Friday, October 31, 2008

I Dreamed I Dream

Quiet Village - Fragments of Fear Vol. 1 [2005]

1 Unknown Artist - Intro
2 Goblin - Zombie
3 SSQ - Trash's Theme
4 Aphrodite's Child - Capture Of The Beast
5 Charles Manson - It's Coming Down Fast
6 John Carpenter - Reel 9
7 Poppy Family, The - There's No Blood In Bone
Vocals [Featuring] - Susan Jacks
8 Roger Webb Orchestra - Hammer House Of Horror
9 Pino Donaggio - Dead End
10 Fred Myrow - Mineshaft Chase
11 Ralph Lundstein - Horrorscope
12 Donald Rubenstein - Train Attack
13 Hot Blood - Soul Dracula

I am locked in all night tonight, as I have horrifying creeping deadlines to meet. I will share this with you: I had a strange dream last night. You should know that it is very unusual that I would want to share such a thing with you. I consider the recounting of dream narratives to be one of the human race’s more pointless conversational efforts, because unless you yourself experienced the dream, its recounting will most likely seem little more than a heap of non sequiturs, compelling only to their narrator.

A friend and I sneak into an exclusive, very sophisticated party on the 102nd floor of an immense skyscraper. The windows are floor-to-ceiling, everyone is very chic and important. My friend and I wander through the crowd, grabbing free drinks, ogling the partygoers, exploring. Out of nowhere, a series of calamitous events unfolds. A man in a suit is split in half cut through the torso and his body is somehow propelled violently through the glass. Panic ensues and it is clear that the building itself is about to collapse – there is a deafening riot to escape. I lose my friend but somehow manage to survive by jumping out of the building and landing in a pile of cardboard boxes. As I pass out from exhaustion I realize that around me are the bodies of the superheroes "The Fantastic Four," who have not survived the leap from the building and who lay half-covered in its dust. 

When I awake it is clear I have entered another realm that exists on top of our own. I am met by two small, amusing creatures. One is a blue and white duck who resembles Groucho Marx, with bushy eyebrows and a cigar, and whose name is Twindle. They escort me to meet the other inhabitants of this invisible parallel world - it is a frightening phantasmorgia of all manner of horrible beasts. I take out my camera and record them, as you yourself might do in my situation. Among them there are wobbly, demonic trolls who sing in unholy choir. There is a deranged, bloody yeti, with the hindquarters of a gigantic snake. They all begin to attack and devour one another in mindless, eternal frenzy. I get it all on tape. Finally I am escorted to a door which I understand only I can open and close, but if it is left open, the beasts are free to wander back into my world. I pass through the door knowing I have footage of the beasts as evidence of my strange journey.

I awoke in the middle of the night immediately after this dream ceased, and was still so in the feverish grip of its contents that I did not want to go back to sleep, but nor did I want to get up and write the dream down right away, as the act of writing of what I had dreamt seemed still too incantatory. My mind turned to the camera - the story seemed to be about the creative process, about venturing into the soul's own underworld and returning with images that could be shared with others, instead of the beasts themselves, who would only lay waste to the world, leaving it in ruins like the tower from which I had leapt. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Love Lockdowns

Kanye has a new album coming out in November. It's called 808s and Heartbreak. Guess what? It sounds futuristic and sad. The video for the first single "Love Lockdown" was premiered by Kanye on Ellen. Really. Also guess what? I remixed it. Feel free to enjoy yourself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Please Be Advised

Readers of this blog are advised against two activities: the setting up of a blog account with BLOGGER, and the use of DIVSHARE to host one's files. The reasons for this are evident in the notice I have received below. The result of these notices is that I am now at work on a separate autonomous website, presumably less subject to the oversight of Kafka-esque bureaucracy. My central irritation does not stem from actions clearly derived from what must be Blogger's strict CYA (cover your ass) policy, but from the fact that Blogger takes it upon itself to completely delete my post, without giving me the opportunity to revise / preserve it in some non on-line form. The post is simply annihilated, and without any indication as to what specifically about the post was in violation of Blogger's terms of agreement. I can't even contest it, because the post no longer exists. I've responded twice to Blogger's notices about post removal, and have received no further communication from them on the issue, even when I've simply asked if they could specifically identify the violation. Now it's quite possible that the language I've been using in the emails has been too complicated for the support team's reading level, so in case they happen to read this, let me take this opportunity to say just:


- - - - - - - - - - - - -

From Blogger:

"Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. See for more information about the DMCA, and see for the process that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Blogger can reinstate these posts upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification, see

Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please let us know.


The Blogger Team"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Narc Edits 01

I've just wrapped up a pair of edits, the first in a proposed series of chemical-themed cuts. To whit: Bobby is of the slow-mo leafy variety, his companion Whitney, of the powdery white. I want to share them with you: I like your feedback. Enjoy. 

Night Plane / Narc Edits 01

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tomorrow Night: Prime Time w/ Greg Wilson

This takes place tomorrow night at Santo's Party House. Prime Time residents are James Fucking Friedman and Eamon Harkin. Guest of honor is the legend Greg Wilson, officially ridden for by AC. This is dancing time for dancers.

Greg uses records and his trademark Revox B77 tape recorder.

Were the reader to venture over to Eamon's website, well-mixed delights would be found there, including a mix by Greg Wilson recorded live at Space in Ibiza, and an ill early-house mix by Eamon. Also look for his contribution to the laudable Wurst edits series. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Podcast: The Raw & The Crooked 005: Cumbia Edition

The latest edition of The Raw & The Crooked is a bit different than previous editions.  If focuses mostly on the new cumbia sounds coming out of Argentina from folks like ZZK Records and Bersa Discos.  Part reggae, part latin, part 8 bit nintendo.  And of course the usual amount of dirty raps and 808 hand claps.  Enjoy.

Radical Reason & Materialism

a radical reason to get Guitar Hero 4

My friend, colleague and fellow Walter Benjamin / minimal beats obsessive Andrea Wald now has a blog going with other like-minded Viennese acolytes of radical contemporary philosophy, titled nothing less than

Radical Reason & Materialism

and which is accompanied by an equally provocative subtitle, "Dismissing this project called Enlightenment, but demanding to think it to its end. Not towards a telos, but away from compromise." In the span of a month or so it has already quite handily managed to display Andrea's characteristic brio and intellectual vivacity. 

Enjoy, or don't enjoy, if you think that's what your superego wants of you. Fuck your superego, it's not the boss of you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dear Doctor Beats

Doctor Beats

Dear Doctor Beats:

These days I'm sad, and I suffer under a greyish malaise that bears no name. It's not one thing, but a lot of little things, that conspire together to whisp an air of self-pity and discontent all around me. The guy I was casually seeing stopped returning my calls. The weather has taken a colder turn. And I have this thing on my leg near my "area," I hope it's just a fungus. 

Daughter of Darkness

Dear Daughter:

For reasons still unfathomed, man needs to constantly represent his own world back to himself. This becomes urgent when contingency becomes unbearable, and contingency only appears to you in this way when you don't get what you want. When this happens with enough intensity, it feels as if a great shadow of soul-draining ennui is slowly creeping around your floorboards. Fortunately for you, and for the race of human beings, New Orleans funk legend Allen Toussaint knows the musical counterpart to this feeling. It is a song called "Cruel Way to Go Down," and while it's explicitly about feeling lonely, it's really about every sad feeling ever, combined together in a beautiful dirge-y atmospheric jazz tune that makes you want to wear a trenchcoat and stroll aimlessly, watching a pretty girl pass by in a bus, staring at shop windows in the rain. It's better than Xanax. Because music, unlike prescription medication, never needs to be refilled. 

After soulful catharsis has subsided, may I recommend as a segue-track back into the sunny world of smiles and lightness, this "Raw Boogie" number posted by Beat Electric, one of the best disco blogs that the internet has yet produced. It's a little Minneapolis-funk style private press number called, inexplicably, "Soul With Milk," performed by "Sumy," and it sounds like Prince but slightly more autistic. The chorus of synth bells and 'dip-a-dip dip dip" vocals is truly a joyful noise unto the lord. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dylan's Gospel

The Dylan's Gospel album was a fundraiser for a church choir in LA, the Los Angeles Gospel Choir, if you want to be precise, and you do. 

Now play this and lay your good burden down, son.

Liner notes:

"The top background singers in Los Angeles are the finest in the world. They usually sing in groups of  3, 4 or 5, but for this album, they are all here together (except for a few who were in Las Vegas, but they will be here next time the Brothers and Sisters meet).

This album happened not only because of the smiles, laughs and hand-clapping of everyone during the playbacks, not only because of the party atmosphere that prevailed (the food sent in, the drinks sent in. etc...) not only because the people did not leave after the session but stayed to hear and discuss the things already recorded.  Not only because Armin Steiner, the Engineer, spent a week thinking about the studio setup, placement of singers and microphones, etc... not only because there were more people singing than had been contracted (cousins, mothers, boy-friends, etc...).  These were just some of the reasons, the others were...

Gene Page arranged.  His brother helped, his sister contracted the fine musicians.  Gene's mother and father came to hear; Carole King came to hear; Peggy Lipton came to hear and be near; John Phillips came to hear (and no one hears like John Phillips hears); Spirit came to hear; Tom Wilkes who did the cover with Barry Feinstein was there to listen and watch.  So, they were all there, engineers, arrangers, conductors, watchers, listeners and singers and it happened.  But what made it all happen?  The songs of Bob Dylan.  But he has made a lot of things happen, hasn't he!

The album was produced and directed by Lou Adler at Sound Recorders in Hollywood, California." 

Jamie Lidell - Little Bit of Feel Good (Remix)

From the 12" with remixes by Mr. Oizo and Senor Coconut. But guess what, the killer remix is from some dude who won the Warp UK remix contest, NTEIBINT. Jamie's original is a great soul track and this remix gives it a tech'ed up strut. Always a crowd pleaser. I couldn't find it in the digital universe so I ripped it, just for you. 

Gang Gang Dance - Afoot

Gang Gang Dance - Afoot

1. The new Gang Gang Dance record is out. 

2. They're playing the Social Registry CJM showcase on Friday with Growing and Psychic Ills.

3. You will hear alot of talk about this record and this show, because the record is good and the show will be.

4. "Afoot" is dope. Gang Gang Dance sounds like Brooklyn through Africa in the 22nd century, dirty lysergic afrobeat, future-primitive space jams and sci-fi booty beats. "Afoot" is particularly "My God, it's full of stars" type of dubby galactic trip-out. If you raised your kids so that every night they went to bed listening to "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" they might make something like this. NYC should be proud it has this band, and Animal Collective and Black Dice. put them all next to each other, and you get an object lesson in politics. Being in a band is always political, and musical improvisation is a beautiful model for how politics can work, how mutual trust and freedom can be integrated in group activity. It's more like jazz, these days: you know what the song is, but it will be different every time. This is why these bands pretty much make pop/rock stuff on the radio more or less totally historically irrelevant. 

5. Over on 20 Jazz Funk Greats, the band put up some songs they liked, which included an Idjut Boys re-edit of Phil Collins. So bearded. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spiritualized - I Think I'm In Love

Spiritualized - I Think I'm In Love

I have a friend who does not ride for Spiritualized. More offensively, he even refused when asked at point blank to ride even just for this song. This is egregious enough that I will not embarrass him by mentioning that his name is Jonathan Forgang. 

You can't make someone like a song by explaining it to them. It's like trying to make a joke funny by explaining it. I will leave my unnamed friend to his opinion, because I don't need to make other people agree with me in order to feel good about my own point of view. I already feel very good about it. I feel very good, specifically, about "I Think I'm in Love." 

It is one of the best sunny-day walking songs ever, a gorgeous steam-powered whirlwind of smooth-groove gospel-tinged psychedelic rock. Above all, the lyrics perfectly nail the at-times devastating energy of possibly being in love. That's the de-stablizing, disorienting, freak-you-out part, because, as J. Spaceman sings, you could be totally wrong. That's the sheer force of maybe being in love, because it's de-coupled from all kinds of knowledge or certainty. You have to just ride the wave. After beatlessly singing about lying in a room on heroin, J. goes on to say:

I think I'm in love 
Probably just hungry 
I think I'm your friend 
Probably just lonely 
I think you got me in a spin now 
Probably just turning 
I think I'm a fool for you babe 
Probably just yearning 
I think I can rock and rool 
Probably just twisting 
I think I wanna tell the world 
Probably ain't listening 
Come on 

I think I can fly 
Probably just falling 
I think I'm the life and soul 
Probably just snorting 
I think I can hit the mark 
Probably just aiming 
I think my name is on your lips 
Probably complaining 
I think I have caught it bad 
Probably contagious 
I think I'm a winner baby 
Probably Las vegas 
Come on 

I think I'm alive 
Probably just breathing 
I think you stole my heart now baby 
Probably just thieving 
I think I'm on fire 
Probably just smoking 
I think that you're my dream girl 
Probably just dreaming 
I think I'm the best babe 
Probably like all the rest 
I think that I could be your man 
Probably just think you can 
Come on 

I think I'm in love 

J. Spaceman knows enough about drugs (including love) not to blindly trust the insight they offer. All the beauty and danger of ecstatic feeling lies in the absence of suture between how you feel when you're high, high on anything, dancing, shopping, creating, screwing, drinking, and the condition of the world after you come down again. That's why some addicts end up revolutionaries, some become messiahs, some melancholic and alienated. 

I'm a Rausch-er, take it from me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Laughing Light of Plenty - The Rose

The Laughing Light of Plenty - The Rose

Oh the good Lord, he knows when to shine. In advance of my set tonight @ Savalas I was able to learn of and track down this highly-limited release from Whatever We Want records. It involves Thomas Bullock, aka one-half of Map of Africa and Rub-n-Tug, and formerly of A.R.E. Weapons. Although it's based here in NYC, WWW pretty much just ships its hen's teeth-rare releases abroad like to Phonica in London, where they immediately sell out. This track is a striking example why - it's a swirling, psychedelic disco-rock anthem. If you listen to this, it will put you in a good place, and you will stay there. Bit of a Stone Roses /Happy Mondays dense & trippy vibe as well. Why is cosmic disco, to use the parlance of our times, so satisfying? Because it's well-dressed drug music, elegant and deeply bugged at the same time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

U R Invited

11pm @ Savalas, Bedford btw Grand & S.1st 
- - - - - - - 
w/ Resident DJ Weekend Prince (Narcos Discos, Open Secret) - Weirdo Disco / Yacht Rock / Minimal Beats. Special Guest: DJ Bravestar spins rare Chopped & Screwed Avant-Progressive Dub Trance

 - With Halloween & Election night both looming, it's a special horror editionaka a night of  ghosty beats and haunted house.
 - Weekend Prince controls to the fullness.
 - As always, this is our turf, NO Rasta takeovers.
- Enjoy!

Cry of the Lonely / Night Plane Edit

A forgotten Chicago r&b/house jam produced by "Silk" Hurley in 1987. JM Silk's bigger hit was a cover of "I Can't Turn Around" by Isaac Hayes, and like Hayes' version was repped by Ron Hardy at the Music Box. As the cover would indicate, this is definitely on the flat tops & fades end of the house spectrum. With a longer instrumental intro, extra dubby handclaps and chunky snare, The House of Trix mix could be a New Order song being performed by impassioned brothas. Nice fat analog bass and echoey, pitchshifted vocal samples.

For your additional exclusive pleasure, may we recommend a special extra-languid Night Plane re-edit, which is based on the "Dub-House" mix being played at -10. Recommended for fans of DJ Screw, Rub-n-Tug, and dance music for cough syrup addicts. May we in general recommend the "dub-house" mix of anything, preferably pitched -6 to -10 and served with craig and sazerac rye. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Lama - Love Is On the Rocks (Disconet Remix)

Serge Santiago / on myspace

Serge Santiago is a London-based DJ. He used to be in Radio Slave. What's Radio Slave? Radio Slave is techno, it used to be a duo but now it's just Matt Edwards, who is also one-half of Quiet Village. Serge loves Italo disco, which in the history of dance music is the experimental turning point between disco and house, the point where dance music becomes electronic, but in a wild, hairy, very bearded mutation, like the part in "Metropolis" when the wizard dude makes a robot woman. 

Part from "Metropolis" Where Wizard Dude Makes a Robot Woman

So Serge loves italo re-edits, which I mean, who doesn't, really? One of his recent cuts is a re-working of "Love is on the Rocks" by Lama, a classic early-80s italo rarity. Do I have to mention that it's really good? Actually, I'll say this to you: if you don't know what 'italo disco' is, this is a smashing example. It's glitzy but spare, cheesily up-lifting, with echoey synths. It's about dancing silvery robots with lips and hips. If you were to have a conversation with a beardo master about rare synth-disco awesomeness, you could easily glide through it solely by saying "oh yeah, of course, 'love is on the rocks' by lama.' 

In doing research for a review of Serge's latest edit 12", I found out that there's another remix of this track, from back in the day, by an organization known only as DISCONET

It seems that Disconet was a subscription-based DJ service in the 70s-80s which would provide its customers with monthly LP compilations featuring exclusive remixes and medleys. I offer here some further images and choice quotes from concerning DISCONET.

"DISCONET was part of a New York based company called Sugarscoop - created as subscription program service with professionally selected and mixed disco music for discotheque DJs, mobile discos and radio stations. Program content was selected by DISCONET DJs from new disco releases made available by Record Companies which have licensed DISCONET to provide the service.

DISCONET is called as the "Granddaddy" of all remix services and provided mixed/segued DJ dance sets, not only to make the DJs job a little bit easier, but to expose club goers to new music. The DJs spinning at the height of the disco era were given access to a new creative tool - a different interpretation of current dance tunes to wow club goers."


"During its second year, Disconet added more remixes and medleys by popular DJ's like: Bobby Viteritti, John "Jellybean" Benitez and Raul A. Rodriguez. The third year highlighted the first productions by Bill Motley & Trip Ringwald, who later start Moby Dick Records of Boys Town Gang fame. The first "Disconet Top Tune Medley" by John Matarazzo & Mike Arato was released as well: they produced "Top Tune Medleys" from 1979 to 1985 with the exception of 1982's Casey Jones' medley.

'Volume 3, Program 7' included the infamous Patrick Cowley's mix of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" lasting 15:45 minutes, which was issued after Patrick's death in November 1982 by Casablanca Records."

As mentioned, these quotes are all from DJSPORTAL.COM, which is run by an erstwhile Polish music critic and enthusiast, the proprietor of a number of disco-history prorjects such as DISCO AID: "I would simply like to create special fund to help discotheque pioneers whose are
broke and need economical / life help."

List of every Disconet release, including the respective "DJ NEWS" update for each:

Podcast: The Raw and the Crooked Vol. 4

"Here we go again with some more squeals, shrieks and shatters from the mix series that's three parts evil, one part good old fashioned smiles and moonbeams.  Two points if you email me back with the record I jacked for this month's cover.  Enjoy."

DJ Still Life- The Raw & The Crooked 004
zshare • podcast 

"And if that's not enough audio for you, this week I'll be rocking out with the homie $mall ¢hange on his super official Big Cover Up show on East Village Radio.  If you're not up on EVR, it's time to get acquainted.  Enough interesting music to tow you through back to back office shifts and they just brought Devin The Dude and Boris out to rock in NYC for free, so that's how they roll.  And if you don't know $¢, you're clearly not going to the right parties.  Listen live at Wednesday 10/1 from 4:00 - 6:00 PM NYC, and you can check the steez (and podcast the show) here."

John vs. Paul: A Brief Lesson in Metaphysics

Ultimately, the creative difference between John Lennon and Paul McCartney can be grasped from a metaphysical point of view. If you do this, it is easy to finally see why John is better, or at least, why he's the better artist. At the same though, it shows why Paul is the more unusual artist. 

Put schematically, it's this: Paul sings about what is, John sings about what is not. That's it. Paul loves the world for what it is, he doesn't think of change, of revolution or transformation, but of using his creative power to cast a sacred light on the way things are. John is a nihilist, a negator, but not solely, because his negating energy is driven towards in turn towards manifesting art's utopic possibilities. As an artist, John is driven towards what could be, what might be, what is possible, not what is real - imagine.  In a way, however, this is what makes Paul more of an artistic anomaly, because like John he's a genius, but a conservative one - somehow his creative energy isn't tied to nothing, nihilo, non-Being, the way that many artists, including John, are.  This is the great mystery of Paul: how can one be so brillantly jacked into creative forces, but in a way that is so rudely de-coupled from all other engagements with non-Being, that is, not with the way things are, but the way they could be? 

Think about it, "Revolution" vs. "Let It Be." What could be more antithetical to revolution than saying "just let it be?" Which are also, mind you, "words of wisdom." Why are they words of wisdom? Because wisdom comes from tradition, and tradition always wants you to let it be, not to stir up trouble, not to try and change things. 

The metaphysical split between John and Paul is most tactile in the single the Beatles issued right before Sgt. Pepper. It's a John/Paul split, John sings "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Paul sings "Penny Lane." It's all right there. They're both highly nostalgic songs, and both fictionally so, that is, both hearken back to something that doesn't exist. Except that Strawberry Fields never can, which is why, paradoxically, they must be 'forever.' Because what should be proclaimed to be forever, other than something which can never be at all? John sings, famously, that at Strawberry Fields "nothing is real." He also notes "it's getting hard to be someone" and "no one I think is in my tree." Such alienation is anathema to Paul, who's always at home in a crowd, who always seems bloody well at home everywhere he goes. Strawberry Fields is a pretty lonely place. There's no one there, just you and John. "Penny Lane" in contrast is a bustling scene of quotidian beauty, small-town romanticism.

Here's promo videos for both songs. You figure it out.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A.C. Critical Commentary

I is a graduate student. I has to read many difficult books with titles that involve colons. In academia, the madlibs formula for a book or paper title is: "Snarky Pop Culture Phrase: Big Word, Big Word and Big Word in the Obscure Reference."

One way to reduce the painstaking, infinite workload of studium is secondary sources. Commentaries and books about books are useful because you are relieved of the burden of deriving your own conclusions about a text. Occasionally, however, one finds that because of a thinker's particularly hermetic discursive style, for example in the case of Martin Heidegger, that the majority of commentaries consist in merely re-arranging predicates and subjects of various sentences, in quasi-madlib style, for several hundred pages.

Martin chillaxing

The reader of AC should now be grateful that a close associate of mine, as well as blog-title inspiration, has set up a meta-blog in order to critical engage and comment on the dense superabundance of rare insight and wisdom so regularly dispensed with on these pages - consider yourself relieved of the need to think for yourself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008



On Monday I went to the Social Security office to apply for a replacement SS card. Don't ask, but believe me, because I would not lie to you, after all you've done for me, sometimes without even knowing that you did so, which can be the most beautiful way to do things, with that soft warm light of self-oblivion, the kind that will come to shine again in the end of days.

It should come as no surprise when I tell you that there was a despicable, soul-crushing line awaiting me, and that I waited there, in the queue in that airless room with other crushed souls, for a good hour, and that I listened to music, and that I had to stop listening to these songs that I'm sharing with you, because they were way, way too amped up. I literally felt like I had to start running around, so I put on "El Kinto" instead, a highly peaceable antidote.

This is my way of saying please don't listen to these tracks while you in a physically constrained environment, because you will probably want to start moving your parts around in a rhythmic way. Best to go running, or jump on your bed, or dance. Both are highly recommended in general, both are specifically highly recommended as workout anthems, and both will be soon played by me in a DJ or DJ-like environment.

TANTRA - HILLS OF KATMANDU is a severely holy-shit epic italo-disco classic, recorded by Celso Valli, who is another legendary Giorgio Moroder type. It is a brawny, barebones dance comet, it has girl singers, random 80s guitar riff interventions, and flute solos. It's from the early '80s. If you want to know where LCD Soundsystem came from, guess what, it's this stuff - a solid grail of deep underground disco. Why is this not on CD? I guess because if it was, it would kill the 'holy shit' factor you get when you hear it for the first time, after you think you're a big enough nerd to have heard all great underground disco already (you're not not by a long shot. thankfully).

RON HARDY @ The Music Box in Chicago, early 80s

This Ron Hardy edit of ISAAC HAYES - I CAN'T TURN AROUND is also fire, hellfire, like melt the house down fire. Because it's nine minutes of a jacked-up horn-section dominated funk groove with Isaac over the top. It just smells like furious sweat. Every time you go to dancing in a club, you should have to thank Ron Hardy for it. You should have to touch your fingers to one of those little things by the door frame like the one that you touch if you're Jewish. Also what's great about edits like this is the man-machine hybrid: it's not drum-machine and computer beats, it's people playing, but they've been caught in Hardy's time-warp loop device and they can never escape, they can just churn out peak-time burners like this into infinity.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Devil, The Author, and The Red Right Hand


I had the chance to see Nick Cave last night, along with several Bad Seeds. It was by turns aggressive, cathartic, confessional, incantatory. An invigorating performer and consummate showman ("What? No, we can't play that song. Too gloomy. So this next one is about a guy going to the electric chair..")

Cave has an exceptional understanding of all the different points that intersect in being a rock singer - how you're a priest, a magician, a lover, a storyteller, a healer, a vampire, a demon, all at the same time. This kind of shapeshifting energy is the subject of one of his most well-known songs, "Red Right Hand," which warns of a diabolical shadowy figure who operates traceless and sinister, and who's kind of a substitute Satan without being named as such. 

It's a character not unlike the one at the center of Stephen King's Needful Things, who opens up a store in a small town for the sake of carrying out all manner of Faustian bargains with the townspeople - he's got IT, that thing you need the most, for a price, etc. 

Now it should be asked, what is the artistic obsession with the devil, with devil-like or diabolical characters? Because, to put it simply, every artist is the devil. Artistic creation is always creatio ex nihilo, and every creative act challenges God's monopoly on creating. 

Furthermore, what binds the artist and the devil together is that the artistic act, like any act of Lucifer, the fallen angel, is ultimately born of a power inferior to God's. The artist loves the devil because it's both their job not to replace the world of God, but to screw it up, to make trouble, to negate, to intervene. 

There is a hole in the world, the world that God made, because there is a hole in God. This is the Gnostic interpretation, the kind that the institutions of Judeo-Christianity had to fight to contain throughout history. The artist goes to this hole and he picks at it like an eternal wound, and from there he makes new things for the world, out of this hole. Where else do you imagine new things come from? 

Finally, when art dreams of demons, this is because it is thinking about its own origins, because it is reflecting on how it is born of what psychoanalysis calls the drive, the compulsion to repeat, the de-stablizing, addictive urge, of great power that consumes the one who undergoes it, who draws the artist in beyond his self-control.

The red right hand that Nick Cave sings about, that is the hand that holds the pen, that is the hand that is splattered with paint, it is the artist's own hand.

Another song that Nick sang last night was called "We Call Upon the Author to Explain," and its lyrics are a list of unjust suffering, contingent abuses, unexplainable sorrow, and the author is of course in this context God, whom you can call upon all you like but will not answer you. If God wanted to ever answer you, there would be no need for Nick to have a song about it. 

I could not help but think as well of David Foster Wallace, the brilliant, exceptionally-talented novelist, one of the best of his generation, who recently took his own life - one whose writings so often faced hopelessness and despair with rare courage, I could not help but want to call upon him as well to explain, to explain why after all this it seemed that his own words had failed him. What use, I wanted to know, was writing after all, if it could not keep you alive?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Even Dwarves Started Minimal

Here are some reasons not to be afraid of dread minimal. Because even dwarves started that way: as one can see, it doesn't mean you have to stay there. You can get up on that big-person Harley and kill that shit.

1: Every generation gets the "Sinnerman" remix it deserves. Who takes care of it for us? Luciano, aka Villalobos Jr. It sounds like he's using a live recording, so he includes the applause but drenches it in trebly reverb, which sounds cool. Actually using the live version in general is a cool idea. This mix is pretty great, now that I think about it. It cuts out alot of the verse, loops the piano riff forever, and then all of sudden Nina's free, impassioned pleading soars like a fiery eagle. Intense - it sounds like she's slamming her body on the keys in exhaustion. I picked it up from the Dirty Sound System blog, Alain Finkielkrautrock, which you should read. It's what I would do if I were French and awesome. I'm only one of those things (not French). 



2. Brooklyn Club Jam. Jacques Renault is a much-lauded NY dj who plays at 205 every Tues.

Jacques Renault

I recommend riding for his skills and for this track produced under the "Runaway" alias. Surprisingly it has very little to do with NYC or what New York sounds like, which is good. There's no no wave parts or ESG brittle-bone funk parts or schizo-posturing parts, it's just a deep kind of lo-fi minimal burner with heavy tribal beats and uplifting piano. very solid. It gives me faith that New York can produce straight dance music and not have to 'hot chip'-it up or anything for indie fascism. 

3. Stimming's "Una Pena". More latin-tinged minimal. Very danceable, heavy clap, with a gorgeous, invigorating Espanol vocal from Violeta Parra, an older Chilean singer.

Violeta Parra

Guess what? Her brother is the famous Chilean anti-poet Nicanor Parra, who I know about because my friend Pia is writing on him. The Parras were heavily involved in reviving the Penas in Chile, community, arts and political activist centers that became banned by the military coup that overthrew Allende in the 70s. 

Here's Parra's original. It is pretty great. Youtube = the whole universe.

Violeta Parra - arauco tiene una pena

Infinite Cosmic Lullaby / Suburban Balearic

Amon Duul - Love is Peace

Two acknowledged classics, very recommended. "Love is Peace" is the opener from the Duul's third album, where they trade in their lysergic drum-circle fever beats for some endless mellowed-out voyage through space and time - an infinite cosmic lullaby. When you hear "once I got a hang-up in the time machine"...."love is peace..freedom is harmony..." with disarming intensity, don't think barefoot live Dead twirling, but a shimmering excursion to a utopic counter-world. One of the top ten smoothest Krautrock jams maybe ever, the sonic drift on this one is pretty serious, make sure you keep an eye on the shoreline so you don't get swept to sea.

Decades later, American Analog Set takes the interlocking guitar lines and dreamy infinite groove and transposes it to master-planned communities and strip malls. No coincidence that the album's titled "From Our Living Room to Yours." Call it Suburban Balearic. The psychedelic long-player version of, as SY Lee says, "shouting the poetic truths of high school journal keepers." Here they sing "we left the house to see it shine...when we came back it was gone.." The long lysergic voyage has been transposed, now it's that journey to the end of the night in your parent's car with your closest friends, out on lonely highways awash in lunar glow.  

Addendum: Amon Duul was also a political bug-out art commune in Germany in the 60s. They ended up being two different bands, Amon Duul I and II. For a while Amon Duul I counted as a member Uschi Obermaier, a high-profile glamour girl / rock groupie in Germany at the time (she played maracas) - a bit like the Teutonic Marianne Faithful. 

Uschi Obermaier

There's a new documentary coming out of Obermaier's life, called "Eight Miles High (Das Wilde Leben)" and I wanted to post the clip but it literally has the most retarded "in a world..." voiceover ever, so screw it. Instead, here's Uschi and some other hot German Frauen making bombs in the 1969 pre-feminist cult classic Rote Sonne (Red Sun)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Aluar Horns

Aluar Horns (Zaire/Uganda Border)

I got a record needle. The Gemini PT-2000 record player which now functions in my studio is the first fully operational vinyl playback machine which I has ever owned. This is because, I wager, sometimes one is afraid to be happy. Sometimes there is a happiness that hangs so clearly in your eyes, but you recognize its sheer destablizing force, the way it may also threaten to overtake you once you deign to open your arms to it, that you turn away, preferring to cast your glance instead towards inferior delights.

So lord help me, I have a record player now. And I have literally the worldest's goofiest collection, comprised almost solely either of out-jazz rarities or thrift store oddities acquired upwards of ten years ago when I worked in the Salvation Army, and which I have never ever listened to, but never discarded, fuelled only by my good faith in weird records.

This faith was rewarded when I for the first time played "African Ceremonial & Folk Musics." It consists almost entirely of pleasant, unremarkable chants and babbles, but then out of nowhere, there's an insane horn-section jam, which has such a weirdo-wobbly rhythm that I thought my new record player was broken and playing irregularly. The horns overlap in such a loopy, narcotized way, it sounds like Sun Ra remixed by DJ Screw. Or a beardo edit of New Orleans funeral jazz. One of the most surprise sonic bug-outs I've had in a while, a very solid "what the hell is this?" moment was the result, exactly the sort of experience which makes me hoard two dollar thrift store records for ten years.

Enjoy, you won't be disappointed.