Book Soundtracking: The Idiot

by Andrew Patterson

It’s Halifax Pop Explosion, which means there are a bajillion shows happening all the time. The line-up this year is really strong and last night was perhaps the finest bill of the year: at Reflections, Sheer Agony, Cousins, Bloodhouse and Thee Oh Sees played. An impeccable line-up, if you ask me, irresistible even. I was exhausted by 10:30pm, but I had to stay to see it all. It was a great show and when I got home at around 2:30am, I set to sleeping heavily. I woke around noon today.

I put the kettle on, reheated some soup and made a sandwich. I sat down to eat with a book. I’m about a third of the way through Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. I enjoy reading with music on, but find it impossible to concentrate on the narrative when the music has words. Because of this, I’ve dedicated some thought to music/book pairing. I think the first time ‘Book Soundtracking’ really worked for me was listening to Charles MingusLet My Children Hear Music (apparently Mingus’ favorite album of his own) while reading Conrad’s Lord Jim: they’re both sort of slowly chaotic and off-kilter.

Along with Dostoyevsky’s Russia, I’ve withdrawn into the world of Type Records as the season turns colder. Type Records’ records are a trove of painstaking swells, ethereal hums, crackling noise and swelling string arrangements. They have a really cohesive sound and look to them: wordless, stark, beautiful. I’ve discovered all kinds of late night or early morning gems.

Today, I learned that Type Records #064, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s masterful And In The Endless Pause Came The Sound Of Bees, goes real nice with a side of pouring rain and existential angst.