the original soundtrack

the physics of running, and dance music.
Every other day or so I run laps (this is how I attempt to amuse myself these days) while listening to a different album. I've been experimenting with albums that will cause the largest amount of cognitive interference and physical resistance with the act of running, which by nature (also physics!) is a forward-vector motion. Listening to most music doesn't interfere with the act of running -- usually I listen to something straightforward with a steady-state 4/4 beat, which just serves as a simple soundtrack to make the run more interesting. But there are some kinds of music that actually mess with the simple motor commands required in pushing your legs forward. Listening to schaffel while running, for instance, causes my brain to go into overdrive, trying to resolve the different vectors into a single forward motion; the top-heavy waltzy-woozy schaffel beat encourages a sideways motion instead of a forward one. Listening to Remarc's 'Sound Murderer' (thanks Simon!) while running amplifies the neurological dissonance beyond belief -- though it encourages a forward motion, it also encourages movement in all directions -- backwards, diagonally, side to side. The snare rushes and unexpected wooshes and surges make you unconsciously accelerate and decelerate while running, but they also make you more prone to taking funky twists and turns throughout the route. As I found out.

02.28.04 @ 07:18 PM EST [link]

Jess: g, when i plunk down 8 bucks for a copy of the wire i expect more than one review from you
Geeta: haha i'm sorry...i had to plunk down 8 bucks also!
Jess: hahaha
Geeta: oh was that my fahey book review?
Geeta: the name of his 2000 anthology was 'how bluegrass music destroyed my life'. i wrote 'saved' by mistake
Jess: haha oh come on
Jess: last night a bluegrass dj saved my life

02.28.04 @ 04:41 PM EST [link]

the freelance mentalists.
Hooray! Scott Seward has started a blog, with Matt Cibula, here. I don't know Matt as well as Scott, but here are a few reasons why I love Scott: here, here, and here.

02.28.04 @ 03:09 PM EST [link]

New obsession, beginning with tonight's kung-fu movie explosion: Free Fridays at the American Museum of the Moving Image. You know you're psyched.

02.28.04 @ 12:34 AM EST [link]

People have been emailing me about this for some reason, so I figured I'd mention that I was in Other Music today and they had just gotten the first batch of tickets ($16) for the much-hyped Kompakt vs Rephlex night at Volume. Kompakt's in the big room; Rephlex is in the small room. Miss Kittin has been added to the bill for the Kompakt room, and Mark One and Plasticman have been added to the bill for the Rephlex room.

02.26.04 @ 05:41 PM EST [link]

Just heard the new Magnetic Fields record i and here are my first (very) rough thoughts:

1) it's pretty good but not as good as [insert prior record here]
2) uugh it's too 'unplugged'! it's even more acoustic-instrument-heavy than '69', but the songs don't stick to the brainpan as strongly
3) the solitary synthpop-sounding track 'I Thought You Were My Boyfriend' is the best song on the record (deadpan chorus: 'I thought I was just the guy for you and it would never end/I thought we were s'posed to be like glue, I thought you were my boyfriend')
4) man, i love synthesizers. everyone should use them. why are they not using them?!
5) it sounds too 'careful' -- must be that big Nonesuch recording budget
6) they need to get back to making synthpop (circa 'Get Lost')
7) give us drums! give us drum machines! what's with these beatless songs?
8) "If There's Such a Thing As Love" is good too, but it's basically a direct rip from abba's 'fernando' mashed up with like, the moody blues or something
9) sounds like he's taking singing! and he's singing lead on every track!
10) how to improve this album: ditch any instrument that could potentially be made out of wood, and start over with a rack of cheap synths and maybe a karaoke machine. Granted he has a side project that does this already, but this would be way better.

02.26.04 @ 04:30 PM EST [link]

The words "free whiskey tasting event" are sweet, sweet words.

02.26.04 @ 01:34 AM EST [link]

in stereo.
My latest piece for the Village Voice -- on the new Stereolab album -- is out this week:

Ablaze at All Angles: Stereolab's Margerine Eclipse

Let me know what you think! I'm currently pleased as punch because I unearthed both discs of 'Aluminum Tunes' -- which I hadn't gotten to listen to in years cuz I thought I lost it! -- under a pile of ancient CD-related rubble (Worst CD packaging ever?! Rough, oversized-just-enough-so-it-won't fit-in-a-CD-rack cardboard digipak thing with the little glued-in cardboard dots that fell out immediately after purchase, in a faded pale blue-grey so it's hard to find?) The closing song on each disc = two of my favorite 'Lab songs ever.

02.24.04 @ 01:34 PM EST [link]

animal kollektiv.
Was all set to write about the phenomenal Animal Collective show I saw on Saturday, but then I saw that Andy already wrote it up on his blog, and put what I was thinking into better words than I could have. So go read that instead! I will say this -- they made Numbers' jittery stop-start dance-punk sound utterly uninspired, monotonous and monochromatic in comparison. The contrast between the two bands' sets was shocking; imagine being transported to another green world and then being brought back to Earth with concrete shoes.

02.23.04 @ 10:06 PM EST [link]

parody xxtreme
Press sheets are a pretty reliable source of cheap amusement when I'm feeling a little blue. Today's stab at relentless hyperbole was the best in recent history, though -- the press release with the new Deerhoof record. "On the surface this is an album for the mp3 generation: 11 hit singles, no two alike, with an outrageously unpredictable sound, somewhere between 'The Love Below' and 'Cats'. And yet repeated listens reveal an emotional depth and melodic sophistication that sets it deservedly alongside a timeless concept album like The Kinks' 'Village Green Preservation Society.'" Made me laugh for a solid minute (all while trying to figure out exactly how dire something would have to be to be a cross between 'The Love Below' and 'Cats'.) Then this line had me in stitches: "This is their 'Fantasia', their '2001: A Space Odyssey', a whole new level for the band, and a classic." God I love it.

02.23.04 @ 10:01 PM EST [link]

any ethnomusicologists out there?
Do you have any smart ethnomusicologist pals who would be psyched to be interviewed for an upcoming PBS (the television station, not the FT blog, ho ho) documentary? If so, please send me an email ASAP using the link on your right and I'll work something out.

02.23.04 @ 01:53 PM EST [link]

swimming in sound
Interesting thoughts on the nature of sound and its biological effects from the wonderfully surreal world of Woebot (who gets email from Vashti Bunyan and goes swimming with Jah Wobble!) Wanted to chip in briefly to the discussion (which I hope keeps growing): in terms of tinnitus, and omnipresent sounds, these sounds are often actually generated by the brain itself. There are a lot of ideas about how chronic tinnitus is connected to increased activity in the auditory cortex, and a lot of cool research on how transcranial magnetic stimulation can actually inhibit this interference.

Matt notes that Jah Wobble would often fall asleep listening to shortwave radio oscillations. Many tinnitus sufferers find solace in listening to the radio tuned between stations while they sleep. The theory is that radio static actually distracts your brain from generating its own noise.

The brain makes its own electronic noise that can be amplified, a sort of crackling sound of neurons firing left and right. It's this ever-present staticky sound that's actually kind of beautiful in places, a symphony of sorts. So if you get bored by Fennesz, maybe it's because he's already living in your brain. Kinda.

One of the things that really fascinated me back when I studied neuroscience was auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia -- where exactly do those voices come from? Is there a link between that and the background noise of tinnitus? More on all of this later.

02.23.04 @ 12:20 PM EST [link]

I'm really into studying how various scientific results have been distorted by governments for policy reasons. So the recent protests by prominent scientists against Bush held my interest, to say the least. Today's big New York Times editorial uses the word "lame" to describe the Bush administration's response: "Tellingly, however, neither Mr. Bush's friends nor the White House denied that any of the incidents listed in the report — all had been reported before in newspapers, trade magazines and scientific journals — had occurred. The best they could muster was a lame rejoinder from Dr. John Marburger III, Mr. Bush's science adviser, who said that these were disconnected episodes reflecting normal bureaucratic disagreements, none of them adding up to a "a pattern" of distortion or disrespect for science." And hooray for Google News -- now I can instantly get some perspective on the issue from Ljubljana, complete with the story of the quack mid-century Soviet botanist-'geneticist' T. Lysenko!

02.23.04 @ 11:49 AM EST [link]

proven by science.
Tom Ewing and I rail against some of our least favorite 'science' books on Proven by Science!

02.23.04 @ 11:28 AM EST [link]

invisible jukebox.
A new Original Soundtrack series: Invisible Jukebox with my houseguests!

I have friends who come to stay with me every couple of weeks. Even though I have a small apartment, I like having houseguests, because it feels like the old times when I lived in a big communal house again. Sometimes I think that I should just quit this clichéd struggling-writer-in-NYC-shtick and go for the cliché of getting a job at a bed-and-breakfast joint in Cape Cod or something, and just hang out on the shore making challah french toast for people all day.

Unlike the majority of my pals here in the city, my houseguests are usually not music critics, or writers, or even into music that much, at all, so playing music for them is an entirely different experience. This weekend -- old friend, ex-raver and chemist B.!

V/A: Kompakt Total 3

B: (after a few tracks) I like this! / G: You gotta come with me to this Kompakt night in Brooklyn. / B: So this is German? It's funky! / G: Dude, Germans are totally funky! Kraftwerk! / B: Ha! Kraftwerk? / G: (adopts cod-German accent) Ja the Germans are so funky (puts in 'Trans-Europe Express') / B: (cracks up)

(Total 3 winds down, track is 'So Weit Wie Nach Nie')

B: What is this? Is this French? / G: No, it's German. Still. / B: Italian? / G: Naw dude, it's German. I swear.

Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out

B: Is this Supergrass? / G: Ha, guess again! / B: Pulp? / G: Nope, it's a new band called Franz Ferdinand. I have to review their record. / B: That's a dumb name. / G: Yeah. According to the NME, they'll "change your life!" (cough) This is their big hit right now in the UK. / B: Weird, now they sound like The Strokes. / G: Yup. Kinda sad, innit? / B: Yeah, this is boring.

Liars - Broken Witch

B: (wrinkles nose) / G: I'm reviewing this one, too. / B: This is kind of funny. / G: Yeah, it is. / B: Ecch.

the next day...

G. puts in Schaffelfieber 2 while she makes breakfast

G: Scrambled eggs? Toast? / B: Word. / G: I really like the beat they use on these songs. The shuffle. Slave to the schaffel! / B: (bobs head) Yeah, I like this. This is cool. Is this from Germany, too? / G: Yup. / B: Those crazy Germans.

Dizzee Rascal - I Luv U

(woman's voice comes in) / B: (scrunches face) / G: Yeah, this is from London. / (Dizzee's voice comes in) / B: This is weird. (makes face) I don't like it. I don't really like hip-hop, though. / G: Well, it's like, there's this thing they're calling grime... / B: (looks bored)

Air - Alpha Beta Gaga

B: I like this. Is this Air? / G: It's off the new Air album. / B: Yeah, I like Air. This is good. I kind of like their weirder stuff actually. This is like, really poppy. / G: Well, the rest of the album isn't really like this one. (puts on 'Biological')

(to be continued...)

02.23.04 @ 12:02 AM EST [link]

back in the blogosphere.
The very funny 'n cool ex-Melody Maker-er Taylor Parkes is back with his blog. And what's he blogging about? Bitches Brew!

02.20.04 @ 12:45 PM EST [link]

Spent a lot of today in the Voice archives, doing some digging for a certain post-punk book. I had never realized what terrible shape the back issues were in. The yellowed, tattered pages were literally falling apart at the seams -- they were in such piss-poor condition that even though I ever-so-carefully and gingerly handled them I felt bad even touching them. But wow, some great stuff in there! One of my favorites: Pazz n Jop 1983, which had a comments section entitled 'THE VIDEO MENACE', complete with a big photo of a scheming, grinning David Bowie reaching into his coat pocket. Caption: "Is this man a video? Will we take his check?" Run, everyone! MTV's on the loose!

02.20.04 @ 02:20 AM EST [link]

Been thinking a lot about video recently: video DJing, video installations, and early music videos, both for some pieces I'm writing and for some research. I took a semester-long class once called 'Producing the Music Video' at the Museum School in Boston. It was on Saturday mornings, so my good buddy/video-partner-in-crime and I would always show up to class completely trashed from the night before. Our professor wore leather to class and was obsessed with The Cure. At our first class, he made us watch the video for "Love Cats", easily one of the goofiest music videos ever. He was a cool prof, if a little off the wall. At the time, I was also taking a class in experimental filmmaking at Harvard, which was a mostly painful experience. Lots of talking in hushed reverent tones about the ''60s avant-garde canon' (bleah), lots of expensive equipment used to do formal exercises that held little room for loose creativity and nutty spontaneity. The music videos class was totally different, though -- lots of "Dude! Check this out! this RULES!" and screwing around with super8 film cameras (I was trying to remake Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' at the time using MIT as a backdrop on black-and-white super8 film stock, which my prof thought was hilarious), and if anyone so much as uttered words like 'avant-garde canon' we'd most likely crack up. My buddy and I had increasingly fanciful and crazy ideas for videos on our shoestring budget; we wanted to make rockumentaries of ourselves (I eventually did -- I still have the tape somewhere; it was almost 30 minutes long). For one of the scenes, I dressed up one of my friends as Warhol and had him talk about me in his (totally ace) Warhol voice, which was so funny I could barely manage to stand behind the tripod and roll tape during the scene, for fear of falling on the floor laughing.

02.19.04 @ 04:22 AM EST [link]

smallmouth rules!
On the Diana Ross tip, Douglas' latest imaginative Smallmouth column for the Seattle Weekly delivers in spades. Cool idea: the importance of a horn section in popular music! Love this bit: "Beyoncé Knowles claims, in a recent interview with mMode magazine, that her record company liked "Crazy in Love" when they first heard it, "but they weren't sure about the horns." They were wrong, of course—the unison blasts that announce the song and punctuate it all the way through throw the spotlight on Beyoncé as surely as a thousand Vegas lights..."

02.19.04 @ 12:21 AM EST [link]

an evening of fun in the metropolis of your dreams
Between the business of writing pitches and attending to emails this morning, I've been snipping up giant maps of Germany with scissors into pieces, shapes, and pasting them to my wall. Not in any particular order, really, just rearranging the landscape into my own Germany, the one I know not in a cartographic sense, but from faded memories of being in Cologne and Dusseldorf and Munich when I was seven years old, of being in Berlin when I was 20, of years of German lessons and idly studying S-Bahn maps, of taking the train through the country and taking photos through the window, trying not to get a glare off the glass. The soundtrack that inspired this was that beautiful album 'Zauberberg' by Gas -- there's magic literally written into the title, even -- dense forests and deep green grass, darkness, heavy air.

02.18.04 @ 02:56 PM EST [link]

You know that feeling of brain-emptiness you get when one of your favorite songs unexpectedly plays in a public place, and you suddenly stop in your tracks, pause mid-conversation or mid-shopping, and can't focus on anything except the song? Your usual rational neocortical functioning rewired straight through that emotional amygdala. So I'm standing there in the citrus-juices section of my local supermarket, right, and suddenly amid all the usual Muzak is 'Upside Down' by Diana Ross, and I stand there, frozen, in front of a tall display of grapefruit juice, unable to process which one I want. 'With Calcium' or without? 'With pulp' or without? 'Florida's Natural' or 'Tropicana'? Why are there so many choices? (I reviewed a book a few months ago called 'The Paradox of Choice', which actually kind of sucked and never satisfyingly answered that question.) And so I'm still standing there, unable to buy a simple half-gallon of grapefruit juice, staring and staring as if in a trance, not thinking about anything except that song (that solo!), before finally picking a carton at random. 'Inside out...and round and round...'

02.18.04 @ 01:11 AM EST [link]

...a joy to read...
While scanning a prominent publishing house's list of new releases, I came across a big splash page for a book I reviewed recently. The big tagline underneath the book (with strategically placed ellipses) was taken from my review! My name wasn't included, of course. Maybe it's on the book jacket too!

"Marcus strikes a rare and delicate balance of scientific detail and layperson accessibility in this overview of an exploding field of inquiry….a joy to read….Marcus gives most readers more than enough to think about here."
-Publishers Weekly

I guess I should get used to this? When I find pullquotes like these, I'm always tempted to cross 'em out, fill in the text hidden by the conveniently-placed ellipses (usually something unflattering), and scrawl "BY GEETA" in big Sharpie-markered letters. Hah.

02.17.04 @ 04:45 PM EST [link]

here comes love.
The elusive and enigmatic Aksel Schaufler, better known as Superpitcher, has an album coming out called "Here Comes Love" that I've been nail-bitingly-anxiously awaiting. So when I saw that Nick of Hackneyed Central had posted some of his own email correspondence mit Herr Schaufler himself on his blog, I couldn't help but take a long look. (Nick in lowercase, Superpitcher in caps.) And to those of you who have received an unmarked CD-R, he's helpfully listed the track names, and there's an awesome description 'Pitcher gives of "Traeume" ('Dreams'): "The English word is dreams and that is what it's all about. The lyrics are very deep and beautiful and timeless, hard to tell, I'll try to send you a translation soon ... she's a close friend of mine having her own little indie show on German music TV called Viva. Her name is Charlotte Roche, her show is called Fast Forward ... She's lovely... it's a cover, a long time favorite of mine, I cried a lot listening to it..."

02.16.04 @ 05:16 PM EST [link]

bpm 37093.
News today that scientists have found an ACTUAL huge ever-growing brain ruling from the center of the ultraworld made me swoon: the fetchingly titled BPM 37093, the largest diamond (1,500 kilometers across!) in the galaxy, located about fifty light-years away from Earth in the Centaurus constallation. Proven by Science astrophysics correspondent Sarah drops the knowledge...kosmische!

02.16.04 @ 04:49 PM EST [link]

noize and grime comin atcha from australia!
I have this fanciful notion of Australia -- a place I've never been -- as being the coolest continent in the world, overflowing with the most interesting and insane people ever. Maybe this is because my sample size of its residents is three, and two of these three people are Tim "Grime God" Finney and Jon "Noise Messiah" Dale. I could read Jon's writing about noise for hours -- he's so great at it -- and his recent ecstatic account of seeing Keiji Haino live is no exception. Whitehouse as "noise cabaret act" -- on the money. And I'm still trying to digest Tim's epic grime treatise, which I've had to print out because my brain was hurting too much with trying to process its awesomely hyper-articulate micro-micro-analysis on-screen.

02.16.04 @ 02:45 PM EST [link]

Back from a brief but revitalizing weekend jaunt to my old homes of Cambridge 'n Somerville, Mass. It felt healing to see the sun out and pounding with such force, to see ol' Chuck River sparkling bluer and brighter than ever, glowing through ice scattered up top like so much broken beer glass. Lots of long walks and frosty pints, long late-night talks with old buddies from back-in-the-day, lotsa time spent reading in the familiar dusty aisles of the same old used bookstores that were always there, loads of spontaneous run-ins with people I hadn't seen in a while. Got to give a brief and breathless tour of MIT, too, which was a total kick to do; I was practically racing thru those concrete halls that I hadn't walked through in ages, trying to cover as much ground (literally) as possible in thirty minutes. How do you explain the five most formative years of your life in thirty minutes, in all its nonsensical architectural glory and hidden spaces and abandoned corners? I think I've finally made peace with my life then; I can look at it with fondness instead of what could have been, can grin at all the stuff I managed to get away with and not feel remorse for a time gone by. It left me with a potent reminder of all there is to create, all the raw potential for projects yet to be started and finished and mulled over. There's a lot of work, still...

02.16.04 @ 01:44 AM EST [link]

race politix
Oliver Wang (he dug my pazz n jop shucks!) with some thoughts on the recent not-very-bright decision by the College Republicans of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island to set up a white-students-only scholarship to uh, make a statement. Sez Oliver: "This is supposed to be a parodic criticism of affirmative action policies and while this will surely get the outraged attention of people everywhere, all it's really going to do is make these guys seem like a bunch of misguided racist morons." Yup.

02.16.04 @ 12:34 AM EST [link]

the biology of the mind.
Second installment of my Proven by Science textbook reviews now up!

02.12.04 @ 03:50 AM EST [link]


another weird one of dizzee!

another trippy video projection

02.11.04 @ 07:33 PM EST [link]

saturday night.

playing around with low shutter speeds. loved the lights.

hey look he's jumping out of his skin! (again, can't resist those low shutter speeds)

computer graphix on the walls. hopefully i'm gonna start doing some large-scale video work again -- but i want to do sampled video and film on flat white walls, sans screens sans graphics (though i loved this one)

the bathroom wall, baby-wipes for hands

very low-light low-resolution image of the wall of the jungalistic 'dangerbass room' where i spent hours dancing. if you can squint you can kinda see the room. wonderful scent in that room -- wish i had smellovision!

more stuff on the way. (all of these pix are unedited -- just some rudimentary cropping. if you've got a mac with photoshop you know where to find me hint!!)

good pals andy and simon weigh in with their great accounts on what saturday was like -- go read! my own take coming soon (when i'm not under deadline pressure like i am right now eek.)

02.09.04 @ 04:39 AM EST [link]

tonight was


going to sleep...

but yeah!!

details forthcoming.

02.08.04 @ 05:17 AM EST [link]

the horse's neck!
Cool essay by Sasha on last week's Ashbery reading. And now I find myself deeply wanting a bartender to mix me up a fine Horse's Neck, which if I recall is a mixture of whiskey, lemon and ginger ale. And lemon peel I think? If anyone has a really good recipe instead of these dodgy Internet recipes I keep finding, shoot me an email.

Mark P with an amazing review of the Dizzee show in Toronto -- makes tonight look like it has the potential to be pretty spectacular.

02.07.04 @ 05:37 PM EST [link]

New York City's the kind of place where I can -- in the span of a Friday night -- go to Tribeca to see robots, run into an awesome ex-MIT student from back in the day (who lives in NYC, it turns out!), talk about concrete lollipops with Lee Ranaldo, get drunk for free, discuss video-making with EBN, hear stories about Yoko Ono's 'vital energy assistant', eat Malaysian food with the as-always-wonderful Douglas and Lisa, and sing a karaoke duet of 'Don't You Want Me' (I'm so Phil Oakey) while still partially sloshed. Pretty sweet all around. And then tomorrow (today!) is Dizzee and Dear at Volume. So yeah, I'd say this town is alright.

02.07.04 @ 02:05 AM EST [link]

My grandmother gave me a set of four thick bangles of Indian gold -- orange-hued and glittery. "For your wedding," she said, "but you can wear them now." I wore their weight on one wrist, and my own weathered silver bracelets on the other. When I moved to Harlem, I stopped wearing the gold ones and put them in the bank.

My mother never understood why I didn't like Indian gold. Or why I cut my hair short. Why I didn't go to temple every Sunday. Or why I spoke better German than I did Hindi. "I'm growing up," was my explanation then. My hair is still short. I always found gold to be too shiny, too much -- my favorite thing about silver was the dull black patina it developed when it wasn't polished.

She gave me one of her saris: deep green silk with a thick brocade of silver and black threads shaped like leaves. The only time I wore it, I think, was to a band party when all of the rest of my clothes were in the wash. "Your dress is so punk rock," some guy told me between puffs of Marlboro. "Huh? Oh, I'm Indian," I explained, but I felt like I was lying. Eager to excuse myself from the conversation, I went to get another beer.

02.06.04 @ 03:06 PM EST [link]

In the process of unearthing old stuff I've written -- most of it's lost, but some's in bits and pieces. Maybe it's good that a lot of it's lost, though. Ha. One of the pieces I found, from about four years ago, just became a post to Pumpkin.

02.06.04 @ 03:05 PM EST [link]

turn your hi-fi into a psychoacoustic device.
Utterly fascinated by Matt's 'Perceptual Development Through Paper Folding' and 'Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs' LPs. I want them!

02.06.04 @ 07:28 AM EST [link]

textbook reviews.
Started a new series today for Proven by Science, based on the book reviews I wrote many years ago for an old zine I used to do called, oddly enough, The Original Soundtrack. Because there's nothing more punk rock than chemistry textbooks. (and I say that with a straight face!)

02.05.04 @ 02:54 PM EST [link]

Spent the morning practicing etudes, with the sunlight streaming through my window, on my old synthesizer. Etudes my Russian teacher taught me when I was half the age I am now, but stuff I still remember somehow, almost by instinct. My synth doesn't have a full 88-key keyboard, so I spend a lot of time figuring out ingenious ways to double up. The dream is to settle down in an apartment for longer than a year -- in a place where I'd have more space, Brooklyn maybe -- so I can move my Steinway from my parents' house. They're currently using it as a bookshelf (!), so I don't think they'd miss it. There are few things in life that I love more than that particular Steinway; I know the touch and feel and voice and personality of it better than I know most people. It is a person, kinda.

Playing everything by ear and my (my rapidly failing) memory, but at some point I'm going to have to get some sheet music. Playing by memory is a cool challenge, though, because it's like accessing some weird part of your past, summoning bits of your own life from a different time and arranging the code into something that makes sense. Trying to unscramble the signal that was always there, running in the background.

Reading a semi-academic book right now called "Music and Memory," actually -- and why is it that neuro-music books are always so disappointing? It's such a rich subject from so many different angles, and yet these books always seem to descend into dry tedium or stupid pop-science oh-wow-ness.

02.04.04 @ 02:32 PM EST [link]

Trying to help advise/curate a 3-day-long band festival in the late spring and it's sorta blowing my brain cells. I've put together band festivals/parties before and know the nervewracking process well. But it's actually harder now since a lot of the bands I used to be pals with years ago have gotten too big and, consequently, tell me things like "Shit, I'd love to play that gig again, but we're gonna be touring Europe..."

Here's a piece of the rant I sent out today:

Neubauten can't play Roast. The Minibosses can't play Roast this year, either -- after that two-page spread they got in Wired this month, they're too busy gettin' down with the cash money and the honeys to give a shit about 8-bit video game covers. "What's gotten into you?!" I said, weeping. "Do you even recognize yourself anymore under all those fur coats and bottles of Cristal and Media Lab-provided "whorable computing" chicks? Do you even remember the intricate lead guitar line to 'Metroid'? Those were the days! Remember that time you played 'Contra' with three drum solos and seven different time signatures? You guys used to be fuckin' hardcore, man! That copy of 'Wizards and Warriors' you signed? I had it framed! I had every mp3 you ever did, man!"


My buddy Jake offered this in the way of consolation, in his response:

Geeta is a bit like the Silver Surfer of nerd cool. She always stumbles upon these obscure groups and neat things, and then lumbering popular culture finds them and devours them. From there it's a long sad descent into sleeping with groupies and pleading with Nicholas Negrop*nte for more of that sweet, sweet crack rock. It's sad really - not just Geeta's continuous frustration at nerds selling out, but also that the best literary metaphor I could come up with was a fucking comic book.

Thanks, Jake, for making me laugh.

02.04.04 @ 02:47 AM EST [link]

So I think it's symptomatic of my increasing music-making obsession that I've been spending more time in musical instrument stores than in record stores. So today in the East Village at a music store, I spent my time indulging my keyboard obsession, playing with old Farfisas and Rhodes(es) and everything in between. The rows of shiny guitars in the back don't interest me nearly as much as the dusty organs and analog synthesizers do. There's a kid in the back practicing the opening guitar line to "Marquee Moon," trying to get that rhythm just right. Meanwhile I'm playing chord progressions on my Farfisa. Or at least I think it's mine, as long as I'm in the store. "Do you need any help, lady?" asks the guy at the counter. "Naw, I can't afford any of this stuff, to be honest," I admit. "Oh that's fine," he says, laughing. "I know how it is. Just have fun."

All keyboarded out, I'm making my way down E. 5th and a guy hands me his copy of Julia Kristeva's "Powers of Horror" and an annotated street guide to St. Petersburg (the one in Russia.) "Do you want any money for this?" I ask him cautiously. "No, just take it!" Certainly the strangest (and coolest) two books I've been offered on the street before (for free, no less), so I look at him oddly, thank him, and put the two books in my bag. He smiles at me and walks on.

02.03.04 @ 02:59 AM EST [link]

Giving my little brother (a senior at Dartmouth) the sort of sisterly advice he needs: "Dude, don't drink 'Keystone Light.' DUDE."

"It's $12 for a 30-pack!"

"So's PBR and it's at least slightly drinkable!"

"PBR is $12.99."

"This is your future we're talking about!"

02.02.04 @ 02:45 AM EST [link]

halftime redux
My scrawled play-by-play notes from the halftime show have been posted to NYLPM. (NYLPM's address changed recently to, in case you hadn't noticed, so update ya linx!)

02.01.04 @ 10:55 PM EST [link]

Sitting here watching the Super Bowl pre-show shenanigans (I can't help it...I'm a sucker for New England teams) before deciding where to head to watch the actual game. Anyway, after a few minutes enduring the banter of the worst football commentators ever and the melodramatic string-orchestra swells and soft-focus piano arpeggios soundtracking the touching "behind-the-scenes" moments, I turned off the sound in favor of "Warm Leatherette" on loop. Now instead of "Jim, back to you," he says "Quick...let's make love...before you die..." and everything's much improved. There are layers of meaning here I've never seen before.

02.01.04 @ 04:37 PM EST [link]

the morning sun has vanquished the horrible night! (ok the night wasn't was pretty awesome)
i just moved this post to the excellent pumpkin publog. go read!

02.01.04 @ 03:18 PM EST [link]

Went to Volume for the first time tonight. It's this cavernous warehouse space carved into multiple rooms, with bright white walls and ridiculously high ceilings in places. It kind of looked like a giant empty canvas -- suffused with this exhilarating feeling of being free and in progress and in motion. Such a playground for video projections and radical sound. It reminded me of clubs I've been to in Berlin. Being there inspired me to do large-scale installations again, if only to use that space. I felt like a happy little kid in a sandbox.

So yeah, I think that Dizzee show will be pretty great. I have high hopes.

02.01.04 @ 03:10 AM EST [link]

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