Nattväsen

In the fall of 1989, in the quiet Swedish town of Hälsingfors by the Tiveden forest, children began to disappear.

Within a span of five weeks, eight children, all under the age of seven, went missing while playing by themselves outdoors at night. After fruitless investigations within the community, the local police organized search parties into the adjacent forest. Immediately, they found clothing and toys among the underbrush, which they followed as far into the woods as the dense growth would allow. But no child was ever found, nor ever any evidence of violence or struggle.

As the weeks passed, the well-educated community began to recall, in private whispers lest they be ridiculed, a forgotten local folklore: the story of the nattväsen, the night creatures. In the old days, grandmothers would tell stories of the animal-entities of the forest to curb the curious child from venturing close to the woods. The stories never described these creatures, but spoke of them emerging at nightfall from the Tiveden, forest of the gods, to visit imaginative, adventurous children that were no older than seven, play with them, then lead them into their forest.

The eight children were never found, but as the community hastily tightened security, no more went missing. And in a few years, the incident had all but faded from the collective memory.

In 2017, the Swedish ambient music duo Carbon Based Lifeforms added a new track to their European tour, called Nattväsen. It contained an audio recording of the Hälsingfors Chief Inspector de-briefing after a failed search party, and the words of a dementia-afflicted local old lady who claimed to have been taken and returned in her childhood by the night creatures.

The unfamiliar narrative was regarded by the concert crowds as meaningless space-filler in an otherwise instrumental format, and drew scant attention.

But one night, in a small EDM den in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn club district, Namio Takaki, a Japanese anthropology exchange student who had grown up near the Aokigahara suicide forest, found himself unable to ignore the lyrics. As the band kept playing, first disbelief, then years of near-extinguished trauma broke forth and rose steadily upward through his chest, until he had to scramble his way out through the crowd to the parking lot to be able to breathe again.

 

The following pages contain an account of my personal journey into this mystery, of how I flew too close to the sun in my three years of travel and investigation to unravel a global enigma, and came back from the edge of human reason and the natural laws that purportedly hold this world together.

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Why do artists and academics earn less than the value of their work?

The money that artists and academics make fall short of the value of their work. Why?

Let’s take a case study: music streaming service Spotify does not pay its musicians well. Let’s examine if they could.

There are two non-exclusive ways they could pay their musicians more. Either they could maintain their profit and start charging their listeners more, or maintain their pricing and cut their profit. Imagine they make it their mission to make sure artists get paid the most that consumers are willing to pay for their music. So they do both. They start charging more and more, and channel all earnings (minus operating cost) to their artists and take no profit.

The first thing to acknowledge is that people will be willing to pay more for music (and art and literature and knowledge) if they are forced to. This may be hard to imagine in today’s world of overwhelmingly cheap and accessible content that is constantly vying for our attention. But take our hypothetical scenario as an example. In support of their mission of fair compensation for musicians, imagine that Spotify takes over the entire music industry, so that all music that is created can only flow from creator to consumer through them, and they can completely control the terms of this. Once they monopolize the industry, they start raising their prices. This makes music a more expensive commodity, and it starts to disappear from the sphere of our attention where it was plentiful before. It takes a while for people to adapt to this removal of stimulus, but gradually a population that was overstimulated and spoilt for choice becomes hungrier for music, and willing to pay more.
Spotify can milk this to the fullest extent possible by making listeners pay as much as they are willing to. In the extreme case they are able to artificially create the condition of optimal scarcity (like the diamond industry), make the maximum revenue possible, and pay the creators the maximum possible (unlike the diamond industry). Under such an extreme condition, a considerable section of the population will be unable to afford the amount of music they would like, while a small rich fraction will be paying most of the money that musicians make.

Now it becomes important to consider the particular nature of music and other cultural content: it gives us intrinsic joy to create and share such content. Even if it isn’t making them any money, people feel like creating and sharing art, and seeking out and sharing academic knowledge. Under conditions of extreme scarcity that we’re imagining, there will be people who will feel more compelled to create and share music for cheaper or for free, because the need for this is more acute and the joy in satisfying it is greater. We will have people who deliberately forsake the possibility of making a lot of money, and find ways to create and share their own or others’ content for free, sometimes in violation of existing laws.

This is a crucial step in the reasoning. The property of intrinsic joy is not true of a lot of other services and content that people create. There is little intrinsic joy in working through accounting spreadsheets: its value is mostly tied to the money it earns that can be spent towards other things that bring happiness. But art, culture, learning and science bring intrinsic joy in doing and sharing.

As a black market of cheap or free content starts becoming available, the starved people will naturally turn to it. This will directly eat away at Spotify’s business and begin to harm their altruistic mission of paying creators the most possible. They will realize that the only way to continue business is to lower charges and pay their creators less.
The bright side of this is that content that brings us intrinsic joy can never be completely taken away from us and monopolized by corporations. Since there is incentive to not only consume for cheap, but produce and share for cheap, people will always find a way for cheap distribution.

In short, artists and academics make less money than their content is worth because they are compensated by the intrinsic joy of the work and are willing to be paid less, and the free market automatically adjusts to price their work accordingly.

Har Pal Har Lamha

I played the drums at a Teachers’ Day performance of an original composition by our group in IISER Kolkata.

Drown

The music was so loud. I had it on earphones, which made it even louder. I wanted it loud, as loud as possible without blowing my brains out, but it was still too loud. But I did not turn it down. It drowned everything else. Just some sounds, and heavy music, and yelling voices. LOUD. It was like magic, how it drowned everything out.

It was too loud. After sometime, I felt nauseated by the loudness. I felt like throwing up. This is how loud it was. It was like a white-hot wave of fury rushing through my head. But I kept on.

Then when I ran out of my stock of loud, yelling music, I turned off the thing, and stayed up the rest of the night.

I can assure you of one thing with absolute authority. Whoever you are, you are not the stupidest person on earth. If you feel, for some reason, that you are, don’t worry, you’re not. I’ve just been in something that has made me hit bottom. You cannot be stupider than that.

This wasn’t the plan, though.

But that’s part of the reason why I am so stupid.

1Life.

My First Drum Tab

Hello, all. I’m really happy to post my first ever drum tab. I was looking for some song which had relatively simple drums, so I could practise it with my new kit. I liked Jon Osbourne’s ‘One of Us’ but initially couldn’t find its drum tab online. So I started writing the notes myself. Then I just looked up online again and saw that they were there, so I discontinued that. Then I liked Prithibi by Lakkhichhara, and I was almost sure the tabs won’t be on the net. I even asked their drummer if he could tell me where I might find the drum tabs to this song. He said the tabs don’t exist like that. I looked up the net anyway, just to be sure. When I saw there wasn’t any such thing, I sat down to write the tabs myself yada yada yada.

Anyway, so here is my first ever drum tab, that of Prithibi by Lakkhichhara, the song that inspired Bheegi Bheegi of Gangster and one of my favourite songs. The time signature is 3/4 so that was a little hard to figure out. After having carefully listened to this song an umpteen number of times, I saw that the drums are not following a strictly well-defined pattern, and I don’t really think that someone who wishes to play the drums of this song needs to follow my tabs very closely. If they generally stick to the principal patterns, it would do. I am quite sure that the Lakkhichhara drummer didn’t follow anything too strictly. He improvised variations on the spot, and the result just turned out to be that way. There are some small places where I have had to use notes on the side to explain what a particular stroke pattern should be like. I recommend that instead of trying to figure it out through my textual instructions, just listen to the song and it will be clear. These notes are not present in the tabs written below, because of layout problems. To get the complete tablature, along with the notes, just download this text file.

So here goes:

Artist: Lakkhichhara
Song: Prithibi
Drummer: Gaurab Chattopadhyay
Tabs by: Abhranil Das abhranil.net
Bar: 3/4

C: Crash
X: loud
x: soft
H: Hi-Hat
X: closed
o: open
S: Snare
o: normal
X: cross-sticking
=: flam
B: Bass

Intro

C |------X-----|X-----X----x|X-----------|X-------xxx-|

C |X----------x|X-----X----x|X-----x-xxx-|X-----X-----|

C |X----------x|X-------x-x-|X-----x-xxx-|X-----X----x|

C |X-----X----x|X-------x-x-|X-----X---x-|X---------X-|

Verse 1

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o-----------|o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|

Verse 2

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-o-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|

Chorus

C |------------|------------|X-----------|------------|
H |o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|--X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------o--ooo|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o---o---|o---------o-|o---------o-|

C |------------|X-----------|X-----X-----|X-----------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X---X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o--ooo|
B |o-----------|o-----------|o-----------|o-------o---|

C |X-----------|------------|------------|X-----------|
H |--X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o---------o-|o-----------|o-----------|

C |X-----X-----|X-----------|------------|
H |--X-X---X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|------------|
S |------o-----|------o-----|=-----------|
B |o-----------|o-----------|o-----------|

Verse 3

C |X-----------|------------|------------|------------|
H |--X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-o-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-o-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|

Verse 4

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|o-----------|

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-o-o-o-|
S |------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
B |o---------o-|o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|

Chorus

C |------------|------------|X-----------|------------|
H |o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|--X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------X-----|------o--ooo|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o---o---|o---------o-|o---------o-|

C |------------|------------|X-----X-----|X-----------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X---X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o--oo-|------o-----|------o--ooo|
B |o-----------|o-----------|o-----------|o-------o---|

C |X-----X-----|------------|------------|------------|
H |--X-X---X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o---------o-|o-----------|o-----------|

C |X-----X-----|X-----------|------------|
H |--X-X---X-X-|------------|------------|
S |------o-----|------------|o-o-o-o-o-o-|
B |o-----------|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|

Instrumental

C |X-----------|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
H |------X-X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o---o-----o-|
C |X-----------|------------|X-----X-----|------X-----|
H |------------|------------|------------|------------|
S |------------|o-o-o-*note*|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o---------o-|o---o-----o-|

C |------X-----|X-----X-----|------------|------------|
H |------------|------------|------------|------------|
S |------o-----|------o-----|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-oooooo|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|

Verse 5

C |X-----------|------------|------------|------------|
H |------X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o--ooo|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o-------o---|

Verse 6

C |X-----------|------------|------------|------------|
H |------X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o-----------|

C |------------|------------|------------|------------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o-----------|o---------o-|o---------o-|

Chorus

C |------------|------------|X-----X-----|------------|
H |o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|--X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-*..*|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-------|o---------o-|o---------o-|

C |------------|X-----------|X-----X-----|X-----------|
H |X-X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X---X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o--ooo|
B |o-----------|o-----------|o-----------|o-------o---|

C |X-----X-----|------------|------------|X-----------|
H |--X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|X-X-X-X-X-X-|--X-X-X-X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o--oo-|
B |o---------o-|o---------o-|o---------o-|o-----------|

C |X-----X-----|X-----------|------------|
H |--X-X---X-X-|------------|------------|
S |------o-----|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-oooooo|
B |o-----------|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|

Instrumental

C |X-----------|------X-----|------X-----|X-----X-----|
H |------X-X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|--X-X---X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---------o-|o---------o-|o---------o-|o---o-----o-|
C |X-----------|------------|X-----X-----|------X-----|
H |------------|------------|--X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|
S |------------|o-o-o-o-o-o-|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o---------o-|o---o-----o-|

C |------X-----|------X-----|X-----------|------------|
H |X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|------------|------------|
S |------o-----|------o-----|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-*note*|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|

C |X-----X-----|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
H |------X-X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|

C |X-----------|------------|X-----X-----|------X-----|
H |------------|------------|--X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|
S |------------|o-o-o-oooooo|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|

C |------X-----|------X-----|X-----------|------------|
H |X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|------------|------------|
S |------o-----|------o-----|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|

C |X-----------|------X-----|------X-----|------X-----|
H |------X-X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|X-X-X---X-X-|
S |------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|
C |X-----------|------------|X-----X-----|------X-----|
H |------------|------------|------------|------------|
S |------------|o-o-o-o-o-o-|------o-----|------o-----|
B |o---o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-o-o-|o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|

C |------X-----|------X-----|X-----------|
H |------------|------------|------------| ...fade out.
S |------o-----|------o-----|o-----------|
B |o---o-----o-|o---o-----o-|o-----------|

I hope you like it.

1Life.


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