So fatigued I'm barely literate after completing my seventh splendid weekend at SappyFest. SappyFest is the treasure of Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada and my favourite music festival in the world. Founded by the likes of Julie Doiron, it is small and weird, specializing in brave, sincere and noisy rackets; 2015 marked its improbable 10th anniversary.
Seven times now, I have penned Sappy's Sappy Times: a daily journal, printed on real paper, distributed across the festival site. Every night I'd get home at 1 or 2 a.m. and, with the help of this year's new Junior Correspondents, collect my thoughts on all the marvels I heard. The Times were penned between the hours of midnight and 6:47 a.m. My three nights added up into about 13 hours of sleep. The greatest performances I saw were by PUP, Frog Eyes, Nap Eyes, Partner, Nancy Pants, ANAMAI, Mozart's Sister, Julie Doiron, Human Music, Michael Feuerstack and Les Hay Babies. Other major highlights included Shotgun Jimmie's Guided By Voices Sing-Along and a late-night DJ set by DJ Coconuts (a man in a gorilla suit who plays and plays and replays a vinyl copy of Harry Nilsson's "Lime in the Coconut".
As in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, for archival purposes, and for the interest of Said the Gramophone readers, I offer the digitized Sappy Times right here:
Saturday // Sunday // Monday (pdfs)
If you've never been to Sappy, I'll say it again: it's special and small and remarkable. If you enjoy the kind of music I do, and the songs we do, you owe it to yourself to book a trip to the Canadian maritime provinces. See some swans, some beautiful songs, then drive to the coast and swim in the sea.
Thank you again to Lucas Hicks, as well as Matt Tunnacliffe and the SappyFest board, for making this one of the gladdest traditions of my year.
CFCF - "Part 1:Departure"
CFCF - "Part:10Imagination"
] -The colours of life is coming out in August
CFCF - "La Soufrière"
[Pre-Order] -Radiance and Submission ships late July.
So, my family doctor retired. I called the clinic and the operator said, "Dr. Nguyen retired last month." with annoyance, like we all have when your computer asks you if you want the new update for iTunes. I understand. I'm sure she has to repeat same phrase over and over to all his patients.
It took a really long time to get a family doctor. Every time I went to the walk in clinic I would ask the doctor that saw me if they could take on any new patients, they replied, "No". It was same as every time I go to Pharmaprix and get asked, "Do you have the Shoppers Optimum card?". My answer is always, "No". I don't need anymore card. I would take a quick glace at the doctors' desk, there would usually be a picture of his/her family and I would think "Oh ya, family doctors have families too and there is only so much they can take on. They have lives. I understand.
One morning, after 4 hours of waiting at the walk-in clinic, I asked the same question, but this time the doctor casually said, "Sure" with no emotion at all. I thought it sounded like he said, "Shure" the microphone brand. No emotion just monotone robotic automated message tone. I was so happy to finally find a family doctor, "Welcome to my family!" I almost wanted to say and hug him and ask him if he wanted to go Go-Karting or Mini-Golfing with me on weekends.
Dr. Nguyen was a a mystery man. I never found out much about him. He never smiled or made any casual conversation. Even talking about the weather. If I would say, "it's getting hot." he would answer, "Yes, summer is coming." with a monotone voice, the opposite of John Snow, "Winter is coming.", but I didn't mind at all. He just seemed like that kind of guy. I imagined that he enjoyed reading National Geographic Magazines, hiking, mowing the lawn, taking care of his garden, drinking a glass of wine on his patio with his dog, listening to Bach cello pieces, going to see his elderly mother and bringing her an orchid, preparing tuna tartare, not using the dishwasher because he feels like cooking and washing dishes are therapeutic, ironing his own shirts, and then going back to work and getting enjoyment out of helping people. It's all in my head, and of course, there is always a possibility that as soon as his work day is over, he yells, "Fuck ya! Friday! Friday! I'm gonna call my all friends and get wasted lol!!" as he loosens his tie and drives away with a screech of SUV tires, or maybe it's a convertible with leather seats, he drives away blasting Boston, and drinking Redbull. He gets home, orders pizza, and sits in front of his computer watching porn. When the pizza arrives he doesn't tip and eats it continuing to watch porn, then he showers, puts on a silk shirt and snake skin shoes, goes out with his friends, comes home at 4am, falls asleep watching more porn and wakes up at 3pm, eats the leftover pizza with gatorade for breakfast, and watches Jude Apatow movies. Then repeats on Saturday. Then he picks up his dry cleaned shirts and gets to work late because he almost forgot to delete his browser history, just in case.
I don't really think he was like that. I think he was a shy, quiet, nice guy who cared for his patients.
But now he is retired so I will never find out. He might be on some remote island, eating exotic fruits, and bird or whale watching. He is probably listening to new CFCF albums on a yacht with sunset behind him, with the sound of gentle waves over and over and over repeating eternally.
Hope you have a great after-retirement life Dr. Nguyen. Thank you for taking me into your family for a short time. Take care
Flesh World - "The Wild Animals in my Life"
I saw my first owl.
We were driving up the dirt road at the cottage when I glimpsed a flash of something through my window. It was gliding alongside the car, a few feet away.
We stopped the car and got out and walked back down the road. Sitting on a branch a little way into the forest there was a barred owl staring at us quietly with its black eyes. We watched it swoop away silently.
The next day we saw another one on a trail at Murphys Point Provinicial Park. We heard the high-pitched whistle of the young owl and then we saw one of its parents on a branch, not too far off, watching us from the green world. You can hear the calls of the barred owl here. The juvenile whistling was the only sound we heard, we didn't hear the famous "Who-cooks-for-you?" hoot. Maybe next time.
The woods are full of surprises, friends. You probably live in a city like I do, but I hope you get to go out there sometimes.
(photo by Spike)
Stephen Tsoti Kasumali - "Banakatekwe". I know you have considered it: dismantling your life into its simplest parts, small pieces, discarding everything and emerging into a freer today. Sometimes I consider it as I am staring at a plot of grass. This lawn, this green lawn, just leaves. This song, just singing and handclaps and a drumstick and a bare guitar. But more often I consider the simplification of my life when I am reflecting on its present complexity. This life, this busy life, full of so many moving parts. I look at all these pieces and wonder how many other lives could be constituted from this stuff. Is the stuff of my life enough stuff for three lives, five, fifteen? Would my one complicated life be able to be reconstituted as fifteen simple lives? Plainer, happier lives, like singing and handclaps and a drumstick and a bare guitar? Not poor lives, ramshackle lives, like a row of shoeboxes - just lives like green lawns. It is too easy to fetishize the sound of faraway, to diminish the complexity of another person's experience purely because it is alien to you. And this is especially true when Westerners look at Africa. I do not believe that Stephen Tsoti Kasumali and the other musicians on "Banakatekwe" have simple lives; their lives are probably as complicated as mine. But "Banakatekwe" is a dream of something easier, freer, made of fewer parts. I wonder if they wonder this too, listening to the recording: Could I make my whole life like this?
[buy (out of print)]
(Photo by Robert Knudsen. It's of Richard Nixon's final lunch before announcing that he was resigning as president of the USA.)
11:34 AM on Jul 27, 2015
Nap Eyes - "Dark Creedence"
Nap Eyes - "Delirium and Persecution Paranoia"
Every once in a while it's nice to be gently reminded that you know, in the grand scheme, almost nothing about yourself. Actually okay I should be less general - maybe you don't have this problem, but a lot of the time I let myself fall or at least lean gently into the idea that the feelings or tastes I currently have are feelings or tastes I've always had and will continue to have forever. I guess I know people who don't do this so much, and intellectually, if you asked me, hey Emma - do you think you'll always like the things you like now? In the same ways? For the same reasons? I'd be like duh obviously not, with a little condescending smile, because what a question!
But emotionally, intuitively, the vague but pervasive impression that there are some things about you that are fixed (and that you can at least track if not control the ones that aren't) is kind of what lets you live like a normal human being out in the world. Right? It's how work gets done, it's how decisions get made. I mean for fuck's sake, I have tattoos. Even if you know in your brain that you are not going to be the same forever, in a more free-floating hand-wave-y intuitive sense you have to base so much of your life around the idea that you know at least a few things about yourself: about what you like or what you don't, about what feels good or bad to you, about what counts and how. It's a convenient system - the linear narrative, the idea of foundational things or fixed taste or canon or context - and it's also necessary because without it, making any kind of choice ever would be fucking excruciating. You have to think you know what you like, and you have to have stories about why you like it.
But it also seems important to remember sometimes that a lot of that's a fiction, flimsy bulwark against the Great Uncertainty. The first time I ever heard Nap Eyes it was through this very website, and I was like, huh, I dunno, and then forgot. The first time I really listened to Whine of the Mystic all the way through was a few months ago, and I felt actively annoyed, because it felt like everyone I like totally loved this band and I just did. not. get. it. I don't really think I'm that different from the person I was a few months ago; not much has shifted or changed, no major traumas, whatever. But things have passed over and through me I guess, and a month or so ago I thought maybe I'll give this another try and all of a sudden these songs made me feel like someone had twined Christmas lights around my ribs in my sleep. They sounded out a part of me I hadn't known was there; they made me feel pulled and pushed in a way that is so subtle and strong I am not sure how to explain it.
The other day I was re-reading a book I've read a few times already, and this one poem jumped out at me that never had before. It's beautiful, my favourite kind of thing, a mood that starts off wandering and then gathers into a sharp turn:
Who are you?
What of you persists? Your life built on intervals
the way a chord is, on changes that alter you
by thirds, by fifths, in silences the progression climbs
to where each song ends, and the next begins.
Your life, your tastes, your feelings - it might all look a narrative, straightforward and building, but that's just the shape of things, not their content. You can know a couple things about yourself but for the most part every part of you is mutable, flimsy as weather. New things find a way in, press against you at new angles, and you don't get to know how or when or why. You don't need to. You just get to keep moving. It's cool.
[buy Whine of the Mystic]
Century Palm - "Desire"
Babe Chick - "My Phone"
A Pony Named Hesitation - "Johnny Girl"
Mark Fragua - "Stimulator"
Bonnie Doon - "B Hole"
Afterburners Vol.5 (Bruised Tongue) - Free download comp. here.
I'm just typing this with my fingers covered with ketchup chips. Excellent label, Bruised Tongue from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada has an excellent compilation. I finished my ketchup chips and moved onto Party Mix. There is also a bag of Original flavour waiting for me.(there is an office party in my studio right now. That's why there are many bags of chips.) I guess music is like a chip flavour. Some people enjoy simple flavour, some people like something with a little kick, jalapeno flavour. Even texture of chips alone is different some are hard crispy chips. Some are thicker. Some are all natural close to real potato as possible.(Probablly Steve Albini likes this.)
Not much happened to me last week, some highlights were, I watch Jurrassic World and came home and killed so many fruit flies mercilessly. I saw a guy riding bicycle carrying a full-size air conditioner. That's all. Have a great week and hope you enjoy this compilation.
Don Cherry - "Brown Rice"
Sometimes you have to travel into the unknown, leave behind the familiar places and light out for a destination that's only hinted at, imagined. It's over the hills, beyond the river's mouth, on the other side of the lake. Unseen.
This song is an unknown landscape. Its open space is traversed by a haunting vocal melody, echoed by electric piano. This is your pathway through wonders. As you move through it other features become known to you; rumbling bass, clear tenor sax, percussion quieter than footfalls. Then another voice whispers in your ear, guiding you along while the instruments take turns revealing themselves and then retreating into silence. Eventually even the ghostly vocal melody disappears and you realize that you have arrived at your destination. Silence.
(Gerhard Richter Seascape - image source)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs
. All tracks are posted out of love
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Said the Gramophone
launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.
If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors
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writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This
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is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True
and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter
is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker
in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here
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wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here
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wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)
Back to the World
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Gorilla vs Bear
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In FocusAMASS BLOG
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet
things we like in Montreal
le pick up
au pied de cochon
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, café italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c
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blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
cinema du parc
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe
The Morning News