Saturday, June 27, 2009

13 Songs With The Calculus Affair: There is a lot of Math

Other than from friends, I find out about more good music from the playlists of baristas than probably any other source. It's how I found Sufjan Stevens, The Kings of Convenience, Dzihan and Kamien, Neutral Milk Hotel, and a bunch more things I can't remember right now. After breakfast on the mornings that I get up with the wee child, I take him and the dog on a walk to any one of the roughly 47 coffeeshops within a ten-block radius of my house; on Friday morning that Talking Heads song that goes "Hi! Hi-Hi-Hi-Hi-Hi! Hi-hi!" was playing when I walked into Tougo (which is by far the best of the 47 coffeshops I can walk to). Right after it was this instrumental song I had never heard before, it had sort of a 60's-70's jazz-rock vibe; the lead guitar was really present in the mix, but at the same time had a whole bunch of reverb on it, with the rest of the band unusually quiet. The guitarist was playing this really simple, really catchy melody which tied up at the end of each phrase in a way that I can't describe other than to say it was incredibly satisfying to listen to.

My college math professor Shahriar Shahriari once remarked as an aside during class, "there is a lot of math in the world. People don't realize how much math there is." He meant that most people's awareness of math essentially encompasses arithmetic, algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, which is the rough equivalent of someone's awareness of literature being comprised entirely of Greek tragedy, some medieval Islamic texts, and 17th century British novels that some people argue were actually written by Russians. Similarly, it frequently boggles my mind how much good music there is that I'm totally unaware of. It makes me both happy, for all the good music there is, and sad, because how on earth could one listen to it all, or ever compete for attention with all the rest of it?


alicia said...

Where was your math teacher from? Very interesting name.
That is an exciting revelation about music. If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I would hire someone to always add newly discovered music. Because for some reason, I have a hard time adding new music to my life. It's the same with clothes. I would also hire a personal stylist. I would also do a lot of other things but I won't take up any more space in your blog talking about them

Transient Gadfly said...

Shahriar Shahriari is from Iran (he's Farsi, his name means Shahriar, son of Shahriar).

I'm totally with you about adding music to your existence. It's just freaking hard, and it's music so if it feels like work, you won't do it. Hence the appeal of having someone (your personal shopper, your barista) do the work for you. I'm going to meditate on that for awhile.