Sunday, March 22, 2009

Auf Wiedersehen

Given that I have been posted here less and less, I believe the time has come to shut this little ol' site down. While it's been fun spouting off here, I realize that few people even check this site anymore. So I'll be packing my bags and moving my opinionated crap over to Facebook and use their Notes applications to shout into the void. Adios, muchachos.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Liquid gold from Alsace

I realize I have been quite remiss in posting here, but life has been so busy in the last month or so that I have lacked the time and energy to do so. Much has happened and continues to happen. However, given the pleasantness of an outing Susan and I had last night, I felt compeled to share.

We've been doing a brisk business with Heights Chateau, a wine shop just down the block from our apartment. It is proving more convenient that our usual vendor, Montague Wine and Spirits, which will always be near and dear to our hearts regardless. We've gotten to know the staff at Heights much like we've gotten to know the staff at Montague and as such are privy to certain information prior to it being released to the public. Case in point, an early invititation to a wonderful wine tasting they held last night.

Our main Heights Chateau contact, Ariel, had introduced us to several wines from Domaine Agape, a tiny producer from Alsace. Suffice to say we were instant fans and were therefore overjoyed to hear that the tasting would feature only wines from Agape. Additionally, one of the producers would actually be attending. The promo materials for the tasting read as follows.

"Domaine Agape is a story of a match made in wine lover's heaven. Isabelle Boxler & Vincent Sipp both hail from traditional families in Alsace, each with a fascinating history of wine and war that goes back hundreds of years. Together they produce stunning wines that are lively, elegant, pure and trul delicious. Producing in three villages including Riquewihr, Hunawihr and Ribeauville, one third of the winery is classified as Grand Cru, with the average age of a vine no less than 25 years. Each plot has distinctive soil qualities and grapes are tended carefully by hand, producing wines that are intensely aromatic and expressive. Isabelle and Vincent continue a tradition of organic farming set forth by their families and focus their efforts on producing a smaller crop and thus supremely concentrated grapes. Production is limited to 5000 cases per year."

That's right. 5000 case on wine per year from 25+ year old vines, 33% of which are Grand Cru.

Yummy doesn't even being to cover it.

Anyway, the event was held at Bacchus (how appropriate) in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn, a pleasant 15 minute walk from our home. We arrived about 5 minutes early, but due to some planning errors on the part of the restaurant we were forced to wait for another 35 minutes before finally being seated and served.

We began with a delcious bruschetta made with pickled red onion and a bit of tarragon, paired with a NV Brut Cremant d'Alsace Emotion. Delicious. The acidity of the wine really accentuated the bite of the tarragon and the sweetness of the pickled onion. An excellent start.

Next up was sea scallops with lemon sage butter sauce paired with Agape's 2007 Pinot Blanc. Again, a complete home run. The sage and lemon simply exploded around this medium bodied stunner and the scallops themselves were done to perfection, the sauce delicate and not at all cloying.

Midway through our culinary exploration, we hit our first snag.

Our third course was pork tenderloin with pears and cranberries poached in white wine with thyme paired with their 2007 Muscat. The pears and cranberries were stellar, their fruitiness and sweetness brought far foward by the wine. The pork, however, was overdone and tough, which was a disappointment.

We faired no better foodwise for the fourth course, Cajun-spice tuna medallion with zucchini paired with Agape's 2007 Gewurtztraminer. Again, the side dish was scrumptious and succulent, but the tuna itself was overdone. Also, the Cajun spice proved to overwhelm the wine a bit. However, when imbided with just the zucchini, a complete winner. A turkey apple sausage with caramelized onions was also served, but I had to pass on this given my apple allergy. Susan informed me, however, that I didn't miss much. As one of our tablemates opined, "If you're going to eat sausage, eat sausage. Why bother with tasteless turkey?"

We were treated to a surprise at this point, as the hosts distributed a rough red wine from Laguedoc. This wine was extremely vegetal and, honest, had a bit of sewage in the nose. Not a huge fan of this particular sipper, but it wasn't a total loss.

Foodwise, Bacchus managed to recover with the final course, a lobster saffron risotto paried with the shining star of the evening, Agape's 2007 Riesling Grand Cru Osterberg. Astoundingly good. Again, the lobster was slightly overcooked, but the risotto was stellar and the wine a complete slamdunk. This is a wine I would happily drink every day, which is quite something to say, given that it's a white. Lots of vanilla and floral accents, especially lavendar. Some powdered sugar tastes as well. Absolutely delicious.

Most of the attendees began to exit the venue around midnight, but Ariel stayed behind and plied us with some refills of the Riesling and an off-the-menu red which quite made up for the so-so Languedoc from earlier in the evening. We also were fortunate enough to have some wonderful tablemates that we chatted with until well into the morning. A quick walk home and we were in bed by 1:30. Not bad.

So, all in all, a pleasant evening. I'm actually anxious to return to Bacchus and see what their fare is like when they are not under the gun of a 30 person, 7 course tasting. Goodness knows that the high points were quite high and the low points were not completely unacceptable. My mouth's mind wonders...

Audio tasting menu:

Various - Three Stripes One Love
(mo dub love from DJ Quendi)

Charlie Parker - Birth Of The Bebop
(a scratchy and catchy recording from Bird)

Blackmouth - Blackness Bleeding
(monster mixes from Jarboe and friends)

This Mortal Coil - Blood
(a bit of a mess that I'm still trying to get my head around)

Dettinger - Intershop
(bleep bleep bloop bloop doop doop)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hopes and fears

Here we sit, four days before the most important Presidential inauguration in US history. I'm excited, happy, and more than a bit apprehensive. While anti-Obamaism hasn't been making constant front page news, you know it's there. There are still dumb fucks out there who hate this man because he is black (no doubt aggrevated by the fact that he is intelligent, articulate, charismatic, and successful). They see his election as a slap in the face of the country, which is stupid because it is this very country that elected him. Then again, trying to apply logic to these people is like trying to tutor George Bush in particle physics.

You could try, but what would be the point.

My apprehension is sourced by several things. The first is concern for the man himself. I've grown to respect and admire the man (as much as anyone can a politician). I have the same proud feelings about him as I still do for Bill Clinton, a great man whom history will remember fondly, regardless of where he put his penis.

The second is concern for the country's future. I believe Barack has the power to change our course. I believe he has the vision to make America better, both in terms of living here and in terms of how we are perceived by the rest of the world. If some stupid rednecks did manage to kill him, the country and every one in it will have lost a great opportunity.

Lastly and most selfishly (and most paranoiac), is concern for myself. What can I say? I'm a white guy. If Obama was to be killed, the idea of the resultant racial backlash boggles the mind. The riots following the death of Martin Luther King Jr would pale in comparison; the post-Rodney King verdict chaos would be a mere blip. Lots of people, no doubt both black and white, would die. My stepfather, a black man who unforunately died before he could see all this, said to me once that if a black man were to be elected President and then be assassinated, the country would be in flames for months and every white face would look like the devil to any black person. To have this triumph taken away after having waited for it so long would be too much to bear for too many.

I would be afraid to leave my home. Call me racist. Call me paranoid. All I know that I'd be filled with rage. I can't imagine that rage magnified by what it must be like to be a black man in this country. You could ask Oscar Grant III, but he's dead now, isn't he?

See my point.

So a message to any fool contemplating killing this great man. In the unlikely event that you succeed, you will unleash a fury the likes of which you have never seen. Obama's death would be a terrible, terrible price for all of us and no doubt you and many that you love would be destroyed in the resulting backlash.

And that's too high a price for even you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mad Man Scratchy

I was introduced to dub in 1982, at the tender age of 12. My best friend at the time had an amazingly cool older sister who had absolutely flawless taste in music (as well as other charms that are better not discussed here...) and she was immersing herself in all dem tings dat make de dub; King Tubby, Prince Jammy, etc., etc. And while I was completely sold on the sound, one artist in particular absolutely fascinated me: Lee Scratch Perry. He's incredibly talented, prolific, and unquestionably out of his mind. Legends of his various oddities range from the unbelievable (some say he used to get high by drinking tape cleaner fluid...) to the certifiable (he burned down his Black Ark studio because he had become convinced that it had become possessed by the devil...). Regardless, I loved his music and his techniques, which he proffered to a wide array of artists. Anyway, I've been meaning to do a mix of his stuff (including stuff he produced), so I cobbled this together. 22 tracks, 77+ minutes of The Computer Master... Dub Organizer Supreme... The Original Upsetter.. Lee... Scratch... Perry.

01 Tom McCook & The Upsetters - Cloak & Dagger
02 Junior Byles - Curley Locks
03 Lee Scratch Perry - When Knotty Came
04 The Mighty Upsetter - Fungea
05 Lee Perry - Golden Locks
06 Sir Lord Comic & The Upsetters - Django Shoots First
07 The Upsetters - Dubbing Sandra
08 The Upsetters - Freedom Dub
09 Lee Scratch Perry - Huzza A Hana
10 Max Romeo - Public Enemy Number One
11 Bob Marley & The Wailers - Small Axe
12 Augustus Pablo - Hot & Cold
13 Lee Perry - What A Botheration
14 The Stingers - Preacher Man
15 The Upsetters - Bury The Razor
16 Lee Perry - Blackman Time
17 Junior Murvin - Roots Train Number One
18 The Upsetters - Black Ipa
19 Junior Ainsworth - Thanks & Praise
20 Lee Perry - Justice To The People
21 Lee Perry - City Too Hot
22 The Upsetters - Dub Fu Ye Rights

Your can sample the dubbiness here and also head over to the DJ Abstract website for more interesting tuneage.

Babylon be torn down by:

Various - Mad Man Scratchy
(ruder and crazier than you)

Various - Ground Into Dust
(because sometimes heavier just sounds better)

Various - Soulful Jazz Lounge Funk'n Breaks
(funk 'n' bumps)

Godflesh - Messiah
(as I said, sometimes heavier just sounds better)

Beef Terminal - Anger Do Not Enter
(definitively plantive)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Hackers Suck

So I've been seeing a considerable increase in traffic to the Machine Tribe Recordings website, but only one order has been placed. At first I thought it was a) that my music was crappy (tho I assumed folks liked it if they were coming there) or b) the site was ugly or too hard to use. I decided to start a redesign. During the course of downloading my existing files, my virus detector kicked off. Turns out SOME ASSHOLE HACKED MY SITE. All of the people who tried to place orders were being sent to some random Japanese website.

I am going to find this person and kill them.

Anyway, it's been fixed. So if you went to the site and had a problem, please go back. Pretty please. I'll waive shipping (as usual) and toss in a free sampler as well.

Son of a bitch.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I don't know if I've mentioned in before, but I came across an excellent internet radio program called Bleepshow some time ago. They'd played a Breaks The Blank Day track about a year ago, so I asked the host, Pete Cooper, if I could send him some demos. He said fine. I sent the demos.

Guess what? He liked them.

AN ENTIRE SHOW devoted to my music.

ANOTHER ENTIRE SHOW devoted to my music.


My ears overfloweth

Two luscious chunks of Abstract-related audio for today's charter:

Firstly, I've been following a great mix site called SubNav. It's moderated, so you have to submit your mixes for approval and they decide if it gets posted or not. Anyway, I threw caution to the wind a couple weeks back and sent them a couple of my mixes. Lo and behold, they just posted my Ashes And Dust Mix. For those of you who missed it (or want to check out the nifty artwork SubNav threw together for it), check it out. Pretty cool to feel appreciated.

Secondly, another mix has fallen out of the sky and hit me in the head violently.

I may have to apologies for this one in advance. After doing Soft And Broken, I was really in the mood to do something HEAVY. I'd been kicking around a couple of tunes that were pretty klangie and loud and sent myself a couple of emails (subject line: "Hard Mix"; how's that for creative?) with an ever growing list of tracks. Once I'd gotten enough together, I started to work.

"Kur" is just plain nasty, a harder track by Heinrich At Hart off the Position Chrome label. Huge, pitch shifted breakbeats, etc. Just how I wanted it to sound. Mobthrow's "Deathstep" continued the heavy feel and added some dubstep feel to the mix. This logically lead into "Painkillers" by Ebola (more squelchy bass and twisted beats).

Then things started to go off the rails.

I hadn't mucked about with the Blacklands track "Solvay Bliss" in a LONG time; last time I spun it was probably in 2005. Still, it seemed to fit. Kinda. And then the weirdness just built up. "Stalingrad" is completely epic and dark and possibly my favorite track off Blackfilm's debut album. But then TA came back with the bass and then Ice smothered everything.

Blah blah blah.

Suffice to say what started as an attempt at 70 minutes or so of headcrushing music ended up (as usual) all over the place. Parts of this mix are really nasty, while other parts are headnoddy, isolationist, etc. Bit of a mishmash, but I like it.

Hopefully you won't all hate it. I don't want to get voted off the island.

So hang on.

Ground To Dust
01 Heinrich At Hart - Kur
02 Mobthrow - Deathstep
03 Ebola - Painkillers
04 Blacklands - Solvay Bliss
05 Blackfilm - Stalingrad
06 Techno Animal - Bass Concussion
07 Ice - X-1
08 The Dustmite - Assassin Of Memories Track 12
09 The Unknown Ghosts - City Of Ghosts
10 Scorn - Flick
11 Alec Empire - City Of Lights
12 Hive - Vaya Con Dios (A Suspended Remix)
13 Witchman - Palace Of Angels

You can click here to take a listen and, by all means, head on over to my website to find more tasty ear candy.

Feeling the fists of love with:

Various - Ground To Dust
(flatten your cranium in one quick and easy session)

Various - Lee Perry: I Am The Upsetter
(4 discs of premium Scratch)

The Dustmite - Assassins Of Memories
(deep dark hop)

Nitzer Ebb - That Total Age
(because I wish to join in the chant)

A Great White Bird - Adventures In Ornithology
(continuously mixed by your's truly)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More on the melancholy

We've all got one. There's always that one boy or girl who has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the first person to break your heart. Chances are it happened when you were in your late teens or (as in my case) your early twenties. We survive and can often (as in my case) look back kindly on that person.

I created my first mix tapes for this particular woman and most all of them had one thing in common: they were kinda sad. This is slightly embarrassing in retrospect, but at the time I thought it was romantic; a kind of "doomed love"-type thing. Gives me a wry smile just thinking about it.

Years have passed, my musical tastes (and collection) have expanded in every which way, and now I crank out mixes of all shapes and sizes (musically speaking). However, that taste for the melancholy still exists. After all, I threw together Grayside Tales and Games, Blame, And Hard Luck Dames, so it's not like I don't still stroll down that road occasionally.

This is one of those occasions. Soft And Broken is yet another of those odd mixes that began as one thing and slowly morphed into another. The feel of all the tunes is very similar, but the styles of music aren't exactly kissing cousins. Well, they are to my ears, but I'm just like that. So enjoy.

01 Nina Simone - Don't Smoke In Bed
02 Billie Holiday - Don't Explain
03 Tom Waits - Invitation To The Blues
04 Frank Sinatra - One For My Baby
05 David J - Nature Boy
06 Daniel Ash - Candy Darling
07 Bauhaus - All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
08 Dead Can Dance - Severance
09 MC 900 Ft Jesus - Buried At Sea
10 Soul Coughing - Sleepless
11 Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand
12 Beastie Boys - I Don't Know
13 The Cure - Happy The Man
14 Bjork - Headphones (0 Remix)
15 Portishead - Roads
16 Nancy Sinatra - Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

BTW, if you missed the link above, you can click here to have a listen. For other stuff I've thrown together, read some more bloggage or visit my website and click on the Mixes link.

Floating into the night with:

Various - Soft And Broken
(pluck them heartstrings)

Nina Simone - Four Women: The Nina Simone Philips Recordings
(man, can that woman sing)

Stockfinster - Sunset
(more tasty DIY IDM)

Decapitated - Nihility
(putting the death in death metal)

AFX - AFX Compilation
(Richard D in the place to be)