Friday, December 28, 2007

Ever Been Alone, and Heard a Voice?

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.

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.



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,


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


ANNOUNCEMENT 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.

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.



The Vice magazine website just posted an audio interview with Daft Punk. You can listen to it here:


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.


Upper-class Mellotron:

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"




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



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



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.


Saturday, December 8, 2007




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.

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???


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


Recently printed primer to insane Japanese psych band Les Rallizes Denudes. SO INSANE I HAVEN'T EVEN LISTENED TO IT YET.

is it good?



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


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.


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.