. I’ll probably talk more about this in the future.


  1. If I were independently wealthy I’d buy a used book shop and just use it as an office. 

  2. I mean portability in the “moving things around” sense. 

4 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. voga

    As a huge BoC fan I’d recommend to check this article:

    IMO that’s the closest you can write about emotional temperament of their music

  2. Thanks for the band recommendations. I’m due to buy some new music soon. Now I have something to check out.

    I made my office to be my library. Recommended.

  3. Okay, that’s the second time you’ve mentioned The Zen Gun recently. You’ve convinced me. I’ve got to give it a shot.

  4. I picked up The Zen Gun a while ago, but I only got around to reading it in the past week.* It was a fun romp, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Thank you for mentioning it!

    • In my defense, when I last commented here, I had a one month old child on my hands.

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