a release of unreleased Can?!

a new 3 CD set of unreleased Can that sounds as cool as this? Yeah, that sounds goddamned groovy. This sounds like early material to my unschooled ear (pre-Mooney?) and i’m even more eager to hear the Tago Mago era stuff.

reading 03.24.12

Zone One. This is the first Whitehead i’ve read, picking it up on a whime while scanning voids/overstock at work. It’s nifty with the way that he’s fleshing out the world with a lot of details that get glossed over in typical zombie apocalypse stories (even more than Walking Dead) and so far using the tragedy of unfinished lives as the real horror, but it’s turning out to be easy to spot holes in his world-building. Yep. World-building.

I’m only a hundred pages in. It’s unclear when the event occurred, years or months. There have been several references to years. There is a reference to a forward base being set up in an abandoned Chinese restaurant. There is a reference to dead fish floating in an aquarium. Sorry, Colson. It doesn’t work that way. He cannot toy with writing the “thinking reader’s zombie novle” with
sloppy details like that. I sense more things like this on the periphery of my reading. I just want to see the story he wants to tell, the mood he wants to evoke. I don’t want to start editing. Whitehead’s writing is appealing. Bill’s praised The Intuitionist a number of times, and however Zone One turns out, more Whitehead is bound to be in future readings.

It’s still good enough to read on my bouts of insomnia in the early hours of morning. It’s not that smug pap that Lev Grossman shovels out in his “adult Harry Potter” novels, heaping on unearned worldliness. Still… these literary novelists need to pay more attention to details if they are to wade into genre fiction and school the alleged hacks on elevating the craft.

Raymond Roussel. Never shook that feeling of having read him before. His obsessive geometries are driving me insane though. Just as i shiv Whitehead for being sloppy on how dead bodies behave, Roussel is too involved in laying out the stage. It’s like having an autistic describe an art installation sometimes, perfecting the arrangement and alignment of shapes. When he gets into those crazy nested stories, echoing The Arabian Nights and The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, he’s excellent, but for fuck’s sake… sometimes both books feel like an obtuse decor manual.

Cesar Aira. Seamstress & the Wind. Wrapped that up finally. For such a cloistered, mundane life, he certainly is an odd one. The absurdism seeps into everything, making everything suspect as some meta-commentary on the process of storytelling and consciousness, only to have Aira pull the rug out from under that, to feel as if he just tossed off another daft timed exercise while seated at his local analog of Starbucks, without the slightest concern as to how or why the story concludes. I love it, but maybe for the wrong reasons?