Monday, December 29, 2008

ridin' high podcast 12.30.08: cavalier

download link
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to bring the year to a close and counteract the chill of last week's holiday disco darkness, cavalier presents thirty minutes of lullabic, syrupy-smooth grooves and heavy-petting edits, which bottoms out in the vocals of terry callier's 'you don't care' as they unspool down to 50bpms, disappearing into a black codeine abyss of infinite retardation. roll into the new year in breezy easy-lover style. 
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file under: deep repeat, chilling hard, jammy sinking
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andreas vollenwieder - caverna magica
joni mitchell - passion play (unknown edit)
fleetwood mac - never goin' back again (tom croose edit)
the delegation - oh honey (gold code edit)
venus gang - love to fly
plastic bertrand - stop encore (ron hardy re-edit)
jurgen paape - so weit wie noch nie  
seth troxler - love never sleeps
terry callier - you don't care (cavalier mix)

1. vollenwieder is a German new-age wizard. He is also, along with Martin Denny, one of the occult forefathers of Quiet Village: Vollenwieder's "Steam Forest," from the same album as "Caverna Magica" is one of the backbones of the second half of QV's Silent Movie, that heavenly medley of maritime delight that feels like you're face down in the sand at sunrise. feel the drift.

2. I forgot who edited this. If it's you, write in and let us know. You should be proud. 

3. I got this on 7" from Phonica. 

4. If this isn't a blue-ribbon make-out on the couch with your girlfriend jam, then such a distinction is meaningless. It's also nicely kind of chaste. It sounds like you're smooching fully clothed with two feet on the floor. A warm-up, as it were, literally so. The edit is by gold code, which is the excellent blog where I found this. Very nice work.

5. this is from an insane compilation of prog-disco madness by Jean-Pierre Massiera, a David Alexrod/Joe Meek type, who has a rather incomprehensible discography full of amazing pseudonymic efforts - "Sex Convention" being only the best of many greats. Massiera's entire output can be found here. "Love to Fly" by the Venus Gang is officially up there with "Ridin' High" by Faze-O as a jam so saturated with funky erotic bliss, you can't re-edit it. It's already too high, it may never ever come down. 

6. Hardy edit! 

7. Acknowledged Kompakt classic. One of the most soulful dance tracks ever. Really. Guess what? it sounds just as good at about 100bpm. Vocals are sampled from "Vielleicht schon Morgen" by Daliah Lavi, a smoking hot Israeli singer. Here's the original: 

8. Soulful, minimal deep house, one of 2008's best tracks. Has that kind of moody, murky, elegant atmosphere that feels like Wong Kar-Wai at the disco. Put it next to Luomo and Superpitcher and that. 

9. The only words to this song are the title phrase, which confuse me. Either way I can think of interpreting them is weird. Either the You is Me, and I'm being told I don't care, which sounds slightly brainwashy, or they're being told to someone else who doesn't care, in which case, why would that be such a great thing as to warrant this exceptionally smoothed-out yacht jam? In any case, it sounds great slowed down, like really slow. I mean it. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Night Plane - Chinese Shadows

night plane - chinese shadows

newly edited and scrubbed clean. a extended case of rhodes-led, opiate-induced balearia. enjoy.

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night plane on myspace / includes three new tracks:

"let the right one in" - about having a vampire girlfriend
"walls of stone" - about 3am financial district visions
"american friend" - about dennis hopper and bruno ganz

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bruno S: A Spell of Songs

We extend holiday greetings to you by passing on this article about Bruno S., the star of two films by Werner Herzog in the 1970's - Stroszek, and The Enigma of Kasper Hauser: or, Everyman for himself and God against all. You can watch a video of Bruno play "Dear Mamatschi" on the accordion - his version interpolates "Holy Night" and "O, You Merry."

NYT - "From Berlin's Hole of Forgottenness, a Spell of Songs"

"he occupied the roles of damaged characters so completely and genuinely, so uncannily, that it was never quite clear how much he actually understood about what use was being made of him by the director. His performances were riveting, but he was obviously not well mentally, and even as he came across in his own way as knowing, he was at the same time simply being himself, and the question hovered: How much was fiction, how much reality?"

"He has been working on the same painting at least since the late summer, protecting it under layers of newspapers, towels, pens and paint, which he peels away, as one doffs heavy clothing.

The picture shows a vast conflagration. A vase falls from a tottering column, which Bruno explains is the incident that started the fire, a recurring dream he has about Berlin. A man flees; another screams. Above it all the symbol of the city, the Berlin bear, wears a golden crown, surrounded by a rain of black crosses.

“I gave the Berlin bear a solemn crown, but when your mother town is estranged from you, death can’t be far away,” Bruno said, cryptically as usual.

“I wish she could see it," he said, now talking about his mother. “If she did, she would die straightaway of a heart attack because she would see her son’s death.”

He calls her Mrs. Bremse, which translates both as “brake” and “horse fly.” It turns out that he had been playing all those months ago near the church up the street from us because his brother, long dead, used to live in the neighborhood."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Woolfy vs. Projections - Invisible Conga People Remix

one of the tracks from this week's mix is an icp rework of a number from woolfy vs. projection's balearic opus astral projections of twilight. beardo-balearia nuggets are the new downtempo/triphop. When you're sailing in these blissful waters, remember that at all times you pass between the scylla of trip-hop and the charybdis of smooth jazz. ICP (invisible conga people, not insane clown posse. unfortunately) do right by me by keeping an even keel between relaxation and adventure, between chilled-out and weirded-out. Plus it has heavily-reverbed piano that sounds like it was stolen from 'Sister Morphine,' which always wins me over.

the secret interlocutor for this track is David Crosby. With its balearic twilight grooves and lyrics like "oh I home..1000 years later..where did I go?" it's basically an ode to David's nautical weed classic "if only i could remember my name." get up with it.

Ridin' High Podcast 12.23.08: Night Plane

just in time for christmas, it's the darkest ridin' high podcast yet, the soundtrack to fiercely frozen streets during the longest night of the year. featuring a new solo track by the singer from the knife, a special kanye remix, and for closers, a balearic cover of metallica. dark and shadowy, yes, but running the gamut from steel-edged midnight horror to smoothed-out twilight grooves.
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file under: moody machines and paranoid androids

download link

track list
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excellent swoon - dear scott
fever ray - if I had a heart
eno, moebelius & roedelius - the belldog
woolfy vs. projections - return of starlight (invisible conga people remix)
night plane - walls of stone
lawrence - miles
anthony rother - welcome to my laboratory
ssion - clown (glass candy remix)
kanye west - welcome to heartbreak (night plane remix)
nine inch nails - down in it
motor city drum ensemble - stripped down
killing joke - almost red
honey bane - guilty (jd twitch edit)
leda - endless race
tiedye - nothing else matters
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if i had a heart: a new solo track by the singer from the knife, singing the tin man's solitary 3am lament.

the belldog: one of my favorite eno vocals tracks, a collab with cluster. a haunting interlude about technology and transformation. because you see, there are two kinds of art, the kind that tells humanity about itself, and the kind that reminds humanity that it is actually at its core something other than itself, that the essence of the human is inhuman.

walls of stone: inspired by a late night trek through the financial district, with ghostly facades of financial institutions staring back at me. 

clown (glass candy remix): cool remix by johnny jewel, nicely italo with good vocal line. 

welcome to the heartbreak (night plane remix): my detroit version. every piece of art has two parts, it has itself, and it has that penumbra of possibilities around it that were never realized, but that glow like a halo. it's the dj's job to capture and engage with this halo, like those old photographs that claimed to capture a person's aura around them. in a good mix, the halos from two songs, when placed together, appear to be of matching colors. that's how I feel about placing kanye next to nin. In other words, if you think about it, 808's and Heartbreak = Pretty Hate Machine. enough said. the move from kanye's crying robot to trent's screech is really satisfying.

guilty (jd twitch edit): another of optimo's awesome punk edits. This is some more echoe-y postpunk with sexy girl gasps. 

endless race: much sought-after cosmic disco track by one of the dudes from tangerine dream. far-out twisting outer-space acid synth with ghostly girls riding high. the guys from bumrocks put this on their new el bum comp. 

nothing else matters: lars, james and crew set off towards the sun as it disappears over the ocean.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Edit Credits 4/4: DJ Still Life

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Happy holidays and stuff. There, I said it. I'm writing this from home in Austin while my Dad, bro and I watch Dark Knight on Blu-Ray. I made fajitas with chorizo and yams. Still Life files this edit, a cut up of a holiday-themed afro-funk deep jams perfect for any remaining egg nog ragers still on the agenda before Santa day. Also, is Pee Pee Dynamite the best name for..well, the best name for anything, really? Afro-funk singer, for sure. It'd also be a good name for a dog. Or an airplane. "The Boeing PeePee Dynamite." 

Enjoy Pee Pee and your holiday respite. I'll be broadcasting from Austin until New Year's, when I'm going to see Blonde Redhead back in Manhattan..

Edit Credits: 3/4: Excellent Swoon

Excellent Swoon - Dear Scott
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Excellent Swoon sends us this from London, a re-edit of the orchestral opening from one of Scott Walker's later works. Scott, like Nico, turned his back on his role as a straight 60's pin-up and got bent sinister. His later material has been increasingly dark, hermetic and baroque, intentionally unsettling and provocative. Swoon's edit turns a zoom lense on the horror-soundtrack qualities of his orchestrations. It's also a good reminder that hey,  disco edits are fun, everybody loves extended Chic cuts, but a lot of fertile creative ground can be dug if you step off the dancefloor and go trolling for weirder targets. Guys like Pilooski and the Dirty label know this, that's why they got into edits of Frankie Valli, Elvis and other hip-shakers; the only rule in edits is that there aren't any. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Edit Credits 2/4: First Choice

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Another one of Hardy's most massive cuts. It's also the polar opposite to the wound-tight restraint of "Peaches and Prunes." Wonder where Pilooski's wound-up re-edit rockets like that of 'Beggin' and 'Crawfish' come from? In part it's from the stunning loops, cuts and rewinds at work in Hardy's mix of "Let No Man Put Asunder." It's one of those gorgeous, passionate carpe-diem disco anthems, and when Hardy operates his magic of hypnotic repetition, it's like the aural equivalent of catching a buzzing bee in a glass jar. You can literally hear disco turn into house, men into machines. Thanks to the Beat Electric blog for posting it - Beat Electric is hands-down one of the best disco/boogie blogs out there, consistently thorough, insightful and exciting. 

Edit Credits, 1/4: Edit of the Year

Nightlife Unlimited - Peaches & Prunes (Ron Hardy Edit)
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Experts at the AC think tank are in agreement: Ron Hardy's cut of Peaches & Prunes, originally from 1980/81, is the edit of 2008. Why? For starters, it was featured on three important mixes: 

and four tet's resident advisor podcast.

Why did it show up this year? A resurgent interest in mixes from Hardy, one of the founders of house music, didn't hurt (a lot of them are archived here). Listen to these mid-eighties sets, and you'll hear disco morph into house music. When old styles become fodder again for new minds, it's often these morphing points that become primary objects of interest. For a revival, once a style becomes well-defined, its shell has hardened and its soft, pulpy goodness is more difficult to retrieve. In a transition time like Hardy's, rules are not set yet, agendas aren't fixed, everything is up for grabs, it's a big creative laboratory. And, as in any experimental situation, there is as much that's ultimately left by the wayside as there is that makes it out to market. No wonder today's disco producers and djs are spending so much time with Hardy's legendary creations. 

Why Peaches and Prunes? Because it's an object lesson in flamboyant restraint. Hardy took the briefest from the intro and rides it for a good damn while. Then suddenly when they bust out with the chorus, you feel all that pressure that's been steaming up to suddenly hiss out with great relief. It produces that sort of universal gratification that bypasses genre interest, which is probably partly why dub punkers like mi ami and laptop experimentalists like four tet are into it: a disco obsession isn't necessary. Like all great dance music, it speaks directly to your body, telegraphing signals to it: anticipation, pressure-building, climax, relief. This is one of the songs that first got me into the science of djing, as such it remains one of my favorites. get up with it. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tonight: Your Invitation

U R invited: thurs, dec 18 10pm. Savalas Presents: Boogie Sugar. special dj tag team: robbie loggia & weekend prince. Bedford between Grand and South 1st. Dancing time for dancers. Ass-warming grooves for wintertime, in a serious disco party way. Come get down, busy and loose before you have to fly home for the holidays and watch reruns!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ridin' High Podcast 12.16.08: Night Plane

download link

track list:

night plane - anatomy lessons
le pamplemousse - le spank
animal collective - my girls (np I need a leak mix)
la pena - A1 (white label)
sis - nesrib
vanity 6 - nasty girl
nite jewel - weak 4 me
booka shade - sweet lies (patrick baumel remix)
love & rockets - so alive
connie chase - get down
pulp - do you remember the first time? (np save a piece for me mix)

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1. me. plus khia screwed, I'll admit. plus some other stuff I'm not telling you what.
2. some disco jam.
3. the lyrics to this animal collective chorus could be a J.Lo song. I mean that in the best possible way. Does anyone know if animal collective has any songs about sex? Seems like most of their songs have this virginal innocence about them, in a beach boys way, in a prelapsian world prior to sexual difference. Could there some animal collective lover's rock? I doubt it. But I wish there could be because it would be awesome. Oh wait: "open up your open up your open up your throat." nevermind.
4. White label cuban-latin house put out by the same guys who are Einzelkind. They were raised in Cuba but emigrated to Frankfurt. The rule these days is, if you want to have a deep latin house track, it has to have the word 'pena' in the title.
5. some deep house with an infectious looped vocal sample.
6. is it cruel to bring this in for like a minute? that's kind of all I wanted to hear of it. the 'nesrib' sample reminded me of it for some reason. I don't like to drop random shit in too much, because then it sounds like girl talk or something.
7. i didn't mean to go 80s pop, it was nesrib's fault. Nite Jewel is cool, she's a lo-fi bedroom singer from LA who has stuff on Italians Do It Better. It sounds a bit like Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam but underwater. Or like if you took beach house-y narco-haze and applied it to 80s girl pop instead of 70s folk rock.
8. this booka shade remix is seriously the business. It has a wonderfully oscillating tightly-delayed synth, really abstract for a while, and then it plunges into full new order gloom-pop, complete with those gorgeous tinny pads.
9. and it goes sick with nite jewel and 'so alive,' which is also my jam. I first heard it on the bus in tenth grade at some theater competition, after I made out with shanna dawson.
10. I don't know anything about this song.
11. there should be more house remixes of pulp. I have a specific person in mind every time I hear this song. (not you)

Friday, December 12, 2008

A.R.E. Weapons - F What You Like

I like this

A.R.E. Weapons "F What You Like" from THE FEAR on Vimeo.

I listened to their new album on itunes. It sounds like crap. But it's hard to be upset at a band like A.R.E. Weapons for putting out a crappy record, because that seems to be kind of the point. It would be kind of disingenuous if they made much of an effort to polish their material or really think twice about it. I like that once and a while they show up, put out an album that is an extended piss-take, have some trashy live shows, and then disappear. This song is decent on headphones, but for some reason along with the video it's great. It makes you want to go "yeah, right, you know, F those guys. They suck." I like the singing  and I like the part that goes "I'm not doin' it for the girls, I'm not doin' it for the boys. I'm just doin' it for the sake of the argument, just to make a little noise. " I like that they eat hot dogs, and that the singer is sneering in kind of de Niro way. The beat could be Suicide but also it sounds like "Jailhouse Rock" and you could wear bobby socks to it, a catchy, bouncy Iggy/Sid middle finger. 

PS If you are a neurotic person and have lost access to how to be happy without worrying what other people will think, dancing around to this song will be much cheaper and more effective than going to an analyst. F those guys. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Legends of Grift

Endless Grift - Lost in the Open / Lady Day (Live from Prenzlauer Berg)

In Fall of 2006, I got a DAAD stipendium to go to Berlin and study Jacob Taubes. Alex and Chris came with me, for grifting's sake. We found a three-bedroom apartment near Tempelhof airport, near a little park, in an area of Kreuzberg that hadn't been bombed during the war, so it looked vaguely Parisian. Alex and I already decided we were a band. We thought about a name for a long time and landed on 'Past Lives.' We invited Chris to join and play together, as it made all the sense in the world. Our practice space was in the back basement of some squatter's building just west of Rosenthaler Platz.  It was huge and cost 9 euros an hour.

Let's not speak any more of this. It was pretty much one of the greatest times in my life. 

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We renamed ourselves Endless Grift, because this is the only form that grift should take. I recorded all the sessions. There was one jam that was a particular epiphany, an improvised jewel, one that has remained stuck in our collective heads since then. I present it to you now, in edited form. I'm still quite proud of it. It's low-fi and the whole thing is entirely in the red. It's completely rowdy and fiery. It sounds awesomely distorted and explosive. 

Do you know when you're jamming sometime and everything goes in sync suddenly and you're like "we have lift-off...look out..." Alex is playing in a superbly rolling-thunder holy-shit barrel roll. Chris is spraying fantastic siren synths. I'm playing heavy John Cale organ. In the first part I'm singing "we could be lost in the open..and never learn our names." in the second, "why don't you come over and say goodnight? you know you look good to me." It's one of the best existent records of Endless Grift, and I want to share it with you, because duh. Get up with it.

For more please visit us at

DJ Still Life: The Raw & The Crooked vol. 6: Psych Mix

Albert Hoffmann at home

"The new edition of The Raw & The Crooked is a run through 60's and 70's psychedelic jams that seem to fit the brisk temperature outside right now. Smashed together mixtape style, of course."

DJ Still Life- The Raw and the Crooked 006 (psych mix)
Sleeping Giant Podcast
grab it here

Biggie Smalls Live - "Warning" 1995

A clip from an upcoming doc, "Rap Phenomenon," by Gold Dust. The realness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bush & Beach: Axes to the Frozen Sea

Kate Bush - Hounds of Love

Beach House - You Came to Me

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There is a famous quote from Kafka, about what a book should be. It should be "an axe to the frozen sea inside us," he says. At times I wonder if this isn't also true for music, at least some music. There are some songs I find truly upsetting, that I avoid approaching carelessly, for fear of allowing them to needlessly provoke me.  Here are two of these songs. Each has a very specific moment that triggers a cold flurry of the nerves, a deep spinal rush, for a reason I can't explain. It's not that I'm reminded of a tender childhood idyll, or a bitter romantic letdown. It's that I feel as if a raw nerve inside me has been struck, one that I have to avoid thinking about too often if I want to be a person and live among others in this world.

1. I don't understand why I have to explain who Kate Bush is to my friends. 'Running Up the Hill' is obviously a classic, but no less spellbinding is the title track from her album 'Hounds of Love.' You know how you hate Tori Amos? Can you imagine if you took all of Tori Amos' characteristics but combined them into a version that you do like? I know, it takes a certain speculative stretch, but you can do it. This song is suffused with dreamy erotic energy and unnameable poetic passions. Also it has cool tom drums. It sounds like she's going to lose her shit while she's singing. The part that freaks me out is when she says "take my shoes off and throw them in the lake..and I'll be two steps on the water..."

2. I also don't understand why no one writes songs as heartfelt and mesmerizing as Beach House does. They make lots of other people's songs sound insincere and calculated by comparison. Also I have a natural disposition towards states of decadent, inonculated melancholy, which makes it quite easy to ride for these guys. This is my favorite song from Devotion, and the first one they played at Music Hall of Williamsburg last night, which forced me to abandon my drink order and rush to the mezzazine to watch. The raw-nerve jolt here is when the song switches into blissful outro mode and Victoria sings, in a tone that more often than not reduces me to tears, "you came to my dreams..and spoke of everything.." The video matches the Beach House vibe quite well, it appears mildly slowed down, glittery, somnabulistic, a velvety opiate lullaby. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

RH Podcast 12/09/08: Night Plane

ridin' high on 12/09/08: night plane

track list

night plane - here on earth
bombers - shake
the jackson sisters - i believe in miracles
downtown party network - days like these
lykke li - little bit (loving hands remix)
aeroplane - whispers (hercules & love affair remix)
runaway - just got paid
tantra - hills of kathmandu
jeanne shy - night dancer (beat broker dub)
del shannon - gemini (pilooski edit)
night plane vs. tweet vs. michael watts - turning red (oops oh my)

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this week, I ride high alone, delivering to you some choice deep disco bookended by two new cuts by myself, the first, some post-coital nuzzle disco, an edit of the outro to "you make your own heaven and hell right here on earth" by undisputed truth. The finale is a housed-up take on dj michael watts' chopped and screwed version of "oops oh my" by tweet. The lyrics to which remind us that there is little, if anything, sexy about male autoeroticism. Why is hearing about female self-stimulation something erotic while the male equivalent the stuff of bro-bonding conversation? Because female sexual arousal is fleeting and overwhelming, it seems to descend and inhabit the body like an electric phantom. Male arousal on the other hand is a given. No one wants to hear a song about a guy stroking it, because on its own it's a highly banal topic, like shaking hands or buying chewing gum. There seems to be little secret to it, whereas the womanly erotic mood, in my experience, is something more to be summoned with smoke signals and raindances. At least that's how I do it. 

As for the rest of the tracks, I should tell you that deep disco is like a woman whose affections I could never wholly extract myself from, no matter how low my grift might go. Even if I have flirtations or intense affairs with other styles of music, deep disco knows deep down, my love is forever. 

bombers - shake: I love lumbering basslines like this. Plus when the synths come in, it sounds like the enterprise is about to dock.

the jackson sisters - I believe in miracles: not the "I believe in miracles" song from 'Boogie Nights.' Thankfully. A serious deep one that I heard at Phillipe & Ed's birthday party last friday night. 

downtown party network - days like these: nice band name. A new one on Eskimo records that stays in a blissful loft classic vein.

lykke li - a little bit (loving hands remix): I've never heard lykke li but I heard she's popular with people who like things. Her voice reminds me of the chick on that "joe le taxi" soulwax remix, breathy and little kiddy.

aeroplane - whispers (hercules & love affair remix): here is a list of people who own in dance music right now: aeroplane, kathy diamond, and H&LA. Kathy's singing style is tailor-made for lush disco-house productions, and H&LA just crush whenever they show up doing their bonky chicago-house remix work. I fucking love this song.

runaway - just got paid: Wurst Edit from Jacques Renault and that other dude. when the girl vocal kicks in for the first time with "you got the magic touch.." it's like getting smacked in the face. 

tantra - hills of kathmandu: I'm into travel disco. The disco group Voyage is great for this, they have a whole album where every jam is going to a different country, and it's real goofy-exotic. Their jam "Souvenir" is on Metro Area's Fabric mix. This track from Tantra is just killer, stripped down freight-train disco, the kind where you understand why James Murphy first thought that he could make disco that would appeal to rock fans.

jeanne shy - night dancer (beat broker dub): From the new El Bum LP put out by the guys who run the Bumrocks site. Bumrocks completes a triumvirate along with Lovefingers and Robots in Heat of impeccably-curated crate-digger sites that ceaselessly turn up all manner of severely weird, compelling tunes. 

del shannon - gemini (pilooski edit): beautiful melody, smashing edit. I love that pilooski and the dirty crew focus way more on groovy soul tracks than on weirdo disco. Like the 'crawfish' edit, this has kind of a baseball stadium gary-glitter type stomp.  

The Mob - Witch Hunt (JD Twitch Re-edit)

Affirmation does not come to New Yorkers naturally. One of the causes of this is that we are overstimulated, and used to finding reasons to filter out new phenomenon. The same way that an employer in NY, when looking to fill a position, must build a ruthless set of criteria for evaluating the landslide of applications that will inevitably manifest. Thus we say no alot not only because we're jaded, but as a means of psychic survival. Additionally, alot of us are paid to have opinions and be discriminating. We're critics and writers and art directors and designers and editors and stuff, so we like to throw our weight around. 

Lastly, I would say that more than anywhere else in the world, musical taste in New York is an extremely intense cultural signifier. "Can I like this?" people seem to ask themselves. "Who am I if I like this, what club of people do I belong to?" This is obviously the wrong kind of question. It is the same line of thinking that leads into ironic enjoyment, which is a terrible form of enjoyment, maybe the worst. 

Ironic enjoyment is a product of city life. No one in Kansas likes things ironically. Ironic pleasure got invented because people in the big cities listened to music that made them ask "who am I if I like this?" and were unable to stop liking it although they felt a certain cultural guilt about it, a coolness guilt. When it comes to aesthetic pleasure, irony is a product of guilt. 

It's healthy to unabashedly, almost uncritically affirm something once and a while, it's like hugging a large, stupid dog on a spring day. This is how I feel about Optimo, who, as far as I am concerned, are always right. 

Recently JD Twitch from Optimo made an 1o" called 1o Inches of Fear. He did edits of punk songs from Crass Records. They are all awesome. This one, he's looped the intro and done some deep filter tweaks, so it sounds alot like hawkwind. I ride. 

Mi Ami - African Rhythms

1. Mi Ami - African Rhythms
3. Mi Ami remix of Telepathe and a cool video for it

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Like gang gang dance, mi ami are children of liquid liquid: all part of the same family tree of gritty urban drum circles. Tribed-out dub punk featuring some guys who used to be on Dischord, their out-of-print 12" African Rhythms has had new favorite jam status at AC for months now. It sounds like Fugazi jamming in King Tubby's basement. I have to say that the trend towards heavy percussion in general is a healthy one and that it should be kept up. Can you imagine ever saying about a band "they used to be good but then they started adding more percussion." "now that they have a second drummer they suck"? "I prefer their sucky gay jams to their awesome beat-heavy grooves?" 

The attentive reader will note that both RH podcasts to date have featured a Mi Ami jam. Their mix for anthem is a de facto testament to the schizo-diverse rhythmic interests played out obsessively on these very pages: hardcore from Bad Brains, voyage disco from Patrick Cowley, some DJ Screw, AND ron hardy's edit of "Peaches and Prunes," which opened my Rooftop Special mix six months ago, and which remains an incomparable learning tool for explaining the joys of deep disco to the uninitiated.  They have an intriguingly titled 12", Echononecho, out in January and a full-length in Feb.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Temptations - Smiling Faces Sometimes

The Temptations - Smiling Faces Sometimes

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One of the most grand productions by Normal Whitfield (1940-2008), the high priest of long-form psychedelic soul, one of Motown's legendary greats, also responsible for such testaments to human creativity as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." 

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By way of a prologue I can only say that I hope the lyrics of this song and the anecdotes I want to pass to you are related only by having nothing in common with each other. That is, I would sincerely have many fingers crossed that all the smiling faces met were actually telling the truth, and that they don't tell lies, of which I have proof.

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 Ultimately it seems that the protagonist of yesterday's course of events was not me, but new york city, the new york city of december 2008. I was there to mark the path of time, remaining aware of how uniquely NYC dec 2008 every plot turn and twist was, every intersection of people and places, actions and thoughts, dreams and obstacles.

 1. During the day I served as a model at a stock photo shoot, the photographer of which is a friend of mine who is talented, dedicated and clearly relishes his work, as does his art director, a warm person and inventive collaborator, whose husband drums in a popular dance-rock outfit. The shoot was held in the tin-ceiling’d, exposed-brick loft space of a couple who owns now two stores specializing in fine Scandanavian wares. Near 11am, two of my fellow models, a mother-daughter team, became so entangled in an edgy emotional meltdown that the husband was called and the two were evacuated.  The sustained burst of histrionics as well as the sudden departure of both their adult female model and child model was a very rough curveball in my friends’ plans, fortunately, my friend D, a recent transplant from Denver, was available on ultra short-notice, and served as a gracious and spritely replacement, her warmth and ease a welcome relief from the affectations of her haughty, ill-tempered predecessor.

 2. In the early evening I visited J, one of my oldest friends, at his new residence in Brooklyn Heights, we hung out with craig on the rooftop that beheld a great vision of New York, where the sleek neon menace of manhattan skyscrapers beamed down over that remarkable cluster of Sleepy-Hollow style residences that sits just south of the Brooklyn Bridge.  I had to think that my friend’s new digs were a fine step at a time of great personal change; it was clear that the new scene would allow him to re-affirm his love of NYC and the bold explorations it welcomes.

 3. We made our way to a party in honor of the birthdays of P & E, two beloved, gregarious charmers, held at the China Chalet in the financial district. Wall Street at the hour of 12am betwen Friday and Saturday is unquestionably spectral. The bank institution edifices stare unceasingly at passersby, their interiors, full of dreamlike roman columns and impossibly large, low-hanging chandeliers, all seem the elements of some temple left abandoned but wholly intact, their symbols and sacraments having since become indecipherable. It's like a Dario Argento movie filmed in Tokyo. On the way he said that getting roundly fucked up was useful in those moments when you felt your whole self freeze, like an overworked computer, and you needed nothing more than a cleansing reset.

 4. The China Chalet, you may be surprised to learn, has nothing to do with a chalet, unless the traditional Chinese understanding of the term means “a very long series of rooms perfunctorily and tackily furnished, akin to a Chuck E Cheese for grown-ups, that is, minus the pizza and plastic ball-pit but with booze and a dancefloor.” In any case this set-up seems fantastically well-suited for tremendous outpourings of randy, booze-fuelled mirth and late-night affection, such as those in full force last night during what by all indications was a heavy banger. As I left I paused to watch the owner, a garrulous Chinaman, fend off a small group of cops who had gathered in the entranceway, seemingly displeased by the sheer volume of rowdy attendees. He stood on a chair and fussed clumsily with the “maxium attendance” sign while rebuffing the policemen’s accusations.

5. My good friend S, a fashion designer, was there, dressed flawlessly, it was rightly said to her in passing, as a 90's ballerina teacher. Later, while pumping my fist to a song I’d never heard before, I was entertained to watch her receive the advances of a particularly fervently-gyrating blonde gentleman. I reflected that the best course of action when figuring out how to dance is to move as if the song’s rhythm is a limber, muscular equestrian bucking in time between your legs. This is not at all the preferred method of the fervent blonde, who preferred outrageous, heaven-aimed hand gestures and bursts of deep grindage.

6. Enthused on the floor, my Glacial Lakes partner J correctly text-spotted: it was in fact "I Believe in Miracles" by The Jackson Sisters that played at wonderfully deafening volume while I was at the bar, trying with great vanity to order heinekens from the stunningly oblivious middle-aged bartender. 

 7. Severe dancefloor rowdiness ensued, a grinding sea, when during a fiery re-edit of James Brown’s “There Was A Time,” the speakers seemed to fume smoke like from the nostrils of some Oriental beast.

 8. Around 2am I met J & V, two lively bosom buddies, near the coat check. One urged us to slap her red-denimed ass while the other searched in vain for a red bull or some substitute. I theorized to this pair that the dark secret between them was perhaps in fact that V was truly the bad one, and J truly the good one. V answered that the reason she had no tattoos was she had never found one bad enough, which caused J to expound on what such a perfectly vulgar image might consist of. 

9. If I were ever struck by the desire to scrap this blog and start a new, non-music themed one in its place, I would start a blog about politesse. I obsessively read advice columns. Dan Savage, of course. Between Dear Prudence and Cary Tennis, who warrant comparison by virtue of both writing for a different website with a 5-letter name that begins with S, I love Prudence for her no-nonsense tenacity and abhor Cary for his smarmy, limp-wristed, self-indulgent healing talk. Prudence's answers are rarely longer than a full paragraph, Cary's rarely less than a turgid several pages. Prudence often restrains her advice to comments which mean in essence "you need to shut the f*ck up and get over yourself." While Cary's lean towards "I hear your pain. I want you to turn your computer off and go. Go outside, go into the world. Smell a flower. Listen to an old blues song. Pause to watch a bird cut a sublime path through the endless blue sky. Love yourself. etc." 

In this case, politesse is extra important today when social mores have become diffuse, unpredictable, unspoken. Above all these mores have been and always will be mostly about how boys and girls* should handle each other. When Lacan famously said "there is no sexual rapport," he meant, there is no -one- sexual rapport. No instructions or rules for behavior can ever bridge the drafty void that exists between boys and girls, and this fact makes us want all the more furiously to attempt to.  For example, in my own case, I refrain from making advances on someone I genuinely like if it appears that alcohol or other factors may be interfering with their faculties. It seems disingenuous to my own inner sentiments, disrepectful to them, and to myself, as I don't particularly relish the thought of filling the role of 'guy who is standing right there when you're inebriated and looking to score.' This is merely my own psychological limitation, if it can be called a limitation: whether in work or in love, I only proceed forward on the strength of my certainty, and where this strength is lacking, there you will find me in calculated repose.

 *I mean here also 'girls and girls' 'boys and boys' or what have you. I mean simply 'two people who want to hit it.'

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scott Walker - Angels of Ashes

Scott Walker - Angels of Ashes

To prepare for a special Scott Walker performance at the Barbican in London some weeks ago, I made my way through Scott's back catalog, with the help of my Londoner host, an aficionado. Those currently reading Roberto Bolano's 2666 might recognize how my own state of affairs mirrors that of Pelletier, at least up until page 30 or so. Among a host of Scott's sixties productions, all Jacques Brel baritone laments with gorgeous strings, sits Angels of Ashes, a poem of such brilliant crystalline abstraction, it could have been written by Mallarme.

Take this couplet, a gem:

"You've been following patterns and fleeting sensations too long / The fullness that fills the pulse of durations is gone."

A stunner, equal parts sensual and intellectual. Could be a line from Wallace Stevens as well. The whole song seemingly from an artist to himself, a guide through the gnomic depths of the creative process, full of urgency and searching, epiphanic insight, melancholic doubt, passion and reflection. It's a haunting song, one that strikes one of those innermost points in yourself, the kind you may have forgotten was there, or have forgotten that when struck, it emits a resonant hum that shudders through your being.

Oh, and in case you were wondering which image the title 'Angels of Ashes' immediately conjures to mind, maybe you'd be quite surprised to learn it's Klee's Angelus Novus, the famous painting whose reference sits at the heart of Walter Benjamin's "Theses on History"

"There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. It shows an angel who seems about to move away from something he stares at. His eyes are wide, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how the angel of history must look. His face is turned toward the past. Where a chain of events appears before us, he sees on single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it at his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise and has got caught in his wings; it is so strong that the angel can no longer close them. This storm drives him irresistibly into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows toward the sky. What we call progress is this storm."

Ridin' High Podcast 12/02/2008: Glacial Lakes

A special podcast this week, courtesy of Glacial Lakes, an edit team composed of myself and J Forgang. Except for the milton and eddie jams, all tracks are either new material or substantial remixes, composed in the last seven days. This cast spends its morning hours bathing in fresh dubbed-out grooves before ascending midday for some precarious peak-time climbing. 

please enjoy

track list:

grifter's cove (theme from glacial lakes)
mi ami - clearlight (GL mix)
super mama djombo - festival (GL Mix)
night plane - the foxhole
milton nascimento - os escravos de jo
quicksilver messenger service - wolf run (GL mix)
night plane - mantra
eddie gale - the coming of gwilu