Sunday, March 29, 2009

days of mars

delia gonzalez and gavin russom - days of mars

one of the more artistically singular and intense releases that DFA ever put out - miles from their trademark edgy dance-rock. Gonzalez & Russom put together four long-form expansive futuristic epics, heralding pagan rituals of tomorrow. Aleister Crowley soundtracked by Tangerine Dream. Lucifer with a synthesizer, symphony for the Harmonic Convergence, performed by robot demons of the New Age.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

where the wild things are (full trailer HD)

directed by Spike Jonze. Gandolfini is the monster. Max is Max. song: "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire. Soundtrack will by YYY's Karen O, aka Spike's gf.

Monday, March 23, 2009

holger czukay - movies

holger czukay - movies

Can mastermind Holger's first solo album, 1980, regularly name-checked by contemporary grand electronic wizards like Lindstrom. There's some brilliantly weird/goofy pop numbers here, like the well-known "Cool in the Pool" which sounds like bizarro Sesame Street, and "Persian Love" which finds Holg sampling an Iranian singer, much like Eno-Byrne were doing in NYC at the same time on the best album ever, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. But the Lindstrom-y epic smoothness comes in on two long-form jams, "Hollywood Symphony" and "Oh Lord Give Us More Money," both undulating, shapeshifting compositions blending electronic and organic instruments and doing all kinds of unpredictable shifts and trippy psych-prog sideswipes. 


the new best movie theatre in Manhattan is the Regal Cinema at Battery Park. I saw Watchmen opening night there and it was great. No one goes there because it's weirdly isolated, but it's huge and has great stadium seating, etc, all the comforts of high-tech American spectacularity. I have plans to accompany a small group of male friends to see I Love You, Man, which will probably be as adorable and affirmative of an outing as the image might suggest. It was not my idea, I thought about it but didn't have the cajones to round up some intimate brethren for such a collective bro-expression - that honor goes to Mr. Zade, who in other ways has already proven the functionality of his cajones, thus this is a somewhat redundant yet not unwelcome attesticulation. 

you are aware, of course, that the word 'testimony' (and thus 'testify' and 'attestation') is derived from the word for 'testicles' in Greek? Oh, you weren't? There you go. That's not unrelated, as Freud says in a footnote somewhere, to the pecularity of the paternity test: unlike the mother, which is easy to identify, the owner of the testicles responsible must be testified to. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

when I grow up

(not me but looks like me as a lad, kind of rocking the same gear too.)

fever ray - when I grow up (d lissvik remix)

gorgeous island pop number from fever ray, side project by the knife's singer, Karin Andersson. Very "La Isla Bonita," wistful and daydreamy, great lyrics, such as "I'm very good with plants, when my friends are away they let me keep the soil moist." It's haunting and warm, I ride for it.


I think I turned thirty. A bit pre-emptively given my 1980 birth year, but then I've always been somewhat precocious. There are some extenuating circumstances that may have brought about this transition a little early: perhaps radiation from the greenpoint oil spill has prematurely aged my cells. This would explain why all my friends my age who live in greenpoint do things like get married and have children. Actually the getting married thing is more likely a particularly american trait - when visiting the states my european friends often express surprise that everybody's so signed, sealed and delivered. Or in the case of several europeans I know, they got tricked into it as a means towards extended residency.

As for my transition, it was arguably facilitated by getting a blackberry and moving to a one-bedroom apartment off the Graham stop. But the seeds were there, I'm sure, waiting to blossom. Last night I had separate conversations with two acquaintances about the nature of the 20-30 transition: one who stood herself on the threshold, and another who viewed his own crossing as something laying rather in the past. Both viewed it positively: the clutter accumulated by a manifold of competing, undeveloped desires begins to fall away, the shape of one distinct path begins to coalesce out of the haze, one 'grows into one's own skin,' and begins to more ardently filter out the things of this world which are irrelevant or counter-productive. My own natural propensity to such filtering no doubt contributed to my early-onset thirties. 

There is a certain subset of my closest friends, predominantly european, who I'd describe as being ageless souls. Their open-mindedness, their deep-welled inquisitiveness and sense of spontaneous pleasure all act like preservatives, encasing their spirits against erosion and decay. One gentleman in particular, a certain friend from Vienna, has always seemed to me to be simultaneously 16 and 45, as if he living out his stretch on this earth like he's caught in timewarp, like he's not fully arrived in the time of the now. But because his arrival from the past isn't fully completed, he lives both as boy and man, tuned to the joys of a stranger in this world. 

some velvet morning

Lee rides a black horse on the beach, the hard-drinking predecessor to Wesley from The Princess Bride, in the clip for this haunting ballad. Who is Phaedra? a mystical hippie imp? Nature herself? Spiritual godmother to the Harmonic Convergence?

Friday, March 20, 2009

nona hendryx - transformation

nona hendryx - transformation

a black 80's-style icey robo-funk tune that could be a Grace Jones jam or something off "Let's Dance." Nona gives a laundry list of possible transformations in the modern age, including sex changes, bionic adaptations. 

Fitting for 2009, an era of upheaval and transition. The Obama administration is partly spinning crisis as opportunity: the chance to grasp the turning of history at its axis. The politics of crisis was documented by Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine, where she put forth the theory that conservatives in the Bush White House were taking advantage of widespread crises like post 9/11 terror threats and Hurricane Katrina to ram through radical programs in line with Straussin-derived right-wing ideology that they couldn't get the support for otherwise, such as massive privatizations of schools in post-Katrina New Orleans. Needless to say, Klein's theory is cause for alarm. But guess what? the Obama team is branding the economic crisis in similar rhetoric. It's distinctly in line with Klein's shock doctrine. Except rather than the being piloted straight into the jaws of hell by a crack team of Darth Cheney and his death squad of moral sociopaths, the White House is in the hands of the good guys for once. If they can spin the brink of economic ruin into a Newer-Deal era of hybrid cars, socialized health care and fiscal responsibility, so be it, sounds like a shock to the system worth taking. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

summer 2009: william devaughn

william devaughn - be thankful for what you got

it is never too early to get your summer jams lined up. what says summer 2009 more than than the blissful low-slung gangsta beach disco of william devaughn, as he sings about not worrying about your bank account, material things, and stacking paper, and instead advises temperance and religious gratitude for the things in this world? 

and I thought george maccrae had smooth, sunkissed funk done dead on lock. william also sings "digging the scene with a gangsta lean" which sounds great in his curtis mayfield-style falsetto. 
I've this song on deep repeat for two days. It's just so gorgeously smooth and full of sunlight, it makes me want to have a rooftop barbeque. which is not a compliment I hand out lightly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

season of the bitch

or: you're so vain, I bet you think this post is about you.

At the end of a temporary stay in a strange place, it is not uncommon to see the world around you cast in a new light, that angelic aura of departure. Often when this light has struck me I wish that it would arrive earlier, and remain with me longer, but perhaps its cosmic warmth would overheat my soul, like some torrid August afternoon. 

It's easy to forget that all of life is an extended stay, that the trappings of one's existence, even one's own body, are guest quarters, which eventually must be returned. Except when it comes time to check out, no one can ever find the front desk. God and his angels would be the hotel staff, but when you check out you realize it's permanently after-hours. 

The span of a human life is like a long artist-residency on earth. The world that reappears in the same form each day can be seen from the point of view not of ownership, of entitlement, of blind comfort, but from that view of departure, of a welcome, blessed guest. 

At the very least, training oneself to see things from this perspective can train you to be a better houseguest in the more conventional sense. Knowing, for example, when to leave, and respecting requests to do so, will, if nothing else, will help you make preparations for your final departure, which you can never pack too early for. 

There are those among us who live alone, not in the sense of not having a roommate. They live alone because there are no other people in their world - they walk through a universe populated only by specters and actors, only people who do not merit any attention at all, and people who have been converted, often involuntarily, into fodder for a grand neurotic theatre. Everything is seemingly staged for their benefit. These people do not make ideal houseguests, because their psychic consitution forecloses on the possibility of respecting the territories of others. Such a person evaluates events by whether or not they fit the script, and they do not tolerate re-writes or improvisations. They dwell in their guest quarters by converting it into a stage, and rewire the telephone as a means of directing the traffic of actors - it no longer receives messages from the front desk, such as those announcing that a welcome has been long over-stayed. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

psychedelic cuttings

get the curse magazine - "ivan smagghe's back of the box"
beyond the wizard's sleeve - get ready to fly
fantastikoi hxoi - na exeis ta panta 
fantastikoi hxoi - myspace page
ivan smagghe presents five of his 'back of the box' tunes, including this hairy psych re-edit of "Get Ready to Fly" by Magic Sand, carried out by Erol Alkan and Richard Norris aka Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve. Shimmers and electric fuzz, with changes of Cream-style chords, lyrics in acid-era trip preparation. The Flesh Gordon blog offers a fantastic psych edit by a Greek, fantastikoi hxoi: a growing and sinister groove, and tense bells, silver appellian beats.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

psychedelic gatherings

cheval fou - la fin de la vie, le debut de la survivance (removed)

pop levi - blue honey

1. "The Harmonic Convergence is the term applied to a worldwide esoteric-religious event which occurred August 16 and 17, 1987. The event was centered around numerous sacred places throughout the world from Stonehenge to the Golden Gate Bridge where individuals, many referring to themselves as "light beings", gathered to usher in a new age." [props 2 soph]

2. Dirty French Psychedelics is a new compilation by Paris' Dirty label, known for their edits of Frankie Valli, Elvis Presley, et al.

"On paper, “Dirty French Psychedelics” is a compilation for classic rock radio with names our parents would recognize. In reality, it is a hallucinated voyage through the land of French pop psychedelics to be listened to in one sitting, eyes half-open in the heat of the summer of 2009. Certain experts will tell you that Bernard Lavilliers or Brigitte Fontaine are not psychedelic, and they are probably right. Who cares? May the experts go back to counting their CDs. Psychedelics is a notion too precious and subjective to be imprisoned by such stylistic formatting; psychedelics are about perception, not “controlled appellations of origin."

the cheval fou track is one of the numerous highlights from this psychedelic gathering - a 12-minute minimal-afro-kraut epic, visionary remnant from a lost world.

3. Techno pioneers Amorphous Androgynous, aka Future Sound of London (FSOL) present this two-disc compilation of acid folk and heavy psych, hairy thunder and tingling lightning. Starts with Donovan, includes AC faves Betty Davis and "Rated X" by Miles Davis. "Blue Honey" by Pop Levi is a deep-clap head-nodder with Zep muscle and electric gristle.

buy here
for additional, more rapidly-shared insights, go here

read "The Mellow Hippie Disco Show" article on FSOL in Resident Advisor

Sunday, March 8, 2009

meat beat manifesto - asbestos lead asbestos

meat beat manifesto - asbestos lead asbestos
killer industrial / trip-hop pop tune from the mid-eighties, easily one of the top 5 best party tunes about a carcinogenic insulation material. 
"asbestos lead asbestos" is from the same time period as the Watchmen. What's more, both effortlessly candy-coat extremely dense material and grim social commentary in a brightly-colored populist shell. Bros and I saw the film opening night at battery park cinema, a destination recommended for its lack of crowds and proximity to the splendors of late-night financial district wastelands and dizzying urban neon schemes. some notes:

1. "the time is short." - watchmen takes place "five minutes to midnight," that is, in the shadow of an imminent Cold War apocalypse. In part it's about what the right thing to do is when time is running out. The first text to deal with the ethics and politics of running out of time? Saint Paul's letters.  

2. the god left behind - watchmen also has two theological intensities. Dr. Manhattan is the American God, but he is an abandoned God, left-behind twice. Silk Spectre leaves him for Nite Owl, but moreover, Manhattan is a God alone in the universe, alone because he is alienated from the earth, the realm of material things and human concerns. This resolves one long-standing theological problem: why did God create the world in the first place? The answer: because, as every Bowie fan knows, it's lonely out in space.

3. the satanic christ - Ozymandias turns the Messianic event into a pure spectacle. There's a Guy Debord reading here if you want to go there - revolution as total image. Like the abandoned God, Ozymandias the satanic-christ or the capitalist-revolutionary is a brilliant dialectical formulation by alan moore. Ozymandias' plan is to save the world by destroying a part of it. The change that the film makes to the ending only further Christianizes the structure of his plan, even more tightly inverting the logic of fulfillment/sublation (aufhebung) that governs Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus on the cross represents the end of the law (nomos) because as he is punished as a criminal, he who is the most pure becomes the most impure - a parallel image to the inversion of Dr. Manhattan, America's savior, into the enemy of the whole world. Also millions are sacrificed for the sake of world peace - a demonically Hegelian twist. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

denis & denis - telefon

(thanks ARAWA)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

klf chill-out / the disappearance fugue

the klf - chill out
ac welcomes you to post #300
the disappearance fugue: three forms of grift
along with the orb's first album, the klf's chill-out gave birth to ambient house.  the history of this british duo's absurdist provocations and Ubu-esque avant prankerism could fill a whole book, in fact the story of the klf seems intended for the internet, a diffuse legacy of infamous acts impossible to reconstruct.  Suffice to say that here they left the fist-pump anthem of "3AM Eternal" behind for a hallucinatory expedition across an imaginary America, much like Kafka did with his second novel. You can really talk for a long time about the singularity and impact of this record, its unique intensity is like a metaphor-generator for rapturous critics. Suffice to say it's a spare, lulling dreamscape, a futuristic collage full of spacey electronics,  field recordings, samples of elvis and steel guitar and radio interludes - culling a visionary haze, where memory and dream wisp languid in the morning light.
introduction: in psychology, there is a rare form of amnesia that strikes without warning and strips its victim of his/her identity, leaving basic motor/social skills intact. It takes the self off-line. It's called a dissociative fugue. Aka the Bourne affliction. A fugue is also a musical term: it refers to a particular composition-style, the Bach style, of contrapuntal turning, a composition for a fixed number of instruments. In the psychological term it is meant to indicate a period or episode. Fugue is derived in part from the Italian fuga, related to fugere, to flee, and fugare, to chase. So the dissociative fugue refers to a time when the self has flown, when the person that remains goes after it, or perhaps flees on its own trajectory. The dissociative fugue is a subset of the disappearance fugue, because the disappearance fugue includes grift fugues as well. Or, perhaps it is that dissociative fugue is also a kind of grift, a kind of cosmic grift where you don't even choose it, it chooses you, it befalls you, like a curse or a blessing.

1. the klf are grifters, that much should be clear. they took all their money and burned it. they drove around in a special klf police car with a special horn. they invented a sonic weapon that sent out huge punishing frequencies across the british countryside and it made a pregnant cow misscarriage. they wrote a book about how to have a number one pop hit, a serious book. They are burroughs-era media-savvy techno-anarchists.  They have been on an extended disappearance fugue for some time now, having retreated to whatever underground multi-media pyramid they call home.  

2. The New York Times - A Life, Interrupted

Today's New York Times describes an astonishing case of dissociative fugue. 

"On Aug. 28, a Thursday, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Hamilton Heights named Hannah Emily Upp went for a jog along Riverside Drive. That jog is the last thing that Ms. Upp says she remembers before the deckhands rescued her from the waters of New York Harbor on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 16. Rumors and speculation abounded about what befell Ms. Upp. She disappeared the day before the start of a new school year at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a Harlem school, where she taught Spanish. She left behind her wallet, her cellphone, her ID and a host of troubling questions. It was as if the city had simply opened wide and swallowed her whole — until she was seen on a security camera at the Midtown Apple store checking her e-mail. Then she vanished again. And then reappeared, not only at the Apple store but also at a Starbucks and several New York Sports Clubs, where news reports said she went to shower. Was she suffering from bipolar disorder? Running away from an overly demanding job? Escaping from a city that can overwhelm even the most resilient?"

3. The New Yorker - The Chameleon

The New Yorker ran a fascinating article a while ago on Federic Bourdin, the master chameleon, who possesses a preternatural ability to mimic, imitate, and to transform himself, most often as a young orphan boy. In the end he was outed and taken into police custody. It was difficult, however, to charge Bourdin with any particular infraction. This is because Bourdin's acts are not of today - they are crimes of the future.  Bourdin, the wily, charismatic satyr-phantom is Hannah Upp's evil twin, he has carried out an endless series of disappearance fugues, and thus, an endless grift. 
on that note, thanks again to everyone who came and saw our endless grift unfold at death by audio last friday. we're headed into the studio in a couple of weeks, looking forward to sharing the results.