The History of Rock Musically Told in 100 Guitar Riffs and 100 Bass Riffs

Rare excep­tions may only under­line the rule: a good rock riff should be sim­ple, primal—two, three, maybe four notes. What makes a riff so dis­tinc­tive you can’t stop hum­ming it in the show­er? Per­son­al­i­ty. Bends, slides, dou­ble-stops, etc, put in exact­ly the right places. How do you write such a riff? Giv­en how most famous gui­tar play­ers talk about it: entire­ly by acci­dent, a frus­trat­ing answer for would-be hit­mak­ers, though it shouldn’t stop any­one from try­ing. The best riff-writ­ers wrote hun­dreds of riffs before they stum­bled upon that just-right col­lec­tion of notes. Or they just ripped off a less­er-known riff and made it their own. All’s fair in love and riffs.

Artic­u­lat­ing what we already intu­itive­ly know, Chica­go Tri­bune crit­ic Greg Kot writes at, “a riff, when done right, can shape a song and often rule it. It’s a brief statement—sometimes only a hand­ful of notes or chords—that recurs through­out the arrange­ment and can become the song’s cen­tral hook. Many of the great­est songs of the rock era begin with a riff—the Rolling Stones ‘(I Can’t Get No) Sat­is­fac­tion,’ Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water,’ Aerosmith’s ‘Walk this Way,’ The Smith’s ‘How Soon is Now,’ Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spir­it,’ The Isley Brother’s ‘Who’s that Lady?’ And when done that spec­tac­u­lar­ly, the riff becomes the core of the tune, its most mem­o­rable fea­ture when lis­ten­ers play it back in their head.”

Indeed, so cen­tral is the riff to the catch­i­ness of a song that one could write an entire his­to­ry of rock ‘n’ roll in riffs, which is exact­ly what Alex Chad­wick has done in the video above, open­ing with the groovy jazz lick of 1953’s “Mr. Sand­man” and wrap­ping up with St. Vincent’s “Cru­el.” Though the more recent riffs might elude many people—having not yet become clas­sic rock hits played at hock­ey games—nearly all of these 100 riffs from 100 rock ‘n’ roll songs will be instant­ly famil­iar. The video comes from music store Chica­go Music Exchange, where employ­ees like­ly hear many of these tunes played all day long, but nev­er in chrono­log­i­cal suc­ces­sion with such per­fect into­na­tion.

And lest we think gui­tarists deserve all the riffage glo­ry, the folks at Chica­go Music Exchange put togeth­er a fol­low-up video of 100 bass (and drum) riffs, “A Brief His­to­ry of Groove.” Here, bassist Marc Naj­jar and drum­mer Nate Bau­man cov­er 60 years of music his­to­ry in under 20 min­utes. As not­ed a few years back, these impres­sive med­leys were per­formed “in one con­tin­u­ous take.” See the full gui­tar riff track­list here and bass riff track­list here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The His­to­ry of the Blues in 50 Riffs: From Blind Lemon Jef­fer­son (1928) to Joe Bona­mas­sa (2009)

The Evo­lu­tion of the Rock Gui­tar Solo: 28 Solos, Span­ning 50 Years, Played in 6 Fun Min­utes

The His­to­ry of Rock Told in a Whirl­wind 15-Minute Video

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Behold an Incredibly Detailed, Handmade Map Of Medieval Trade Routes

Some­times I won­der if there are any true Renais­sance folks left, peo­ple who have a pas­sion for knowl­edge and don’t let the experts get in the way. But then along comes Mar­tin Jan Måns­son, a grad­u­ate stu­dent in Spa­tial Plan­ning at the Blekinge Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Swe­den. Nei­ther a car­tog­ra­ph­er nor a his­to­ri­an, Måns­son has lov­ing­ly pro­duced this very detailed map of trad­ing routes dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages. (You can down­load the map in high res­o­lu­tion here.)

(I assume he should have been work­ing on his dis­ser­ta­tion instead, but this is much more fas­ci­nat­ing.)

“I think trade routes and topog­ra­phy explains world his­to­ry in the most con­cise way,” Måns­son explains in the very small print at the map’s low­er right cor­ner. “By sim­ply study­ing the map, one can under­stand why some areas were espe­cial­ly important–and remained suc­cess­ful even up to mod­ern times.”

The map cov­ers 200 years, span­ning both the 11th and 12th cen­turies, and “depicts the main trad­ing arter­ies of the high Mid­dle Ages, just after the decline of the Vikings and before the rise of the Mon­gols, the Hansa and well before the Por­tuguese round­ed the Cape of Good Hope.”

It also shows the com­plex routes already avail­able to Africa and Asia, and the areas where Mus­lim and Chris­t­ian traders would meet. The open-to-trade Song Dynasty ruled Chi­na, and the com­pet­i­tive king­doms in the Indone­sia region pro­vid­ed both Mus­lims and Euro­peans with spice.

Look­ing like a rail­way map, Månsson’s work shows how inter­con­nect­ed we real­ly were back in the Mid­dle Ages, from Green­land in the west to Kikai and Kagoshi­ma in the East, from Arkhangel­sk in the frozen north to Sofala in mod­ern-day Mozam­bique.

Måns­son cred­its Wikipedia for a major­i­ty of the basic work, but also lists 20 oth­er sources for this detailed work, includ­ing The Silk Road by Valerie Han­son, Across Africa and Ara­bia by Irene M. Franck and David M. Brown­stone.

There’s much to take away from the map–a print­able ver­sion would be great–but one thing that stands out to me is how many once-impor­tant trade cities have fad­ed from mem­o­ry, or impor­tance, or just lost to time, plun­der, and change. In anoth­er 1,000 what cities of our own will have come and gone?

Relat­ed Con­tent:
A Free Yale Course on Medieval His­to­ry: 700 Years in 22 Lec­tures

Why Babies in Medieval Paint­ings Look Like Mid­dle-Aged Men: An Inves­tiga­tive Video

How Illu­mi­nat­ed Medieval Man­u­scripts Were Made: A Step-by-Step Look at this Beau­ti­ful, Cen­turies-Old Craft

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

Do Our Dreams Predict the Future? Vladimir Nabokov Spent Three Months Testing That Theory in 1964

Pho­to by NC Mal­lo­ry via Flickr Com­mons 

Why keep a dream jour­nal? There’s prob­a­bly amus­ing befud­dle­ment and even a kind of round­about enlight­en­ment to be had in look­ing back over one’s sub­con­scious visions, so vivid dur­ing the night, that van­ish so soon after wak­ing. But now we have anoth­er, more com­pelling rea­son to write down our dreams: Vladimir Nabokov did it. This we know from the recent­ly pub­lished Insom­ni­ac Dreams, a col­lec­tion of the entries from the Loli­ta and Pale Fire author’s dream jour­nal — writ­ten, true to his com­po­si­tion­al method, on index cards— edit­ed and con­tex­tu­al­ized by Nabokov schol­ar Gen­nady Barab­tar­lo.

“On Octo­ber 14, 1964, in a grand Swiss hotel in Mon­treux where he had been liv­ing for three years, Vladimir Nabokov start­ed a pri­vate exper­i­ment that last­ed till Jan­u­ary 3 of the fol­low­ing year, just before his wife’s birth­day (he had engaged her to join him in the exper­i­ment and they com­pared notes),” writes Barab­tar­lo in the book’s first chap­ter, which you can read online. “Every morn­ing, imme­di­ate­ly upon awak­en­ing, he would write down what he could res­cue of his dreams. Dur­ing the fol­low­ing day or two he was on the look­out for any­thing that seemed to do with the record­ed dream.”

He want­ed to “test a the­o­ry accord­ing to which dreams can be pre­cog­ni­tive as well as relat­ed to the past. That the­o­ry is based on the premise that images and sit­u­a­tions in our dreams are not mere­ly kalei­do­scop­ing shards, jum­bled, and mis­la­beled frag­ments of past impres­sions, but may also be a pro­lep­tic view of an event to come.”  That notion, writes Dan Piepen­bring at the New York­er, “came from J. W. Dunne, a British engi­neer and arm­chair philoso­pher who, in 1927, pub­lished An Exper­i­ment with Time, argu­ing, in part, that our dreams afford­ed us rare access to a high­er order of time.” The book’s fan base includ­ed such oth­er lit­er­ary nota­bles as James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and Aldous Hux­ley.

Nabokov had his own take on Dun­ne’s the­o­ry: “The wak­ing event resem­bling or coin­cid­ing with the dream event does so not because the lat­ter is a prophe­cy,” he writes on the first note­card in the stack pro­duced by his own three-month exper­i­ment with time, “but because this would be the kind of dream that one might expect to have after the event.” But Nabokov’s dream data seem to have pro­vid­ed lit­tle in the way in absolute proof of what he called “reverse mem­o­ry.” In the strongest exam­ple, a dream about eat­ing soil sam­ples at a muse­um pre­cedes his real-life view­ing of a tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary about the soil of Sene­gal. And as Barab­tar­lo points out, the dream “dis­tinct­ly and close­ly fol­lowed two scenes” of a short sto­ry Nabokov had writ­ten 25 years before.

And so we come to the real appeal of Insom­ni­ac Dreams: Nabokov’s skill at ren­der­ing evoca­tive and mem­o­rable images in lan­guage — or rather, in his poly­glot case, lan­guages – as well as deal­ing with themes of time and mem­o­ry. You can read a few sam­ples at Lithub involv­ing not just soil but sex­u­al jeal­ousy, a lec­ture hasti­ly scrawled min­utes before class time, the Red Army, and “a death-sign con­sist­ing of two roundish gold­en-yel­low blobs with blurred edges.” They may bring to mind the words of the nar­ra­tor of Ada, the nov­el Nabokov pub­lished the fol­low­ing year, who in his own con­sid­er­a­tion of Dunne guess­es that in dreams, “some law of log­ic should fix the num­ber of coin­ci­dences, in a giv­en domain, after which they cease to be coin­ci­dences, and form, instead, the liv­ing organ­ism of a new truth.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Note­cards on Which Vladimir Nabokov Wrote Loli­ta: A Look Inside the Author’s Cre­ative Process

Take Vladimir Nabokov’s Quiz to See If You’re a Good Reader–The Same One He Gave to His Stu­dents

Vladimir Nabokov (Chan­nelled by Christo­pher Plum­mer) Teach­es Kaf­ka at Cor­nell

Alfred Hitch­cock and Vladimir Nabokov Trade Let­ters and Ideas for a Film Col­lab­o­ra­tion (1964)

How a Good Night’s Sleep — and a Bad Night’s Sleep — Can Enhance Your Cre­ativ­i­ty

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

The Famous Break Up of Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung Explained in a New Animated Video

Mak­ing friends with sim­i­lar inter­ests can be a chal­lenge for any­one. But imag­ine you are the founder of an entire­ly new dis­ci­pline, with its own pecu­liar jar­gon, set of prac­tices, and con­cep­tu­al cat­e­gories. Imag­ine, for exam­ple, that you are Sig­mund Freud, who in 1896 made his break with med­i­cine to pur­sue the work of psy­cho­analy­sis. Draw­ing on clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence with patients, his own self-analy­sis, cocaine-induced rever­ies, and an idio­syn­crat­ic read­ing of Greek mythol­o­gy, Freud invent­ed his strange psy­cho­sex­u­al the­o­ries with­in the con­fi­dence of a very small cir­cle of acquain­tances and admir­ers.

One of his close rela­tion­ships dur­ing those pro­duc­tive and tur­bu­lent years, with eccen­tric ear, nose, and throat doc­tor Wil­helm Fliess—a col­lab­o­ra­tor, influ­ence, “con­fes­sor and moral sup­port­er”—end­ed bad­ly in 1906. It was in that same year that Freud met the much-younger Carl Jung. At their first meet­ing, the two “talked non­stop for 13 hours,” the Aeon video above, ani­mat­ed by Andrew Khos­ra­vani, tells us. Thus began the intense and now-leg­endary six-year friend­ship between the psy­chi­a­trists, a “pas­sion­ate and sur­pass­ing­ly weird rela­tion­ship, which, giv­en the peo­ple involved, per­haps shouldn’t come as a sur­prise.” Freud set­tled upon Jung as his pro­tege and suc­ces­sor, the “Joshua to my Moses,” over­joyed to have found a friend who seemed to under­stand his ideas inti­mate­ly.

They trav­eled to the US to give joint lec­tures and ana­lyzed each other’s dreams. Freud wrote to pro­pose that Jung should think of their rela­tion­ship as between “father and son,” an odd pro­pos­al in any friend­ship, but espe­cial­ly when the “father” invent­ed the Oedi­pal com­plex; “this did not go unno­ticed by Freud, and he freaked out a lit­tle.” The unset­tling dynam­ic already pre­sent­ed a shaky basis for a long term bond, but it was their wild­ly diver­gent ideas that ulti­mate­ly drove them apart. Jung took issue with Freud’s obses­sion with libido as the pri­ma­ry dri­ver of human behav­ior. Freud cast a with­er­ing eye on Jung’s keen inter­est in reli­gion, mys­ti­cism, and the para­nor­mal as expres­sions of a col­lec­tive uncon­scious.

As he had divorced him­self from Wil­helm Fleiss in 1906, Freud sim­i­lar­ly, abrupt­ly, broke off his friend­ship with Jung in 1913, send­ing a rather nasty break-up let­ter to sev­er their “emo­tion­al tie.” Jung, he wrote, “while behav­ing abnor­mal­ly keeps shout­ing that he is nor­mal,” giv­ing rise to “the sus­pi­cion that he lacks insight into his ill­ness. Accord­ing­ly, I pro­pose that we aban­don our per­son­al rela­tions entire­ly.” The video ends by declar­ing Freud the win­ner of this “feud,” such as it was, though the per­son­al con­flict seems rather one-sided. As Jung would lat­er relate, he “soon dis­cov­ered that when [Freud] had thought some­thing, then it was set­tled.” After Freud broke it off, Jung wrote in his diary, “the rest is silence.”

As for the lega­cies of both men, these seem set­tled as well. They both had sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on writ­ers and artists of all kinds, on lit­er­ary the­o­rists, new age mys­tics, and philoso­phers. But Jung is hard­ly tak­en seri­ous­ly in the main­stream of psy­chi­a­try, and Freud’s ideas have large­ly been aban­doned, save for one: as mil­lions who still reveal them­selves week­ly on ther­a­pists’ couch­es can attest, the talk­ing cure of psy­cho­analy­sis is alive and well.

via Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ani­mat­ed Video Tells the Sto­ry of Jean-Paul Sartre & Albert Camus’ Famous Falling Out (1952)

The Famous Let­ter Where Freud Breaks His Rela­tion­ship with Jung (1913)

Carl Jung Explains Why His Famous Friend­ship with Sig­mund Freud Fell Apart in Rare 1959 Audio

How a Young Sig­mund Freud Researched & Got Addict­ed to Cocaine, the New “Mir­a­cle Drug,” in 1894

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Glenn Gould Plays Bach on His U.S. TV Debut … After Leonard Bernstein Explains What Makes His Playing So Great (1960)

Why, 35 years after his death, do so many music lovers still respect Glenn Gould above all oth­er pianists? One might assume that, since he played the work of such well-known com­posers as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, and Brahms, he would have accept­able sub­sti­tutes among the most high­ly skilled pianists of each suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tion. But none have ever tak­en Gould’s place, and quite pos­si­bly none ever will. His dis­tinc­tive­ness owes both to sheer apti­tude, and to some­thing else besides: Leonard Bern­stein attempts an expla­na­tion of that some­thing in the clip above, from the CBS Ford Presents broad­cast of Jan­u­ary 31, 1960.

“Gould and Bach have become a kind of leg­endary com­bi­na­tion, in spite of Gould’s extreme youth and Bach’s extreme age,” says Bern­stein just before a 28-year-old Gould makes his Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion debut play­ing Bach’s Key­board Con­cer­to No. 1 in D minor. He goes on to explain the spe­cial chal­lenge of play­ing Bach, who “belonged to a time when com­posers weren’t being very gen­er­ous with infor­ma­tion about how to play their notes.”

Sim­ply play­ing the notes on the page would result in an “unut­ter­ably dull” per­for­mance, but “to what extent can the pianist sup­ply dynam­ic vari­ety?” Gould imbued the pieces he played with vari­ety, dynam­ic and oth­er­wise, all of it reflect­ing his own “judg­ments, instincts, and high­ly indi­vid­ual per­son­al­i­ty.”

In the years after this broad­cast (which you can see in full here), Gould’s per­son­al­i­ty would grow even more high­ly indi­vid­ual. Just two years lat­er, Gould and the New York Phil­har­mon­ic’s per­for­mance of Brahms’ First Piano Con­cer­to came pre­ced­ed by Bern­stein’s infa­mous dis­claimer: he found him­self not in “total agree­ment” Gould’s per­for­mance, one “dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent from any I’ve ever heard, or even dreamt of for that mat­ter, in its remark­ably broad tem­pi and its fre­quent depar­tures from Brahms’ dynam­ic indi­ca­tions.” Two years after that, Gould would retire from live per­for­mance entire­ly, keep­ing a safe dis­tance from his audi­ence in the stu­dio instead. We now remem­ber him as the first clas­si­cal pianist to tru­ly inhab­it the age of record­ing and broad­cast­ing; did that habi­ta­tion begin, in some sense, in the tele­vi­sion stu­dio with Bern­stein?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear the Famous­ly Con­tro­ver­sial Con­cert Where Leonard Bern­stein Intro­duces Glenn Gould & His Idio­syn­crat­ic Per­for­mance of Brahms’ First Piano Con­cer­to (1962)

Watch a 27-Year-Old Glenn Gould Play Bach & Put His Musi­cal Genius on Dis­play (1959)

Watch Glenn Gould Per­form His Last Great Stu­dio Record­ing of Bach’s Gold­berg Vari­a­tions (1981)

Glenn Gould Explains the Genius of Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach (1962)

The Art of Fugue: Gould Plays Bach

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

How to Make the Oldest Recipe in the World: A Recipe for Nettle Pudding Dating Back 6,000 BC

Atten­tion culi­nary his­to­ri­ans, sur­vival­ists, wild­crafters, and gonzo eaters!

Net­tle pud­ding, Britain’s—and quite pos­si­bly the world’s—old­est recipe, looks like a good bet in the event of a zom­bie inva­sion, or some oth­er cat­a­stro­phe.

The ingredients—sorrel, water­cress, dan­de­lions, nettles—are the sort of thing you can find in a ditch or pub­lic park.

If you’re wor­ried about pulling an Into the Wild, book a pro­phy­lac­tic tour with nat­u­ral­ist Wild­man Steve Brill.

Should bar­ley flour prove in short sup­ply, don’t wor­ry about it! Grind some acorns, like that kid in My Side of the Moun­tain. 

You think ear­ly man sweat­ed sub­sti­tu­tions?

No way! Impro­vi­sa­tion was the name of the game.

Rigid adher­ence to pub­lished ingre­di­ents will have no place in the zom­bie inva­sion! As Cardiff Met­ro­pol­i­tan University’s home econ­o­mist Dr. Ruth Fairchild told The Dai­ly Mail:

You have to think how much more is wast­ed now than then.

Food waste today is huge. A third of the food in our fridges is thrown away every week with­out being eat­en.

But they would­n’t have wast­ed any­thing, even hooves would have been used for some­thing.

They had to eat what was grown with­in a few miles, because it would have tak­en so long to col­lect every­thing, and even col­lect­ing water would have been a bit of a tri­al.

Yet today, so many peo­ple don’t want to cook because they think of it as a chore.

Stop think­ing of net­tle pud­ding as a chore! Start prac­tic­ing for the zom­bie inva­sion with Antiq­ui­ty Now’s step-by-step recipe and let us know how it tastes.

NETTLE PUDDING (an 8000 year old recipe!)


1 bunch of sor­rel

1 bunch of water­cress

1 bunch of dan­de­lion leaves

2 bunch­es of young net­tle leaves

Some chives

1 cup of bar­ley flour

1 tea­spoon of salt



Chop the herbs fine­ly and mix in the bar­ley flour and salt.

Add enough water to bind it togeth­er and place in the cen­ter of a linen or muslin cloth.

Tie the cloth secure­ly and add to a pot of sim­mer­ing veni­son or wild boar (a pork joint will do just as well). Make sure the string is long enough to pull the pud­ding from the pot.

Cook the pud­ding until the meat is done (at least two hours).

Leave the pud­ding to cool slight­ly, remove the muslin, then cut the pud­ding into thick slices with a knife.

Serve the pud­ding with chunks of bar­ley bread.

(Be mind­ful that fire may attract zom­bies. Keep a shov­el beside you at all times. Good luck!)

You can read more about the dis­cov­ery of Net­tle Pud­ding at the BBC and The Tele­graph.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dis­cov­er the Old­est Beer Recipe in His­to­ry From Ancient Sume­ria, 1800 B.C.

Watch a 4000-Year Old Baby­lon­ian Recipe for Stew, Found on a Cuneiform Tablet, Get Cooked by Researchers from Yale & Har­vard

How to Bake Ancient Roman Bread Dat­ing Back to 79 AD: A Video Primer

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Joseph Heller’s Handwritten Outline for Catch-22, One of the Great Novels of the 20th Century

We remem­ber Catch-22, more than half a cen­tu­ry after its pub­li­ca­tion, as a rol­lick­ing satire of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary cul­ture in wartime. But those of us who return to Joseph Heller’s debut nov­el, a cult favorite turned best­seller turned pil­lar of the mod­ern canon, find a much more com­plex piece of work. Heller began writ­ing the man­u­script in 1953, while still employed as a copy­writer at a small adver­tis­ing agency. The project grew in ambi­tion over the next eight years he spent work­ing on it, even­tu­al­ly in col­lab­o­ra­tion with edi­tor Robert Got­tlieb and its oth­er advo­cates at Simon & Schus­ter, the pub­lish­er that had bought it.

When Catch-22 final­ly went into print, one of those advo­cates, an adver­tis­ing man­ag­er named Nina Bourne, launched an aggres­sive one-woman cam­paign to get copies into the hands of all the influ­en­tial read­ers of the day. “You are mis­tak­en in call­ing it a nov­el,” replied Eve­lyn Waugh. “It is a col­lec­tion of sketch­es — often rep­e­ti­tious — total­ly with­out struc­ture.” But the book’s appar­ent­ly free-form nar­ra­tive, full of and often turn­ing on puns and seem­ing­ly far-fetched asso­ci­a­tions, had actu­al­ly come as the prod­uct of a decep­tive com­po­si­tion­al rig­or. As one piece of evi­dence we have Heller’s hand­writ­ten out­line above. (You can also find a more eas­i­ly leg­i­ble ver­sion here.)

The out­line’s grid presents the events of the sto­ry in chrono­log­i­cal order, as the nov­el itself cer­tain­ly does­n’t. The rows of its ver­ti­cal axis run from ear­ly 1944 at the top to Decem­ber 1944 at the bot­tom, and the columns of its hor­i­zon­tal axis lists the book’s major char­ac­ters. They include the pro­tag­o­nist John Yos­sar­i­an, Air Force bom­bardier; the “poor and rus­tic” Orr; Colonel Cath­cart, a “Har­vard grad­u­ate with a cig­a­rette hold­er,” and Major Major, who “looks like Hen­ry Fon­da.” With­in this matrix Heller kept track of what should hap­pen to which char­ac­ters when, at the time of which events of the real war.

The descrip­tions of events sketched on the out­line range from the broad­ly com­ic (“Chap­lain spies Yos­sar­i­an naked in a tree and thinks it is a mys­ti­cal vision”) to the cyn­i­cal (“Milo jus­ti­fies bomb­ing the squadron in terms of free enter­prise and the large prof­it he has made”) to the straight­for­ward­ly bru­tal (“Snow­den is shot through the mid­dle and dies”). Their place­ment togeth­er in the same neu­tral space reflects the sin­gle qual­i­ty that, per­haps more than any oth­er, brought upon the nov­el such a wide range of reac­tions and earned it a last­ing place in not just Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture but Amer­i­can cul­ture. Look at all the aspects of war straight on, it reminds us still today, and the total pic­ture — bloody and sense­less for the indi­vid­ual par­tic­i­pant, though not with­out its minor tri­umphs and laughs — looks some­thing like absur­dist art.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kurt Von­negut Dia­grams the Shape of All Sto­ries in a Master’s The­sis Reject­ed by U. Chica­go

William Faulkn­er Out­lines on His Office Wall the Plot of His Pulitzer Prize Win­ning Nov­el, A Fable (1954)

How J.K. Rowl­ing Plot­ted Har­ry Pot­ter with a Hand-Drawn Spread­sheet

How Famous Writ­ers — From J.K. Rowl­ing to William Faulkn­er — Visu­al­ly Out­lined Their Nov­els

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Discover an Archive of Taped New York City-Area Punk & Indie Concerts from the 80s and 90s: The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Replacements & Many More

“For decades now,” John Coulthart writes at Dan­ger­ous Minds, “Hobo­ken has been on an implaca­ble course of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion… to the point that scruffy and leg­endary music venues can’t hack it there any­more.” One could replace “Hobo­ken” with the name of vir­tu­al­ly any US city that once host­ed a sem­i­nal live venue. You live long enough, you see the world com­plete­ly change, and all the punk and indie clubs shut down or moved to Brook­lyn. The 21st cen­tu­ry has giv­en us cities few indie artists or their fans can afford, even as it also gives us high-speed inter­net, huge servers, cheap web host­ing, and hard dri­ves that can hold ter­abytes of dig­i­tal music.

But at least the club shows of the past can live on in incred­i­bly awe­some archives like The McKen­zie Tapes, “a col­lec­tion of live audio record­ings from some of the New York City-area’s most promi­nent music venues of the 1980s and 1990s.”

Record­ed by David McKen­zie, a for­mer employ­ee of leg­endary Hobo­ken venue Maxwell’s and con­sum­mate con­cert-goer, the taped gigs come from such venues as The Ritz, Tramps, Irv­ing Plaza, The Roxy, the Cat Club, Bow­ery Ball­room, CBGB’s, the Knit­ting Fac­to­ry, and, of course, Maxwell’s.

Too many leg­endary bands to list in full show up here: some major high­lights include The Replace­ments at the Ritz in 1986, right after the release of Tim. (See them at the top in a sound­check at Maxwell’s that same year); the Pix­ies at Maxwell’s in 1988, play­ing songs from their just-released water­shed Surfer Rosa; Son­ic Youth on back-to-back nights at CBGB’s in 88, play­ing Day­dream Nation the month before record­ing the album. Hüsker Dü, Wire, John Spencer Blues Explo­sion, The Fall, The Feel­ies, Afghan Whigs, Mud­honey, Vio­lent Femmes, Mojo Nixon—the shows are a who’s who of punk and indie from the last two decades of the cen­tu­ry, with appear­ances from 70s leg­ends like Pat­ti Smith and Tom Ver­laine.

Sprin­kled through­out are sur­pris­es like a 1989 per­for­mance from Sun Ra and his Inter­galac­tic Arkestra at Maxwell’s and gigs by blues stal­warts T Mod­el Ford and R.L. Burn­side, as well as the occa­sion­al out­lier show abroad. The project is the work of Jer­sey City record col­lec­tor, archivist, event pro­duc­er, and pod­cast­er Tom Gal­lo, friend of David McKen­zie, and he has done an excel­lent job of pre­serv­ing not only the music from McKenzie’s tapes, but images of the tapes themselves—with hand-writ­ten band names and song titles and black-and-white Xerox­ed covers—as well as Vil­lage Voice list­ings of the gigs and occa­sion­al tick­et stubs, setlists, and live pho­tos.

Don’t expect much in the way of sound quality—that’s part of the charm of a taped show. These are raw doc­u­ments of the cas­sette age, a time come and gone, nev­er to come again. We might not mourn its pass­ing, but something—a spir­it of exper­i­men­tal, noisy, tune­ful, angry, rau­cous, lo-fi, ana­log indie fun—seems to have dis­ap­peared along with it. All of these dig­i­tized tapes are down­load­able. Put ’em on your phone and relive the glo­ry days, or dis­cov­er these trea­sures from the recent past for the first time at The McKen­zie Tapes here.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A His­to­ry of Alter­na­tive Music Bril­liant­ly Mapped Out on a Tran­sis­tor Radio Cir­cuit Dia­gram: 300 Punk, Alt & Indie Artists

A Mas­sive 800-Track Playlist of 90s Indie & Alter­na­tive Music, in Chrono­log­i­cal Order

Stream a Mas­sive Col­lec­tion of Indie, Noise Indus­tri­al Mix­tapes from the 80s and 90s

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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