First snippet from the new album, Progress. Chaplin Modern Times. Boiling the frog. Astoria, OR gig is a go.
Roger CortonMan. I go away for a few weeks and the whole place goes to hell!
JCHThings have been busy.
Is there a point where our species can’t make good decisions anymore because we’ve created a world that simply moves too fast? But we can’t slow it down because our systems have only been designed to keep plowing ahead faster and faster. Maybe there’s a limit to our ability to function well in a world of constantly accelerating change.
RCOK we’ll knock off a few items in a minute. But without further ado, you have a snippet preview of the new record.
RCThis is not what I expected.
JCHWhat were you expecting?
RCWell, not dance music. It almost sounds like EDM. Is the whole record like this?
JCHI’m glad you mentioned that. No, the whole record is not like that. If you know anything about what I do by now, it’s that picking one ‘representative’ cut is a fool’s errand. But to yer point: we live in the age of EDM. In a sense, everything these days is a dance beat. You’d be hard pressed to find any music on any radio station now that isn’t a dance beat. And I’m including jazz and classical! The jazz station here in Seattle never met a funky shuffle it didn’t like. The classical station? Mozart Minuets for your Lunchtime! We live in a dance-crazy world.
RCSo if you had picked another snippet?
JCHIt would’ve only created another kind of mis-perception. I was 2016 back in 2006. You can’t profile me officer!
RCFine. Then can we expect more snippets to give fans a more ‘fair and balanced’ perspective?
JCHOuch. I’ll see what I can do… Mr. Ailes.
RCOuch back. Wrong Roger.
JCHSorry. That was cold. Money, power, what-ehhhver? I thank God I don’t look like that guy.
RCApology accepted. Moving along. And you’ve got some artwork for the new record, which looks very (cough) ‘progressive’.
JCHI was hoping you’d resist. But yes. The funny thing is, I didn’t even think of the ‘progressive’ pun until about a week ago.
RCSon, you really are taking too many drugs. Regardless, what are we to make of this image? Is there some deep mathematical mystery in there? And… why are all your records ‘white’ now?
JCHIt’s just the exponential function of acceleration. Nothing a tenth grader wouldn’t know. But it’s how life feels to me these days. Faster. Faster. I told you when we first discussed this, I had some equations like this, from my first physics classes pop into me head a while back. Like in those PBS specials where they have equations flying around to show some great scientist thinking up some marvelous new thought. It was just like that. Minus the science (laughs). I was just thinking how the world is changing so fast now and those symbols popped into me head.
RCSo the theme is…
JCHLimits. More. And, as I ranted before, the notion that ‘progress’ is our religion. Almost anything ‘tech’ is now considered an intrinsic ‘good’. The notion that people are somehow ‘better’ now than they used to be. Nobody seriously entertains the notion anymore that life was somehow better in the past. And the corollary is that everything must keep moving forward all the time. It’s like the stock market. A company gets punished unless it grows. In fact, it might get punished simply for not growing enough. It’s not enough to say, “Congratulations! Last quarter, we made 2 million customers happy, paid the bills, posted a modest dividend and broke even. Well done!”
RCYeah, that’ll get any CEO fired. But I don’t feel that way. Bernie supporters don’t feel that way. Trump supporters don’t feel that way. I think you’re wrong. Most people don’t feel that way.
JCHBut most people don’t count. The (I know how this will sound) ‘elites’ on both sides of the aisle, academics, the decision-makers, all believe in progress; that ‘more’ something is the only way forward. But not just ‘more’; exponential more. Things are not just changing faster than ever, the rate of change is accelerating. And it dawned on me that maybe there is a limit.
RCA limit to what?
JCHI’m wondering if there is a limit to how much ‘change’ human beings can absorb. Like we have plateaued as to how fast a guy can run, right? There’s a muscular limit; no matter how much you train. And there’s a limit to how many “Gs” a guy can take on a plane, right? You can make faster and faster jet fighters, but at a certain point, a pilot can’t fly it without passing out. Well, we keep reorganizing our world more and more frequently and I wonder if there’s a limit to that. Is there a point where our species can’t make good decisions anymore because we’ve created a world that simply moves too fast? But we can’t slow it down because our systems have only been designed to keep plowing ahead faster and faster. Maybe there’s a limit to our ability to function well in a world of constantly accelerating change.
RCAs in Modern Times. The assembly line moves too fast for people to work on, but if they slowed it down, the whole factory would break down.
JCHWell said. Nobody ever wondered if there was a limit to how fast the line could move. But I’m sorry for re-hashing that. I’m just trying to tell you the theme of the album. Change. Are things changing too fast for human beings to adapt to?
RCGot it. Now let’s get to some other business.
JCHWait a minute. I got it! Boiling the frog!
RCBoiling the what?
JCHYou’re a southern boy, that’s the expression right? Yer boiling the frog… you know, you put the frog in the water and slowly turn up the heat and he supposedly he doesn’t even notice he’s getting cooked. THAT’S what I should’ve called the record. BOILING THE FROG! Damn.
RCAnother missed opportunity. After you spent all that time on that artwork. Shame. OK, moving on… First you say there are no gigs. Now you say there is one September 3rd. Wherever Astoria is.
JCHLooks that way. Since I’m not flying, my overhead is low, Low, LOW, so I think it’s a go. Already sold enough seats to break even. And since I don’t report to shareholders? THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME, PAL.