Shaking The Habitual

the knifeIt’s Sunday and I don’t have much to report.  But, since I’m sitting in my chair relaxing I figured I could put these fingers to work.

The majority of the weekend has been listening to music, so it’s been a pretty good weekend for the most part.  I’ve had some moments of bull-headedness, but that’s nothing new.  Maybe I’ll discuss that in the next day or two.  Until then I’ll just tell you about this incredible album that’s been dominating my ears since Friday.  The Knife Shaking The Habitual pretty much hasn’t left my turntable since Friday and I couldn’t be happier.  If you’re a fan of dark electronic music, Eno-era Talking Heads, Atoms For Peace, and Bjork…and especially the thought of all of those things rolled into one sound, then Shaking The Habitual is gonna tickle your fancy.

I was won over by the opening rhythms of album opener “A Tooth for an Eye”, which reminded me a lot of Talking Heads’ Remain In Light, a personal favorite.  Then “Full of Fire” comes in and all bets are off. It’s a tense, dark, and foreboding track the doesn’t relent once in the over nine minutes it pounds your psyche. I think of electronic artists like Aphex Twin and even The Prodigy when I listen to this song, except The Knife are much more subtle. They trick you with a propulsive beat and trick you into their car with candy and glitter.  Once you get inside the doors lock and the menace emerges from behind the clicks and clacks.  It’s an intense song, and one you keep coming back to.

This is pretty much the case throughout the album. It’s filled with afro-centric beats, minimalist beats, the click-clack electronic ticks of a political time bomb(yes, The Knife’s brother/sister duo are very political throughout this album), and ambient atmospheric tracks that let you know you’re not listening to just any electronic album. “Old Dreams Waiting to be Realized” dominates all of side C with nearly 20 minutes of creaking and wavering noise buzzes.

This year has been an eye(and ear) opening one for me in regards to electronic music. I’ve always enjoyed it from a distance, but I knew there was more out there besides The Chemical Brothers, Crystal Method, and whatever Radiohead was pushing down my throat. Flying Lotus, Four Tet, Atoms For Peace(yeah, I know), Boards of Canada, Baths, and now The Knife. I know they’re not a new act by any means, but they’re new to me. I don’t see this leaving the turntable any time soon…

Okay, I’m going off on a rant…sorry.

My 10 year old daughter has been at the neighbor’s house all weekend. She went to church with them this morning.  While this should not bother me, it does. I don’t know why. Sure, the last time I walked through the threshold of a church my skin began to burn and I began chanting Latin phrases backwards, but still.  But seriously, folks, I know her going to church with them shouldn’t bother me, but all weekend it’s felt like they’re trying to steal her identity. Like they’re trying to “save” her. I’m sorry, all my believer blogging friends out there, I’m not a believer. And I feel everyone has a right to worship and believe as they see fit, as long as it doesn’t hurt others or as long as you don’t chastise others that don’t believe the same way you do(hell, is there a religion like that??). But I can’t help think that these nice folks next door would be very open-minded about me telling their kids about the Humanism movement, or how creationism has no factual merit and that it’s just an ideological extension of fundamentalist Christianity, nothing based in scientific fact(their kids told my kids that Adam and Eve had a dinosaur for a pet….seriously). Or that there are hundreds of religions that are followed and not one of them has any idea what’s real and what’s not. I can’t imagine them being cool with me having that conversation with their kids. But it’s what I believe. Why do I have to be all right with them taking my child to their church so they can fill her head with whatever they want her to know. It could be that I had a pretty lousy experience with religion as a kid. But it could also be that I base my life around common sense and fact, not “faith”. I have faith that people are generally good…but I do have a back up plan for when I find out that isn’t the case. There isn’t a reason for everything. Sometimes things just happen. You shoot a gun and a bullet enters someone’s body. They die. They died because you shot them, not because God had a plan. What God would plan that? Maybe a God in a Bergman film, for sure. But not a God billions of people would worship.

I’m so off subject. My daughter sees the good in everyone. She’s the sweetest one of the bunch( other two). So I know she’s going to church because she wants to hang out with her friend. I know she’s not going to come home and tell me I’m going to Hell unless I repent. She heard there were snacks and that pancakes were being served for lunch. But still, I wonder what the neighbors would think if their kids came home from our house and told them we discussed Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian, or Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States? Maybe they’d take to their blog and talk shit about me. Oh well, I’ll turn the other cheek. What’s the saying? Judge not, lest ye be judged?  Yeah, I wonder when the stopped teaching that one?

Oh, and if you want to get into some theological pissing match with me, just forget it. I have neither the time nor the patience. You believe what you want, I’ll believe what I want. I’m not hear asking to be enlightened. I’ve got beer for that. (This was for those folks that randomly stop by that like to “stir it up”, as it were.  Not my tried and true blogging compadres. I used to talk politics, but like flies to shit the idiots would stop by and defecate all over the comments.  No more).

Check out The Knife!


10 Replies to “Shaking The Habitual”

  1. Hmm … your closing phrase seemed oddly threatening, not that I have any intention of a counter-rant. In fact, you just took the high ground by putting your beliefs out there on your own without trying to steal one of “their” kids. So, good for you!

    If you’re a fan of science fiction, though (I can’t recall if you are), reading some of the ways scientific observations are mapped to young-earth creationism makes for a fun read. It’s an astonishing exercise in creativity!


    1. I love science fiction. That sounds absolutely fascinating.

      And that phrase was only meant to be threatening to the trolls that have visited me in the past…not fellow bloggers, but dregs that enjoy leaving moronic bits in my comments section. Like I said, I used to write political posts here and there, but I got tired of the nonsense(politics and religion, leading the way in nonsense).


      1. The most fun comes in describing where the water for Noah’s flood came from. One version says it came from underground and shot high enough to cause moon craters. Second best are explanations of things that are older than 10,000 years.


  2. You’re a good dad. Level-headed and loving and a helluva a lot calmer than I was. (And you’re braver. Writing about religion and politics? dude….)

    This band–I keep forgetting to listen to them, but I won’t now. I understand why the LP is still on the table.


    1. Thanks. It’s good to hear that, as I know you’ve dealt with your share of “church anxiety” when it came to your kids. And I learned my lesson with the whole blogging about politics. What I learned is that you don’t…unless you’re a comedian or a masochist.

      Man, this album is one of those records you come across and can’t believe you hadn’t heard it sooner. I’m totally smitten with The Knife right now!


  3. The neighbors should have asked you about bringing your kid to church! I’m part Syrian and grew up Armenian Catholic, and once in a situation similar to your daughter’s this weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Temple with a Jewish friend. I did and was amazed. It was so neat and interesting to me. A learning experience for sure (I am pretty positive they asked my mom if they could take me with them). I bet your daughter just thought it was neat to people watch and see what goes on. Or she just tolerated and forgot. Who knows with kids. I definitely think that things like a church trip should be parent-approved though.


    1. To me, the Catholic faith and Jewish faith have things to offer and teach. The culture and the ceremony. The rites of passage. I would love my kids to experience that. I’m not a religious person, but I want my children to experience as much as they can. The church my daughter experienced Sunday was of the fundamentalist variety. Fossils are tests of faith, dinosaurs were pets, the earth is just a few thousand years old…

      As far as my daughter, I asked how church went, she looks at me and says “I don’t know.”. So yeah, she went for snacks and to hang out.

      I think I just woke up on the wrong side of the alter Sunday.

      Thank you.


    1. We do. Common sense only makes them more…troll-like.

      Hey, whatever floats your boat. That’s what I say. Just keep the snake charming and tongue speaking at a distance. I’m trying to nap over here.


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