Live performance by Public Image Limited in Tokyo
PiL's "Annalisa" is about the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, a young German girl, whose life story is the basis for two movies, the English-language "Exorcism of Emily Rose", and the much more accurate German "Requiem". The daughter of highly Catholic parents raised in small-town Bavaria, she developed epilepsy at the age of 16, in 1968. Her mental and psychological condition continued to worsen despite a stay in a psychiatric hospital, and convinced that her plight was demonic in nature, sought out a priest who could perform an exorcism. Having been denied by the church, she was put on powerful anti-epileptic drugs, which did not alleviate the voices and faces she claimed to hear. A extended eleven-month exorcism, in daily one-hour sessions, lasted until her death, most likely a consequence of the drug Tegretol and the starvation and malnutrition resulting from the intense religious rituals.
Images and audio from Anneliese's exorcism. You will note that John Lydon's grating caterwaul has something in common with Anneliese's highly-unsettling moans and dissonant outbursts.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Live performance by Public Image Limited in Tokyo
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
From The Box Man by Kobo Abe:
"..But I think you understand...somehow..why everybody wants news the way they do. Are they preparing for times of emergency by knowing in advance the changes taking place in the world, I wonder? I used to think so. But that was a big lie. People listen to news only to feel reassured. Because however great the news of catastrophe they hear, those listening are still perfectly alive. The really big news is the ultimate news announcing the end of the world, I suppose. Of course, everybody wants to hear that. For then one does not need to abandon the world alone. When I think about it, I feel the reason that I was addicted was my eagerness not to miss this ultimate broadcast. But as long as the news goes on, it will never get to the end. Thus news constitutes the announcement that it is not the end of the world. The following trifling cliches are merely abridgments. Last night the greatest bombings of North Vietnam this year were carried out by B52s, but somehow you are still alive. Gas lines under construction ignited and eight persons received serious and light wounds, but you are alive and safe. Record rate of rising prices, yet you continue to live. Extinction of marine life in bays by waste produces from factories, but somehow you survive everything."
After my initial encounter with the story in the pages of Perspecta, the Yale Architectural Press, my interest in Box Man was re-sparked after a friend sent me an NYT article about a new Japanese design technique intended to protect against muggers. It is a skirt that, when unfolded over one's head, disguises one as a vending machine.
Needless to say, this is the feminine mode of box man. It's a cute skirt, but it turns into a way to hide from being raped, or the attentions of an unwanted suitor.
I have come to conclude that the figure of the box man, who is self-contained, self-sheltering, utilitarian and highly mobile is paradigmatic for dudes in general. So goes the observational research I have made on dudes with whom I have regular social contact. I recall a number of off-hand remarks: "the less stuff the better." "I wish I could throw away everything I own." "Only the essentials." "I wish I could be a man who lived in a box, a kind of box man, who was self-contained and highly mobile." Abe's box man figure takes Walter Benjamin's flaneur, who uniquely experiences urban life in a mode of detachment and purposeless wandering, and not only radicalizes him, but makes him a figure of high design. There could be Louis Vuitton boxes, etc.
A variant on Box Man is the DJ. Booth Man, or Console Man. Self-contained and anonymous. Before the Daft Punk pyramid, there was, to name just one example, Daniele Baldelli, DJ at the Italian club Cosmic in the early 80s.
I am providing here a remarkable mix by Baldelli recently made of the material he played at this club, which actually has little in common with words like "cosmic" or "disco". Or above all, "italo disco." Baldelli is known for eclectic, unpredictable combinations - with its weird collages of drums and vocals this mix sounds more its extended sonic family is more Eno/Byrne "My Live in the Bush of Ghosts" than Giorgio Moroder: that is, while technically it's an 80's italian disco mix, it sounds more like a signal being beamed in from a country you've never heard of, rather than a slick sonic approximation of a neon synthesizer future.
COSMIC DISCO - MIXED BY DANIELE BALDELLI
Re-upped due to popular demand. If you didn't get the first time, you are a lucky person now. If you did, let me suggest that you have forgotten that you did, and let me allow you to download it again,
AS IF FOR THE FIRST TIME.
THE VERY BEAUTIFUL ALMOST INCOMPARABLY SO 'OCEAN MEMORIES' BY BOLA SETE
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
www.divshare.com now offers permanent online storage for media files, and nice little embedded players.
all future Weekend Prince material posted to Acknowledged Classic will appear in such an embedded player form, such that it might be preserved for posterity.
PLEASE ENJOY ONCE AGAIN
This Weekend Prince remix of "A Violent Yet Flammable World" by Au Revoir Simone.
The original version of this track is beautiful with a haunting chord change and interesting panned electronic drum beats.
'BONJOUR SIMONE' - WEEKEND PRINCE
The Vice magazine website just posted an audio interview with Daft Punk. You can listen to it here:
DAFT PUNK INTERVIEW
In this interview and another recent interview with Justice (in Fader or something, I forget), both bands mention the influence of Brian de Palma's 1974 film, Phantom of the Paradise, which came out a year before Rocky Horror Picture Show and occupies a lot of the same camp/musical aesthetic territory. Except Phantom is cooler. At the very least, because of this scene: I can't believe that when I first saw it I didn't immediately make the connection to Daft Punk..
The synthesizer that occupies the entire recording room is TONTO, which was also used heavily during the recording of Stevie Wonder's Innervisions. Here's a documentary clip on the making of that album, focusing on the use of TONTO.
And there is a second subterranean Stevie Wonder - Daft Punk connection. In the video for Part-Time Lover, Stevie performs inside a neon pyramid. For real.
Along these lines, here are two additional clips featuring old synthesizers and recording techniques. One is a promo clip for Giorgio Moroder's E=MC2 record (the first album recorded digital), and a pretty strange promo clip for the Mellotron, which turns out was not invented by eccentric drug users, but posh, bow-tie wearing upper class Brits. The footage of the dude using the Mellotron to produce country club waltz music is kind of mesmerizing.
Monday, December 17, 2007
It has come to our attention that although AC gave the appearance of having posted a link to the Les Rallizes Denudes release, "Yodo-Go-A-Go-Go" [sic], there was no link in fact provided at that time. [see "Japan Edition: Buildings in Motion]
It has come to our attention that this failure to post the link was in fact an unconscious symptom of the fact that it's not really that great of a record compared to another released by the same group entitled "Heavier than a Death in the Family."
This album is severely doper than the aforementioned release that is currently being touted as a go-to primer for this FACE-MELTING Japanese psych band.
Les Rallizes Denudes - "Heavier Than a Death in the Family"
TODAY'S POST MAKES THE PALMS OF RECORD GEEKS SWEAT AND THEIR NOSTRILS TWITCH
RICHARD PINHAS - "ICELAND"
Because it's Richard Pinhas' third solo album, Iceland. A moody, deep, synthy ambient record, very Klaus Schulze. Pinhas was the leader of the experimental french rock group Heldon, that made a number of seriously ill noisy sci-fi prog recordings in a drum/synth/guitar line-up. I bought their album Interface pretty much at random and solely based on the album cover. Which looks like this:
In other words, cover art which is daring you not to buy it based on sight alone. Now considering 'Iceland', let me first make a brief aesthetic point. Here's the real album cover:
And here is my proposed imaginary replacement album cover:
(Hint: It's an awesome whale skull)
And this is Pinhas himself, an image which makes it not difficult understand why he is regarded as one of fathers of French electronic music. I like that he sort of looks like he maybe just came from playing tennis and is now going to record a 37-minute analog odyssey to the moon.
Ominous synthesizer music has for me a deep architectural resonance. Specifically, it makes me think of buildings that are ugly. Whenever I run into such designs I can't help but be fascinated on behalf of mankind that such looming and unnatural constructions exist and that humans dwell in them on purpose. These buildings serve as really tangible indexes of how irretrievably far man is from nature. The kind of far, like when you are a child of an age independent enough to swim out from shore on your own, leaving your mother and father on the beach, only to suddenly realize that you have gone too far, beyond the invisible line where the simple tug of the waves will guide you back, and for a moment you are alone there in the water, motionless, unsure if you have enough strength to swim such a suddenly great distance, or whether it is really too late for you and you should turn the other way and head out into the open sea.
Here is the Bushwick Death Star, aka the Woodhull Medical Center, right on the Flushing Ave stop on the J.
And here, of course, many of you will recognize the Soviet-era TV tower in Prague's Zizkov neighborhood. And many of you will recognize the large black babies that sculptor David Cerny installed to appear to be scaling the beast, like immense, sentient parasites.
A close friend of mine made an observation regarding the course of history, being that "first the Russians make TV towers, and then the capitalists put revolving restaurants in them."
Another close friend, responding to my comment that there should be a soundtrack to the Zizkov tower, said "it should have screaming."
The Soviet architecture in Prague always made an impression on me, in part because of its impressive ugliness, and in part because the combined decentralized network of buildings which dotted the otherwise beautiful and romantic Slavic/Central European architectural topography seemed to be headed towards the future rather than the past. I had often the lurking, paranoid impression that every day there were more of these buildings rather than less, and that in their totality they were a trace of a Prague that never existed, that was yet to come, some parallel dimension full of looped screaming sounds and analog synthesizers.
Also once my friend and I were in Prague and we watched 'Scanners', and after the movie was over I stood up, hit my head on the door frame, fell over, and then my phone rang, giving me the distinct impression that the TV tower was sending signals into my brain.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
OTHAR TURNER - 'EVERYBODY HOLLERIN' GOAT'
I don't remember how old I was. Now I am not so old but you understand that even as a beginner in the game of old man's tales I'm already lost.
Both of us were old enough to get into trouble. But too young to get a hotel room, for which in the state of Tennessee one must be at least 21, I do remember that, the way one accrues useless facts over the years like burrs with their little hooks dig into the fabric of a woolly sweater.
It was John's idea, that we should travel to Othar Turner's house and there we should join in the barbeque party he was known to host, at which he was said to roast a pig on a spit and then his fife & drum band was said to play, somewhere outside of Memphis.
Somehow along the way, during that trip into the warm, worn-out soul of Memphis, marked by all sorts of eccentric polaroid projects, and little journalist notebooks filled up with jottings like BUCKSNORT TROUT RANCH and WILD DOGS ROAM THE STREETS IN SOCIAL HILL, and monkeying around at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and giving money to a crackhead on Beale Street that I thought was the parking attendant, and staying at the Admiral Benbow, the fleabag establishment that was the only place that'd take two minors in for the night, and all manner of mythical trouble that one can run into in those fleeting years when restless imagination collides head-on with adventurous spirit, with it was clear we were never getting to Othar's house. Wrong time of year or something. We did see Al Green perform and preach at his church for Sunday mass. And we did see a shopping cart on fire. At least that's what I wrote down.
And we did go to Junior Kimbrough's music hall/barn somewhere in north Alabama, I mean really deep in a northern pocket of the state. Middle of nowhere. God's Lost Corner. The place full of locals and the band playing electric blues in this low-roofed little hutch in the side of the wall. And we did see a tall, imposing gentleman in a fine suit walk in flanked by two women, and after a while we saw the men in the crowd had gathered round one of these two associates, who sat in a chair and for the benefit of potential clients, smoked a cigar with her vagina.
Othar Turner's music, you understand, is wholly without comparison. It is the kind of sound that seems to have sprung up from the earth itself, connected to nothing. That sounds like it has been around piping and crying out and calling out since before there was anything.
'Everybody Hollerin' Goat', Turner's debut album, came out when he was 90. When he passed away, his 12 year-old granddaughter took over on the fife. That's the line-up I saw when the Rising All-Star Fife and Drum band played NYC a few years ago, the daughter on fife and a bunch of dudes on drums.
Now one unique characteristic of most American folk music is its lack of drums. I don't know why this is. But I think it's made Americans somehow afraid of drums, afraid of rhythm, that's why techno has never really caught on in the populist way that it has done in other Western cultures. It's been missing from our bloodstream. In the old South they took away slaves' drums so they couldn't rebel. But during the Civil War discarded military marching band equipment sometimes found its way into the hands of the slaves, hence the fife and drum.
It is the kind of music that comfortably middle-class suburban kids like myself enjoy using to remind themselves that things can be otherwise, enjoying using as a totem to feed the belief that life's elemental, inexhaustable strangeness has not yet fully withdrawn into the dark.
This album is impossible to describe according to phrases like 'recommended if you like', because it's so primordially joyful, it bypasses taste. Instead I should just say 'recommend if you like being alive'.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
OMAR SOULEYMAN - 'HIGHWAY TO HASSAKE'
Remember when you did study abroad in Europe? And there was that one time when you all went to some big beer hall, and there was all manner of lusty merriment and liberal consumption of spirits, and you had some great bratwurst and your girlfriend who was drunk and came in late sat in the lap of some bald old grifter that somebody was friends with, and shouted italian at him and kissed him twice on the cheek, and your friend was doubled over in laughter because some drunken lout was trying unsuccessfully to grind on his date, and you kept pounding your glass on the counter to the throbbing mariachi gypsy balkan whatever it is music, the kind that they have to stop playing after two or three songs or the patrons will pass out? Then you and your girlfriend made out in a corner and then danced wildly, falling into strangers but never, never spilling a drop of beer?
That's Radegast Beer Hall, now open in Williamsburg.
Then afterwards you were so, so hungry, your guts were burning, and you went to that brightly lit late night mediterranean place and got falafel, and your wasted eyes were transfixed by the bizarre music video playing on the tv high in the corner of the room, with high-speed electronic beats and weird phased instruments, and a litany of cable-access special visual effects, so much that you dubbed the music 'psychedelic falafel jams'?
That's Omar Souleyman, from Syria, a collection of whose music now appears on Sublime Frequencies.
OMAR SOULEYMAN - 'LEH JANI'
Saturday, December 8, 2007
AUTOPOIESES - 'LA VIE A NOIR'
HAROLD BUDD - 'FLOWERED KNIFE SHADOWS'
Among the papers that filled the boxes stacked to ceiling height in the upstairs bedroom closet of my mother’s house were a number of letters, written in her hand, often in a few middle pages of an otherwise blank college-ruled spiral notebook, and always with an addressee unnamed but not wholly occluded from the guesswork of her elder son based on the facts available.
While the recipient was never hard to figure out, even if it was an acquaintance spoken of to me only in passing, it was impossible to know whether the contents of these letters had ever been sent forth from the airless purgatory of the closet to meet their addresses face to face. Or were they drafts? Or private diaristic exercises? Each one was completed in full, without discernible interruptions or rewriting. Maybe they were only another collection worthy of donation to one of the universe’s great imaginary archives: Letters Never Sent. To me they were a symbol of what happens to all of what the dead leave behind to the living: in the place of final accounts, settled scores, notarized summary testaments, there is only this small gallery of riddles never meant to become so.
To be honest, I don’t remember now which stack these letters found their way into. Or if an effort was made at all to keep them classified together. I might have stuck one or two among the tattered pages of a volume of Bach piano music. Because these letters were precisely the sort of thing there was no category for. In my efforts to clean out her closet in the days following her passing I had made a pile for those items invaluable to the family legacy, those useful for my father in the settling of her estate, those well-suited for thrift store donation, those attractive for my immediate personal use, and those that would best serve mankind by disappearing from the earth altogether, or being thrown away, which everyone knows are effectively the same thing.
I was upstairs alone in the closet because I desperately needed something to do. Because when she left without saying a word, we rushed in to fill the sudden void. Right after her neighbor had found her there, in her garage, behind the wheel of her parked car, bent down to put on her shoes, on the way to some company retreat or something I think, right after that the three of us blew into her house fuelled by an oppressive, inexplicable sense of emergency. We were running out of time. We had to clean out all her possessions that afternoon. The house needed to be sold. Everything cried out to be taken care of. Our necks bowed under such urgent weight.
Slowly it had come to us that the release of this sense of panic into our bloodstreams was an aftershock. Our psyches trying to reach out retroactively, to prepare for and avert the coming disaster. The problem was not that we were out of time, but that there was too much of it, hanging around us, everywhere, so much time to be left on the earth without her. Like her letters, we could be counted among the estate items of uncertain destiny.
I read and read and looked and read. It was exhausting. Boxes and boxes. Each one with a predictably similar assortment of Irish music brochures, pamphlets or business cards from hotels she stayed at while on tour with her choir, a low-res print-out jpg of novelty men’s thongs from Australia, snapshots I wish I hadn’t seen, old travel guides, tons of sheet music for songs the world has swept behind its mind, info on some leisure-time endeavor she probably got real enthusiastic about and then cast aside, and material on Zaner, the older landscape painter next door, a hippie-motorcyclist type, whom she had become fast friends with and on whom she as of late had been planning some kind of documentary.
For some reason I kept going through all of mom’s stuff and I was wondering what I was looking for, and I knew suddenly that I was looking for that key that would bring it all together, that would tell me my mom’s secret. And I knew as well that along the way, in this vain, compulsive search, what I would find instead were all these shining fragments of her, seen all scattered across one another in a kind of constellation that never was formed when she was alive.
Once I had reached this conclusion, I found, really in the last box, and I say really so you know you can believe me it was really the last box and not a literary contrivance, a somewhat thick manila envelope, whose glued seal had dried free. On the front had been written: Private Property of Shirley Rauscher / destroy unopened upon my death, followed by her signature.
In other words, just as I had believed myself to have reached a little enlightened plateau among all the tireless works of mourning and gathering to be done, once I had so wisely given up the thought of finding some last great object, it or something like it was there in my hand. This, the only letter among her things which I could now say I knew had in fact reached its destination.
I showed it to my brother, and my father. We deliberated. I left it with dad and resumed my work upstairs, and I believed him both when he said he had some idea as to its contents, and when he said he had thrown it away. Although I told myself I wouldn’t have begrudged him a bit if it turned out he had peeked, maybe out of simple curiosity, or maybe out of a sense of fatherly duty, to turn and face those things which are better off kept from his offspring.
My own fantasy about the envelope is to have opened it and discovered: Irish music brochures. That is, something that would have been unreadable or incomprehensible to anyone but her, that would have seemed just like some other piece of material flotsam taking up space in a two-story house, but to her would have meant everything – and thus to be face to face with a key that only made everything more perplexing.
One day you will die and your children will rush into your home to find you because they have been told you are dead and instead they will find your things, that wait there silently, with eternal patience, waiting for their moment of redemption, and your children will never give them this moment, not out of spite simply because these old clothes and knick-knacks and Carl Sagan DVDs are poor substitutes for their mother but because no matter how hard they sort through all of this they will never reach the end. I never did.
I've included the Autopoieses record here because it's entirely made of deconstructed and rebuilt jazz samples, and there is something about this process that recalls that of sifting through a loved one's things. In each case, there's a need for the past to be carried into the present. But the only way for the living to survive this carriage is to tear into the past, to rip it open, to free it from how it once was, there on the record shelf, there in a parent's closet.
Harold Budd is an ambient piano player who has often worked with Eno. My own piano playing is not wholly dissimilar from Budd's style, and my ability to play at all is one the greatest gifts my mother instilled in me. This track is from a comp called A Brief History of Ambient, which is really awesome and which I hope to post in its entirety in the near future.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
1. Karlheinz Stockhausen performing at the Expo '70 in Osaka, in the German Pavilion, which he helped design.
2. THE CHANCE DISCOVERY
of the June 2003 issue of Yale's architecture journal, Perspecta, while rooting through magazines at ProQM, Berlin's premier English/German art and design bookstore, yielded an encounter with an excerpt of Kobo Abe's novel, The Box Man.
This is the edition that I just found in an East Villag bookstore, deep in leisurely pursual, similar to how any junkie picks at the scab of his addiction when in the throes of one of life's hollow interludes.
The Beckett-like story of transient lives in Tokyo carried out beneath the shelter of a carefully-designed cardboard container serves as a striking literary foray into the magazine's theme of temporary architecture.
A worthy soundtrack to this story, I would say, would be the German artist Alva Noto's collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Insen. Its spare, evocative electronic manipulation of Sakamoto's piano playing is a strong sonic example of 'buildings in motion': it has at the same time a transient, ephemeral quality, as if watching leaves disintegrate in a wintry gust, but also its static, ambient dimensions give a feeling of shelter, domain and anchor. As if one had taken the large shipping container which had previously housed a new refrigerator, cut an eye slit through the upper front, and without a second thought, had abandoned one's comfortable apartment. Seized by a nameless, nomadic compulsion that had blown in one day through the floorboards.
In other words, it's a great cold weather ambient record, one you can work to, stare at dying trees to, and be a Japanese homeless wizard in a box to.
Plus like doesn't the album cover totally look like a cardboard box???
3. TOKYO = NEW YORK + LAS VEGAS
In the midst of high-tech urban overload, LCD and neon haze, streams of light and sound, a 24-hour electrified day, there's often suddenly a kind of rural stillness. as if the sheer excess of digital stimulation transforms into the experience of seeing a massive waterfall, or an ancient glacier, or an unfathomably dense redwood forest.
I won't forget a night going through Tokyo alone, while my host was at her part-time job at a restaurant, listening to Chris & Cosey's "Walking Through Heaven", which suddenly revealed itself as if for the first time.
Stung by this nocturnal passage, I went to make two videos. The first, Shibuya Overdrive, features original music and video. The second, Training Through Heaven, is a supervision demo clip, featuring Chris & Cosey synced to the sci-fi scenes from Wong Kar-Wai's 2046.
Shibuya Overdrive, 2006
Training Through Heaven, 2007
4. RIYL: FACE-MELTING JAPANESE PSYCH!!!
Recently printed primer to insane Japanese psych band Les Rallizes Denudes. SO INSANE I HAVEN'T EVEN LISTENED TO IT YET.
is it good?
For real though it is ENDLESS SONIC FLAMETHROWERS OF PHASED WHITE NOISE DESTROYING YOUR MIND IN OUTER SPACE BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ASTRONAUT AND YOU ARE SO BAKED
ITS LIKE DID YOU SEE THAT MOVIE 'SUNSHINE' BY THE DUDE WHO DID TRAINSPOTTING? IT'S EXACTLY LIKE THAT!!
this is so psych that I couldn't even find a good jpg to use, because the sound destroys all images.
Following an opening at the rivington arms gallery, stina and I had drinks with justin and christine, an artist couple whose project is that they think of things they want, ranging from a slice of pepperoni to an iphone, then paint said thing, then sell it for the price that the thing costs. Effectively incarnating the thing by painting it.
You can check them out at
When the talk strayed into astonishment at the wild west that is today's speculative art market, they mentioned a swiss artist who was also involved in conceptually responding to the further interpenetration of art and finance, such that the scheme for buying his paintings was a complex model of bonds, where each painting could be 'cashed-in' after a several year period.
It became clear to me just how divergent their field was from my own in relation to contemporary capitalism. Music and art these days could not be more opposed in terms of money. Digital music, infinitely copyable, impossible to fence in, is this kind of frustrating threshold of capital, which is always trying to fight it, to domesticate it, profit from it. Technological reproduction is forcing the music industry to radically mutate. The art scene, on the other hand, is almost the apotheosis of capital, because it's based on these highly coveted rare objects with no real use-value. There's something absurd and fascinating about how the market has discovered how to make a use out of these purposefully useless objects.
That's where I part company with classical Marxism regarding the economic substructure. Economy doesn't determine culture, technology does. Today technological reproduction of music outstrips the economy, or acts as its limit point.
This leads to me to one of the central focuses of this blog, which is the singularity of listening. There's little white-box experience of music like there is of art in a gallery. Because music is disembodied and immaterial, the material contexts of when and where and how you hear something are more significant. So instead of writing about what a piece of music is, I tend to think about the particular time and place when I heard it, because that ends up being crucial to the illuminating experience of listening.
Electronic dance music is a very good example of this, because it is so heavily dependent on context that any single track can range from being unlistenable to glorious depending on how loud it's playing, what time of day it is, how much you've had to drink, who else is in the room, etc.
On that note, here's a contribution to the Beach House genre: "Hawaiian Island" by Sorcerer. Sort of if Manuel Goettsching bought a yacht and set sail for the lands of smooth disco. Their track "Surfing at Midnight" is also on the Milky Disco comp which I highly recommend.
Courtesy of the wizard who has no home
SORCERER - 'HAWAIIAN ISLAND'
And from allez-allez, Sorcerer makes you a delightful mix, full of sounds sure to evoke the gentle crashing of brightly airbrushed waves on cotton jersey.
SORCERER - A FLICK OF MY MUSICAL WRIST 2
Saturday, December 1, 2007
if your idea of a saturday night pre-game involves free german beer and minimal beats, then I recommend you stop in at my friend Doug's art opening at NYU tomorrow around 730 or so, where I will be DJing to a small crowd of scholars and the recently paroled. doors are at 6, the opening is from 6-8, and whatever happens after that is anybody's game. Tomorrow night's play list will include a number of exclusive berlin-ready Weekend Prince remixes of smooth favorites such as David Crosby and Fleetwood Mac, sure to be marked as founding contributions to the burgeoning 'minimal yacht' genre.
university place, between 8th st and the park, on the west side of the street, look for the little cobblestone side street called washington mews, deutsches haus is first on the right.
If all goes well, an audio transcript of the proceedings will appear here in a timely manner.
Friday, November 30, 2007
1. Courtesy of RKW. A Galliano runway show. Note the outrageous cover version of Prince's Jack U Off that shows up about 30 sec into it. It sounds like Daniel Johnston or something, and has a kind of wanton childlike perversity to it. R pointed out that it makes the whole show really bizarre, more like a happening than the kind of lifeless affair that promotes Roland Barthes' essential linking of fashion with death. Listen to the songs after Jack U Off ends: they're fucking boring. That is, they're completely what you expect to here, worthless club remixes.
2. Courtesy of like ten people who sent it to me. You've probably seen Snoop's new video for 'Sensual Seduction' already, because it went viral like two or three days ago. Viral videos are like jokes: who starts them?
Points of interest here: Snoop is using the very in-vogue autotune device to roboticize himself. It's more effective than that super annoying T-Pain song (aka every song).
Also, there are several close-ups to him with the pipe in his mouth, which looks as well strongly like a hookah pipe. It's an interesting image for Snoop: is weed smoke going in, or are electronically funky vocals coming out??
And around 1 minute the Snoop Dogg appears to be dressed like the Church Lady?
What's remarkable about viral video is how it radicalizes a logic of instant gratification. It has to be instantly digestible, even more so than a 30 sec commercial. Because for a commercial, you're already watching TV. But for an internet clip, most often you're in the office avoiding doing work or something and someone sends you a link via email, so in order for the clip to get your attention it has to shock your senses directly. Tarkovsky or Antonioni would never go viral. Viral clips are bits of media intended for the most distracted consciousness imaginable. In ten years they'll be underfoot, like dust bunnies, or fluttering along the street the way that tumbleweed does in Hollywood westerns.
SNOOP DOGG: SENSUAL SEDUCTION
Plus I really want you to notice the trance synthesizers in the background, which have been a significant element in Timbaland, Timberlake and Kanye tracks for the last couple of years: call it afro-rave.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
A well-deserved excavation given the film's robust staging of two of today's more resonant cultural phenomena: a kitschy fascination of the Reagan-era, and a widespread obsessional neurotic relation to the end of the world. Which marks the point when post-9/11 fears reach the intensity of psychoanalytic fantasy. Like Freud's Rat Man, society gets caught up in a psychic life of obsessive rituals to block out the fantasized disaster (in the case of the Rat Man, the thought of his father's death), which the subject is nonetheless inextricably bound up in.
Night of the Comet is set in L.A. You could render a lot of armchair West-East Coast comparisons irrelevant simply by comparing their respective stagings of the end of days. It's enough to think about two new movies, Southland Tales, and I Am Legend, alongside one another. There's a great scene involving some girls exploring an abandoned club/radio station that is of high allegorical value.
Then we jammed Neil Young's sole electronic record, Trans, which matches quite well with Night of the Comet:
NEIL YOUNG - 'COMPUTER COWBOY'
From the sands of Hermosa beach I watched a volcanic plume of smoke billow out from Malibu and via the force of wind become dissipated into a long and dirty stretch of haze along the ocean's horizon. From the beach I saw the smoke from Malibu burning. Between myself now laying near prostrate in the sand and the distant wildfire the black wet fins of dolphins then breaching arced in passing above the waves.
Awake in this land at the same time Eden and Sodom. Where nature shows itself in mythic tranquility and Judaic wrath. I wandered with a sunbaked brain along the shore. Having removed my Clarks and long black jacket, endlessly humming this beautiful song by Brazilian musician Milton Nascimento, which Stina and I had played in her mother's hatchback the day before, cruising for Amoeba records, the Arclight theatre, and carne asada tacos from the Yucca hut.
MILTON NASCIMENTO - "NUVEM CIGANA"
If this track gets your attention, here's the album, given to me by JF
MILTON NASCIMENTO - LO BORGES - CLUBE DE ESQUINA
Country file. If country is the white folk's blues, it's a logical
Caucasian recipient for sonic DNA transplant from the
Houston rap scene.
WILLIE NELSON - 'SHOTGUN WILLIE'
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
BULENT ORTACGIL - "BENIMEE OYNAR MESIN"
A beautiful, tender, Turkish psych-folk debut from 1974 with a wistful Nick Drake air to it. You've been going out with Bulent for about six months, whom you met in college. He takes you to Ankara to visit his mother and you spend the weekend there, drinking tea, reading Jorge Luis Borges, going on playful autumn walks, and generally being Turkish. In the night you go together to an old elementary school friend's house where there's a friendly jam session with your boyfriend on guitar and a few friends on horns and hand-drums, you drink wine and some local home-brewed stuff you don't recognize, and the boys play some traditional Turkish numbers, a messy, lively version of the Rolling Stones "Ruby Tuesday" with some made-up lyrics, and three or four songs by Bulent, including one that you think is probably about you but you don't want to be presumptious. Bulent song's are soft and melodically inventive and so peaceful to hear at the end of the day that you tear up a little bit. At the end everybody's sauced in a warm-spirited way and the two of you make it back to mom's house arm in arm, and before you go snuggle up with Bulent's beard you notice his younger sister, still in school, perched at the windowsill, looking out into the night in a moment of idle sleeplessness, thinking of something she will never say to anyone.
Here's Bulent with the boys. He's the second from the left. The guys have a collective kind of 70s sci-fi B-Movie style to them. For real though, they look like they're about to storm the Enterprise.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
VAMPIRE WEEKEND - 'MANSARD ROOF'
A Mansard or Mansard roof in architecture refers to a style of hip roof characterized by two slopes on each of its four sides with the lower slope being much steeper, almost a vertical wall, while the upper slope, usually not visible from the ground, is pitched at the minimum needed to shed water. This form makes maximum use of the interior space of the attic and is considered a practical form for adding a story to an existing building. Often the decorative potential of the Mansard is exploited through the use of convex or concave curvature and with elaborate dormer window surrounds.
It was popularized in France by the architect François Mansart (1598–1666). His treatment of high roof stories gave rise to the term "Mansard roof" (toiture à la Mansarde). The spelling Mansard is not a correct form of the name. 1 Sections of the Louvre, such as the central portico of the Richelieu Wing, display this style of roof.
At a time when French houses were taxed by the number of floors below the roof, this feature had the added benefit of exempting the upper floor from taxation. A revival of the Mansard occurred in the 1850s rebuilding of Paris. The style of that era in France is called Second Empire.
Under the influence of the Neo-baroque revival of the French Second Empire (1850–1870), the mansard became a common feature in many later 19th-century buildings in Europe and North America. Another revival of the style occurred in the United States and Canada during the late 1800s as one of any number of expressive forms adopted by Victorian architects. This style of roof became very popular in Back Bay, Boston, during the 1870s. In the Second Empire style, the Mansard roof was typically used to top a tower element, rather than across the full width of the building.
In congested sites in cities, a mansard enabled builders to keep a decently low cornice line, while incorporating a couple of extra stories within the apparent roof. Mansards may be seen on New York City's former Grand Central Hotel (1869).
Many fast-food restaurants, including most McDonald's outlets, also incorporate a simple mansard roof, usually covered in a synthetic material.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
1. Two songs that somebody should cover.
A. THOMAS DOLBY - 'AIRWAVES'
This is the original piano demo featured on the From Brussels With Love compilation. More or less his first release, on 7" in 1980, recorded on a 4-track - at one point you can hear the backing tracks being played in his headphones as he's singing. A beautiful sci-fi piano ballad, not unlike a hybrid of Paul McCartney and Gary Numan, or what would be playing in a dive bar in Blade Runner.
Here's the video for the later version, which adds a dimension of Kafkan/Orwellian totalitarian noir.
B. BONEY M - RASPUTIN
This is a prime example of what the Germans call an Ohrwurm - ear worm. It is a ludicrous and hypnotic track and I would recommend not listening to it prior to certain events like funeral attending, speech giving or boyfriend breaking up with, unless in a moment demanding resolute composure and solemnity you want to be subjected to the insidious refrain in your mind RA RA RASPEWTEEN LOVER OF THE RUSSIAN QUEEN, IT WAS A SHAME HOW HE CARRIED ON.
When in the Book of Romans, Paul asks 'Why do I do the thing which I hate?' it is possible he means, why do I get that goddamn fucking song in my head all the time?
Boney M was a a product of German disco svengali Frank Farian, whose penchant for black music led him to write and sing all the parts to Do You Wanna Bump?, and then subsequently to hire a team of black singers to act as the group. Farian is also, it turns out, the dark genius behind Milli Vanilli. 'Rasputin' takes its musical core from a Turkish folk song and in long-winded, sensationalist detail spells out the infamous biography of the Russian mystic.
Note in the video that when the song changes from the intro to the first verse, the male singer magically changes into Rasputin, in his amazing beardedness.
Making 'Rasputin' in fact the secret origin of Beardo Disco.
2. Two really good unlikely cover versions by geeky white people singing 80s R&B
A. DUMP - '1999'.
A wistful cover of the Prince classic by a side project from the dude from Yo La Tengo that specializes in Prince covers - see their album, "That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice". Would work well in a gechoppt und geschrewt context.
B. THE DEAD SCIENCE - 'SIGN YOUR NAME'
A cover of the erotic Terence Trent D'Arby ballad, which in its razor-sharp sensitivity has an almost gothic tone to it. Really fucking good and sexy, lots of breathing vocal whispering, and a beautiful horn section at the end.
3. Two recent songs that sound like they are old, but as a matter of fact they are not.
A. LEWIS TAYLOR - 'LISTEN HERE'
Neither of these albums is really worth listening to as a whole. But these two tracks should be listened to by you.
Both of the albums succumb to some of the lamer tendencies of pastiche. The Lewis Taylor record is overwrought with Rundgrenisms, as if every song really has to have about five songs worth of musical ideas crammed into it. But the opening track, Listen Here, has a pretty great psychedelically smooth opening and remains the disc's most accomplished effort.
A. MAP OF AFRICA - 'GONNA RIDE'
Map of Africa, despite its elite hipster pedigree, as it is comprised of DJ Harvey and some dude from ARE Weapons I think, and represents their testament to cheesy, trippy boogie rock, aka kind of like ZZ Top or Steppenwolf or something. Unlike Taylor, who worked too hard on his 21st century Rundgren resurrection, MoA sounds like it was recorded in a day, a fact which makes the record as endearing as it is ultimately kind of disposable. There are some jams on it, like 'Gonna Ride', which is a good song to put on your stereo when you're like, brushing your teeth in the morning or getting ready for guests to come over.
Friday, November 16, 2007
SOUTH PARK MEXICAN - POWER MOVES THE TABLE DISC 2
The sound of Screw is the sound of technology - of a confluence of turntable, automobile, and antihistamine. It’s the effect of a unique meeting of different machines and affects. Similar to the way you use two turntables to match the speeds of two different songs together, in the case of Screw what’s been matched up is the slowed-down voice, the pace of a car in cruising mode, most likely late at night through Houston’s urban sprawl, and the time-retarding effects of one or more chemicals – robotussin, marijuana, alcohol, etc, or the concoction most unique to southern rap, syrup, or that purple drank, a combination of codeine and promethazine.
The sonic effect is by turns ominous, mournful, monstrous, and naively cheerful. The last of these is especially the case for Mike Jones, a rapper whose litany of artistic trademarks, such the repetition of his stultifyingly banal nom de plume, and the habit of giving out his phone number in every song, together with his upbeat and affable voice, contribute to a palpable air of guileless enjoyment. Mike Jones is not trying to sell you drugs, or take your drugs from you, or hurt you in any way. He is like the Barney the dinosaur of Southern rap, teaching your intellectual white ass above all that there is no need to feel guilty about enjoyment – in that way he’s cheaper than psychoanalysis.
South Park Mexican, on the other hand, is usually not concerned with such curative measures. Instead he’s deep in the nocturnal trudge of the Houston drug dealer, a world which in Power Moves the Table has little-to-no baller glamour or romantic outlaw appeal. It’s kind of a stoned-out, sleep-walking urban nightmare, epitomized by the lines “Oh why must I sell drugs to live right? Well I must survive, so it’s hustlin’ through the night.” There are some lighter moments, such as the endearing glockenspiel’ed weed ode “Mary-Go-Round”, and the liquid velvet flow of “VIP”, but the most intense effect of the record truly lies in how the screwed voices emotionally emphasize the near-baroque world of the local Houston drug game.
The familiar Screw listener will note here that this record is pre-chop, that is, it pre-dates the invention of Screw’s other trademark technique, the chop, by which the same record is played on two turntables each enough distance in time from one another such that a quick movement of the crossfader ‘chops’ the track, doubling it in an intrusive, sudden cut that is the direct aesthetic counterpart to the languid flow of the slowed music.
When I was introduced to this record by my friend Trey, a house DJ and Screw aficionado, he remarked that listening to one single album screwed all the way, as opposed to a mixtape, was the ideal way to enjoy the genre. Power Moves the Table is a two-disc set, the second disc being Screw’s re-working, slowing down and re-ordering the tracks for maximum flow.
I have never heard this album at the ‘right’ speed. I don’t know what South Park Mexican’s voice sounds like, and I don’t want to. The effect of listening to enough Screw is that hearing the track once again at its original speed can be disconcerting, now it seems too fast. Screw is a very engaging style for those who practice a minimal aesthetic – the additional milliseconds of time between each sound allows the listener more of a chance to hear each snare, bass thump, and so on, much the same way that abstract painting reveals unseen details in color and shape.
South Park Mexican is currently serving 45 years in prison for child molestation. An in-depth article on his life and career can be found here
"I rap for all the crazy muthafuckas, for all the muthafuckas that need help. For all the muthafuckas that are lost," he said. "I let them know that I've been lost and needed help just like them, and I put that in my lyrics. That's why everybody who follows me are the sickest, craziest, most ill people in this world…'cause that's who I want to help and change."
DJ Screw passed away Nov. 16th, 2000, of a heart attack, either resulting from the cumulative effects of codeine in his system or, as some claim, by an intentional and malicious spiking of his codeine with metamphetamine.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
IMAGINARY SOUNDTRACK SUPERVISION #2
Earlier we thought about some songs that would be a good fit for Rousseau in a state of hazy contemplation alone on his boat on Lake Brenne, with his 'eyes turned towards heaven.'
Now let's consider this scenario.
My girlfriend and I are looking for an apartment together. Yesterday I went to check out a listing in Boerum Hill that she had found on the wild west of real estate known as craigslist.
The building is pre-war and nestled on a quiet, inviting tree-lined block. The apartment itself was in need of some refurbishing but for the most part was amply-sized, with a view to the garden, and could comfortably accommodate a young couple looking to begin a domestic life together but who had become either too grown-up or too discriminating to live merely anywhere. My girlfriend had given me a list of questions to ask and I was instructed to take copious photographs.
The building owner, when she showed up a half hour late, was a brash, uncouth troll of a woman in a parka and large shiny silver earrings, with two sons, one grown and one infant, and father in tow. She appeared slightly out of sorts and preoccupied, but considering she was overseeing the renovation of the bottom apartment for her own occupancy while at the same time showing the one above for rental, this did not strike me as unusual.
We spoke about the place and it distinctly seemed like it might fit the idealized mold that Christina and I had in our minds for our apartment. There was a credit application fee which was exorbitant, 200$. As we talked about getting my gf to see the place after work and filing the application, a young couple descended the stairs on their way out the door and informed the owner that there was no hot water in their place, in fact, there was no hot water in the building whatsover. The owner replied that she would send the plumber to handle it, and as she moved past me in the hallway I felt a slight brush against my sleeve - I turned towards the girl on the stairwell who mouthed almost imperceptibly
DONT lIVE HERE.
It was so brief that I doubted at first whether I had seen it. But as the couple exited through the double doors the girl turned over her shoulder and, while gesturing with her hand in a cutting motion against her throat repeated
DONT lIVE HERE.
I was struck, I knew I could not ignore such an insistent and mysterious signal, one that was taking place without anyone acknowledging the fact, behind the owner's back. When the owner disappeared suddenly into the hallway closet looking for some hardware I dashed through the apartment doors and onto the street where the couple was already a few paces away.
Walking for a moment alongside the girl I said casually
Her hurried response was
-Google the building. I can't say anymore, I could get in trouble...
I returned to the building to meet the owner again and finish our conversation, which I carried out now with only the most remote, automatic effort, so much did I want to escape and call Christina and inform her what had happened. We exchanged phone numbers again and on the sidewalk I instantly called my girlfriend and had her google the place, she instantly found a blog which was a host to a litany of complaints and lamentations from tenants, and which you can read for yourself here:
I suddenly felt that we had dodged a bullet and was laughing out loud with shock at the blog entries that she was reading to me over the phone, so fortuitous did it seem that I had had this brief, ominous encounter with one of the tenants.
The whole episode now seemed redolent of a Roman Polanski horror film, as he made a slew of them that center around urban apartment paranoia, fear of neighbors, and so on, beginning with Repulsion and culminating in Rosemary's Baby.
In honor of the horror that never arrived to us, knock on wood, I present a cut from Phillip Glass's soundtrack to the movie Candyman, entitled Candyman in the Kitchen, and I will let you play out in your own idle mind the appropriate images from DON'T LIVE HERE: THE BOERUM HILL TERROR
PHILLIP GLASS - 'CANDYMAN IN THE KITCHEN'
And should her eyes find this page, let me extend my thanks to the soul who gave the sound of warning, and that I pray her burden is soon lifted.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
WE HERE AT ACKNOWLEDGED CLASSIC
are excited to share with you what is a very personal bit of music. It is an album of solo acoustic work by Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete.
It is maybe one of the greatest, greatest albums that is.
It is called Ocean Memories and is a reissue of an album by Bola Sete originally released on John Fahey's Takoma label. Bola Sete also played a lot with Vince Guaraldi, the composer of the theme song to Charlie Brown which you may know about.
It is not your job right now to think about that insidious Charlie Brown theme song.
It is a good idea instead to download this album by Bola Sete, which has been with me for years, and which is so expressive and nuanced and beautiful that
That you can imagine JJ back on his boat floating on the surface of the lake in Switzerland listening to it. It is serene without being kitschy and saccharine. Instead it is the tidal flow of the mind, and the swells and withdrawals of the soul in deep contemplation, which are paralleled in Sete's playing, which often begins at peace only to delve into darker, more turbulent waters, then returns, then departs again.
It is a spiritual record.
BOLA SETE 'OCEAN MEMORIES'
For more, be aware that you can download several live records of Bola Sete from the iTunes.
THIS new track posted below is EITHER a remix of 'A Violent Yet Flammable World' by Au Revoir Simone OR a new track which samples the aforementioned song.
Au Revoir Simone
WHICH IS IT??
EITHER WAY I can guarantee that it listening to it will make you a pleasure. It is a step forward for princes of the weekend everywhere.
WEEKEND PRINCE - 'BONJOUR SIMONE'
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
'Yacht rap' is a relative of yacht rock.
The genre name yacht rock has been established by the highly successful and important and informative and very funny series of the same name which you can see on the Youtube.
'Yacht rap' is a term that I made up first.
It's rap music for yachting.
Before we can get into the specifics of such a rap, let us turn to its rock precursor, that we might hear and listen closely to the essence of yacht rock, as if for the first time. When we do, what we hear, regardless of instrumentation, composition, and so on, is universal smoothness.
What is this smoothness?
"In part, the term [yacht rock] relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying champagne and smooth music while out for a sail." [Wikipedia].
As the wikipedia entry figures it, this smoothness is concerned with a certain drifting, peaceably inebriated state of mind. A gently woozy, contemplative looseness.
in his poem 'Remembrance' Friedrich Hoelderlin figures this smoothness in this way:
"There, on feastdays / Brown women walk / the silky ground / toward March / When night and day are equal / and down leisurely paths / heavy with golden dreams / Drift lulling breezes. But someone reach me / A fragrant cupful of dark light / that I might rest; it would be sweet / to drowse in the shade..."
The impact of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Hoelderlin's poetry has often been noted, and it is clearly present here. We can say that Rousseau is the first yacht rocker. Were Rousseau to have had a stereo on the boat where he lay in the middle of Lake Brenne, he would clearly have been listening to Loggins & Messina. Or possibly, Steely Dan's magnum opus Aja.
the source of happiness for Rousseau in these days is an engagement with doing nothing, far niente, as he says in Italian. This doing nothing is bound up with a smooth satisfaction, a cessation of desire which is also the desire for the present moment to "last forever, beyond the flux of time and change, yet not in stagnation or lethargy" because "an absolute silence leads to sadness."
We can see how Rousseau's fifth Reverie permeates most of yacht rock, which is from a sonic point of view largely about satisfaction, satiation, and plenitude.
And doesn't the image of listening to Steely Dan on a yacht while drinking champagne a kind of ideal counterpoint to Rousseau's desire for a moment to last forever, but not in stagnation, that is, while sailing?
The difference in yacht rap is its transformation of smoothness. Instead of going out on the lake in a small boat to be alone with one's 'eyes turned toward heaven', yacht rap is about the smooth, smooth party; ostentatious displays, guiltless hedonism, fortune-fueled indulgence.
Jay Gatsby listens to yacht rap.
It is a celebration of success, and in a certain way is only possible now that rap is no longer strictly the aesthetic territory for poor inner-city kids but for millionaire entrepreneurs, who have diversified into clothing lines, shoes, ringtones.
In a sense, the rap-mogul has found a way around the dissolution of the music industry in the digital era. Your rap song is now merely your calling card - it is part of your CV, your demo reel, your brand. You can give away the song for free and still make a profit - not only still make a profit, but in order to make one.
The 'yuppie yacht owner' makes use of yacht rock to stage his moderate dose of woozy reverie, which maintains an exceptional status in relation to the rest of his life. The yuppie stages a double game - the scene on his boat with his smooth jams is about the smugness of middle-age success but it is also an expression of the romantic inner desire to leave it all behind. Fernweh, the Germans call it, 'Far-sickness', as opposed to Heimweh, 'home-sickness'. Yacht rap is never about 'getting away from it all', rather it is the sheer apotheosis of the desire to have 'it all'.
YACHT RAP VOLUME ONE HAS ALOT OF SONGS BY JAY-Z AND PHARRELL ON IT
Cam'ron - Weekend Girl
Kanye West - Champion
The Re-Up Gang - Hate it or Love it
Child Rebel Soldiers - Us Placers
Twista - Chocolate Fe's and Redbones
Weekend Prince - On the Grift
Jay-Z - Party Life
Pharrell ft. Jay-Z - Frontin
Jay-Z - Excuse Me Miss
Only the track by Child Rebel Soldiers,(from Kanye's last mixtape) with its Thom Yorke sample, approaches the kind of darker, melancholic yacht rock which finds its apotheosis in 'The Lee Shore", by Crosby, Stills and Nash.
CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH - 'THE LEE SHORE'
Monday, November 5, 2007
The general problem with minimal beats is that they are not conducive for headphones. You need to either ignore them and have them on in the background or have them loud enough that it's a visceral rather than intellectual experience. If you put them on your ipod even the sickest of minimal beats becomes not that interesting. You basically need to be doing something other than focusing on minimality while sober, which will not work.
Below I offer a brief overview of some minimal beats in late 2007.
1. SUPERMAYER - TWO OF US
From SUPERMAYER - SAVE THE WORLD
Don't buy this album. It's a pretty uneven affair. Points to Michael Mayer and Superpitcher for making a least partially-concerted effort to extend the sonic territory of Kompakt records: if they don't know yet what the future sounds like, they're at least facing the right way. The problem is that the tracks that deviate from Kompakt's revered minimal palette are mostly the same ones that are not that captivating - they're a motley assortment of pop goofs. 'Two of Us' is one of the two or three tracks that stays deep in the minimal beat vein - it's a serious minimal stormer intended for loud play when your girlfriend isn't at home, or maybe while jogging.
2. Here's a tip for Mayer and Pitcher: instead of going pop, why not take a page from Brooklyn's playbook and go native? Black Dice's latest album, Load Blown, has a number of instances that sound like European minimal beats have filtered across the Atlantic and into some Bushwick basements - so that Kompakt's claim for futuristic, streamlined and digital has been swapped for BD's brute analog twitch. 'Roll Up' and others on Load Blown would be good soundtrack material for those documentaries in which the worlds of praying mantises and other alien microbiological entities are rendered in grotesque, uncanny detail.
BLACK DICE - 'ROLL UP'
3. SHACKLETON - BLOOD ON MY HANDS (VILLALOBOS APOCALYPSO NOW REMIX)
There are instances in art when a single work stands in for an entire genre that doesn't exist. Sometimes those moments get followed-up on later on, and sometimes they are left as curious indexes of whole aesthetic paths never taken. Brian Eno has a lot of those moments - 'Third Uncle' from 'Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy)' has Joy Division/post-punk relatively in nuce. Heavily-sweated minimal beat demigod Villalobos has his own such moment in this remix, which is of course good ground to come up with a non-existent style. If Screw House ever catches on, matching propulsive beats with the narcotic stupor of slowed-down rap vocals, it will have this track as its retroactive father. Good background music for the half German-half English art and architecture bookstore that you run in Berlin Mitte.
"When I see the towers fall,
It cannot be denied that,
As a spectacle,
It is a realization of the mind.
You see, I'm standing on a mountaintop
And letting out a scream,
It's the language of the earth,
It is the language of the beasts.
There's no point to look behind us,
We left the corpse behind,
Because flesh is weak and forms break down.
They cannot last forever."
This is a pretty intense sentiment. For a insightful take on the words go here for minimal beats expert Phillip Sherburne's piece on the track.
PS: If you are a fan of minimal and you don't have Villalobos' new Fabric mix then you are basically a gay loser that no bloggers will ever listen to.
4. GUI BORATTO - THE BLESSING
Gui Boratto is still holding down the traditional Kompakt fortress pretty hard. Very recommended to put on in the background when you're tooling around at home and while working on your laptop you need a layer of steady, unobtrusive sonics to protect your addled mind from an unwelcome confrontation with the gnawing silence that is the sound of life in its sheer, brutish meaninglessness.
Friday, November 2, 2007
1. AKRON FAMILY - 'AWAKE'
Short songs like these are unsettling. 'Awake' is over just as it's starting to sink in, and its Abbey Road-type harmonies and lyrics about spectral events stay in your ears in their sonic afterimage.
2. PHOSPHORESCENT - 'AT DEATH, A PROCLAMATION'
The ending at about a minute and a half of this track from Phosphorescent's 2007 album Pride is aimed right at your gut. This effect is amped up in a not-small extent by the fact that it's called 'at death, a proclamation.' You figure it out. Pretty cool drumline rhythm section. Now that tribal rhythms are coming to the forefront of young new york white people music, like Animal Collective, TVOTR, Yeasayer and such, the next step is getting rid of your drummer and getting a middle school drumline.
3. BILL FAY - 'STRANGERS IN THE FIELD'
Bill Fay, Dylanesque British folk-rocker
Bill Fay, founder of FAYLITE NEON SIGNS
Of these four, only the Fay track doesn't make use of brevity for emotional intensity, probably because it's a demo, off the collection "From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock." Instead it's the song's sense of airy longing that hits below the belt in its very lightness. To feed my lambs, to feed my lambs. 'Strangers in the Field' is over almost before you were able to arrive the world in the song, passing by like a fleeting thought that leaves its mark before you knew what was.
4. FOCUS 3 - '10,000 YEARS BEHIND MY MIND'
No one except psych nerds know what the deal with this track is. It's from a compilation called 'Psychedelia at Abbey Road 1965-1969'. It does not have a disconcertingly abrupt ending, unlike the others. But it is short. And compelling in a theatrical way. Like if you were going to do a Broadway musical about taking LSD. It could be from that Brian de Palma movie, 'Phantom of the Paradise'. Have you ever seen that?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
1. New remix by Weekend Prince of "Saltwater" by Beach House, exclusively at Acknowledged Classic.
WEEKEND PRINCE - BEACH HOUSE 'SALTWATER' (REMIX)
2. oh lord.
Michel Gondry-directed tour video to support the Alive 2007 concert album out Nov. 20th by this french techno band called Daft Punk. All footage supplied by the audience. I saw them in Berlin the day before my birthday, in this place in the former East called Velodrom, which should have been called the Thunderdrom, as it was a cavernous arena built wholly underground - from the surface one sees only the massive brown coin-shaped roof.
DAFT PUNK: HARDER, BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER - ALIVE 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Regarding the name Yeasayer, this passage from Nietzsche's Zarathustra is illuminating:
"The passing clouds I detest--those stealthy cats of prey: they take from thee and me what is common to us--the vast unbounded Yea- andAmen-saying. These mediators and mixers we detest--the passing clouds: those half-and- half ones, that have neither learned to bless nor to curse from the heart.
Rather will I sit in a tub under a closed heaven, rather will I sit in the abyss without heaven, than see thee, thou luminous heaven, tainted with passing clouds!
And oft have I longed to pin them fast with the jagged gold-wires of lightning, that I might, like the thunder, beat the drum upon their kettle- bellies:----An angry drummer, because they rob me of thy Yea and Amen!--thou heaven above me, thou pure, thou luminous heaven! Thou abyss of light!--because they rob thee of MY Yea and Amen.
For rather will I have noise and thunders and tempest-blasts, than this discreet, doubting cat-repose; and also amongst men do I hate most of all the soft-treaders, and half-and-half ones, and the doubting, hesitating, passing clouds.
And "he who cannot bless shall LEARN to curse!"--this clear teaching dropt unto me from the clear heaven; this star standeth in my heaven even in dark nights. I, however, am a blesser and a Yea-sayer, if thou be but around me, thou pure, thou luminous heaven! Thou abyss of light!--into all abysses do I then carry my beneficent Yea-saying."
This track has been heavily blogged, and rightfully so. It has striking vocal harmonies and an emotional intensity that marks danger and portent in a grand historical scope ("I can't sleep when I think about the times that we're living in..") and as well gives itself over in its energetic chorus to Zarathustra's almost insurrective, abyssal affirmations.
We see that Nietzsche's yea-sayer is a violent drummer, forceful because he must beat against those who threaten with their 'half-and-half' ways. They threaten in their very unthreatening-ness. Elsewhere Nietzsche writes that 'sometimes one must scream in order to be heard.' Yeasayer's album is also called "All Hour Cymbals", as if again to mark this quality of art to be an interruptive, summoning force in the midst of life.
'2080' has the inflections of a quasi-mystical wake-up call to listeners in the dark - similar to what Hoelderlin called das warnende Lied, the 'warning song', which he sings for 'those with ears to hear.'
The crazy illuminati logo for the track pretty much reinforces and solidifies all this:
Saturday, October 27, 2007
A track from the original vinyl release of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, which remains one of most rhythmically innovative records of the electronic age - Eno and Byrne's artistic intent being to depict ethnic music emanating from a fictional land. 'Qu'ran' was subsequently left off the original CD pressing and its reissue, sadly enough, as it is a killer jam, with heavy-lidded beats, something like drinking robotussin while listening to a thunderstorm.
From Byrne's Pitchfork 2006 interview:
"Way back when the record first came out, in 1981, it might have been '82, we got a request from an Islamic organization in London, and they said, 'We consider this blasphemy that you put grooves to the chanting of the Holy Book.' And we thought, 'Okay, in deference to somebody's religion, we'll take it off.' You could probably argue for and against monkeying with something like that. But I think we were certainly feeling very cautious about this whole thing. We made a big effort to try and clear all the voices, and make sure everybody was okay with everything. Because we thought, 'We're going to get accused of all kinds of things, and so we want to cover our asses as best we can.' So I think in that sense we reacted maybe with more caution than we had to. But that's the way it was."
We'll let you be the judge.
DUDE N NEM - 'WATCH MY FEET'
Their website labels them a 'psychedelic rap duo.' The key to the track is the chorus, a rude explosion of fast dance beats, a rhythmically intrusive double-time clatter of sampled voices and disco hi-hats.
as one might imagine, a visual demonstration is quite illuminating. A Chicago-based derivation of West Coast krumping. Note also the self-identifying 'shirt'.
"watch em lay real low up in the erf erf"
Friday, October 26, 2007
A NUMBER OF NAMES "SHAREVARI"
"The Scene" is the name of a long-running local dance program in Detroit that ended in the early 80s. An economic upswing there contributed to the rise of a black middle class which in turn generated an audience for tracks like 'Sharevari' by A Number of Names.
One of the founding tracks of Detroit techno, the track is was named after a local club night, which had taken its name from a french clothing label, Charevari, and the spelling was changed to avoid trademark conflict.
- The artist name stems from a paternity problem - when they were supposed to be interviewed on the air by a radio DJ a whole crowd of people showed up who then could not agree on what the name of the group was - "A Number of Names" means there was no name, and thus no father for the song.
see here for more info on the group.
- Interestingly enough, the name 'Charevari' shows up in Madame Bovary: At the opening of the novel when young Charles Bovary is first asked by the teacher what is name is, he blurts out
stupidly Charbovari - the students then taunt him by repeating the name. A scholarly footnote to the passage notes:
"they are enacting a spontaneous collective pun. Originally the charivari was a serenade of rough music made by a crowd of villagers banging on kettles and pans under the windows of the newly-wed couple. It was used especially to deride an incongruous marriage."
So at the birth of American techno, there's already a kind of mockery of marriage and fatherhood - the rise of electronic music and its sample-remix culture taking apart the previous shapes of artistic parentage.