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Dylanesque or Enoid?

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Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody and The Mountain Goats (John Darnielle) talk about the intersection of pop music and literature.

To get things started, we posed a kind of theological question: Does your taste in music mark you as a Dylanist or an Enoid? To translate from music geek into English: a Dylanist (after Bob Dylan) would be a hot-blooded, essentially literary explorer, while an Enoid (after producer and Roxy Music keyboardist Brian Eno) would be more concerned with the sonic challenges of texture, form and space.

Also discussed: the difference between influence and inspiration; why music may be “somehow both further up in the sky and deeper down in our bodies than the other arts”; the burden that surrounds the writing of literature i.e. a writer is bound to be tied to the canon, while music can be irresponsible and free. It's a little unfocused but there are some really interesting ideas.


    Anonymous kyle 

    Not a big Moody fan, but if I had to imbibe in this dichotomy, well, I guess I'm an Enoid. Before & After Science is one of my fav albums ever.

    The rest of you?

    Aren't you glad that I have a comment for every post?

    Lots of love,

    Anonymous Blake 

    I am glad you comment for every post; I feel loved. Seriously.

    Enoid as well. Insofar that Dylan represents the figurative, Eno abstraction. I'm drawn the the theoretical and open-ended. I find myself going back to Music for Airports over and over again.

    I love Dylan but I'm not a Dylan fan by most Dylan fans' standards.

    Anonymous Blake 

    Music for Airports isn't my favorite Eno album, but as a demonstration of abstraction I thought of it.

    From the liner notes:

    "Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten' the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think."

    Anonymous Austin 

    I have to be different and say that I'm more Dylanesque. Though I am a piss poor Dylan fan by Dylan fans' standards.

    I guess I'm more attracted to the idea of Dylan and the artists that I love that Dylan has directly influenced.

    Don't get me wrong, I fall asleep/study/read to "Music for Airports" or Aphex Twin or Boards of Canada all the time, but its Dylanesque lyrics that invade my mind when I turn the street corner or climb aboard the trolley.

    Anonymous Michael 

    I don't want to sound like an asshole, but I really really disagree with the dualist view of rock fans. It's just like the Yale/Harvard division in lit crit, and I think that border-drawing is usually more destructive to perspective formation than it is enlightening. You all would probably consider me a Dylanist, if for no ther reason than because of my undying love for Bobby (which i think would be considered relatively pure for young dylanophiles). But I love so many of the "Enoid" characteristics about rock music too; i would feel dirty aligning myself with one "school" or the other. My proposal is this: we are all Verlaineites and Reedists.

    Anonymous kyle 

    i don't think anyone buys into the idea that we're categorically one or the other

    it's kind of a self-diagnosis thing; you lean one way oftentimes

    we're fairly lit-minded folk--i place a heavy value on lyrics, i interpret every song i hear as a literary text

    when all is said and done it's the sonic subtleties that draw me back, and i would push the argument that eno's music has more of them

    i reject your proposal on the grounds that i'm no Reedist

    in short: dualisms are (almost) categorically bad, but they are also categorically fun

    besides, i think the dylan/eno dualism is faulty but useful in this sense: whosoever dissolves the dualism often wins our favor, lasts longer, seems newer/more takes a special kind of talent to venture to one extreme, and more often than not we reward those who skirt the slash (/)


    Anonymous Paul 

    I do not like Dylan. he wrote some good songs.

    Early Roxy with Eno was unstoppable. his solo stuff was too (RE: 'Seven Deadly Finns')

    I respect Dylan. Blonde on Blonde was descent.

    I am an Enoid

    But first and foremost, I am a Mozhead...

    Anonymous Mike 

    Blonde on Blonde is decent? Dylan wrote "some good songs"?

    That is insane.

    And the best Eno solo stuff, in my opinion, was his kick-you-in-the-mouth rock stuff. Eno and Fripp were a match made in heaven. I love the first Ambient album as well, but I still like those early rock albums more. Overall, I'm probably an Enoid, but I like Dylan more. I just think the style Dylan practically perfected is difficult to do anymore and Eno's, well, it is still a wide open space for the world to explore.

    Anonymous Kieran 

    You're comparing the guy who invented the wheel with a wheel producer?! The guy who invented the wheel was dangerous, a mystic, he might have even invented the torch and turned smoke into a living spirit.

    The guy who works in the wheel factory clocks in and clocks off. They're not even in the same business.

    I'm Dylanesque.

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  • Blake
  • Chicago, IL, United States

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