A good place to start it off with, would be:
Life in 2012
Obviously, we didn’t all die. Of course, many did. Some of them as good as Gods in what they did, and some as evil as the devil himself, sometimes both. The lines blur when it comes to defining a person by their deeds.
2012 had been a particularly eventful year for me. To start with, playing a part in the organizing of the tech fest of my college, which was among the first things to happen that year, has given me some of the most valuable of life lessons. It’s been the first time I have been a part of a formal team that doesn’t completely consist of friends. The first time I’ve worked under a leader, and the first time I faced actual challenges on a more professional front. My contributions mostly consisted of content writing and editing. I’ve had that love for writing ever since I opened up to it, which was sometime in eighth grade, around when I started this blog. But working here meant a completely different use of what I was good at. I’m rather proud to admit that my love and skill at this helped me acquire a reputation for the job. Which is when I began to get wary of the whole idea. Approaching an activity that I enjoyed, from a more professional and yielding perspective than from the usual emotional landscape was something that I was totally unprepared for, and I slowly began disliking what I was doing.
Needless to say, that’s why I hardly blogged all year.
The striking realization of how the act of systematizing and clipping of my passions actually generated hatred brought a strange sense of insecurity. I’m sure we were all encouraged to pursue what we are passionate about. Also, ever since childhood, a job always had a negative ring to it, as it was considered nothing more than a way to make ends meet. A means to make money. More of an act of tolerance and perseverance that paid off on a material front and nothing else. We’ve all always dreamed of landing a job that would let us do what we liked and earn some dough at the same time. I began to fear that such a thing did not exist. From a point of view where I felt that working on what I liked would make work easier, I slowly began to believe that working on what I liked would somewhat reduce my enthusiasm altogether.
I spent a large part of the summer wondering what I really wanted to do with my life. Visiting new places, watching new people was indeed insightful, but it only provided more ways to look at things from. And that didn’t really help. Third year at college began full of rush about deciding one’s career, at least in an abstract sense. It was time to start prioritizing. at this point, I’m still not sure what I want to go ahead with. I saw this coming about a year ago, but nothing over all this while, I’ve only liked each face of myself more that it’s been just as hard, if not harder, to choose.
Songwriting was something new I picked up in 2012. Music has always been close to me, and years of listening to new music and attempts at writing tunes and collages on my guitar led me to try out songwriting. Of course, my earliest trials were nothing more than blatant rephrases of my favourite songs. But that gave me my own way of writing. All I had to do was stick on to the rhythm of a song that inspired me at that moment, and write my own stuff to it. Most of them have that abstract minimalist sense to it, which has more to do with me not being a very good singer yet. I strive to be one someday, but let’s see about that!
Getting myself an electric guitar propelled me forwards in that direction at exhilarating speeds. Within months, I saw myself becoming better in places I wanted to be. My first cohesive track was ‘CCTV’ which started off with me trying to write a poetic rant on some people I loathed at college, but I eventually ended up with protests against a seemingly Orwellian world with references to the New World Order theory. ‘CCTV’ refers to the British graffitti-art ‘One Nation under CCTV’ by unnamed artist Bansky. Hope I record that one someday.
I also wrote another instrumental called Paperclip, referring to post-WWII German scientists working in the US: Check that here.
Music in 2012
As I’ve always said, this place would mostly contain the best albums that I discovered in 2012. Not necessarily ones that released then. The year had been quite a journey through genres ranging from glitch to trance to metal. I’ve quite understood what kind of music I’m prone to like. Jazz is still an enigma, though. So many complexities hidden within, yet presenting a very sit-back, juvenile look. I’ve also taken to liking a lot of experimental music primarily depending on electronica. That said, being a guitarist, I still look for music that has sufficient amount of human touch in it to make me feel secure. My album of the year definitely exemplifies that. Starting with:
10: Secrets are Sinister – Longwave
9: The Eternal – Sonic Youth
8: Help! – The Beatles
7: Illusion – Isotope
6: Secret Diary – College
Must Listen: End Theme, Desire, Something Wrong Tonight, The Energy Story
5: A Different Kind of Fix – Bombay Bicycle Club
4: The Clown – Charles Mingus
3: Incunabula – Autechre
I came across Autechre while checking Radiohead’s list of inspirations. Needless to say, things are pretty apparent right from the first listen. However, Autechre excels in its own accord with complex rhythms and syncopation with very little ambience to spare. The ever-pulsating cymbal samples and synth sequences are a signature Autechre style with the cold bass beat that changes rhythm with each track. It was another of those albums that helped me through the nights before examinations.
Must Listen: Eggshell, Bike, Bronchus 2
2: Swing Lo Magellan – Dirty Projectors
One of the most anticipated follow-up albums on my list. Bitte Orca had already made me a huge fan of the band and Swing Lo Magellan managed to surpass all my expectations. Backed with Michael Johnson’s motorik yet grungy drum lines and the female vocal harmonies guiding through the tracks, topped with occasional stylish bass melodies resulted in a unique texture over which David Longstreth wove his dark lyrics at odd-time signatures.
Must Listen: Gun Has No Trigger, Offspring are Blank, Just from Chervon
1: After the Gold Rush – Neil Young
Like I said, nothing can be as good as listening to a simple soulful album with expressive guitar and piano. Then again, After the Gold Rush is much more than just that. Neil Young demonstrates his brilliance with the flow-y falsetto vocals and attacking piano lines. I found this album at an old record store during my brief visit to the US in the winter and, instantly, it became the perfect company for all the train rides, cold walks through the American winter and the long, introspective journey back to college. The album brings back so many happy memories from childhood as Young innocently sings along to simple drum beats. The lyrical content is ineffably beautiful in true poetic sense. Starting off with a regular sounding country song, the album goes into beautifully constructed pieces, each laced with poetic, yet paradoxical lyrics that pacify and intrigue right from first listen. Along come the stylish but expressive treble-dominated guitar lines that set the mood for the latter half of the album which is comparatively warmer.
Must Listen: After the Gold Rush, Till the morning comes, Southern Man, Only Love can break your heart
2012 has been a good year when it came to me reading books. Although that statement bases itself on the number. I’ve read quite a few novels over the year. It started off with me hunting bookstores late 2011.
From the harsh toilet humour from Chuck Palahniuk to soul-kindling first person anecdotes from JD Salinger, I came across a number of masterpieces. But then, the best I’ve read this year would have to be:
Animal Farm – George Orwell
It’s ankle deep into 2013 already, and this year will certainly be a crucial year in my life as it is the time when I shall have to make important life decisions and say goodbye to a lot of things, good and bad.