I was listening to the Miles set (Disc 1) on the train this morning, and early in the ride I shut it off and put my walkman in my bag and sat there reading, enfolded in the actual sounds of the world around me. There was just too much noise to tolerate in the subway, so I plugged in Kousokuya (Japanese heavy psych-guitar-assault w/female vocals), but when I got to the office I realized I didn’t want to listen to anything that demanded concentration. Instead, I wanted sonic comfort, a buffer to fill the room, and very little else. So I’m listening to all six Van Halen albums, in order, on MP3.

Since I’ve been sick (the cold I’ve got has mostly cleared out, but some vestiges still linger in my head and chest), my appetite for music has diminished sharply. I’m not sure whether this is coincidental or connected. I think it may be the former, and in fact linked not to illness but to the sheer volume of work I’ve taken on lately.

In addition to The Book (which is progressing fairly well), I just did an Iron Maiden piece for a site, I’m working on a Matthew Shipp/El-P feature for Jazziz, a longish (1000 words) review of The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions for another site, and the usual steady dribble of CD reviews.

Though the book’s probably shaping up fine, I’m riddled with panic and doubt over every word I type, in a way I never am with newspaper or magazine pieces. I guess some of the reviews of my last book have kinda spooked me a little. I know that the minute a writer announces his decision to tackle a Major Topic (and Miles Davis is still nothing if not The Major Topic in jazz), other writers begin sharpening their knives in anticipation. Not everyone does this, of course, but enough do that it’s easy to begin wondering “why bother?”

So anyway, the tension of writing The Book plus the frantic pace I’m setting myself churning out articles, plus of course the fact that I’ve still got a full-time day job, is turning me into a guy who really doesn’t want to go on any musical adventures into uncharted sonic territory right now, thanks. No challenges, please, just a nice music-blanket I can pull over my head for awhile.

Can’t let it get out of control, though. When I find myself turning on the radio, or buying a Bruce Springsteen album, that’s when it’ll be time for drastic intervention.

Today’s CDs:

Marshall Allen/Kidd Jordan/William Parker/Alan Silva/Hamid Drake, The All-Star Game
The Blasters, Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings
Ornette Coleman, Friends And Neighbors
Miles Davis, In Person Saturday Night At The Blackhawk, Complete
Exuberance, The Other Shore
Jimi Hendrix, First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Kousokuya, First
Other Dimensions In Music w/Matthew Shipp, Time Is Of The Essence/The Essence Is Beyond Time
Prong, Beg To Differ
Spirit Caravan, Jug Fulla Sun

Those are the discs I brought to work with me, but I have no desire to listen to any of them!!