Monday, June 29, 2009

inner soul festival: culoe de song

19-year old Culoe de Song hails from South Africa and was recently discovered while attending the acclaimed Red Bull Music Academy. Like his debut 12" for Innervisions, this live mix from Sonar is relevatory, spiritual, deep afro-house - the tribe is alive, all swirling hand percussion and resonant thumb piano thonk, stripped and relentless. He even drops the "makossa" vocal from Manu Dibango, made famous by MJ in 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin.' Easily one of the year's breakthrough acts. And speaking of South Africa, miss soph hipped me to the works of the Ndebele tribe - see the VC blog for could pull some Harry Smith shit here and work between the pulsing beats of Culoe de Song and the Ndebele's penchant for psychedelic geometries..when Harry met folk legend June Carter he started asking her how her quilting patterns related to the musical structures of the Carter Family's tunes..

Sunday, June 28, 2009

michael edits

simply good music has put together a first-rate compendium of michael jackson edits & remixes.

ricardo villalobos y los updates - baile

who else but ricardo can make a song so utterly weird and catchy at the same time? A simple electro 808 rumble, some minimal flicker, and a highly goofy vocal from los updates. You know what? there is no latin sci-fi. Shouldn't there be? There's white sci-fi and a black sci-fi underground, Samuel Delany and Sun-Ra and Newcleus and that. What's the latin sci-fi? "Baile" makes me feel like I'm at a karaoke bar at the 3am on the dark side of the moon, in an Espanol version of the not-too-distant future. Like PKD with a sombrero.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

at home she's a hamster

why do you occasionally become a hamster?
Sako Kojima:
I spent the summer of 2002 indoors and alone. My life was empty, all I did was go to the nearby supermarket to buy a simple meal and then come back home to sleep. One day I realized that my life was similar to a hamster’s. To me, becoming a hamster is a symbol of how life in today’s standardized society is safe and we’re spared from hunger, but we’re not living.

I have a tear in my eye now.
We don’t suffer from physical pain, but we seem to have lost the pleasure of living. Our pain is mental, like self-injury, wrist-cutting syndrome and anorexia nervosa. They are ways for people to feel alive in this overprotected society. That’s how my mental suffering started.

Is giving into and living out this hamster existence something you do instead of stuffing your face with multicolored antidepressants?
While doing the performance I’m almost mindless, as my head goes empty when I mimic a hamster’s movement. When I move quickly, my heart beats faster and my feeling of shame disappears as the world outside gradually becomes meaningless to me.

the king's two bodies

the aim of Ernst Kantorowicz's landmark 1927 book The King's Two Bodies was to explore the relation in the middle ages between the king's physical body and his status as the embodiment of the kingdom. Kantorowicz describes one particularly uncanny historical tradition: when the king died, first he was buried and ceremonies were performed, and then a full-sized wax effigy of the king was created which was laid in bed, treated as alive, and which became "sick", then "died", and then was mourned in a grand public spectacle. It's not hard to draw the connection here with Michael Jackson, the king of pop. Michael too had two bodies: his own body and his spectacular body, his imaginary body - his image, which grew into gargantuan proportions, and which had roamed free from him, living a life of its own. This assumes that Michael Jackson the person only had one body, and not many, not a continuum of bodies, constantly morphing under the surgeon's scalpel. As if it felt traumatic to be one person when his image was already multiple, disseminated.

This distinction might explain why when I learned that MJ had passed away, I felt an uncanny feeling, as if this made total sense, because he was already dead. How can we say that MJ was alive to begin with? His image was omnipresent. In a sense it seems like only his image was alive and he had retreated into a Howard-Hughesian realm of the alienated superwealthy.

But in a counterintuitive way, maybe it's not that the king was already dead from the beginning. Maybe that assumes that all-powerful image MJ is fake and reclusive physical MJ is real. Maybe the opposite is the case. A star from the age of 5 years old, Michael never had a normal childhood, nor anything like a private life. Maybe we can't speak of a private Michael and a public Michael. Maybe only the image Michael is real, because he was always already a star, a celebrity, an image. Maybe Michael cannot die, because he was never really alive. Perhaps the reason his story is so tragic is because in this weird private-public inversion, he was like a person from the future, that the constraints of contemporary life could contain, and he was rent asunder, like a fiery meteor descending through the atmosphere.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

we love you michael

RIP Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

viva vena cava

sophie and lisa come correct! the vena cava blog. I already got overwhelmed digging through all these finds - the girls clearly live in their own cosmos of elegant arcana, including lists of peculiar brain disorders, the most beautiful burger king in the world, long-haired persian guinea pigs, the paraguan embassy in argentina, early 90s interview magazines, and life-size bill clinton cutouts from the flea market.

imo hafta step my game up!

of all the tracks we worked on for their last runway show, it was eloy's weirdo incantatory new-age disco ritual "horizons" that jazzed them the most - seemed to lock pretty well into their sexy crystal goth trip. enjoy.

eloy - horizons

visit glacial lakes

glacial lakes - the magic cavern

a special bonus glacial gem for you to inaugurate our online refuge - the eminently pauseable "magic cavern", what jonny bocce describes sounding like "balearic Fela." Traipse through dense forests of exotic flora, sunlight passing through the canopy, the clatter of painted insects, until you reach the shadowy and glowing mouth of the cavern.

Now go visit some lakes, hit some tunes, explore new unforeseen dimensions of sound, chill hard.

mandre - light years (opus iv)

ridiculously cool late seventies proggy space funk with a soaring riff that sounds like the soundtrack to some lost French rip-off of Star Trek, ie with more skin and cooler boots. one of my favorite jams, recommended if you like floyd, alan parsons, air, bo hansson, wilhelm shatner.
ordinarily I have a policy against posting the actual cover art to whatever the jam de jour is, because it's boring. It fails to produce any kind of surrealist epiphany or revel in synaesthetic possibility. In this case however, it'd be a shame to not share mandre in his full proto-daft punk glory, that is, emerging like a demigod out of a glowing space vag.
this song was rather hard to find because it's an instrumental. I heard it several hours ago at Rai Rai Ken, an experience which combined two of my favorite material pleasures: hearing something weird, and eating ramen noodles. It was an "oh shit I know that song..." moment and I had to geek out and ask the waiter what it was. new york city: a bustling shrine to the glories of a chance encounter.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

i've always been crazy

waylon jennings - I've always been crazy

I played rock band for the first time last week, after drinks with friends from copywriting class. Our hostess had inherited the apartment nearby from her grandparents, which in the words of her gentleman friend made her "chinatown royalty." True to form, the long and narrow railroad bore finely-tiled ceilings and elegantly dark-wood doors. The chinatown bus departs, literally, from the curb at her doorstep.

I have been reluctant to play rock band or guitar hero, much in the way a tennis player might resist stepping up to the nintendo wii. I found it utterly entertaining, because it's just like playing music only you don't have to try very hard - it's been redesigned for maximum goof-off with your friends satisfaction. You can sing and laugh and screw off or you can put the utmost effort into it - the song plods along all the same. You play for points so there's a bit of an incentive but it doesn't really matter. Personally I find the whole setup very appealling, because I am a big dork. At some level in social situations I occasionally run out of things to say, and I want to start playing with the stereo, because I am specifically a dork about music (surprise). That's in part why I started djing, so I could obsess about records and not have to be burdened with small talk. I don't necessarily want to run out of things to say but sometimes events take their own course. Making the group activity be playing music together in an informal low-pressure setting is thus an ideal way to re-socialize semi-awkward music dorks like myself.

If I were in charge of putting the songs on rock band I would put this song by waylon jennings, because sometimes it's my personal anthem.

inner soul festival: african blood

supermax - african blood

featured in recent Beats In Space sets by both Maurice Fulton and Black Meteoric Star, this is some intense deep, long-form afro-disco by multi-kulti German act supermax, who's also responsible for "love machine," maybe one of the top AC weirdo-disco tunes ever made.

Friday, June 19, 2009

inner soul festival: dambala

exuma - dambala
nina - dambala

Oh Dambala come Dambala
Oh Dambala come Dambala

Sing of the wings of a three toed frog
Eat weeds from the deepest part of sea
Bring the trumpet from Heaven
and the fire from Hell
Then nobody can break the spell

Oh Dambala come Dambala
Oh Dambala come Dambala

On the seventh day God will appear
On the seventh night satan will be there
On the seventh day God will appear
On the seventh night satan will be there

Oh Dambala,come Dambala
Oh Dambala,come Dambala

You slavers will know what it's like to be a slave
A Slave to your hearts,a slave to your head
A slave to your souls,a slave to your graves

You won't go to Heaven
You won't go to Hell
You'll remain in your graves
With the stench and the smell

Oh Dambala come Dambala
Oh Dambala come Dambala

I'll melt down your walls
I'll melt your steel guns
I'll make you dumb
I'll make you blind

Dambala send demons
Dambala send angels
Dambala send fire
Dambala send water

Oh Dambala come Dambala
Oh Dambala come Dambala

night plane - let the right one in

night plane - let the right one in

Very excited about my Night Plane EP coming out on This Is Not An Exit - "Chinese Shadows". This track's not on there, a shame, so I wanted to share with you, it's one of my favorites.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

cosmic boxer

jack miller and the cosmic boxer

bill fay - cosmic boxer

There behind Jack's head, on the wall in fanelli's in soho is a picture of cuban welterweight champ kid gavilan getting slugged hard in the jaw, here caught by the camera's eye in a stream of hanging lights: the cosmic boxer. taken from the album Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Bill Fay's "Cosmic Boxer" sounds less like the hairy, visionary folk-rock you'll find on his eschatological concept record Time of the Last Persecution, and more like an eery precursor to Phil Collins-era Genesis. Check it and see for yourself: airy synthesizers, melodramatic singing with a distinct Phil-like vibe, avant-weird drum rolls. A brief existential allegory: the one who boxes in a cosmic ring, alone, for eternity, caught in a duel with himself, slugging it out for an escape. All Fay's albums are recommended, full of those sorts of imperfect dusty little gems that earn a listener's affection.

Friday, June 12, 2009

let's go to brasilia

let's go to brasilia - ray mang edit

More brazilian-disco edit heat, a playful uptempo romp by master ray mang, cribbed from the Le Disco: Tele Music Remixed comp assembled by the wizened sages of DJ History - edits not of Paradise/Loft classics but French 70s library tunes, all released for the first time.

As every schoolchild knows, the capital of Brazil was built from the ground up over a four year period, 1956-1960, by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, following the Athens Charter of 1933 virtually to the letter. Something of a manifesto for modern urban planning, the Charter lays out principles for zoning, the separation of districts, and architecture according to rational design. Niemeyer's much lauded and criticized talent for sculpting concrete is on full display in Brasilia, as well as the United Nations headquarters in new York. 

an architectural jewel, Brasilia bears all the glories and shortcomings of the modern project. Like Eero Saarinen's Terminal 5 at JFK, Brasilia is an architectural endeavor that became obsolete soon after its completion. Actually in Saarinen's case, T5 was actually obsolete before it opened, thanks to the invention of the jet-engine during the time of its construction. Thanks to rapid population expansion, the effectiveness of Brasilia's design was quickly put to the test, requiring a great deal of redesign to accommodate the vicissitudes of historical development. Much like an old disco track needs some tweaking here and there so that it can once again resonate in the drum of a contemporary ear. 

hey galactic lover

jamie jones - summertime

JJ summons Prince for a bouncy, sexy minimal-house anthem that's been on deep rinse in dj-land since it got waxed. A feel-good guarantee, perfect for anyone who's been in NY this past week, slogging through the ceaseless, Dickensian grey. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

straight fire

new wildness from NY laser-lords RVNG: Purple Brain edits! "To the Comrades" is fire - Brazilian disco with electro undertones. The Amazon in flames, wonky robots melting in the sweeping storm of reds and whites, circuits crying. The cut isn't that much different from these photos I took during wild honey: bachelor party west virginia. Both take fire and strip it to the core. 

Buhumutsi Drama Group - To the Comrades (Purple Brain edit)