Archive for the ‘Amherst Review’ Category

tinI’m popping this updated review into its own post because it’s quite different from my original review and it seems like it should be by itself.

The first time I read this story, I was too conscious of DFW’s own fight with depression and his suicide.  And since this piece is about someone with depression (and it’s in the first person) it really seemed a little too nonfictiony to be actual fiction.

As I thought about it more, though, I realized that this was not a nonfiction piece.  There were obviously things that didn’t happen to DFW; even if they seemed thinly veiled, this narrator was obviously not him.  So I decided to re-read the story with this new attitude. (more…)

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40SOUNDTRACK: EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY-The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place (2003).

eitsExplosions in the Sky play beautiful, lengthy almost cinematic instrumentals.  They are primarily a guitar-drum band, (but they do add bass from time to time).

Each of their albums is practically symphonic in its beauty as most of the songs start slowly, sparsely, with a few guitar notes.  They have simple melodies that fold in on themselves.  When the (often martial) drums are added, it brings a depth to the song that lets you know this isn’t simply some kind of ambient background music.

Mogwai is probably the most likely comparison point, yet Mogwai’s instrumentals don’t have quite the expansive feel…Mogwai tends to rock a little harder too.  In some respects, Godspeed, You Black Emperor are another touchstone for epic instrumentals, and yet they really don’t sound anything alike.  EITS’s songs are definitely rock: the guitars are clearly guitars, and when the bands rocks (and they do) it is definitely the rock of a guitar band.

The tracks are haunting (as is the bands’ name, the album name, and the song titles: “First Breath After Coma”; “Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean”) and yet they are ultimately uplifting, reaching crescendos that are hard not to be bouyed by.

Even as instrumentals, the tunes are so engaging that they quickly move to the front of your activity.  You can’t go wrong with any of thier discs.

And, yes, I chose this, their third album, to stand in contrast with the DFW piece below.

[READ: September 15, 2009] “The Planet Trillaphon as It Stands in Relation to the Bad Thing”

This is listed as fiction according to the awesome DFW site The Howling Fantods.  (And indeed, Tin Roof has republished it as fiction too).

And so I went into this story expecting some kind of young (he was a junior in college when this was published) fantasy story ala Vonnegut (Tralfamadore and all that).  Well, don’t make that mistake going into this.

This is some heavy shit.  And one can only hope that it is as fictional as everyone ascribes, although really, that seems unlikely. **  [Please see my update at the bottom for my clarification on this rather naive sentence]. (more…)

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