Little Spookie

by Learning Music

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Originally released as LMM issue 3.4
LearningMusicMonthly.com
original liner notes:

We recently got an interesting letter from one of our subscribers. I thought we might publish it as liner notes for the new record:

A Letter To the Editors of Learning Music Monthly from a Paperweight

Dear editors,

Let me begin by saying that I have been a subscriber to your series since early last year, but have only recently been compelled to write this letter (though parts of it, I admit, were composed in my head much earlier). Though I can't say I've genuinely enjoyed every track I've heard (and honestly I haven't actively listened to all of every CD you've sent me), the majority of your efforts are relatively intriguing. (My own tastes prefer your slower, instrumental pieces.)

I can appreciate anyone's attempt to do something creative with their time. But I have on multiple occasions questioned the value of your making a new album every month. Until recent revelations (which I will get to in a minute), I in fact considered LMM to be rather self-indulgent on your part. Does the world really need another thirty to forty minutes of music, let alone every month? Isn't the market saturated enough? Do you actually expect everyone to dedicate that much time to regularly listen to whatever you whimsically choose to put on disc? In asking these questions, I assumed, perhaps accurately, that this project is for your own benefit more than anyone else's.

Being a paperweight, I have a lot of time for thinking about such things. I've only been a paperweight for sixty-four years, but before that I was a rock in the ground for several millennia. Although erosion and polishing have slightly altered my appearance in that time, my life, relative to yours or any other human's, is practically permanent. I've always been very attached to the routine nature of my days. I am very proud of my success as a rock and more recently as a paperweight; so proud, in fact, that I have dedicated little of my time to thinking about the passions or personal concerns of others. It would seem, however, that these sixty-four years of human contact have perhaps gradually ingrained in me some now-considerable though still small amount of empathy. This is my excuse for the following forgiving of your self-indulgence.

The other day, as I was weighing on some papers, I tried to imagine why someone would want to express themselves through your chosen method. I thought: Don't you care about the songs you're making? You produce and cast them off like casual belches. When I'm given a paper to weigh, I weigh on it as long as I can, forever if possible, with all my force upon it, each paper an extension of my being, a tribute to the solidity of my existence. But it was this other day that I realized how absurd that all really sounds. I can't possibly sit on a paper forever; eventually it and I too will turn to dust.

I think now that, although it may be selfish, your little music project is more than anything a tribute to impermanence, a celebration of the sudden, the transitory, the subconscious flow, and in turn, I suspect, an exercise in the purging of your own ego, which must to some extent disconnect itself from every creation you cast off.

I thought of this idyllic impermanence as I listened to your latest record [this issue, LMM 3.4], and heard things I before had not. Within each song there exists a sturdy, repetitive cycle; a cyclical routine that could continue for eternity if not for other elements that give it a seemingly stream-of-consciousness form. I see in these pieces a melding of the undisturbed cycle and the unpredictable impermanence of life. Forgive me if I infer too much from it. Of course I prefer the four instrumental pieces, which are rather other-worldly in a familiar sort of way. But I must admit, had I limbs enough, some of the more-upbeat numbers might cause me to dance a bit.

Please keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Paperweight
[via e-mail]


Dear Paperweight,

Thanks for your insightful feedback. I'm glad you're able to find some value in the project. I know there's a lot of music out there already; and I don't really expect everyone to enjoy or even listen to every single track in our catalog.

It certainly is an exercise to detach from a creation and just let it exist on its own. Much of the personal value for me as a creator is what I learn from the creative experience. So yeah, it is pretty selfish.

I'm very glad you like the new record. The credit for its existence goes to a handful of people, but especially to Oscar Schedin, who co-wrote and played on most of the songs (and played my favorite LMM guitar solo to date!).

Thanks for listening,

John Clement Wood
editor in chief

credits

released August 1, 2010

• John Clement Wood (vocals on 1, 2, 6, 7, 9; keys on 2, 7, 9; percussion on 6, 7, 9; claps and bass guitar on 7; guitars and beatbox on 9)
• Oscar Schedin (vocals on 4; guitars on 1, 2, 4, 6, 7; bass guitar on 1, 2, 4, 6; percussion on 1, 6; claps on 7; keys on 4; moog lead on 9)
• Mike G (drum set on 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9)
• Lewis Keller (percussion on 2, 7; claps on 7)
• Jake Blanton (guitar on 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
• Larry Goldings (keys on 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
• Alex Heitlinger (trombones on 6, 9)
• Max Markowitz (cornet on 1)
• Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 produced by Schedin and Wood; 3, 5, 8, 10 produced by Wood.

• artwork by Max Markowitz :: watercloudmoon.com

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John Clement Wood Los Angeles, California

John Clement Wood is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, working with artists as varied as Mike Kelley, Sebastien Tellier, Anni Rossi, Cougarship, and the Black Keys. He produced 36 disparate albums of original music as part of the Learning Music Monthly album-a-month series. Wood composes music for a variety of film and media. He is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts ... more

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