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How to listen to Stanley Lieber's music - I'm not really Stanley Lieber. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Stanley Lieber

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How to listen to Stanley Lieber's music [Dec. 6th, 2005|10:34 pm]
Stanley Lieber
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As a very young child I would lay upon the kitchen floor, staring up at the underside of a swivel chair as my mother chatted on the phone with my grandmother. The sounds of the neighborhood would wander in through the screen door and find their way to my ears. I would ask my mother where the music was coming from, and she would have no idea what I was talking about. If my aural memory is to be trusted, it was probably the sounds of construction workers and their tools that I was actually hearing.

Once I'd entered school, my educators began to think I might possibly suffer from hearing loss, as my attempts to "sound out" the spellings of words met with frequent, bizarre mistakes. For example, I would write that it was rumored George Washington had chopped down his father's cherry chree, or I might compliment my younger sister on her pretty gress. I recall the very moment it dawned on me that "sounding out" words spoken by people with a hillbilly accent wasn't going to get me far in terms of accurate spelling. Of course, when I tried to relate this epiphany to adults they feigned befuddlement.


"It's really very strange, Father, but I suppose I can learn to appreciate it's texture."


After a number of years I would begin classical instruction on the piano. At some point I would attain a level of proficiency suitable for reciting lengthy pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart in front of an audience, but the constraints of a written score were often distracting to the point of confusion. At times I would sit down to play a piece I'd been practicing for months, only to have it slip completely out of my mind. Only after purposely working out a few bars of improvisation could I return to the memorized piece and continue where I had left off. This happened to me in front of an audience more than once. However, I typically placed ahead of my contemporaries in competition, and consequently I often wondered how closely the judges were actually paying attention to our performances.


"It is remarkable how the reverberations of my hammer seem to suggest the gentle rhythms of mother's record albums..."


The recommended usage of Stanley Lieber's music is as follows:

  • Don headphones
  • Begin work on a drawing, your writing, or some other creative endeavor
  • Play on repeat*

* This method is also recommended for extended periods spent in the isolation of an office cubicle.

As you come to know the Stanley Lieber piece or compilation in question, you will begin to recognize approximately how far along your are, temporally speaking, as each sound escapes into your ears. In this way you will have some rough indication of how much time has elapsed since you began work. While it is entirely possible that you will lose track of time completely and find yourself all but consumed by the music, it is not recommended that you allow this phenomenon to supersede the work at hand. In cases of extreme distraction it is advised that the music simply be turned off.

Though I've never been able to achieve that, personally.


"Uh, sorry, you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it!"


In the end, it is possible you may gain as much enjoyment from dropping the recording in question underneath of your bike, and simply rolling over it. Many times it is difficult to tell whether you are the short guy with big hair and a glittery purple coat, or the chain-smoking pair who just want to get their tunes heard by the boss without having their asses pinched by same.

I'm really not sure where I was going with this.

Vintage photos by my mother


[User Picture]From: joopy
2005-12-07 04:50 am (UTC)
Wherever you were going, I like the result!
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 04:59 am (UTC)
When I originally conceived of writing a post on this topic, I didn't anticipate the abrupt devolution into mid- '80s film references. ;)
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From: butterflyrobert
2005-12-07 05:49 am (UTC)
This post made me hungry.... oh wait.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 05:50 am (UTC)
As you can see in the first photo, my dog was kept nearby. I would advise against ingesting any of that snow. (That is, were it to have survived in digestible form since 1978.)
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[User Picture]From: silenceinspades
2005-12-07 05:59 am (UTC)
your attempts at self-mythology won't drag me in, but this is all great.

i really dig the last collage.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 06:02 am (UTC)
But dude this is all 100% real.
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[User Picture]From: thevulgartrade
2005-12-07 06:13 am (UTC)
Are you familiar with 4'33" by John Cage? Your description of your relationship to sound when you were young reminds me a lot of Cage's fabled experience in the anechoic chamber.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 06:16 am (UTC)
Indeed! Though my parents and educators would have been equally skeptical about the existence of such a piece.
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[User Picture]From: lau
2005-12-07 06:19 am (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 06:27 am (UTC)
But the memories are painful.
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[User Picture]From: cupid_jungian
2005-12-07 06:42 am (UTC)
you went where ever you needed to go ... and it was just fine.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 06:44 am (UTC)
I tell myself this often.
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[User Picture]From: buscemi
2005-12-07 08:38 am (UTC)
I don't know why, but this post reminds me of a baby picture where I'm playing with a severed head. (Ok, so it was made out of rubber and it squeaked. ;) )
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 09:17 am (UTC)
Of course now you have to share it with us!
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[User Picture]From: cap_scaleman
2005-12-07 08:51 am (UTC)
So far I have enjoyed your songs Stanley!

But I haven't downloaded any for some time now since I am aiming to make some songs instead of just downloading more songs than I need. I got tons of music to wade through at the moment and though I enjoy adding anything I want to go through everything I got by now instead. Or something. After that I might download every freaking little song you have up here..... With a vaccuum cleaner...
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 09:19 am (UTC)
Quite understandable. When I set out to post a song per week in 2005 a part of me was afraid that I was going in the wrong direction. 'Is more music really what they need?' I think you've taken it to the next natural step by creating a self-imposed time limit of one minute. The audio pieces become almost like a post-it note or a short e-mail. More of a rapid communication and less of a rarefied cultural event. I think we're onto something here!
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[User Picture]From: dzima
2005-12-07 09:58 am (UTC)
Here's the Stanley Lieber custom iPod:

Feel free to post it on your journal.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 08:16 pm (UTC)

(Yes, I really DID get 'stanleylieber' engraved on my iPod)

Holy crap Raf, this is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life! I will definitely post this. Here is the (comparatively disappointing) real version:

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[User Picture]From: anglerfish96
2005-12-07 02:39 pm (UTC)
For a moment, I thought I saw you without the mask!
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 08:17 pm (UTC)
Oh dammit I didn't even think of that. I suppose now I'm going to have to move the family again and get all new names and that sort of thing. You know, you spend one summer slinging crack in the valley and they just keep trying to pull you back in.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 08:19 pm (UTC)
That's a fantastic photograph. Is it you?

(My parents would never buy me a set of those, but I did have plenty of Legos.)
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[User Picture]From: swandive452
2005-12-07 03:53 pm (UTC)
i think you are potentially THE most creative person ive seen in a long time.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2005-12-07 08:20 pm (UTC)
We have to love our imaginations. Thank you. :)
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[User Picture]From: ladyprufrock
2005-12-07 10:34 pm (UTC)
In 1st grade I questioned why "pint" (the unit of measurement) doesn't rhyme with "lint" but only managed to make the teacher laugh.

No headphones are allowed at my job! Alas, I might not hear my phone ring.

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[User Picture]From: ladyprufrock
2005-12-07 10:47 pm (UTC)
That's going from word to sound rather than vice versa.
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