Oberlin Blogs


October 16, 2008

Aries Indenbaum ’09

I listened to Jim's piece "Chorale" this morning.

Damn, it was great.

At first, I'd imagined it would be like the music I normally listened to--something to hear while doing something else. But no. It was challenging, difficult, in a way that literature should be. It was also miles away from my normal listening style, much more electronic. Jim's a TIMARA major (Technology in Music and Related Arts), his sound is deeply divorced from my ordinary mix of Ben Folds/Decemberists/Muse/Cake/David Bowie/Scissor Sisters. I can only compare it to the soundtracks from "Children of Men": without being in a lyrical form, it's deeply emotional and jarring. There's an apocalyptic sorrow that hangs over it, a thrash of echoes.

Most of the folks I know in the Conservatory are Composition majors--overall, they're a splendid, friendly, eccentric group. But strangely, I've heard very few of their official pieces. Even Eric, who I've known since freshman year--I can remember hearing only two of his official composition, one at a departmental function, and the other at his Senior Rock Concert. I've heard some of Sean's pieces, but few/little of Ed, and none of Kurt, who I spent 30 hours a week with this summer. Secretive bunch.

It was nice to listen to Jim's piece in the sanctity of my dorm room in North, rather than the concert hall; wondrous to hear my beloved computer, Kiwi, belt out music I would call art, not entertainment. There's also some innate pleasure I take in knowing that my friends are really freakin' talented. Somehow, I know folks who can make music out of nothing.

Good way to start the day. I had to sit down for a while afterwards.


Midterms are squeezing in on us all--I ran into Erin and Daniel in lounge after working (albeit distractedly) in the library for a bazillion hours. We chatted, in that timeless way that finals/midterms enables. The ends of the conversation got stretchy and long, gasping into some deep revelations on the Way People Are. It's like a dream, 3AM conversations feel so profound when they happen, but afterwards, I'm left disoriented--"What did we talk about? Why? I don't know." My mind gets fuzzy at night.

The crux of my work is a paper for David "Brilliant" Walker on the play Blasted by Sarah Kane. Blasted is playing in NY--if you're there, you should see it. I love the play. But I'm terrified of the paper. Papers are not my strongest suit--my analytical style is scattershot, or more geared towards oral presentations than written documents.

My thesis: all love in Blasted is communicated through violence.

It's not a difficult argument, but I struggle with the presentation of it. My theses are not always too strong or revolutionary; I hesitate to be overly critical of a text. I'm also not an expert on formal dramatic analysis and JSTOR yielded only one paper on the topic I could look to as a model.

I think I'm going to throw the paper at the Writing Center tonight, and ask for their tender mercies. Phew.

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