Riding, the black swan draws
A private chaos warbling in its wake,
Assuming, like a fourth dimension, splendor
That calls the child with white ideas of swans
Nearer to that green lake
Where every paradox means wonder.
Though the black swan’s arched neck is like
A question-mark on the lake,
The swan outlaws all possible questioning:
A thing in itself, like love, like submarine
Disaster, or the first sound when we wake;
And the swan-song it sings
Is the huge silence of the swan.
Illusion: the black swan knows how to break
Through expectation, beak
Aimed now at its own breast, now at its image,
And move across our lives, if the lake is life,
And by the gentlest turning of its neck
Transform, in time, time’s damage;
To less than a black plume, time’s grief.
Enchanter: the black swan has learned to enter
Sorrow’s lost secret center
Where like a maypole separate tragedies
Are wound about a tower of ribbons, and where
The central hollowness is that pure winter
That does not change but is
Always brilliant ice and air.
Always the black swan moves on the lake; always
The blond child stands to gaze
As the tall emblem pivots and rides out
To the opposite side, always. The child upon
The bank, hands full of difficult marvels, stays
Forever to cry aloud
In anguish: I love the black swan."
Ah, the arrow of poetry — I’ve been pierced! —KM
Hagio Moto interview — KM
Anonymous said: Hi, what is the best Hagio Moto work in your opinion?
Good question! She has written lots and lots of stuff, and I’ve far from read all of it, so please take this answer with a grain of salt.
I’m pretty sure that the two books out in English, Heart of Thomas and A Drunken Dream and other stories, contain what a lot of people agree are her best works: Heart of Thomas, Hanshin (16-page short story about conjoined twins), and Iguana Girl (the short story about a girl whose mother insists she is an iguana). These are definitely considered masterpieces.
Another one which is considered her masterpiece, which I haven’t read (it seems like a huge emotional investment), is Zankoku na kami ga shihai suru / A Cruel God Reigns. I’m pretty sure there’s a complete translation online.
My favorite work by her, on the other hand, is Gin no sansaku / Silver Triangle. It leans much more towards the science fiction end of things than the shojo manga end (it didn’t run in a manga magazine but in Japan’s SF Magazine), and has a reputation of being obscure and murky, but I really love it! It’s so dense and perfectly plotted and executed, it’s like a piece of art. If you’ve read A Drunken Dream, it’s a bit like the title story but expanding on the premise of “someone is playing back this exact moment in the history of the universe again and again in order to maybe fix something broken in the universe”. Really fascinating! I also really like her other sci-fi stories, like They Were 11 and Star Red. The other day I read a short story called Nise-o / Fake King which was also fantastic and left a huge impact on me.
I’m sure there’s loads more I have yet to read that’s also amazing, though. :)
What about Takemiya Keiko? (well, out of all 24-Gumi i only have read work from Hagio Moto and Takeimiya Keiko *embarrassed)
With Takemiya Keiko, I definitely have to say Kaze to ki no uta! It’s her life’s work, you know? And it has such a great ensemble of complex characters, a cutting-edge theme that she tackles heads on without as much as a wince, amazing art, a gripping plot, it’s just fantastic all around.
I’ve read a few of her longer works and quite a few short stories, and I think Hensokyoku / Variations has the most gorgeous art and, um, holds a sort of “moe” attraction for me, for the lack of a better word. Like how (female) fandom is mad about Free! these days? I read some of Takemiya’s work that way, they’re so full of amazing adorable pretty gorgeous male characters that make me go all ga-ga. She’s definitely my favorite 24 group writer when it comes to art and characters, I think she’s just amazing in those respects.
Towards the Terra is also a good series, and some of her sci-fi short stories, like the Eden ２１８５ series (about people living on board a huge spaceship heading for a far-off planet that will be colonized by their descendants), are also very good. I still have to read a lot of her recent work! I should really get to it.
Hagio and Takemiya are definitely the most famous of the group, so I don’t think there’s anything embarrassing about that! :D I only started to really enjoy Yamagishi Ryoko last year, and I’ve read Oshima Yumiko for a while but could never get into her… (now THAT is embarrassing *hides*)
Hagio Moto, Takemiya: good questions, excellent answers. So when is somebody going to translate Takemiya’s “life work” into English and publish it?
A lot of truth here. —KM
Anonymous said: Will there be shirts? Cds? Vinyl? Posters? B-sides? more "part 2's"? Anything other than a download? Anything...
here i will try to explain my feelings about physical media as concisely as possible (for me which isn’t saying much)
1. pressing up records and CDs is a big financial investment. it does not make sense for someone like me who does not tour or pay for college radio promo or PR to spend thousands of dollars to press up a bunch of records. i feel like the way it is now, where you can hear the music for free and you have the option to pay me for it directly if you feel like it, is very clean and simple and uncomplicated and for me at least, very satisfying. music is not a career for me, i do it for fun, and it would stop being fun really fast if i had to start worrying about hitting whatever sales targets i’d need to hit just to break even on a physical release. economically it’s not worth it for a project as small as mine is. i’m not out there evangelizing my shit to people, i just want it to be there for people to hear or stumble across if it interests them. having boxes of unsold records sitting around would run totally counter to my worldview and approach to my own art
2. i don’t collect records, so i don’t really personally get anything out of holding physical copies of my music in my hands. i don’t even actually have a copy of “ruin” or “ruin 4” in my house. all the music i’ve bought in the last several years has been digital and even when it comes to video games i usually buy digital copies unless the game absolutely definitively is only available on disc. if i was a great lover of vinyl or CDs i could see myself thinking it was worth it to lose a bunch of my own money or give up 50% ownership of my record to a label partner in order to have it on vinyl, but i’m not so i wouldn’t.
3. CDs and records are made of PVC which is one of the least biodegradable substances on earth. technically vinyl is a little better environmentally than CDs because the sleeves are cardboard and record plants recycle old records to make new ones, but especially considering that a lot of studies have shown that collectors don’t even listen to the vinyl they buy a lot of the time, i’d still rather sell digital files or try to find some kind of biodegradable physical token to sell people if i thought there were enough people in the world who absolutely feel like they need one to justify manufacturing expenses, i.e. a t-shirt or some kind of book
4. this is point is more esoteric i guess but i feel like attachment to physical formats is kinda holding independent music back. major labels are basically at war with physical music formats now because they’re basically at war with the idea that music is something consumers should own master-quality recordings of. they’re much more into the streaming model where music is something they own and the consumer buys access to. as consumers of major label music start to migrate over to this worldview i think it’s gonna destroy the market for CDs and probably itunes and leave vinyl as a niche boutique market
it’s not super easy to get ahold of sales data for new indie releases, and you see a lot less bragging about first week numbers of big indie label releases now because by and a large they are a lot less than they were a few years ago. major labels have decided that they’re gonna move everything over to streaming, which they stand to make a lot of money from because their content is valuable enough to platforms like spotify and google play or whatever that they can really leverage it and make favorable deals. indie labels do not seem to have any answer to this - they’re responding to the fact that they’re not moving as many copies as they were back in the halcyon days of veckatimest by locking new signings up into 5 album deals instead of 3 album deals, demanding percentages of publishing and merch sales in contracts, and taking more than 50% of streaming income. i don’t know why you’d want to do this. if creators and consumers of independent/alternative music could move on from vinyl/CD and attach themselves to a format like digital files that doesn’t require the massive upfront investment that vinyl does, there would be no reason to go through labels at all. any individual can get their music onto itunes and spotify and google play and get the same shitty deal that all the indie labels get.
if everyone could let go of CDs and vinyl, bands could dub their own cassette tapes or make their own biodegradable physical art booklets to put download codes in and sell those at shows instead of records and CDs. they could keep 100% of the proceeds and not have to worry about whether or not the pressing plant is gonna have records ready for them by the time they leave on tour. maybe a netlabel could set up a patreon account where supporters could commit to automatically buying every new release. potential new signings would be able to see exactly how big of an audience they’d be reaching by going with the label, and maybe labels would have to worry more about whether or not their releases are actually any good, for fear of alienating their supporter base
anyway not like that has anything to do with me, like i said, my thing is a hobby. i don’t play shows and i don’t really do anything to promote myself unless you count posting on tumblr as self-promotion which it fucking isn’t ok
shirts i might do, same basic problem as vinyl in that it costs a lot of money to get them made and i’m not sure i could sell enough of them to break even but the margin of error isn’t as harrowing as with vinyl and i could just donate them to goodwill if no one bought them
there’s some unfinished music left over from the MP2014 period including alternate versions of sophie and everything is a lie that i might finish and put on the internet at some point if it feels right and i recently found some music i made ten years ago i might put on the internet and call “magical pessimism 2004”
but if i do put any of that stuff out you will still have to download it sorry
A clear & passionate statement about the music biz. —KM