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Short transcription of excerpt from KCRW Bookworm interview with Karl Ove Knausgaard

Michael Silverblatt: “I felt that I understood Karl Ove Knausgaard, both the character in the book and the writer of the book, in a way that I haven't understood another person since I was reading Dostoeyevsky — that the feeling of great passion, great terror and ordinary life were all engaged in this book. But I think that while the world — all over the world — has become tragically more like America, America has become more like Norway.”

Knausgaard: (laughs)

Silverblatt: “If you were to talk to young people here, any one young person on the street, he or she would say: ‘I fear my life is worthless, I fear my life means nothing, I don't know where to go, I don't know what to do, I don't know how to restore significance to my life.'

Knausgaard: “Mm.”

Silverblatt: “This is something beyond existentialism, beyond Camus' ‘the Stranger'. This is the tragic sadness of ordinary life.”

Knausgaard: “Yeah. Do you think that's connected to our times, or do you think it's —?”

Silverblatt: “I do, I do. I think that ideas about… oh you know? If I don't let you say… do you think this is connected to our times?”

Knausgaard: (laughs) “I think… certainly my grandparents felt that way, I'm sure. They had to, you know, they have had to work and to do all of these things just to survive, to manage, to live — I mean it's too much to do to, to worry about these things. It's different now.

But I don't know. For me, my strategy is just to go and think what I — try to describe what's in my life, and my connection to contemporary life and describe it in details, hoping that it will be relevant, hoping that I could catch something, but I do not know those general abstract notions about contemporary life whatsoever.”

http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/bookworm/karl-ove-knausgaard-my-struggle-part-i

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6141029/majical-cloudz-tour-lorde-interview-tim-hecker-remix-devon-welsh

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6141029/majical-cloudz-tour-lorde-interview-tim-hecker-remix-devon-welsh:

While pulled over on the side of the road near Coppins Corners, ON I talked to Billboard about our tour with Lorde in the fall and a remix of “Savage” by Tim Hecker

if you want to come to any of our dates with Lorde in Sept/Oct, you can now get ticket links through…

if you want to come to any of our dates with Lorde in Sept/Oct, you can now get ticket links through our site: http://majicalcloudz.com/tours/

We will be supporting Lorde on her fall US tour! These are the…





We will be supporting Lorde on her fall US tour! These are the dates.

This is a clip from the website our friend Denis made for the…



This is a clip from the website our friend Denis made for the song “Love Soul”.

This is the website: http://majicalcloudz.com/lovesoul/

“Love Soul” was written during the time of many of the other…



"Love Soul" was written during the time of many of the other songs on Impersonator but we decided to leave it off the album.

It was a part of our set during our first shows, but we decided to leave it off the album because we didn't think it fit with the rest of the songs.
It was the only song I kept from a time when I was living in Northern California. I remember writing it at a cabin in the woods a few hours east of the Bay. I played it for the friends I was with and I think everyone, myself included, couldn't really understand what it was. A dissonant loop and repetitive vocals.

As Matt and I played it live it evolved slightly, so this is it.

Victor Burgin, “Any Moment,” (1970)




0
ANY MOMENT PREVIOUS TO
THE PRESENT MOMENT


1
THE PRESENT MOMENT AND
ONLY THE PRESENT MOMENT


2
ALL APARENTLY INDIVIDUAL
OBJECTS DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED
BY YOU AT 1


3
ALL OF YOUR RECOLLECTION AT 1
OF APPARENTLY INDIVIDUAL OBJECTS
DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED BY YOU AT
0 AND KNOWN TO BE IDENTICAL
WITH 2


4
ALL CRITERIA BY WHICH YOU MIGHT
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN MEMBERS OF 3
AND 2


5
ALL OF YOUR EXTRAPOLATION FROM
2 AND 3 CONCERNING THE DISPOSITION
OF 2 AT 0


6
ALL ASPECTS OF THE DISPOSITION
OF YOUR WON BODY AT 1 WHICH
YOU CONSIDER IN WHOLE OR IN
PART STRUCTURALLY ANALOGOUS
WITH THE DISPOSITION OF 2


7
ALL OF YOUR INTENTIONAL BODILY
ACTS PERFORMED UPON ANY MEMBER
OF 2


8
ALL OF YOUR BODILY SENSATIONS
WHICH YOU CONSIDER CONTINGENT
UPON YOUR BODILY CONTACT WITH
ANY MEMBER OF 2


9
ALL EMOTIONS DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED
BY YOU AT 1


10
ALL OF YOUR BODILY SENSATIONS
WHICH YOU CONSIDER CONTINGENT
UPON ANY MEMBER OF 9


11
ALL CRITERIA BY WHICH YOU MIGHT
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN MEMBERS OF
10 AND 9


12
ALL OF YOUR RECOLLECTION AT 1
OTHER THAN 3


13
ALL ASPECTS OF 12 UPON WHICH
YOU CONSIDER ANY MEMBER OF 9
TO BE CONTINGENT

This is the music video for the song ‘Savage’. We…



This is the music video for the song ‘Savage'. We wanted to make something simple, so my friend Igor came over and we shot it really quickly. He edited it and sent a version of it to me later that night. I tried my hardest to write the lyrics out in time with when they appear in the song. This didn't work out very successfully so Igor edited the footage a little bit in order to keep the pace.

Nov. 20th & Nov. 23rd – Montreal – Club Soda (for M for Montreal)

Unedited thoughts on recent Montreal shows…

A couple of (possibly) obvious questions: how do the sizes of venues and crowds affect the nature of performances? How are certain ways of conceptualizing performance related to the spaces in which the performers work?

We played two of our last shows of the year in Montreal recently, for the M for Montreal festival. Each offered a distinct and archetypal show environment, and my contrasting experiences made me think about some things that I feel are worth writing about.

A word on the festival: M for Montreal invites music industry people of all types to come to the city and pays their expenses so they can see, write about, or work with musicians from Montreal and (ideally) spread the gospel about the city's culture. On one weekend a year shows are set up all around the city in venues ranging from the biggest legitimate venues to the smallest illegitimate after-hours clubs.

The first show was on a Wednesday night at a roughly 100-capacity venue called Casa del Popolo. Matt and I played our 4th ever show there as well as the release party of an EP we released in December 2012. Casa is a fixture for local shows in Montreal. The space is intimate: the stage is low, the lights are dim, and local artwork hangs on the walls.

The show at Casa was reserved for festival delegates only. I imagined it was booked as an opportunity for these music industry people to see Montreal bands in a more intimate setting than they may have had the opportunity to if it was a show open to the public.

As I watched the earlier acts perform to a room of loud conversations I assumed we would be playing over the sounds of networking delegates. When we went on and performed the room was very quiet and involved despite it being at capacity. It felt nothing like I had expected based on the nature of the attendees. I had gone into the experience somewhat cynically but quickly dropped the idea that I was playing solely for the detached scrutiny of professionals. The people in attendance just felt like any other receptive audience. If anything the context contributed to the respectful silence, as they were there to listen.

I think that part of the success of the show had to do with how the assumptions about performance that are embedded in our music match with the show environment that a place like Casa del Popolo has to offer. Our music commands attention in small spaces. When foregrounded vocals are combined with a close proximity to the presence of a human body onstage, it promotes attention. Someone is speaking and they are right there. When the music accompanying the vocals is minimal and (at times) quiet, there is little room for distraction. You can talk over it, but everyone, including the performer, will hear you. The music does not create a general atmosphere so much as it looks out at you.

The fact that our approach to performance fits in a space like Casa del Popolo is no accident. The music we performed that night, mostly from “Impersonator”, was in many ways written and arranged for rooms of that size and feeling. At small shows and house parties the louder the music is the more it can easily be perceived as a soundtrack to socializing and drinking. A wall of sound does not speak to individuals; it provides a certain type of energy and leaves the audience to do with it what they will. When music in these contexts is quiet and looks outward (musically and physically) it can feel like a conversation.

I remember playing a show in my friend Matthew Duffy's tiny living room to 10 or 12 people. One person on the couch was talking to their friend. The couch was no more than 10 feet away from me so I simply walked over and knelt down in front of them while singing. We looked at each other for a moment and then they stopped talking and watched the rest of the performance. This is the feeling Matt Otto and I sought to create from the beginning: not only is the singer singing to you, you are within his reach. You are not apart from what is going on, watching from the sidelines. You are emotionally and physically implicated in the performance.

The second M for Montreal show took place a few days later on a Saturday night at a roughly 900-capacity venue called Club Soda. This was the first show Matt and I had played there. Club Soda is one of the bigger downtown venues that host shows by big acts. The last time I was there was for a sold out Grimes and Elite Gymnastics show in September 2012.

Our Club Soda show was a co-billing with Mac DeMarco, a musician I've known for a long time now and have great respect for. Unlike the Casa show this one was open to the public via the purchase of tickets, and it sold out in advance (a significant number of ‘spaces' in the venue were reserved for delegates and those with artist badges, so something less than 900 tickets were sold).

Just like the Casa show, when we went onstage the venue appeared to be close to or at capacity. The difference between a packed 100-capacity venue and a packed 900-capacity was vividly apparent. The performer becomes a body off in the distance, dwarfed by the size of the stage upon which they stand.

We have played to comparably sized rooms before, most recently in Paris for the Pitchfork Festival. That show took place in a gigantic converted slaughterhouse. We played for a crowd that was roughly equivalent in size to the one at Club Soda. Despite the circumstances we managed to preserve the important aspects of the approach to performance I mentioned earlier. The crowd was quiet for its size; at one point I stopped and said nothing in order to hear the sound of a noiseless crowd of hundreds of people.

For any number of factors not limited to but including the time of night our set started (12:45AM), the demographics (overwhelmingly College-age) and the other act on the bill (the notoriously hard-partying, skin-bearing Mac DeMarco and crew), the Club Soda set felt somewhat scattered.

At large venues people need something physical to unite them with each other and get them moving. Our music rarely uses traditionally ‘percussive' sounds, and the voice sits at the front of the mix. In the small spaces I have discussed earlier this functions as a focus-orienting device because the human body attached to that voice is very much present and near. When the body becomes disengaged from the voice and is shrunk by the size of the stage, the voice loses its focus-orienting power. The performer can no longer be singing to you, as you are no longer within their grasp.

I felt that parts of the back of the room never really got focused on what was happening onstage, and I think this is because the sheer size of the room does not accommodate affective subtlety or minimal music. The people near the stage were all very committed to the performance and I felt a relationship with them, albeit more impersonal and painted with broad strokes. I felt no possibility of relationship with those at the back of the room, so it did not bother me at all that some were talking. If I was in the audience and a band with our attitude to performance was playing, I would either get to the front or just tune out and wait for the set to finish.

The very same set went over very well at Casa del Popolo and awkwardly at Club Soda. Part of that has to do with the fact that our approach to performance was developed for and influenced by venues of comparable size and atmosphere to Casa. As a band we have only recently begun playing rooms of comparable size to Club Soda, and the success of those shows has been much more dependent on circumstances. If a large crowd is willing to accept the performance on our terms, it will work, but unlike in a small venue, those terms are not automatically set by the space. The larger spaces of big venues offer a different default set of terms with which to engage the performance.

Music that fits best in big venues is not inherently better or worse than music that fits best in small venues. In each case the music is created with a certain set of intentions and functional uses, and to facilitate a certain relationship with the audience. As Matt and I continue to make music and perform live, our relationship with spaces may change. We have spent the last year performing in venues with capacities ranging from 200 to 2000, and this may in some way inform the music we make. Our intended relationship with the audience will remain the same, but we may judge the ‘effectiveness' of certain sounds or songs based on the experiences we have had in these bigger venues.

This entire train of thought crossed my mind as I watched the Mac DeMarco performance that followed our own. Mac is a magnetic personality who does not seek to draw the audience toward a place of introspection, and instead provides them with the opportunity for extraverted carnal-bacchanalian celebration. A small army of drunk, naked young men partied onstage. The songs themselves had a different feeling than on the record: they seemed slightly slower in tempo, the drum parts were more cymbal-heavy, and there were many guitar solos.

It was one of the more energetic shows I've seen this year and the crowd was going wild. I believe it worked so well because Mac DeMarco & Co's approach to performance was perfectly suited to the venue space. It's heightened energy reached even the people at the back. It did not demand a personal engagement with the performer, but rather an engagement with the energy of the crowd itself. Such a performance would have been overwhelming and terrorizing in the intimate space of Casa, but Club Soda provided the context necessary to take it in.

Nov. 20th & Nov. 23rd – Montreal – Club Soda (for M for Montreal)

            Unedited thoughts on recent Montreal shows…

A couple of (possibly) obvious questions: how do the sizes of venues and crowds affect the nature of performances? How are certain ways of conceptualizing performance related to the spaces in which the performers work?

We played two of our last shows of the year in Montreal recently, for the M for Montreal festival. Each offered a distinct and archetypal show environment, and my contrasting experiences made me think about some things that I feel are worth writing about.

A word on the festival: M for Montreal invites music industry people of all types to come to the city and pays their expenses so they can see, write about, or work with musicians from Montreal and (ideally) spread the gospel about the city’s culture. On one weekend a year shows are set up all around the city in venues ranging from the biggest legitimate venues to the smallest illegitimate after-hours clubs.

The first show was on a Wednesday night at a roughly 100-capacity venue called Casa del Popolo. Matt and I played our 4th ever show there as well as the release party of an EP we released in December 2012. Casa is a fixture for local shows in Montreal. The space is intimate: the stage is low, the lights are dim, and local artwork hangs on the walls.

            The show at Casa was reserved for festival delegates only. I imagined it was booked as an opportunity for these music industry people to see Montreal bands in a more intimate setting than they may have had the opportunity to if it was a show open to the public.

As I watched the earlier acts perform to a room of loud conversations I assumed we would be playing over the sounds of networking delegates. When we went on and performed the room was very quiet and involved despite it being at capacity. It felt nothing like I had expected based on the nature of the attendees. I had gone into the experience somewhat cynically but quickly dropped the idea that I was playing solely for the detached scrutiny of professionals. The people in attendance just felt like any other receptive audience. If anything the context contributed to the respectful silence, as they were there to listen.

            I think that part of the success of the show had to do with how the assumptions about performance that are embedded in our music match with the show environment that a place like Casa del Popolo has to offer. Our music commands attention in small spaces. When foregrounded vocals are combined with a close proximity to the presence of a human body onstage, it promotes attention. Someone is speaking and they are right there. When the music accompanying the vocals is minimal and (at times) quiet, there is little room for distraction. You can talk over it, but everyone, including the performer, will hear you. The music does not create a general atmosphere so much as it looks out at you.

            The fact that our approach to performance fits in a space like Casa del Popolo is no accident. The music we performed that night, mostly from “Impersonator”, was in many ways written and arranged for rooms of that size and feeling. At small shows and house parties the louder the music is the more it can easily be perceived as a soundtrack to socializing and drinking. A wall of sound does not speak to individuals; it provides a certain type of energy and leaves the audience to do with it what they will. When music in these contexts is quiet and looks outward (musically and physically) it can feel like a conversation.

I remember playing a show in my friend Matthew Duffy’s tiny living room to 10 or 12 people. One person on the couch was talking to their friend. The couch was no more than 10 feet away from me so I simply walked over and knelt down in front of them while singing. We looked at each other for a moment and then they stopped talking and watched the rest of the performance. This is the feeling Matt Otto and I sought to create from the beginning: not only is the singer singing to you, you are within his reach. You are not apart from what is going on, watching from the sidelines. You are emotionally and physically implicated in the performance.

The second M for Montreal show took place a few days later on a Saturday night at a roughly 900-capacity venue called Club Soda. This was the first show Matt and I had played there. Club Soda is one of the bigger downtown venues that host shows by big acts. The last time I was there was for a sold out Grimes and Elite Gymnastics show in September 2012.

            Our Club Soda show was a co-billing with Mac DeMarco, a musician I’ve known for a long time now and have great respect for. Unlike the Casa show this one was open to the public via the purchase of tickets, and it sold out in advance (a significant number of ‘spaces’ in the venue were reserved for delegates and those with artist badges, so something less than 900 tickets were sold).

            Just like the Casa show, when we went onstage the venue appeared to be close to or at capacity. The difference between a packed 100-capacity venue and a packed 900-capacity was vividly apparent. The performer becomes a body off in the distance, dwarfed by the size of the stage upon which they stand.

            We have played to comparably sized rooms before, most recently in Paris for the Pitchfork Festival. That show took place in a gigantic converted slaughterhouse. We played for a crowd that was roughly equivalent in size to the one at Club Soda. Despite the circumstances we managed to preserve the important aspects of the approach to performance I mentioned earlier. The crowd was quiet for its size; at one point I stopped and said nothing in order to hear the sound of a noiseless crowd of hundreds of people.

            For any number of factors not limited to but including the time of night our set started (12:45AM), the demographics (overwhelmingly College-age) and the other act on the bill (the notoriously hard-partying, skin-bearing Mac DeMarco and crew), the Club Soda set felt somewhat scattered.

            At large venues people need something physical to unite them with each other and get them moving. Our music rarely uses traditionally ‘percussive’ sounds, and the voice sits at the front of the mix. In the small spaces I have discussed earlier this functions as a focus-orienting device because the human body attached to that voice is very much present and near. When the body becomes disengaged from the voice and is shrunk by the size of the stage, the voice loses its focus-orienting power. The performer can no longer be singing to you, as you are no longer within their grasp.

            I felt that parts of the back of the room never really got focused on what was happening onstage, and I think this is because the sheer size of the room does not accommodate affective subtlety or minimal music. The people near the stage were all very committed to the performance and I felt a relationship with them, albeit more impersonal and painted with broad strokes. I felt no possibility of relationship with those at the back of the room, so it did not bother me at all that some were talking. If I was in the audience and a band with our attitude to performance was playing, I would either get to the front or just tune out and wait for the set to finish.

            The very same set went over very well at Casa del Popolo and awkwardly at Club Soda. Part of that has to do with the fact that our approach to performance was developed for and influenced by venues of comparable size and atmosphere to Casa. As a band we have only recently begun playing rooms of comparable size to Club Soda, and the success of those shows has been much more dependent on circumstances. If a large crowd is willing to accept the performance on our terms, it will work, but unlike in a small venue, those terms are not automatically set by the space. The larger spaces of big venues offer a different default set of terms with which to engage the performance.

            Music that fits best in big venues is not inherently better or worse than music that fits best in small venues. In each case the music is created with a certain set of intentions and functional uses, and to facilitate a certain relationship with the audience. As Matt and I continue to make music and perform live, our relationship with spaces may change. We have spent the last year performing in venues with capacities ranging from 200 to 2000, and this may in some way inform the music we make. Our intended relationship with the audience will remain the same, but we may judge the ‘effectiveness’ of certain sounds or songs based on the experiences we have had in these bigger venues.

            This entire train of thought crossed my mind as I watched the Mac DeMarco performance that followed our own. Mac is a magnetic personality who does not seek to draw the audience toward a place of introspection, and instead provides them with the opportunity for extraverted carnal-bacchanalian celebration. A small army of drunk, naked young men partied onstage. The songs themselves had a different feeling than on the record: they seemed slightly slower in tempo, the drum parts were more cymbal-heavy, and there were many guitar solos.

            It was one of the more energetic shows I’ve seen this year and the crowd was going wild. I believe it worked so well because Mac DeMarco & Co’s approach to performance was perfectly suited to the venue space. It’s heightened energy reached even the people at the back. It did not demand a personal engagement with the performer, but rather an engagement with the energy of the crowd itself. Such a performance would have been overwhelming and terrorizing in the intimate space of Casa, but Club Soda provided the context necessary to take it in.

Great live video of “Savage” when we performed it in…



Great live video of “Savage” when we performed it in San Francisco in August, filmed by my friend Mark Sandford!

“Savage” is a song we have been playing live for most of 2013….



"Savage" is a song we have been playing live for most of 2013. Many people have asked me on Tumblr and Twitter what this song is called and when it will be released, so here it is!

I think it’s important to explain a song a little bit, but not too much. The song is written about a specific set of circumstances and experiences, and Matt and I did such-and-such when we recorded it, but ultimately what the song is ‘about’ is less important than how and why it is meaningful for you when you listen to it. Explaining too much about the details of the song is not the point, so I won’t.

"Savage" is about a friendship, it’s mysteries and it’s moments of excitement, and the way drugs played into all of it. It’s about letting go of a relationship as it changes and the emotions that go along with that.

The song was originally a lot more minimal, just piano loops and bass. As we played it live it evolved a little bit, Matt started incorporating reverb swells and exploring the ways those could be used (along with a number of other additions) to create dynamics in the song.

Happy to be releasing it! It’s been fun to play it live over the past year.