The Diabolical Principle

Thrill Jockey
Thrill 262 - 2012

The Diabolical Principle is a digital collection of material from Matthew Friedberger's vinyl-only series Solos.

In the Temple of Treason it's always the Season of Sacrifice! So they say. They: meaning me. In other words, why have a lot? When you can get a little: and other infernal Rule-of-Thumbs. So called! 

I hate that show! Last year, someone (at least someone did) made eight records. It was me! And, and, do you know--do you know--what my favorite lyric was-is? Uh! 

The Diabolical Principle is a compilation from out of the SOLOS box. (Which is the thing with those eight records.) TDP: on which the songs are all (not all) stitched together and switched back and forth. Switching is bewitching. Or what's switched is bewitched? Or does bewitching proceed by means of switching? The changes of a song might stay the same, but if you interrupt them, well, to all appearances, they don't.  Not really. Or if not appearances, then to all adherences, which is not what that word means. It's fun to go from one thing to another, and it's fun to just say you've gone from one thing to another. In other words, not really. So, simply "Switching is Bewitching". "Bewitching" meaning "fun".

Again: it was Uh! But that was so last year. As we said. Ah: but what last year was last year? Years pass. A dangerous admission. Inadvantageous contrition. All roads lead to ellipsis.

Exclamation mark. Now every year scores--which is an indeterminate number--of Americans seek to hire a killer to dissolve an intimate relationship. Many choose a hit man--or hit girl.... Right off the newspaper! 

But where--but where--can you read, or at least whatever, that sort of newspaper? These days? Which one? Well the recording is from the past. After all. Out of the past! Is that a commanding expression? Can you do otherwise?

Not me, babe. I'm talking to you! By the way, I am from "St. Giles Parish". Yes, in the past: I read once--in a book?--that in Chicago, people ask you what parish you're from. What nonsense! What nonsense. No one--no one--has ever asked me what Parish I am from. 

I wonder why. Once upon a time there was a group of kids, three boys and two girls. And their favorite movie was The Exorcist. Whenever they would play football, they would say their side was called: The Exorcists. Whenever they played basketball, they were you guessed it The Exorcists. (Something about making your (not their) head spin. And throw up.) That was their squad. And when they grew up (had children, etc. (in other words, were 13-14)), their rock band was called: The Sorcerer! And that's why this record is 87 minutes long: it's the exact same length as The Sorcerer!

No it isn't! Since everything is just as much about what you don't as what you do, this record is about thinking what you don't is what you do. And the other way as well. When you hear the beginning, you start listening for the end. (In general.) And it gets to be so much that you think has it even started yet?

Oh! It has! It definitely has. You only hear the end, in other words, in other words, you only hear the switches. Because, well, the end? When is what? Starts what? This record has many, many songs on it. They're all put in order just so. They go on and they go off like that.

The vocal to "St. Giles Parish" is a scratch vocal. Can you tell? Well I'm telling you. Do you know what my favorite expression is? Scratch that. 

Let me tell you. Even longer upon a time ago someone wrote a book the first line of which I translate thusly. "Let me tell you about things that switch." Or: "I can't help but go on about what switches into other stuff." 

Should I suggest that way-back-when a plural that was so plural would get an 's' at the beginning of the word as well as at the end? No!

One certainly should avoid a proliferation of latin plurals, would be. Football Stadiums! --And back to the once upon a time, then the writer mentions "perpetual song". 

This record, The Diabolical Principle, with all its words and all its bits, goes on and on and on, changing, and not. But not, or and not, continuously. Or perpetually. You can try to hear it that way; you can play it over again. 

But it doesn't. Of course it does! You try and fail but succeed, not at last, but anyway. I mean, you don't have to try to make music that way. It's like that anyway. You--I mean you!--hear it one way, and then another. Whether you like it or not.

So here it is again and different. Redundancy is not a sin, and like what it isn't maybe it isn't. But it can be confusing.  



  • 1 The Daughter He has for Years Dreamed of Punishing
  • 2 Damn It
  • 3 Long Live the Other One
  • 4 Implement Lost

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