Now : Andrew Bird, 'Armchair Apocrypha'
'specially : Track 2, "Imitosis"
I've been thinking a lot about 'Deathcab For Cutie' lately. About how they barely feel like a band to me -- and not (entirely) because they mix the (lovely!) Gibbard vocals so high, though that could be a whole 'nother thing. I mean: they feel like music that happens, not that's made.
There's the possibility that they've been a mainstay of my listening pleasure since college, and I have so many memories built around hearing them over headphones as I walk places, or seeing them play, or thinking along to their melodies as something else - otherwise unrelated but now inextricably meshed -, actually takes place. So they're an always-already, 'cause I'm just so used to them bein' 'round.
That's a far easier position to prove (for all y'all working on the response paper) than one dependent on some essential characteristics of 'Deathcab-for-Cute'ness, but I wouldn't foreclose the possibility that there is some metaphysic peculiar to their sweet-yet-uncuddly punk. A thing to communicate, or a method of communication, that is a messenger, angelic, ideally suited for my ear.
I would not like to meet them.
Have you ever been to a show? And stood near the front, and closed your eyes? And danced a little bit, but mostly in your head? And then opened your eyes? And met those of the band?
It's jarring. Uncomfortable. They're playing, and you're listening, so contact should be incendiary, right? The gaze itself burning the (ocular) offering? But they're making the music, and you're hearing it. These are essentially different modalities, and my reception can't conceive of the mechanics of their emission; their creation can't conceive of the imperfections (i'll get there in a minute) of my re-creation. I watched a tour documentary on the band over Christmas, and there's a point where Gibbard says something about liking to write songs sometimes because the girl in the song is prettier than she ever was in real life.
There is an essential disconnect between the written/controlled/complete and the real life/overdetermined/ongoing. Artists, god love 'em, really do communicate something -- but it is not a dialog. It is not intersubjective.
Individuality (i'm supposing) is imperfect repetitions of the past - of histories/ideologies/biologies and suchall. It's a wonderful, empowering feeling to re-create. But it requires previously created material for substrate. We make gods of those(/That) who create(s), because we can't make partners of them. Freewill requires some vacuum, some withdrawal of the origin to make space (fall) for our own imperfections. Our changes. Our particular invocation of Something to enact some things.
To sum up, religion - like fandoms of a more indiepop variety - depends on an entirely absent beloved. The ethics of engaging that beloved within the actions of this world is centered (at least functionally; theologically, we'll leave for another field) in the head of the believer alone. When we talk about religious action - whether in the interest of social justice or electioneering or other - one of the most crucial elements to consider is the power in re-creation of the original transmission, and of the concomitant pangs of separation sensed in that movement. The Gap in which they Stand.