Wednesday morning, I was coming off a heady binge of Rilke, Yeats, Rumi, and Holland-Dozier-Holland. I decided to complete the bombing of my emotional landscape with some kundalini missiles from dear George Harrison, effectively reducing it to a field of mental flowers. In a moment of clear synchronicity, I came across an announcement that Yim Yames‘ EP of Harrison covers had been released for pre-order. You may know Yim as Jim James of My Morning Jacket — a band that makes me feel like God’s own special little princess, or maybe a moppet from Kentucky who has only recently started wearing shoes to work.
It seemed somehow mystically-ordained that I should be in a George Harrison mood and stumble across a new set of tender renderings that very morning. Of course, the fact that Tuesdays are always new release days and that I had been aware of the new record for a while were lost on me in my transcendental hangover (as were other linear time concerns). So you can imagine the ensuing confusion in my attempt to download the Yim Yames record.
Appropriately, I recently saw a t-shirt which read “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary math and those who don’t.” Computers, like all scientific things, are magic to me. I am worse than your grandmother. Much, much worse. In the same way that I can understand the difference between sound and light only when explained to me, the nuts and bolts of what you might call “technology” are typically subsumed by my sense of wonder and my tendency to endlessly correlate. But there is precedent for my tendencies: one particular sequence of the I Ching hexagrams has been said to have inspired a Westerner to configure the first known Occidental form of binary math, which further reinforces my belief in computing’s compelling wizardry.
However, enchantment is not what helps one get through a build-your-own-website course. That experience provoked in me a synesthete‘s coping mechanism. I would draw out absurdly complex site maps and color-code them, sometimes with appropriate illustrations of cars or deer. Going further back, in my utterly incomprehensible high school algebra classes (plural — had to take it twice to pass with a C), I would make lists of every color I could think of, in an attempt to put my mind into an understandable order. In both cases, my “color-coping” didn’t really help. As I told my dismayed web instructor, my inability to complete my site was because I had only had even an e-mail account for a very short time and that Dreamweaver was hard for me to learn. Sadly, this is really just the tip of a very colorful iceberg.
In the case of the new Yim Yames EP, my supposition is that I need to download some kind of Flash thing, which may as well be Superman‘s cape for all I fucking know. The little window which pops up and requests the little numbers that represent those paychecks previously surrendered to the ATM machine is too technologically advanced for my current software, and therefore illegible. This is my guess. You see, unlike my fancy cellphone or VCR (you heard me), my laptop does not respond to verbal abuse. So I politely e-mailed the webmaster for a fucking clue. I may as well have asked her to come over and clean out my gutters or give my cat its diabetes shot. Ultimately, I realized that to avoid humiliation, I would have to figure it out myself.
So rather than carefully filling out a Grape Nuts box top in tightly curlicued script, I’m punching in passwords and force-quitting Firefox. All of this for a t-shirt and a piece of vinyl. But it will be worth it. Some of my favorite songs are there. “Long Long Long” retains the spooky suspension of the original, and “Sir Frankie Crisp” was always one of George’s most emotive vocals (and Jim has never been accused of being vocally/emotionally ungenerous).
The Art Of War says, “Colors do not exceed five, yet all their variations cannot be seen.” I understand that, just like I understood exactly what George was talking about in “Within You, Without You” when I first heard it at age 9. I understand what makes a banjo like a sitar, and I understand what makes ancient African instruments articulate into American music via European pop. This is the kind of thing I’ll be able to think about exclusively, as soon as I restart my computer and have the elements I need to order my wax and download the preemptive binary codes which miraculously reconfigure into those magical sound waves. Sun Tzu orders musical pitches in the same way he does colors, so soon I will have endless variations to contemplate.
Oh MP3s, I don’t know how someone controlled you, they bought and sold you in the form of 1s and 0s. YimYames.com, do you sell this album in a chromatic format? I suppose until mathematicians figure out the King Wen sequence, I’ll have to rely on my techy friends to help me navigate through to the order form. From then on it’s all blues and yellows, banjos and echocore, the winged energy of delight and fountains of perpetual mirth.