Tuesday, November 22, 2005

IMing With the Stars! First Edition: Paul Duncan

I am debuting a new column today wherein I will IM with one of our favorite arists, possibly unbeknownst to them, and publish it here to make your head hurt as you try to dissect the three simultaneous threads of conversation that overlap each other! Here, Hometapes recording artist Paul Duncan discusses Pitchfork's review of his record (a 7.8), Loren Mazzacane-Connors, and a song of his my wife skips on our iPod.

Grammar and punctuation have been preserved:

Me: Paul
Me: It's Lucas
Paul Duncan: omg!!!
Paul Duncan: omg
Paul Duncan: you totally just creeped up on me
Me: heh
Me: this for that interview feature for our blog
Me: are you at work?
Paul Duncan: naw
Me: where do you work?
Paul Duncan: i'm sitting at home playin the geetar
Paul Duncan: i work for a studio in manhattan
Me: you are like a real musician or something
Paul Duncan: has the interview started ?
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: um, I don't know
Me: you are the first
Paul Duncan: i'm preeeeeetty real i guess
Me: how do you feel about "The Fork" score today?
Me: I thought the review read better than a 7.8, really, but Joe T. can be a tough critic,
number-wise, but he's really good--one of their best
Paul Duncan: i feel like their system (of a down?) is flawed
Paul Duncan: but a nice review :-)
Me: I joked about System of a Down being the lead review and sure enough it was
Me: they are one of those bands like QOTSA and Mars Volta that somehow gets credibility when they sound so average and stupid to me
Paul Duncan: yeh, weird... 7.8 but sounds like he's recommending it to everyone and like he loved it
Paul Duncan: hmm
Me: well, 7.8 is almost four out of five stars, you know?
Paul Duncan: yeh
Me: if you look at it that way, it's pretty hot
Paul Duncan: it's cool .. i mean they crap on a lot of records i like ... so, a 7.8 for what i do or create or whatever is good
Me: yeah, no doubt
Me: I think that Pitchfork is actually a lot more fair than people give them credit for
Me: it's just that they have this status and this importance, so they take a lot of heat
Me: but no one ever says stuff about the other sites like Tiny Mix Tapes that are almost as big
Paul Duncan: yeh
Paul Duncan: they liked my stuff
Paul Duncan: they gave it a great review
Me: they are tough critics, too
Paul Duncan: no #'s in their system
Paul Duncan: true
Paul Duncan: they are
Me: no it got 4 out of 5 there
Me: they just don't make a big deal out of the numbers
Me: anyway, are you working on a new record? I assume you have access to a studio because you work at one
Paul Duncan: (quoting Tiny Mix Tapes) Paul Duncan. Now here's a guy you could invite to your Christmas party. He's smart, interesting, and talented. He might also bring a good bottle of wine and a few good-lookin' girlies
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: that's awesome
Paul Duncan: yeah ... i'm starting my new record
Paul Duncan: i wanna do a lot of it in a studio
Me: are you gonna go all Sufjan?
Paul Duncan: as in not in my house or workplace
Me: because I think that your brand of--and this sounds contradictory--lush minimalism really works
Paul Duncan: but have demos .. and go track it
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: there's no way i'll go all sufjan
Paul Duncan: i don't like his music really
Me: I feel like I should like him b/c I like orchestral pop so much, but I never really need to hear his stuff
Paul Duncan: but if by all sufjan you mean more string arrangements then, yeh ... there will be a few tracks w/ arrangements that aren't minimal
Paul Duncan: or maybe they will turn out to be minimal
Me: you and I are both fans of Eno and he was great at doing these lush songs with very little, like the Big Ship
Paul Duncan: somewhere between talk talk and bill fay
Me: I assume you mean late period Talk Talk
Me: heh
Paul Duncan: no no .. the early stuff
Paul Duncan: early early
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: It's my life!
Paul Duncan: yay!
Me: I love that record Talk Talk--the new wave one
Me: great stuff
Me: but I like the later period just as much for different reasons
Me: It seems like the only song that people don't really like is Aria/Cave Song...they think it breaks up the momentum of the album
Me: discuss
Me: My wife always skips it on her ipod it seems
Me: it had one play, but everything else had, like, 6 or 7
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: i know why people don't like it
Me: I kind of dig it myself
Me: but I like that kind of expressionistic guitar noodling
Me: I mean noodling in the best possible way
Me: why do you think people don't like it?
Paul Duncan: it took people almost all of loren connor's life for people to understand what he was doing on a larger scale. .. and now he's about to not be able to play guitar anymore ... i'm not trying to compare myself to him at all really other than the obvious ... blues riff minimalism .. people don't like minimalism at it's most abstract normally... a lot of people tell me that's their favorite track, so i guess it's hit or miss ... actually let me amend that, people HATE it apparently when you throw abstract minimalism into a record that they feel should be a pop record
Paul Duncan: of course maybe that one reviewer was right and it's just a misstep
Paul Duncan: wait, no it's not!
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: I never really thought of ol' Mazzacane before, but that makes a lot of sense
Me: I like this swirl of influences you have--that you are not afraid to get a little sentimental (Oil In The Fields) or get witty (You Look Like An Animal) or pretty out there (Aria), but they all seem to be coming from the same person.
Paul Duncan: when i say people hate it when you throw abstract minimalism into what they feel should be a pop record ... i meant it gets personal ... they have a relationship with the record and then you take them out of it to reflect for a few minutes and they can get offended ... completely understandable .. hopefully it'll grow on people ... does your wife like the rest of the record? track 4?
Me: yeah
Paul Duncan: I like this swirl of influences you have--that you are not afraid to get a little sentimental (Oil In The Fields) or get witty (You Look Like An Animal) or pretty out there (Aria), but they all seem to be coming from the same person.
Paul Duncan: you want me to talk about that?
Me: no, I just said it
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: ok
Paul Duncan: thanks
Me: I mean, if you want to
Paul Duncan: nah
Paul Duncan: it's a compliment
Me: the word sentimental carries connotations of schmaltz, but that song is genuinely affecting.
Paul Duncan: yeh, well by definition sentimental has the connotation of memory
Me: it seems like a drunk-and-dial call I would have made to an ex-girlfriend back in the day
Paul Duncan: but the fact that it has made a bad name for itself means people usually don't want to remember most of the time
Paul Duncan: i guess???
Paul Duncan: they blame you when you make them remember
Me: one of our interns uses the record for studying purposes because she doesn't find it obtrusive, but Jon here likes all of the aggressive stuff, so it's a malleable listen for sure
Me: yeah, true about sentimentality
Paul Duncan: it is kind of a drunk and dial ... because those moments, when remembered are really vulnerable
Me: glad I was on it!
Paul Duncan: i mean i'm sure that memory for you is as strong or could be as some weird childhood memory
Paul Duncan: what does your intern study?
Me: um, comparative literature, I think
Me: yeah, that's it
Me: Jon's getting his Masters in International Affairs
Me: or some such thing
Paul Duncan: i could see my record playing in a library quietly
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: that'd be nice

IMing With The Stars is brought to you by Team Clermont. Photo by Marianne Meyer.


homertapers said...

oh dang. yallz are nutzers.

gorjus said...

Everybody spells much nicer then they should in an IM conversation!

The score on the 'Fork, if you'd have asked me based on the review, was actually an "8.2" or something. I daresay there was gushing involved.

Team Clermont Lucas said...

Yeah, I would say so, but I like that Joe is very frugal with his numbers. He is not one to wildly overpraise stuff numerically and get himself into trouble (i.e. 10.0 for the Moon and Antarctica). But, yeah, he dug.

Gorjus, have you heard Oil In The Fields by Paul Duncan yet? It's a real soaker, man...a tearjerker. Download it from an earlier post.