Monday, March 29, 2010

This is your cat. This is your cat on drugs.

Tell me this isn't an ad for ketamine.

This starts with a dog but ends up with cats in a psychedelic cosmos.

I love the feline face-melt here, when the cats get too high and start chasing imaginary mice.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I got a new dresser so it gave me a chance to review my back files and rediscover some personally acknowledged classics, such as Barborka. Real OG friends of mine will of course recall Barborka and the effect that its sublime ridiculousness had on me. I found it in a hole in some alley in Prague. Only much later did I learn that Barborka is a Czech girl's name, similar to Barbara, and that the 'k' at the end is a dimunitive. I had been pronouncing it Bar-BOR-ka because it sounded stupider that way, and this stupid sound and its earnest, clumsy letters seemed so nicely to compliment the loyal, mindless animal below it, the one eternally frozen in chipper ready position. Still makes me laugh.

Deep Gaida

With the prospect of a Bulgarian hiking trip on my summer agenda I started doing some research on the local musics - in the course of which I discovered the gaida, a goatskin bagpipe indigenous to the Rhodope mountains of Southern Bulgaria. The Rhodope mountains are known for their flourishing music traditions, and due to their proximity to Greece bear part of that country's mythic legacy - the Rhodope's "Devil's Throat Cave" being supposedly the place where Orpheus descended to hell to retrieve his bride.

The gaida is played in a rather droney and intense way, sounding very little like its much kitschier Scottish cousin, and more like a certain Moroccan-Jajoukan pan flute. It's a haunting, spiritual sound that gains in intensity when it's like, played by a hundred dudes at once!

the last clip is my favorite, for obvious reasons. it's linked here as it is not embedding properly for some reason.

Glass Candy - Feeling Without Touching

Glass Candy - 'Feeling Without Touching' from Travis Peterson on Vimeo.

The first official video for Glass Candy now that they've settled into their synth-pop phase after long abandoning their no-wave death-punk incarnation. This video is aight, it looks like an American Apparel ad I guess. The song, however, is magic.

The Cosmic American

Harry Smith

As any alt-country fan will tell you, "cosmic American music" was Gram Parsons' term for the hybrid of country, gospel and hard-living rock music that he forged in the sixties, first in with the Byrds, then the Flying Burrito Brothers, then solo, before helping launch Emmylou Harris and mysteriously dying in the California desert.

What was exactly cosmic about it, I wondered? It couldn't mean cosmic as in psychedelic, because it wasn't a particularly psychedelic sound. No, it must mean cosmic as in mythic - raising elements to mythic significance. Cosmic American music meant taking a nicely worn musical vernacular and not trying to repeat it or copy it, but elevating it to something else, poeticizing it. "Exile on Main Street" by the Rolling Stones is also cosmic in this way. So, I should add, is "There's A Riot Goin' On" by Sly and the Family Stone. "Riot" is soul but it isn't soul, it uses soul as a means to express something else. Gavin Russom's record, "Black Meteoric Star," sounds just like acid house, but it's not, it's the cosmic version.

The original cosmic American in the 20th century isn't Parsons, however, but Harry Smith, the ethnographic genius who slid so effortlessly between collecting and creating. Because cosmic music means not only writing songs but first gathering them, collecting a history that you work out from. Smith, of course, most famously produced the American Anthology of Folk Music, which in the early sixties influenced an entire generation of musicians, including Bob Dylan, to turn towards the roots of American musical expression.

Harry Smith operated at what seems like unfathomably deep levels of mythic structures, turning everyday vernaculars and images into uncanny hieroglyphs. This is an excerpt from one of his master works, "Heaven and Earth Magic." Videogames still haven't caught up its level of surrealist juxtaposition.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"self-copulation, record collection"

Involuntary posts by Tarwater #5

AC is proud to bring you another installment of involuntary posts by Tarwater, in which our accidental scribe addresses the new LP "Hidden" by These New Puritans. AC would like to give a shout out to DJ Slow for first pioneering the idea of disseminating Tarwater's funny, insightful commentary wholly without his consent.

"Most of the time, "English band receives mad critical love in England" = "enlarge your penis safely and naturally", as meaning and as news, but once in a while weird science makes a breakthrough I guess -- like with the 2nd record from These New Puritans. The first one was a quite good Fall/Wire/beats amalgam, but just-released Hidden is something else entirely. It's so singular in fact that in trying to describe it you(I) end up resorting to cumbersome critical portmanteaus like "if Liars listened to late-period Talk Talk and then found residence inside the PA at Brixton* basement party..." -- well, you still wouldn't really be there. What I can say: by song #2 you've heard a children's choir, a 13-piece woodwind orchestra and Japanese taiko drums**; the drums consequently, are HUGE - they sound like they wanna be scoring North Korean mass games; and in a interview before the record came out, the leader claimed he wanted something like "Steve Reich meets dancehall", paused, and then said "I've been writing a lot of music for the bassoon." Anyway.

*My London geography is practically non-existent - I'm taking this reference from the Clash and 80's British crime dramas (for all I know, Brixton could be Fort Greene by now) - so feel free to substitute any neighborhood where you'd hear a lot of dubstep/grime/dancehall.

Oh: subject heading is from The Fall's 'New Puritan': "I curse the self-copulation of your record collection."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thurs: Sharks & Minnows pool party

We're psyched to invite you to round two of Sharks & Minnows pool party at the Grace Hotel on Thurs March 4th! Last time was great and we're looking forward to having you at this midtown artificial paradise. Come take a dip in the heated indoor pool, warm up in the sauna or get baked in the steam room. Swimwear will really come in handy for the full experience, but if you're feelin shy you can hang poolside or take a drink at the bar.

Music handled by Night Plane DJs: William deals current cosmic, Harry drops classic acid.

Grace Hotel 125 W. 45th St btw 6th & 7th
Thurs March 4th, 8pm-1am
No Cover