the original soundtrack

There's a bunch of stuff by me in The Wire this month, if you're interested--a big review of the No Fun Fest in the On Location section, a Burma review, and several contributions to the controversial 'State of Song' cover story. Honored to see that I'm rubbing shoulders in this issue with the eloquent and wonderful Matt Woebot! You rock Matt!

04.30.04 @ 12:46 PM EST [link]

Basketball commentary takes on a whole new dimension of breathless urgency when spoken in fluid, rapid Hebrew. Today I watched Team Tel Aviv get trounced by Team Moscow on Israeli television at that new falafel joint near the Voice offices. (The baklava there is brilliant--I recommend it.) Generally I go for the underdog, but I couldn't help but root for the Russians, mostly because they have the cutest red uniforms, but also because there's a certain pathos (ah that particularly Russian pathos!) to the cheers of Team Moscow fans. Making sense of the stats scrolling on the bottom of the screen was a little tough since they were all written in Hebrew, but I think all NBA stats should be written up in Hebrew; sports stats are usually pointless by definition, so that extra layer of incomprehensibility adds an air of mystery to the proceedings for sure.

04.29.04 @ 05:35 PM EST [link]

new music new york.
Here are the people I saw play last night at the 25th anniversary of the New Music, New York Festival, and what they performed: Steve Reich: Drumming, Part 1 (1971); Pauline Oliveros: Tuning Meditation (1972); Meredith Monk: Dolmen Music (1979); Robert Ashley: Love is a Good Example (1987); Laurie Anderson: Excerpts from a Work in Progress; Philip Glass: Track Sweat.

I tried to go to this with an open mind; these dudes are the dad-experimental 'avant-garde establishment', sure, but just cuz they're 'establishment' doesn't mean they can't rock. And besides, performances of old music, done well, can be revelatory, for the same reason I like rereading books or watching the same movie twice. You always learn more the second time. So that's how I felt watching Reich's Drumming, which I'd never seen performed live. It was just a little snapshot of the full piece --'Part 1', which was only done for about ten minutes, features a row of tuned bongos. Each of the four performers (Reich included) hits the bongos with drumsticks in simple, repetitive patterns, but there's nothing simple about the way the piece is designed. By the end of the piece, the rhythms become ridiculously complex, almost without you noticing. I always like listening to the sound rain makes on the roof when it starts falling hard, and Drumming is that kind of sound--the surface repetition trains you to realize that there's something more happening. Kinda like that classic telescoping effect with dance music where an endless rhythm makes you actually feel like you're falling down or moving closer in, or with those stereoscopic vision-magic eye things where focusing on something long enough makes an image pop out. So yeah, that performance felt as fresh and furious as ever. Next up on the plate. . . Pauline! But first, dinner.

04.28.04 @ 07:24 PM EST [link]

pocket calculator.
Brian MacDonald reports from the recent Kraftwerk show in Seattle that instead of lighters, the crowd held up their lit-up cell phones before the second encore. I just wanted to share how awesome I find this in combination with Kraftwerk.

And damn you, Ralf und Florian, for not playing here. What's the matter--you not man-machine enough for NYC?

04.28.04 @ 03:18 PM EST [link]

As pointed out by my buddy Dave Stelfox--if you're looking for something nice to listen to like RIGHT NOW, check out Nick Craddock's DJ mixes: here.

04.27.04 @ 11:55 AM EST [link]

Went to see Einstürzende Neubauten on Saturday, immediately after attending five hours of a superb nine-hour marathon performance of Messiaen's dark, discordant works for pipe organ. I figured Neubauten would be a good show--I'd seen the band play several years ago in Boston, and they were tight--but I had no idea that I was in for one of the three or four best concert experiences of my LIFE. They played for three solid hours to a sold-out crowd, with three encores and no opening act. There was lots of stuff on tap from the new album Perpetuum Mobile, and it made so much more sense live; what sounded flat and too subtle on record transformed into a gnashing three-dimensional beast in the live show, everything fierce and terrifying as hell. Blixa was in the best form I'd ever seen him; he looked great, nattily dressed in black with razor-sharp hair, and his usually halting voice hit every note with the grace of a cool professional (making his carefully-detonated gutwrenching howls all the more jolting.) Marvelous stage setup that was a delight to see-- the usual air compressors and circular-saw-blades and whatnot, but what really brought Neubauten's energy to the fore was the funky (!) bassplaying, the splendid drumming, and the incredibly intense, heady feeling that this was a band that knew EXACTLY what they were doing and how best to execute it. A killer light show didn't hurt either, and neither did the spontaneity of the group-- lots of deadpan and funny jokes delivered in a crisp German accent between songs, and lots of surprises (the "hex on Stevo", the grab-bag-improvised song at the end involving 'sounds of glass', and an awe-inspiring performance of a 1984 tune based on a terrifying beat they constructed using fetal heart monitors, Blixa's heart, and a whole lotta speed). I'll never, ever forget that show.

04.26.04 @ 06:18 PM EST [link]

Farewell to Lizzy Mercier Descloux, who recently lost her long fight with cancer.

04.25.04 @ 04:43 PM EST [link]

cerebrum vs. cerebellum.
The performance I went to last night reminded me why I've been finding it far more interesting (and intellectually rewarding) to get my head around dance music than experimental-music-with-a-capital-E these days. The idea of last night was this: you tuned into the improvised performances happening around you with the provided headsets. So it was silent; everyone skulked around wearing headphones connected to tiny portable radios to listen to the performances, with barely anyone talking or interacting with each other, or with the performers, really, except occasionally in hushed tones. On four different FM bands were different performers--Thurston Moore, Scanner, Zeena Parkins, Ikue Mori. . . I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Each FM band had a silly name-- "New Electronics" was one, "Avant-Rock", etc.

Condemning improv for not being dance music is like yelling at an apple for not being an orange for sure, but I don't think it'd hurt for such 'sound experiments' to be more body-conscious, more willing to embrace the tactile along with the ethereal. I also didn't understand why the different FM bands at the performance were split up the way they were. I think it's much more interesting to have disparate performers work together rather than in their own little ideological clumps. Everything felt curiously static because the concept behind it was so static. It's funny that so much of this type of music explores and exploits sonic phenomena at the margins, things that wriggle, endlessly kinetic, moving in space and time--distortion! feedback! radio transmissions!--and flash-freezes it into something so totally immobile. Wouldn't hurt to engage that motor cortex once in a while.

04.23.04 @ 02:55 PM EST [link]

wie geht's?
Also give it up for totally cool random kids from Munich who show up at your Manhattan doorstep and, within five minutes of meeting you, ask you if you've ever heard of "the schaffel beat."

"Yeah! Like T. Rex!"

04.22.04 @ 04:20 PM EST [link]

nervenzellen sind die bausteine des gehirns.
And give it up for the Davis Square Goodwill, where a dollar buys you an awesome book about neuroanatomy (written entirely auf Deutsch!), plus cassingles of Stockhausen's 'Gesang der Jünglinge' and Biggie's 'Hypnotize'. I love cassingles!

04.22.04 @ 12:01 PM EST [link]

sonic life.
Been listening to Sonic Nurse over and over, trying to grasp at what might be interesting about it so I can write this review. Though I'm still disappointed with the album, it does grow on me the more I listen, and there are even a few songs I like--one of them is 'Stones'. The ever-excellent Fluxblog mourns that 'Stones' sounds like a Thousand Leaves outtake, but it reminds me more of Murray Street. It has a good helping of the radiant shafts-of-sunlight interlocking guitar lines of 'Rain on Tin' (there's even one bit that explicitly quotes the song), along with typically endearingly stupid free-associating Thurston lines like 'Hieroglyphic lover nature friend.' It feels really effortlessly beautiful and summery, and at points it even rocks out, unlike most of the rest of the album.

(The song 'Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Hand Creme' has been renamed 'Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Creme,' by the way. I sense some legal issues were at work. . .my copy still says 'Mariah Carey', but it's been carefully crossed out in black marker.)
04.21.04 @ 02:32 PM EST [link]

The first real documentary I ever worked on -- World in the Balance -- is getting its nationwide premiere on PBS tonight at 8 pm. If you look closely you'll see a quick blip of my name somewhere in the end credits!

04.20.04 @ 10:34 AM EST [link]

a high of 87 degrees.
I'd forgotten how much I love digging through cutout bins at used record stores until I came back to Somerville, Mass. for a visit. There, among all the records no one wants (Erasure, forty copies of 'Frampton Comes Alive', stuff like that) a word peeking through in that telltale font: 'Kompakt'! I paid the rocker dude at the counter $5 for Closer Musik's 'After Love'. Then another $2 for a bunch of killer 2-step compilations that had been filed under the amorphous 'Techno' section. Now I'm here, sitting on the porch in balmy 80-degree weather, listening to 'Re-Rewind' under a big pink flowering tree in full bloom while reading a book and testing out urgent and key scientific experiments. Experimental finding #1: Cereal with chocolate milk is a better idea in theory than in practice (damn!) Now I'm off for a walk around Boston. Here's wishing you happiness (and many cheap CDs) on this beautiful day, wherever you may be.

04.19.04 @ 01:44 PM EST [link]

I got a copy of the upcoming Sonic Youth album Sonic Nurse in the mail yesterday. I was pretty excited about it, actually; I LOVED Murray Street, their last one, and all its super-tunefulness and tightly controlled storms and pretty melodies. The crowning moment of Murray Street, for me, was the luminous 'Marquee Moon'-ish 'Rain on Tin,' which I remember I played maybe fifteen times in a row when I first got the album. Perennial Sonic Youth-lover Christgau liked but didn't adore Murray Street, writing that it was the "diligently realized sound of exhaustion," but I think that describes Sonic Nurse to a T. My heart fell a little when I saw the awful Sonic Nurse cover art--not awful in an SY way (the out-of-focus photographs and messy handwriting), but awful in a super-slick bog-standard rock album way. Maybe that was the oh-so-hilarious point, but when I popped the album into the ol' stereo, I realized my worst fears--this is probably the most boring Sonic Youth album I've ever heard. It's not that it isn't nice, but where Murray Street still felt appealingly interesting, giving you some rough edges to grasp onto, Sonic Nurse is so muted and controlled and 'mature' that it's like a really competent indie rock record but nothing more. Even the noisy feedback codas never get the chance to breathe; they're cut into respectful little units and end too quickly. There are some good parts, but . . . maybe it'll grow on me. For now, though, color me disappointed.

04.18.04 @ 04:05 AM EST [link]

dots and droops.
Saw Stereolab last night, and couldn't help feeling that their days as a dynamite live act are long over. Maybe it was because Irving Plaza was uncomfortably packed (mostly indie kids, industry goons and crusties who looked like they'd done nothing over the past ten years 'cept smoke weed and listen to the 'Lab), or maybe it was because the hyperactive lighting washed out the screen behind the band, making the video projections look dim and faded. The night was short on transient-random drones, and high on marshmallowy disco-pop numbers--they played a lot of the upbeat songs from Margerine Eclipse, which I adore, but sometimes I think the perfect Stereolab show would be 'Jenny Ondioline' for 90 minutes . . .They were totally competent, don't get me wrong--just lacking that certain Stereolab je ne sais quoi. Dunno if it was the missing Hansen factor or what. Much as I love their new stuff, I think I'll be content with 'Lab-as-ace-studio-band and ditch the temptation to see 'em live from now on.

04.17.04 @ 04:05 PM EST [link]

these days.
I usually have a lot of trouble sleeping these days; they're building a 67-story-high skyscraper on my street, and the jackhammers start drilling painfully early each morning. Weekends, when the construction guys are off, are the only times I can sleep for real. Tonight I'm falling asleep to the soundtrack of a lovely M. Mayer set in Hamburg from 2002, archived on Betalounge. (there's a sweet recent set by Phil Sherburne on that site, too.) The M. Mayer set is perfect for late nights lying in bed--it starts out real slow and soothing and dreamy, including a nice cover of Nico's 'These Days'. I recommend it if you have trouble sleeping at night, like me.

04.17.04 @ 04:06 AM EST [link]

blissed in.
Simon's postpunk book title has been announced -- it's gonna be called BEYOND GOOD AND ENO!!!! Shouts-out to all contestants!

Ok maybe not. . . click here for the real answer. . .

04.16.04 @ 05:46 PM EST [link]

from berlin with love.
Here's the official description of what I went to tonight: "NYC audiovisual collective Share presents a real-time concert in "networked" collaboration with colleagues worldwide." Here's what really went on -- it was like being in a club, with giant video screens radiating from the center of the room in a big circle, awash in moving pixelated watercolors--a big, colorful, immersive environment that let you walk around and come and go as you pleased. You could just lie there on the floor and feel swallowed up by all this crazy video stuff, and watch the disco-ball-like shimmering orb in the middle of the room reflect video images. After a while, though, my attention started to waver; the music, improvised in real time by turns with teams in Montreal, Barcelona, London, etc, was mostly sort of a crackly noisy feedbacky-type murk, and the video images mostly abstract graphics (though pretty), but then. . . but then suddenly BEATS started pumping and you could make out (heavily distorted) images of actual humans on the video screens. The Berlin team was in the house! The team in Berlin and the dudes in NYC worked in real-time to make slow, bassy beats with these great flickering, trippy images of a girl on the Berlin team moving around in a sort of jittery stop-motion animation. Then the bpm kept racing up and racing up, the video feed sped up and up and up, and then it broke into a really fast jungle track! "Dude! Where are those breakbeats coming from? Who's making them?" I asked one of the studious-looking performers, who was staring at a pile of wires and his Powerbook and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. "I think those are our colleagues in Berlin. I'm not sure what they're doing . . ."


04.16.04 @ 01:23 AM EST [link]

heavy rotation.
The Good:

Matt Woebot's awesome Desi post! Give this man a medal!
France's Karat records: Blackstrobe 'Fall down rise-up,' Mikael Weill 'Alcove', Ark
That Areal singles compilation (love the cover art too!)
Just now realizing the greatness of Perspects - 'Keep Dancing'/'Rhythm of Need' (tune!)
Rain stops. Sunlight! Central Park!
Fluxblog we loves ya
'Silk 'n Shine' lip balm
Anything that schaffels
Generous $4 glasses of Wild Turkey, as poured by a wizened grandfatherly dude with a comb-over who convinces you to watch a gripping two-hour-long documentary on the Little League World Series at Manhattan's diviest bar

The Not-So-Good:

Konk (must everything be reissued?)
'Networked improvised artistic collaborations'
Student loan payments

04.15.04 @ 02:38 PM EST [link]

we are born in flames.
Alright, I'm sick of practicing alone. I'm seeking bandmates for an all-girl post-punk cover band. Here's the deal: we only cover songs by female (or female-fronted) post-punk bands. If you're psyched, shoot me an email. Sorry dudes--I'm looking to make this an all-girl band. (Boys are gross!) Here's what I can do: sing, play keyboards, play guitar (sorta). I'd rather have someone else sing, though, coz I'm looking for a particular chirpy kind of post-punk girl voice. Think Raincoats, Kleenex/Liliput. . . (I can sing the songs in the lower registers, if we cover any Bush Tetras or ESG songs or something.)

If we develop some serious chops, we should play some Essential Logic tunes. Right now, though, those basslines are killing me.

04.15.04 @ 01:16 PM EST [link]

discographic oceans.
Give it up for Dave Q!

04.15.04 @ 02:50 AM EST [link]

alone in kyoto.
I adore Air and all, but as a live act, they're sort of pointless. See, the way I generally like to listen to Air is in my bedroom with the lights off. I think their live act could work really well if the band wasn't really foregrounded in a rock-showy way; they'd be great doing incidental soundtrack music for a series of continuously pulsing video feeds or something. They did work pretty well onstage as an unintentional comedy act, though. So the shorter dude in Air, sporting some greased-over hair and a sorta Star Trek-ish suit, squeaks "So zis one, zis one is song," before solemnly strapping on his keytar.

"Haha he's so French!" I say to no one in particular, all while trying to crane my neck to scope out the shorter Air dude's '70s prog-worthy rack of awesome synths. The random guy standing next to me, who had the foresight to bring several spliffs to tide him thru the boring bits (a snoozeworthy 'Cherry Blossom Girl', a far-too-sped-up 'Alpha Beta Gaga'), snickers and takes a deep puff. Five minutes later the random guy collapses on the floor with a cold thud!*

"Good weed, eh?"

Anyway, my favorite song on the new record is "Biological," which has all these beautiful subtle studio fx going on. These were totally lost in the bombast of the live setup. (They played it during the encore.) My favorite part of the song is about four minutes in, when the vocals cut out and it's just this slow, ambling guitar line, chased by this wash of barely perceptible synth echoes. I was really curious to see how they were going to duplicate this live, and when I saw how they did it--by playing it very straight and literal, with less detail, and faster--I was pretty disappointed.

*He was fine later, though.

04.15.04 @ 02:25 AM EST [link]

you used to be my romeo.
I walked into H&M today because they were blasting Kanye West's "Through the Wire," which I luv luv luv luvluv. Then they followed it with Basement Jaxx' "Romeo"! My heart nearly exploded! I had forgotten how brilliant the music video for that was; playing on multiple plasma screens, it was unbearably amazing. Then it was followed by The Avalanches' "Since I Left You"! Three of my favorite songs in a row! I barely noticed that I left H&M $68 dollars poorer, and partly due to the purchase of EVEN MORE sparkly headbands!

Note to whomever is designing the H&M soundtrack: you are doing a brilliant job. Viva consumerism!

04.14.04 @ 01:39 AM EST [link]

Went to Anthology tonight with a friend to check out the Sun City Girls' Sublime Frequencies flicks. Which were tremendous. I'm a little too, er, out of sorts right now to comment on specifics, but Alan Bishop's wry comment during the Q&A at the end--'I want to do everything, just once'--really stuck with me. The dreamlike, episodic quality of their bizarre amateur ethnographic documentation is because of just that--having a peanut-sized attention span. Sun City Girls get bored fast. Sun City Girls want to be entertained, or at least intrigued. And they love puppets.


04.13.04 @ 03:30 AM EST [link]

Spent most of today practicing piano. Mostly stuff by Bach. I used to LOATHE Bach when I was taking serious lessons at the local conservatory. See, back when I was an angsty thirteen-year-old, Bach was my nemesis. He was The Man. Down with Baroque and that hyper-proper doodly-doodly minuet-type bullshit, I thought; I wanted stuff that dripped raw emotion from its pores. So I naturally gravitated toward moody slices of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, stuff like that--all crashing minor chords and big sobs, epic grandiosity and furious, searing movements that moved fast and wept faster. But I guess I remember now what my Russian piano teacher said then, about Bach's 'Invention in D Minor', a deceptively simple piece with nary a chord in sight--"play the ending slow; it's so sad." Eleven years later, I love Bach, partly because he was such a fuckin' genius when it came to counterpoint, but also because he was so sad. And you can see that sadness manifest itself in clean, spare ways that needed a minimum number of notes to convey the feeling behind them. All the more heartbreaking for sounding so pure, so untainted, so weirdly asexual and streamlined. So I played 'Invention in D Minor' about ten times in a row today, at a different speed each time, my fingers fumbling.

04.12.04 @ 01:50 AM EST [link]

nu shooz.
Woebot meditates on shoes, and what his shoes might possibly signify regarding his musical inclinations. I have four or five pairs of shoes, which is nothing compared to most girls I have known. I have an old pair of pink Converse All-Stars which I covered in paint and stainless steel spikes--that must've been in my more "rock" days. Then there are the ridiculous silver glitter platforms I bought in London, from when I felt more disco. The kinda frightening steel-toed boots from when I felt more goth about things. Then of course there are the trusty workhorse Adidas sambas from when I was more enamored of beats, but those got old. Now I wear these half-price blue-and-orange "Diesel" sneakers that are outrageously comfortable--like wearing socks--but have dangerously paper-thin soles. I can feel each granule of pavement in these shoes, which makes me feel very, uh, "street". I think I'm in my more "minimal" phase now.

04.11.04 @ 02:50 AM EST [link]

friday night.
You know that feeling you get sometimes when all you really want to do is put on your gold eyeshadow and dance to 'I Feel Love'? Well, tonight was one of those nights. So I put on my gold eyeshadow and ended up at Centro-Fly, danced my heart out for hours and hours, and ran into about ten different people I knew. One of these people was my favorite Boston drag queen--someone I hadn't seen in six years! He was wearing angel wings! A wonderful night, and not only because I got to finally dance to LCD Soundsystem's 'Yeah' (Stupid Version) in a packed Pinky Room, as it bounced off of giant, pounding speakers, acid squeals and all.

04.10.04 @ 05:21 AM EST [link]

live at the mark e smith trials!
Mark E. Smith is so close to being a pirate at this point that I think he should just go the whole way. Why do a half-ass job when you're that close to pirate-dom? Arrrr! His leg is broken, so he sits down to sneer. Peg leg! Now all he needs is a rusty hook for a hand. Tonight he did a frightful cover of The Move's "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" with his hired-gun band(its). If you love the Nuggets box sets as much as I do, this cover would've made you weep. Not from joy, but from pain. Oh God, the pain-uh! (And I love The Fall! And their covers!)

I can hear the grass grow
I see rainbows in the eveniiiiingggg....

04.09.04 @ 03:47 AM EST [link]

Simon's funny, detailed rundown of last Saturday's NASA Rewind experience was right on the money. I'd never been to the original NASA. In 1991 I was 12 years old and probably had no clue what rave was. I dunno--I don't remember much about being 12. I caught up on all this stuff much later. So this storied past that Simon enthuses about is pretty alien to me. Which is why I was so psyched to check out NASA Rewind, to step into that time capsule. . .

It'd been a very long time since I'd been to the anything matching the sorta 'superclub' feel of Arc, the same physical location where the original NASA raves were held (under different names). I much prefer the Volume vibe to be honest--just ten or fifteen bucks to get in, laid-back dudes at the door (instead of a gauntlet of snarling, muscley bouncers), everything very wild and improvised and friendly. But where Volume felt raw and in-progress, Arc felt finished; everything had this do-not-touch, you-break-it-you-buy-it vibe to it. The awful $25 admission fee (for that price, in my mind, you better get some free party favors if ya get me), getting hassled and getting practically strip-searched just to get in the door, the herd mentality, filing in like sheep. . . my favorite dance parties have always been the free or very cheap ones in random warehouses, where kids would be building their own cool shit, actively helping the party somehow (by dancing or by DJing or by building cool gear or doing chemistry or whatever.) In stark contrast the whole NASA Rewind vibe was very um, not like this. Fog machines going apeshit every 10 seconds! Disco ball the size of a small house in the middle of the floor! Ice Capades-style lighting! It was kinda cool but I wasn't into how super-duper-slick it felt cuz it somehow detracted from the experience (partially cuz the fog machines were really stinging my eyes I guess.) But I LOVED dancing to those old anthemic tunes. I was surprised at how many I recognized. DB did an awesome job of showing that old skool rave was still alive/breathing/kicking/screaming, and I thought Moby was a great DJ (I'm a sucker for hands-in-the-air piano riffs). Frankie B and Soulslinger, though, were totally wack and I was literally so put to sleep by Soulslinger that I had to go home. Didn't think it sounded Metal Machine Music at all. . . I've always kinda fantasized about putting beats on 'MMM'. . . it just sounded really boring, totally killing all that effort that DB and Moby and Jason Jinx had put into getting the dance floor packed and moving. If DB had been DJing all night it would have been the best night ever. Seems to me that around 2-4 am that's when you should be building up to this GIANT PEAK--all the microhouse dudes know that!--you wouldn't see Michael Mayer or Matthew Dear, for all their experimentalist tendencies, dropping some of that horrible 'chill out' shit that Soulslinger was, um, slinging. They feed off the crowd, the energy and the intensity. There's a symbiosis there that's so essential. DB was feelin' the crowd. The only thing Soulslinger was feeling was, um, himself.

But when the night was on, it was ON. One of the coolest things was hearing those first telltale thumps of 'Energy Flash' and watching Simon go nuts. It was like a cosmic realignment had somehow taken place, and hearing all those killer tunes on that massive soundsystem with a packed dance floor made everything gel, made everything suddenly make so much sense.

Didn't sense a druggy vibe either, like Simon noted, unless I went to the bathroom. There I saw piles of girls who looked incredibly messed up. I remembered to bring a pack of mint gum with me, which made me an instant hit with the kids who felt like their jaws were wired shut (e'll do that to you.)

04.08.04 @ 04:04 AM EST [link]

brief spring interlude.
It was gorgeous weather today, so I decided to walk the seventy blocks from Other Music on E 4th all the way up to the Upper East Side. Along the way, I bought Carl Jung's 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' off some kid on the street for a buck (it's a tremendously absorbing read, actually), watched kids fall off their skateboards in Union Square, talked to some dude with no teeth, and gave some girl directions and ended up getting into a deep conversation with her about the Bronx. Got a call from a pal who had ditched the office in favor of drinking cheap booze in McCarren Park--it was that kind of day, you know. Went to the local gourmet shop, where I buy very little and mostly just gawk at stuff that I can't or don't want to afford. It's the type of joint where old wrinkly ladies buy their truffle-encrusted foie gras and everyone looks super-serious and stressed out. This stress would probably explain why people insist on buying perfectly shaped produce that has already been hacked into precise pieces for them and placed neatly into sterile cellophane packets. But cutting things is half the fun of cooking! I nearly fainted from the faint but miraculous scent of vine-ripened tomatoes. It helps to not have a cold anymore, after all these weeks. Every ever-so-slight food smell hits me like a jet engine roaring at full blast. So I'm braising some fennel, slicing pears, and listening to this freaky-chirpy-organic-melodic Danielson thing that randomly surfaced in the mail--the first album I've listened to with guitars in it in probably weeks. Kind of nice to hear that old familiar strum again on a day like this.

04.07.04 @ 11:58 PM EST [link]

Know an awesome band that could play an outdoor festival in Cambridge, Mass. on May 1? I've got a little bit of a crisis on my hands at the moment . . .

04.07.04 @ 10:54 PM EST [link]

Circumstances would seem to dictate, being born'n'raised in the Northeast, that I'd be rooting for the UConn Huskies in the NCAA finals. But Georgia Tech is such a wide-eyed-puppy underdog that it's hard to not sympathize with their situation (currently the bloodbath, with 15 minutes left, reads 52-31.) I'm not into them cuz of "Georgia", but because of the word "Tech", which is almost like MIT making it into the Final Four ("cosine secant tangent sine/3.14159!") It's all so sad: a gawky, lily-white Luke Schenscher looking like (and being about as effective on the court as) Carrot Top, and a totally deflated-looking Yellow Jacket mascot dancing around madly at the half like a bumblebee after that final, fatal sting, spiraling down to its death. . . Saturday's hero Will 'big heart' Bynum bricking his free throws, sounding some of the coldest, emptiest, most disheartening thunk-a-thunk-thunks. . . The heavy, hulking Huskies looking snarling and fearsome--shit, even their marching band commands a fierce, don't-mess-with-us attitude, whereas the trumpet dudes for Tech are the sorta earnest, conflicted types who look like they learned how to play from watching 'Adventures of Pete and Pete' reruns. 'Is there any way that this game could be salvaged?' asked a friend of mine during the second half, and my response was 'Yeah, the Alamodome could go up in flames. . .' 65-47 with 7 minutes left!

[Obligatory music-related comment: They should just loop that incredible 'I Feel Love' commercial over and over instead of showing commercials by the rest of these clowns. Strategically-shot-to be-poorly-lit-with-warts-'n-all Coca-Cola commercials emphasizing dudes being 'real'--lame. Those 'Responsibility: the anti-drug' and 'Shards of glass freezepops' commercials--just fuck off. 'Vote Miller: President of Beers' commercial--real politics is much more interesting than this, which is saying something. Random car commercial with bouncy electro beat--yes!]

04.05.04 @ 11:05 PM EST [link]

haphazard hallucinations of herodotus.
I wrote a little sidebar on Folk Music of the Sahara: Among the Tuareg of Libya for Richard Gehr's awesome Sublime Frequencies piece in this week's Voice.

04.05.04 @ 08:18 PM EST [link]

hot on the heels of love.
Another month, another desperate cash-in from Throbbing Gristle Inc. in the form of flogging some reissue or repackaging or remastering or box set or remix or other ('the artist formerly known as Gen' has to pay for all that plastic surgery somehow eh.) Well, this month it's "Mutant TG: The Remixes." Fancy packaging that's at once over-the-top and totally perfunctory -- all slick but looks like it was thrown through some stock Photoshop filters and designed in about twenty minutes (telling detail: smug line "Some copy about why we are important to lots of famous people" is the only text on the inside.) Anyway, I'm kinda into it I gotta say, though a lot of it seems phoned in, and I was disappointed that 'Hot on the Heels of Love' as reimagined by Basement Jaxx's Simon Ratcliffe wasn't transformed into some garish carnivalesque wonderland. (I actually like the Carl Craig remix of 'Hot on the Heels of Love' better.) And the Two Lone Swordsmen remix of 'United' is um, kind of awesome. Most of these remixes are pretty boringly restrained and respectful; I want to see these completely screwed-and-chopped, pureed in the Gristleizer, shaken'n'stirred, shattered in pieces, trampled on, scattered, covered, smothered, whipped into shape. Amazing how much of this still stands the test of time, though.

04.02.04 @ 02:55 AM EST [link]

tumult of rainbows.
Reason #3879572 why I love Douglas: he picked the world's most PERFECT Messiaen quote to go with his wonderful interview with Tim Gane.

04.01.04 @ 07:26 PM EST [link]

stay glued.
I haven't turned on a television set voluntarily in about six months, I think, but tonight I ventured deep into its cool cathode ray core. What I'm watching: a documentary on tapeworms. It's fascinating, but I think half the reason why is because I'm just enraptured by the television medium itself -- the constant ambient drift of glowing images and shifting patterns of light. (I think I need to get out more.)

04.01.04 @ 02:29 AM EST [link]

email me

stuff i've written

freaky trigger
simon reynolds
matt ingram
douglas wolk
michaelangelo matos
sasha frere-jones
mark sinker
gareth lee
jon dale
josh kortbein
tim finney
mark fisher
philip sherburne
simon silverdollarcircle
ronan fitzgerald
john darnielle
lauren klein
daphne carr
maura johnston
joshua tree in every pot
anthony miccio
scott somedisco
andy kellman
nick gutterbreakz
dave queen
jody beth rosen
other side of life
grievous angel
barbara flaska
the rambler
mike daddino
pete scholtes
the rambler
86400 seconds
dj martian
scott seward
julianne shepherd
poplife blog
david stubbs
anthony easton rockcritics daily
no rock n roll fun
wax banks
andy battaglia
ian penman

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.