Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Exploitive, money-grubbing pukes

This really pisses me off. Ready?

Minor Threat was a band who's importance to punk, hardcore, thrash and independent music cannot be overstated. These are the guys who literally coined the term "straight-edge" and actually followed all the beliefs they espoused in their songs. While all of their tunes are about a minute long, a lot gets said in those minutes. Self-aware, anti-drug, anti-alcohol, anti-establishment. All fiery messages.

And fiercely independent.

Ian McKaye (founder of the band) released all of MT's material through his own label, Dischord, and never signed to a major, despite constant courting. This attitude continued even after Minor Threat broke up. McKaye's Fugazi project is famous for never charging more than $8 for any show.

And they do great shows.

So, put more distinctly, Minor Threat was independent, anti-establishment and fierce about it.

Enter the corporate, exploitive, money-grubbing pukes.

Here is the cover of Minor Threat's Complete Discography.


And here is the poster for Nike Skateboarding's "Major Threat" Tour.

Don't you just want to shoot these people?

It would have been different if McKaye and Dischord had given their OK for this, but come on, folks. This is Ian fucking McKaye! Who in their right mind would think he would license this classic image to a huge company like Nike? And guess what?

He didn't.

Pitchfork Media asked Dischord if Nike had even requested permission to use the image and...

"No, they stole it and we're not happy about it. Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission. It's disgusting."


Now I'm sure that some bobbleheaded idiot out there is going to say something along the lines of "Go back to Russian, you commie. We live in a free market society and Nike did nothing wrong."

(this assuming that folks like that can string that many words together at one time).

Well, you know what? Fuck you. Go drink a Pepsi and listen to more Britney, you MTV brainwashed moron. This is just blatant exploitation and theft. It's grotesque.


(OK. I'm done.)

Nike has yet to steal the following:

Analog Pussy - Underground
(stomping, acid-drenched, put-ya-hands-in-da-air-ness)

Entombed - Left Hand Path
(the definitive death metal classic)

Lull - Cold Summer
(the icy, dark middle of nowhere)

Terminal Head Case - Epoch
(tripping out with the Zonal Twins)

Proem - Socially Inept
(glitch groovy pretty perky)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Muggy to misty

Those of you who live in the New York area will know what I'm talking about when I say sweltering heat. I left the house a grand total of twice this weekend, choosing instead to stay inside and out of the soup Mother Nature was calling air. Unfortunately, my fan finally gave up the ghost, so I was forced to turn on the AC (for the first time in 2 years).

I did, however, manage to have a lovely weekend. Took in some CSI: Miami and more Family Guy thanks to the beauty that is Netflix. Also worked on some music stuff (seems I'm going to enter yet another AcidPlanet remix contest). Traded some emails back and forth with Wink from Austere and got some really good ideas from him regarding how to get my Machine Tribe Recordings stuff out into the world.

But even with all this, I still found myself with nothing to do Sunday afternoon. Then inspiration came up and smacked me in the back of the head.

New spin mix.

This one was tough. I started out with one song and had a hell of a time figuring out how to transition to other stuff. In the end, I dumped the opener ("Luetin" by Underworld; a good track, but couldn't think of a decent way out of it) and started from scratch. All was proceeding well, but I got hung up again on the second to last song. I'm talking really hung up. Tooking me close to half an hour to get it right.

But here at last is the fruit of my labors: DJ Abstract's Mist Mix 7

01 Opus III - Dreaming Of Now
02 William Orbit - Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix)
03 Meat Beat Manifesto - Papa Brittle/Status Quo (Westminster Dub)
04 Underworld - Cowgirl
05 DJ? Acucrack - Nation State (2K Vocal Remix)
06 CJ Bolland - Obsidion
07 Bypass Unit - Helium
08 L.S.G. - Netherworld (Banco De Gaia Remix)
09 Flunk - Blue Monday

All that being said, though, I'm still not completely satisfied with this. I'm listening to it right now and some of the mixing is not up to code (as it were). I think I may rerecord it tonight.

After I buy a new fan...

Music to keep me from melting:

Various - DJ Abstract's Mist Mix 7
(more mixey for Jerry)

Underworld - Beaucoup Fish
("Jumbo" continues to be an all time fave)

Strategy - Drumsolo's Delight
(nifty neodub)

Bonechurch - Burning, Drifting
(some of my first experiments in really dark ambient)

Abstract Audio Systems - SomeNothing
(the freshman release from AAS)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Siren Call Of Melancholy

I often wonder why it is that I have such a passion for sad songs. I know they say so much (sorry, couldn't resist), but what is it about them that is so enticing to me? I think I should clarify: I’m talking about songs that sound sad yet beautiful, not just songs that have depressing subject matter. A tune has to have a stark or soaring beauty to really hit me.

For example, I’ve been listening incessantly to the Dimitri Tikovoi remix of "Driving In The Sun" by Cranes. Listen to this track. Is this not one of the most beautiful things you've ever heard? Especially when the arpeggiated synth kicks in around the 5:10 mark?

Check out the full lyrics. The remix doesn't use them all, but here they are. Try and see which ones are actually used (tough at first because of the vocoding, but suck it up; Tikovoi chose well).

We would go driving in the sun
Into a world where we were one
We'd close our eyes and we'd become
As free as the sun and moon that shone

And even when our love has gone
And time has moved us all along
And even when the shades have passed
And what we made has gone at last
Something goes on and on and on . . .

And though I know that things won't change
I remember all of our days
Beautiful in many ways . . .

Guess I was searching for someone
I guess I thought you were the one
Cos I so wanted to belong
But now I know that I was wrong

But I believe that there was love
That fell between the two of us
And I believe the time we had
Was meant to be, but not to last . . .

And though I know that things
won't change
I remember all our days
Beautiful in many ways . . .


Brings me tears almost every time, especially since it speaks to a particular aspect of my own life (the 2nd to last stanza).

This is music that soars. Alison's vocals are so delicate and the whole track just shimmers. Sure, I like my death metal, my gabber, and my drum and bass, but Jesus, this just slays me (honestly, no pun intended).

I have on rare occasions created sounds like this (very, very rare occasions) and each time I have, I feel like I've been touched by something higher. I firmly believe that music is what brings us closest to the divine (that and sex).

Today's self-indulgent Psalms:

Cranes - Submarine EP
(includes the aforemention remix; startlingly gorgeous)

Abstract Audio Systems - Ambient Caramel
(a 36-minute journey into majestic drift)

Bonechurch - BlackStatic
(the glorious antithesis of Abstract Audio Systems)

Puzleboy - Target Light
(gettin' my groove on)

Puzleboy - Still Young And Upwardly Mobile
(gettin' my glitch on)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Is there anybody out there?

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of being an independent musician (there, I said it) is the feeling that you are adrift in a vast sea and no one can hear you. I say this because there is SO much music available on the internet and that makes it extremely difficult to get your tunes heard.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not looking to make a living with what has always been essentially a hobby. I would, however, like to share my stuff with people (and maybe make a couple of extra bucks on the side). I've considered direct mail campaigns and other such stuff, but that's expensive, plus part of me is morally opposed to that kind of invasiveness (as I mentioned in a recent email to Wink of Austere).

The root of my problem, I suppose, is marketing and promotion. I simply don't know how to do it. I post news to Yahoo groups and such, but it seems to no avail. I suppose I should get some flyers done and then distribute them at Other Music and some "alternative" record shops here in New York, but that's still a limited audience. How do I get my message spread to folks that are going to want to hear what I've created?

Not to toot my own horn, but I listen to some of the stuff that I own myself and I know that my music is as good (if not sometimes better) than what I'm hearing. It frustrates me that I can't share my sonics with lots and lots of people.

So any advice anybody has would be greatly appreciated. Help a brother out.

With a name like MTR, it has to be good.

Wishing everyone could hear:

Abstract Audio Systems - Gossamer
(blending electronics and acoustics; it's just damned pretty)

Abstract Audio Systems - The Ivory EP
(like Gossamer, but earlier)

Godflesh - In All Languages
(an excellent 2 disc overview of the majesty and malignance that was Godflesh)

Various - The Lo Fibre Companion
(weird, twisted beatfreakery from JKFlesh and others; that's just nasty, baby)

Various - Mechanical Ambient Atmospheres
(more sounds from the edge of reason)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Happy happy

Just found out today that Goldfrapp will be releasing a new album in August! Supernature hits the streets on the 22nd (whether that's a UK or US date, I don't know).

Happy happy.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Goldfrapp...

Allison Goldfrapp is a singer and keyboardist who first cut her teeth on Tricky's Maxinquaye in 1995. She then did stuff with Orbital and Add N To X. She's a phenomenal vocalist, capable of delicate beauty and incredible power.

Goldfrapp hooked up with composer Will Gregory after a friend of her's tossed him some of her compositions. The duo signed to Mute in 1999 and released Felt Mountain in 2000. It's an amazing album, slightly in the vein of Portishead, but think more torch song and less darkness. It's practically a lounge album, borrowing heavily from jazz, folk, and pop, yet it never sounding cluttered or unfocused. Gorgeous.

2003 saw the release of Black Cherry, a heavily electronic album vastly different from Felt Mountain. Allison's vocals are commanding and entrancing as always, but the arrangements and instrumentation are much more experimental. Many critics thought that this was a bit of misstep, but trust me, they couldn't be more wrong. I actually prefer this CD to the first album, as I find the electronic bent more intriguing. This record's ballads are breathtaking and heartrending, it's uptempo tracks bumping and fun to wiggle to. There are really no throwaways here.

As beautiful as her voice.

So I anxiously await the release of Supernature. If the single is any indication, the band is picking up where it left off.

Again, happy happy.

These will tide me over until then:

Goldfrapp - Black Cherry
(floating vocals not afraid to indulge in funky jams)

Cranes - Forever
(angels sing to devil's music)

Proswell - Konami
(pure unadulterated glitch, damn it)

Alien Sex Fiend - Curse
(for the zombiefied amongst us)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Losing steam?

Could it be that Dumbya's campaign of manipulation through fear is running out of gas? In a recent poll, the approval ratings for the war (and for the Bush administration) continue to drop. Given how there haven't been any decisive victories in this continuing debacle, it's no wonder to me that folks are beginning to get sick of it. I suppose that military progress is being made, but for the most part, it seems to me like we're spinning our wheels.

And people are starting to agree with me...

Feeling lackluster today:

Lackluster - Distance
(pristine glitch and rhythm; soothing and satisfyin')

Lackluster - None Of What
(more of the above)

Lackluster - Fin Chip Pimp
(and once more for good measure)

Frank Sinatra - Come Dance With Me
(the upbeat stepchild of In The Wee Small Hours)

Fred Astaire - The Astaire Stroy
(a better dancer than a singer, but still primo stuff)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Blackmailin' sons a bitches

In a further attempt to completely fuck us in the world community, House Republicans have pushed through a bill that will withhold our UN dues "unless the world body adopts dozens of reforms".

That's blackmail. Pure and simple.

The UN will be in serious financial trouble if we do this, since our dues account for about a quarter of the UN's money.

Once again we're throwing our weight around on the international stage, bullying people financially and militarily. It's no wonder so many nations hate us. In the midst of all the global struggle going on without our help, leave it to the dumbass politicians to make things worse. How myopic must their vision be not to see that these kinds of actions continue to sour our already shaky relations with the rest of the world. Manifest destiny is a load of shit, gentlemen. It was in the 1840s and it is now, no matter what Paul "Gosh, I'm Such A Dickhead, But I Run The World Bank Now" Wolfowitz says.

They say that with freedom comes great responsibility. Seems we forget that far too often. International politics should not be approached with entitlement in mind and it seems to me that we're doing just that. "We're the biggest, so you have to listen to us." So arrogant for a country as young as we are.

Remember what happened to the Romans, boys?

I would implant a microchip in Dumbya's head, forcing him to listen to:

Tom Waits - Franks Wild Years
(the magical madman makes marvelous music)

Lackluster - CDR#1
(come on in, the glitch is fine)

Ministry - In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up
(Al and company at the height of their powers)

Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power
(be a man, not a child)

Nine Inch Nails - The Perfect Drug Versions
(MBM, Plug, and Spacetime Continuum know dey shit)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Vindictive BS PS

Unbelievable. Nor maybe not.

How typical that GuvBush would try and enact some petty vengenance on Michael Schiavo by raising questions about the 911 call made following Terri's collpase in 1992. What a fucking scumbag. Why doesn't everyone leave Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers along and let them tend to their grief?

I guess Jebbo feels he need one more shot for the sake of face and politics. Can't wait until Dumbya weighs in, too.

"Hi, I'm an opportunistic asshole."

Evolution / Devolution

I’m here to talk about Justin K Broadrick.

A lot.

I suppose I should be posting this to an abstract view, but this is more about the evolution of a man and his band(s) than it is about a specific album.

For those poor unfortunates who don’t know who Justin Broadrick is... let’s just say that he’s one of the unsung heroes of heavy music. Most of the styles of modern metal you hear these days has been heavily influenced by one, if not all, of Justin’s bands. OK? So here goes...

In the beginning, there was Napalm Death.

(OK, I’m skipping over Justin’s Fall Of Because project, as they really didn’t release anything official until much later.)

Anyway, Napalm Death was formed in 1982 in Ipswich, England. They were the godfathers of grindcore and are perhaps most infamous for their first album, Scum. Although Justin and his trusty guitar only appear on one side of the record, Broadrick and Mick Harris (later to be further worshipped by me under his Scorn moniker) were the primary architects of the sound. Blistering blastbeats, howled and growled vocals (courtesy of Nick Bullen, who would join Mick as part of Scorn, at least for a couple of records), and songs so short they made the Ramones sound longwinded.

Scum rips through 28 tracks in a mere 33 minutes, so you get the picture.

Perhaps the best example: "You Suffer", clocking in at a whopping... 2 seconds. Intense stuff. Apparently John Peel was a huge fan of the track, playing it a bunch before inviting Napalm Death to do a famous Peel Session.

Justin, however, quickly got bored with the band’s monochromatic approach to things (hence the single album side appearance) and left in 1996 to join Head Of David as their drummer. HOD had already released a couple of albums and was touring with Napalm Death. They liked Justin enough to ask him to join up. He played with them for a little over two years (and two albums), but once again he began to feel the itch for something different. So he stuck out on his own.

And lo, the birth of Godflesh.

Teaming up with bassist GC Green (who, if the legend is to be believed, used an old amp belonging to Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler) and an Alesis-16 drum machine, Justin formed what was to become one of the heaviest bands on the planet.

1988’s self-titled debut EP sounded like NOTHING else at the time: bass so detuned it was almost subsonic; pounding, martial beats; slicing, treble guitar riffs that soared over the seething low end. This was music that had practically NO MID RANGE.

Stark, yet beautiful and terrifying.

1990 saw the release of Streetcleaner, which raised the bar even higher (and dropped the bass even lower). Taking the blueprint first put forward by the Godflesh EP and darkening it even further, Justin, GC and the Alesis took listeners on a journey inwards and downwards. Incorporating samples, weird found sounds and an ever expanding palette of guitar tones, Streetcleaner is revered by most fans as the definitive Godflesh album (not to mention the definitive industrial metal record).

But still, Justin strove for more.

1992’s Pure took a more experimental turn. The heaviness remained, but the songs began to drift away from standard structure. Perhaps the most telling example was the closing track, "Pure II", a 21-minute exploration of harsh ambience filled with gaping silences and subtones.

Selfless was released in 1994 and picked up where Pure left off: more experimentation with electronic sound, yet still retaining the ultra-heavy bass and meteoric guitar mastery. There are brief flirtations with minimalism here and once again, the closer (the massive, 24-minute "Go Spread Your Wings") maps out the blackest of spaces, full of booming echoes and aching silences.

(It is also important to note that 1994 saw the release of the first Techno Animal album. TA is perhaps Justin’s most notable side project, formed with crazed free-jazz saxophonist Kevin Martin. While the initial album was very much in the Godflesh vein, future releases would show the breadth of Justin’s musical tastes and vision. This would also be reflected in subsequent Godflesh releases.)

Brain Mantia played drums on Songs Of Love And Hate, released in 1996. The addition of a human drummer lends the album a more organic feel, but it doesn’t loose its bite. Since Justin is not tied to the stiff one-two of a drum machine, he has even more room to maneuver. The results are incredibly exciting, for his guitar lines spiral all over the sonic map. Truly breathtaking.

And then, 1997’s Love And Hate In Dub. A record that changed everything.

This remix album of tracks from Songs Of Love And Hate incorporates drum and bass, ambient dub, funk, hip hop, and a myriad of other styles. Here is the first blatant proof that Justin’s musical ideas extended far beyond simple heavy music. Experimentation is the norm on this album, for these versions of older tunes are so different from the originals, they might as well have different names. Another Godflesh classic.

Us And Them, released in 1999, picked up the ball and spiked it in your face. From the no apologies drum and bass tracks like "I Me Mine" and "Defiled" to stratospheric guitar pieces like "Bittersweet" and "The Internal", UAT continued Godflesh’s experiments in sonic assault.

By 2001, however, Justin had decided to rein in the more disparate elements of their sound, so Godflesh churned out Hymns, an almost straightforward rock album. This was not a bad thing. Not in the least. This was a Godflesh rock album. Motley Crue it was not. Again, the bass is huge, the beats (courtesy of Prong alumnus Ted Parsons) are irresistibly propulsive and the riffs slash and burn everything in their path. This is the album every nu-metal outfit wishes they were capable of.

Alas, Hymns would be Godflesh’s swan song.

GC Green packed up his bass (and maybe Geezer Butler’s amp?) and left the band shortly after the album’s release. Justin recruited Paul Raven (formerly of Killing Joke and Prong) to fill in, but this new lineup never saw the light of day in the US. Shortly before launching their American tour in support of Hymns, Justin decided to throw in the towel: "I found that without GC Green, Godflesh is not Godflesh".

So the curtain fell on one of the greatest, heaviest bands ever.

(Note that I’ve taken quite a bit of editorial license with the above history. I’ve left out quite a number of EPs and side projects. Justin is an incredibly prolific musician, constantly seeking to push the boundaries of music in all its forms, so it would take days and pages and pages to list everything he’s ever appeared on. For a more complete discography, check out Godflesh.com, Godflesh’s official fan site.)

There were rumblings, however, that Justin wasn’t done.

The final track on Hymns was a gut crusher entitled "Jesu". Rumor had it that Justin would be returning with a "more rock oriented project" entitled Jesu.

So I waited.

3 years, I waited.

And then it came.

2004 saw the release of Heartache. This sprawling EP contained two tracks, each clocking in around the 20-minute mark. Good stuff at first glance. Both tracks were heavy a la Godflesh and Justin’s lyrics continue to be minimalist, yet insightful. While I was not as thrilled with the first Jesu release as I had been with previous Godflesh albums, it did raise my hopes for the first full length album.

Jesu was released four months later.

It’s good. Don’t get me wrong. It’s really good. However, all of the experimentation that had arisen around the time of Love And Hate In Dub and Us And Them has fallen away. This is a heavy rock album. The tracks are huge, both in sound and in length (the shortest is almost seven minutes long; the longest, eleven and a half) and all the tone is there. However, much of the complexity and unusualness has been taken away. It’s Justin and his amazing guitar, some punishing bass and thundering beats, and a little keyboard thrown in here and there.

Enjoyable, but not revolutionary.

I think this happens to musicians eventually. At some point people just run out of ideas. I’d love to see Justin start to experiment again. Admittedly, he continues to do this with projects like Final, Sub Species (nee Techno Animal) and a host of other outfits. But I long for the days when a new release from Justin’s main project was a black box. You’d never know what you were going to end up hearing.

Only the future will tell, though. And god knows I’ll be listening.

A public service announcement with guitar.

I’m sure Justin has heard (and probably owns) all of the following:

Jesu - Jesu
(the second coming of Godflesh this is not)

Fugees - The Score
(premium hiphop amidst the blight of bling)

Dead Kennedys - Frankenchrist
(proof that you can be angry and coherent; JB for punky president)

Ambre & Mark Spybey - Sfumato
(environmental ambient with bite and purpose)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rebuild, revamp, renew

So after several weeks of work, I am now ready to unveil the truest evidence of my techie geekdom. May I present to you fine folks the redesigned Machine Tribe Recordings website. Yes, that's right, folks, MTR has a new server and a new look. You can now purchase our stuff at super mad low prices and we’ve added OPTIONS this time around; now you can pick up a Web Copy or a CD Copy of our releases.

Web Copies are cheap, usually about $4. Once we've received payment for your order, we'll email you a link to where you can download your Web Copies at your leisure. Web Copies include all songs and a printable CD jacket.

CD Copies are slightly more expensive, usually about $7. Once we've received payment for your order, we'll mail your CDs to you. Machine Tribe Recordings discs are CDRs and are guaranteed to play in any modern CD player. A full color CD jacket is included, but you get to provide the jewel cases yourselves. That's how we manage to cover production and mailing, yet keep our prices super cheap.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Machine Tribe Recordings, we're an internet-based label that features all types of electronic music: ambient, down tempo, dub, techno, abstract, noise, experimental... The list goes on and on.

So head on over to our new website and check out our new look and feel. Music preview samples should be up in a couple of days as well, so you can listen before you decide.

The following have nothing to do with MTR:

Lackluster - CDR#2
(crystalline rhythm and glitch; portable beauty snippets)

Marilyn Manson - The Golden Age Of Grotesque
(this is the new shit; same as the old shit)

Hardfloor - Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk?
(these gents know their acid and their beats, kids)

Gary Numan - The Best Of Gary Numan, 1978-1983
(one hit wonder in the U.S.; consistent chart topper in the U.K.; and we latch onto the Spice Girls?)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Now maybe they'll shut up PS

According to a report published on CNN, Terri Schiavo was completely beyond the help of therapy or even the most advanced medicine. Her autopsy revealed that her brain was about half the size of a healthy brain and had suffered "massive and irreversible brain damage". She was also completely blind.

In short, the Schindlers were wrong and Michael Schiavo was right. End of story.

Remembrance of things past

It's said that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory (and yes, I knew that before the deodorant commercial let everybody know). For me, however, it's my hearing; more specifically, when these ears hear music. Certain albums (or even entire styles and genres) are inextricably tied to certain periods in my life.

I bring this up because I dug out my copy of Message In A Box today and am now reveling in memories of the early eighties. While it's true that I was deeply involved in my love affair with hiphop, my loyalties also lay with Sting and the boys.

I remember hanging out with my friend Jon until late into the night (at least by the standards of a 12 year old), listening to Reggatta De Blanc; balmy summer evenings lying in bed completely transfixed by Zenyatta Mondatta's "Shadows In The Rain", still one of my favorite tunes of all time; getting pumped up for cross country races by listening to "Synchronicity II".

Looking like Duran Duran with more talent.

Suffice to say that for the most part, the days belonged to Run DMC, Whodini, and the Fat Boys, but the nights belonged to the Police, UB40, and Pink Floyd.

No wonder my head is so twisted.

Anyway, this is all before my musical obsession completely exploded, but even then I felt the mystic pull of all kinds of genres.

It still amazes me when I encounter people who don’t really listen to music, fools who only listen to one type of music, or folks who just listen to "whatever's on the radio". The first thing I do when I walk in the door after work is turn off my discman and turn on my home system. I'm always plugged in when I'm walking about. And god bless my job for letting me listen to tunes while I'm at work.

(You'd be surprised how efficient one can become while listening to death metal. Need it done in an hour? Put in some Dimmu Borgir and I'll have it done in 15 minutes.)

So let me hear grand stories of people's faves. What brings back what for you?

(BTW, "Be My Girl-Sally" is still incredibly fucking funny.)

Sting would listen to these if he wasn't so busy writing wanky, adult-oriented soft rock:

The Police - Message In A Box
(everything the Singin' Cops have every done; that's right... everything)

Various - Phosphorescent
(thumping, acid-drenched trance from the concrete jungles of London)

Jimmy Behan - Days Are What We Live In
(have melancholy, will travel)

Armageddon Dildos - Homicidal Maniac
(cute little EP of carbon copy industrial; could be Nitzer Ebb; could be anybody)

Boogie Down Productions - Sex And Violence
(KRS bringin' back the hardcore, though Edutainment is still better...)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Oh, just go away

So the Michael Jackson trial is finally over. Granted, I'll have to wade through several days of further coverage, but I'm hoping to have my news cycles back by the end of the week (or early next week at the worst).

I have to say that I wasn't entirely surprised that the Gloved One was acquitted. It sounded to me like the family bringing the charges was pretty shystee. The jury foreman himself said that this other case destroyed the mother's cred. Apparently she'd concocted some story about security guards at JC Penney messing with her son. Sounds like this kid gets around, no?

Still, there's no denying that Michael is pretty... off the wall (jokes 'n' jokes 'n' jokes).

At this point, though, he's just pathetic. The shots of him coming to and from the court each day were downright scary. He's looking like he auditioned for a part in the next Brendan Frazier vs. the Egyptian Undead swillfest.

Jackson's career (at least here in the States) is completely in the toilet. I suspect he may flee the country and take up residence in Japan or some other land where the rabid worship of celebrity is even more pronounced than here in these United States.

In short, I think he's done.

As to whether or not he's a child molester... I've no idea. This guy is so completely in his own orbit that there's really no way to tell short of videotape. The jury obviously thought the kid in this most recent case was coached and Jackson's settlement with the previous accuser is hardly out of character for celebrities. In some cases, it's just easier to pay to make it go away.

If I was a parent, though, I wouldn't let my kids anywhere near this guy, child molester or not. I mean, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a weird guy, but there's weird and then there's WEIRD; I'm talking 'bout the kind of weird that you have to scrub off with a wire brush.

Still, part of me can't help but feel sorry for him.

At least when I'm wasting enough time to pay attention.

"More... brains...."

Michael Jackson has never heard of:

Nitzer Ebb - That Total Age
(Doug and Bon play in that violent playground)

Tom Waits - Night On Earth
(Jarmusch and Waits? Oh God, can I borrow a towel?)

Radiohead - Amnesiac
("Like Spinning Plates"; best song... ever)

Terminal Sound System - The Unquiet Sun
(questing in the darkened spaces, ending up in scary places)

DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo - Ki-Oku
(Krush pulls Kondo back from the ragged edge of free jazz insanity)

Monday, June 13, 2005

New view review PS

Up goes another review over at an abstract view. This time, it's bass 'n' beats god Mick Harris teaming up with Martyn Bates for Murder Ballads.

Movin' on up (or not)

The fine folks at Princeton Information have landed me an interview for another job within JPMorganChase. I'll be presenting myself for their further consideration at 1PM today. The job would involve lots of RAD (Rapid Application Development) using Excel and Access VBA and my clients would be on the treasuries trading floor.

The problems are these:

One, I did VBA (Visual Basic For Applications) for a god's age and have since moved on to web programming in the last year or two, so this would be a bit of a step back career-wise, not to mention the fact that I LOVE web programming.

Two, this would be a trading floor job. That means in at 7AM and out around 3ish. Now, I've no problem getting into work at 7AM (I'm usually in by 8AM now as it is), but it means I'd have to stop going to my 630AM spin classes, which would suck. Need my weekly Jerry fix (he played “Fight The Power” in our class this morning; how cool is that?).

Three, trading floor jobs involve interacting with... traders. These folks tend to be psycho assholes, so that could be... not so good.

Well, we'll see how it goes. I may not land the job as it is, for while my technical skills are unassailable, I know nothing but the most basic concepts of treasuries. I’ve always said that though I’ve worked for investment banking firms for 10 years, I still don’t know a damned thing about investment banking.

It’s all just numbers to me.

So everybody hold their breath and wish me luck ‘round 1ish.

Using the following to focus my career chi:

Enduser - Run War
(head slammin’, body bangin’ breakcore bizness)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
(there is no modern romance)

Prince - Batman Motion Picture Soundtrack
(the Purple One provides the get down for the Bat)

Sunn O))) - The Grimm Robe Demos
(monolithic, black-as-fuck drone, bitches)

Various - Spintrax 7
(more vinyl transfers; this time it’s Submerged, Temulent, Meat Beat and more)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mad meandering and a rise at the Rose

My sister Lisa came into town yesterday morning and we’ve been having a grand old time. After an early lunch, we checked out the NYC Transit Museum here in beautiful Brooklyn Heights. This is the first time I’ve been back there since they reopened. It was fun. Not a large museum, but packed with all kinds of transportation trivia and factoids; ample sustenance for knowledge geeks like yours’ truly.

Then it was a quick jaunt over to the World Trade Center. Lisa had only seen the towers on TV and I believe that nobody can get their head around how BIG they were until you see, in person, the hole they left behind. After berating several vendors for selling REALLY tacky shit (postcards with the photo of the second plane crashing into the towers), we meandered over to the World Financial Center and took in the atrium (always one of my favorite spots in Battery Park City). Then we wandered down to the tip of the island to check out more parkage. Nice long walk.

It was fairly late in the afternoon by the time we got back to Brooklyn, so we didn’t have much time to firm up plans for the evening. However, things turned out just smashingly. We caught a showing of Howl’s Moving Castle, which was great. It’s by the same folks who did Spirited Away and I’d recommend it to any fan of fantastical anime. Prime stuff.

It was pouring rain when we got out of the movie, but by some miracle a cab pulled right up in front of us and we barely even got sprinkled. I’d managed to snag 7:30 reservations at Chez Michallet (one of my favorite restaurants), so it was a mad dash downtown. After circling around for a bit trying to find where Grove and Bedford intersect (not an easy task downtown), we arrived right on time. We then proceeded to eat LOTS of really good food and ingest copious amounts of excellent wine; splitting 2 bottles of a gorgeous 1997 Grand Cru and then a glass of 40 year old port each.

So we’re both flying quite well at this point.

We then arrived at my old standard, Planet Rose, and proceeded to sing up a storm. It was not too crowded when we got there, but the place was packed within an hour. Once again I found myself inundated with college kids. And in typical Planet Rose fashion, yet another dating opportunity presented itself. And in typical Planet Rose fashion, it was not something I could pursue.

I was singing “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper and this young woman started up a conversation with me during the tune. I traded witty banter with her during the instrumental breaks and soon discovered that not only was she as young as she looked (probably about 21), but she was also as YOUNG as she looked. By the latter I’m talking about the difference between how a twenty-something person views the world and how a thirty-something person views the world. We were not very simpatico.

I ventured off to the bathroom and apparently this girl started grilling my sister about me. Lisa (bless her heart) informed my would-be suitor that yes, I was a very nice guy (and I didn’t even have to pay extra for that one), and yes, I was single and available, but no, I was probably not the guy for her due to our age difference and my quirky sense of honor. In other words, I wasn’t the type to have a nice fling and then forget about it.

Sometimes I wish I’d learned at some point to leave my honor at the door, ‘cause this girl was REALLY cute.

Alas, it seems that Planet Rose, while incredibly fun, will always manage to pluck my heartstrings in exactly the wrong fashion.

We exited the Rose at about 1:30 and cabbed it home. I’ve been up since about 9:30 and figured I’d give you people a fond hello.

Lisa is due to depart at 7:15 this evening. I’ve no idea what we’ll be up to today (she’s still asleep), but hopefully we’ll have some more wacky adventures before she returns to the South.

Poor girl.

Wear headphones (so not as to awaken your sister) when listening to:

Pitch Shifter - Industrial
(brutal heaviness from their pre-DnB days)

Leonard Cohen - Democracy
(give me crack and anal sex, take the only tree that's left and stuff it up the hole in your culture, folks)

Aarktica - No Solace In Sleep
(deep drone from the edge of nothingness)

Bjork - Debut
(the Icelandic one proves she is quirkier than thou)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A tale of two crashes

So the pathetic punks in pinstripes drop yet another one.

The Bombers (in this case, meaning "those who bomb out") continue to play like little leaguers. They’re seven games out of first place, tumbling further and further from .500. Meanwhile, Pedro "The Yankees Are My Papacito" Martinez damn near throws a no-hitter for "that other New York team". Yep, the Mets have the same record as the Red Sux at the moment and are a mere one game behind the NL East leading Nationals. Jesus, they’re even neck and neck with the Braves. Could they... dare I say it? Go to the playoffs?

The wacky world in which we live.

I’m firmly convinced that the Yankees' collapse in last year's playoffs literally ripped the heart from the team. I think that everyone in the dugout feels the ghost of losing an unprecedented four straight looming over their shoulder. That humiliation, especially topped off with the Sux then beating the Curse, has sunken into our bones and seems to be stuck there.

But I will soldier on. Besides, it gives me something to be combative about.

"Thank you, God, for not making me a Yankee..."

There is, however, better (if entirely unrelated) news.

I went with Danny and his friend Tara to see Crash last night.

Everyone needs to go see this movie.

Right now.

This is one of the best films I've seen in quite some time. I've not been touched by anything like this since I saw Garden State and I actually prefer Crash. The pacing is flawless, the acting is stellar, and the storyline is deeply heartfelt, engaging, and surprising. Yes, you have to accept a certain degree of slightly unbelievable coincidence (a knot of seemingly unrelated characters continually encountering each other in the vastness that is Los Angeles), but this does not detract from the film in the least. In fact, it brings up all kinds of debate about fate, destiny, and whether or not there is an overall plan designed to teach us certain harsh lessons.

Crash brazenly addresses racism, sexism, and the shifting relationships between men and women, parents and children, employers and employees... I could go on and on. Despite being "a small film", its breadth of vision is simply stunning; can’t recommend it enough.

Both Joe Torre and Don Cheadle are secretly fans of:

White Zombie - Astro-Creep: 2000
(this is why Rob should stick to music and stay away from directing; this and the execrable House Of 1000 Corpses...)

The White Stripes - Elephant
(I've come for my ball and my biscuit)

Plumbline - Circles
(can't seem to get enough of this one; gonna be a fave for awhile, methinks)

The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
(and bury Noel Gallagher in it)

The Ink Spots - Golden Greats
(74 glorious tracks of proto-Doo Wop mastery)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I can't get no

I have to say that for the most part I am satisfied with life.

My music continues to develop. I'm spinning on a fairly regular basis, so I get to share my audio addiction with folks. I feel healthy and I'm definitely in better shape than I've been in awhile. I’m still single, but it’s been that way so long I sometimes barely notice. I've been having a lot of fun outside of work doing work-ish stuff, like developing my own websites and databases; interesting stuff.

It's real work that presents the problem.

The project I've been working on here at JPMC has all but wound down, so I spend the majority of my day just sitting here. I surf the web a lot, which is dangerous because it means I have time to further fuel my music jones and further deplete the contents of my wallet. I'm also just bored. I would rather be too busy than have nothing to do.

Many people would say that it's a great job, essentially getting paid for doing nothing. I'm just not wired that way. Instead of reveling in all of this free (yet paid) time I have, it drives me nuts. I think about all of the stuff I could be doing instead. I could be composing (I’ve downloaded some virtual synths to my machine here at work, but all my real gear is at home) or working on my own website (which I do sometimes; I’ve gotten around the FTP thing by creating an upload page).

I just don’t feel productive.

So I updated my resume and have spoken with Princeton Information (my consulting company) about finding me a new position. They’ve already got their eye on something for me, but it would involve moving back into the VB/VBA world, which I’m not too crazy about. Feels like a step backward. Also, the position would be on the trading floor and those guys tend to be complete assholes. Plus I’d have to be there at 7am. I’ve no problem with getting to work that early, but I’d have to skip out on my morning spin classes.

I guess will see what happens.

The long and the short of it is this: if you’re looking for a topnotch ASP developer, let me know. I work fast, I work well, and I love to program. In other words, I’m a consummate geek.

As evidenced by some of my favorite geeky computer music:

Plumbline - Circles
(shimmering glitch and tweeks to soothe the savage breast)

Plumbline - Pin Point
(more glitchy, tweeky, soothey breasty stuff)

Authist & Dub One! - Dub Illusions EP
(natty neo-dub from two fine German gents)

Underworld - Dubnobasswithmyheadman
(it is indeed a dirty epic)

Skalpel - Skalpel
(cut and paste Polish jazz down tempo funkery)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Good ol' Gitmo

International pressure for the closure of our lovely prison at Guantanamo Bay continues to mount. Amnesty International has raised serious concerns about the activities of our military there and the possible existence of other prisons where prisoners are tortured and even killed.

El Presidente, of course, wants us all to believe that this is all lies and liberal propaganda. Dumbya was heard to exclaim that the accusations came from "people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth".

Actually, the word is "dissemble", you moron.

How did we not only elect but then RE-ELECT a president who has the IQ of a cabbage?

If the administration had any brains, they'd open up Gitmo for inspection by the U.N. or some other non-biased, international body. Better yet, get somebody who hates us to do it. Bring in the Koreans or get old school and bring in the Lybians. After all, those folks supposedly know their prisons... If things are as hunkydory as Bush and posse would have us believe, what would be the harm?

Guantanamo Bay continues to cost us in the international court of public opinion. Our standing in the world community is staggeringly bad as it is and the prison can only serve to dig the hole we're going to have to climb out of even deeper.

Watch in horror as he disassembles the English language and the United States Constitution.

Gitmo prisoners are routinely tortured with:

Lard - The Last Temptation Of Reid
(Jello and the Ministry guys hit you with the ol' one-two)

Fettes Brot - Auben Top Hits, Innen Geschmack
(das funky hip hop from Deutschland)

Led Zeppelin - The Led Zeppelin Box Set
(strange classic rock rumblings in my stomach when I awoke this morning)

Bastard Noise - Descent To Mimas
(ear-shredding static sheets; nosebleeds guaranteed)

Dream Into Dust - The Lathe Of Heaven
(a cauldron of black ambient, dark folk, and introspection from Derek and Bryin)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Some old bullshit

After a refreshing bike ride this afternoon, I was cleaning up some old files off of my computer. I came across a folder full of old stories I'd written in college. Most of them are crap, but there were a couple worth salvaging. Here's a creepy one I wrote in 1990. Hope ya'll don't hate it.

  Simon Edward Edmonds. Age, mid 40s. Occupation, transient." The warden paused. "He's quite insane."
  "That's why I'm here," Jeffery replied. He stood up, smiling coolly at the warden, and took the thick file from the desk. He turned curtly on one foot and left the office, a silent guard following him.
  Jeffery's light footsteps echoed loudly off the concrete walls of the prison.
  "He's quite insane," Jeffery mimicked mockingly. "Of course he's nuts. Otherwise they wouldn't have sent the best."
  The guard accompanying him continued to look forward stonily.
  The door to the disturbed ward rumbled open and Jeffery stepped through and into the vestibule. The heavy door slammed shut behind him, the resulting noise too loud in the small space. With a hiss, the second door opened and Jeffery stepped out into the brightly lit, sterile hallway.
  Shiny steel doors, featureless but for small eye-slits at eye level and small key pads set near them, lined the walls of the hall. Jeffery strode to the fifth door on the left and quickly punched in the correct code.
  The door slid silently open. He stepped into the cell.
  Read the rest

Simon's favorite CDs include:

Keane - Hopes And Fears
(oft compared to Coldplay, which is an injustice)

Various - DJ Abstract's Sweatbox Mix 5

Eurythmics - 1984 (For The Love Of Big Brother)
(apparently director Michael Radford didn't like the soundtrack; idiot)

God - Appeal To Human Greed
(KMart and JKFlesh become positively cross and nail your head to the floor)

Public Enemy - Fear Of A Black Planet
(welcome to the terrordome, mother fucker)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Can I listen to Merzbow instead?

Work was exhausting yesterday and I'd decided to completely veg out last night. I returned to mi casa and everything appeared to be going to plan. I had my book, my couch was feeling particularly comfy, and I had some Coltrane playing. In all, a perfect setup. And then, it began.

The wailing, the whining, and the crying.

And, no, it wasn't me.

Backstory: I live in Brooklyn Heights, a beautiful neighborhood right near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. The Heights is all brownstones, tiny side streets (like the one I live on) and trees. Within the last two years, however, it has become littered with children. The sidewalks are choked with strollers and herds of preschoolers holding hands with their buddies. Seems every young, married couple has somehow migrated to my neighborhood and now it’s become a veritable anthill of tiny folk.

My next-door neighbor, a recent émigré herself, has just had her second kid, but it was her eldest (who I believe is about three) who was successfully shattering my relaxation.

The little nipper was right outside my window, howling like a banshee for mommy. This went on for about five minutes. Unable to read or concentrate because of this brat's fucking racket, I got up and glanced out the window. She and her new sister (in the obligatory stroller) were there, along with their nanny. Now, is it just me or is it the nanny's job to attend to the kid? That is to say, get her to shut the hell up? Apparently not for this lady. She would occasionally say something along the lines of "Let's go for a walk. You're mommy's not home yet." The kid would continue to blubber and scream and just be the kind of loud that only children are capable of. Rinse and repeat.

This literally continued for 45 minutes. I was tempted to head outside, grab the kid and say, "Your mommy's not here because she hates you. Know why? Because you're an obnoxious, spoiled little brat."

But my calmer instincts prevailed.

Finally, the nanny somehow corralled this little punk. The tumultuous trio then proceeded to leave on what I can only imagine was a mission to spread further noise throughout the neighborhood. Coming out from under my rock, I returned to my book, my couch, and my Coltrane.

Mellow bliss for half an hour.

And then the return.

Now at this point, the three year old had somehow managed to put a fucking sock in it and seemed content to scramble around in the dirt with whatever it was she'd found interesting. That, of course, was the signal for the newborn to make her sonorous self known, i.e. the infant started to wail at the top of her lungs.

Again, the nanny did jack shit to see to the child. What are they paying this woman for?

(Ben samples the babies' latest bedlam)

I am very mindful of my neighbors. I keep the volume on my music reasonable. When I have friends over, I am mindful of the time and make sure that I don’t keep my neighbors up with loud conversations. In short, I am, for the most part, a considerate person. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the human race continues to be completely oblivious to the world around them. Especially when it comes to their children. I think the assumption is that everyone will think, "Oh, she can’t help it. She’s just a kid."


There’s a common misconception that because I don’t want kids, I don’t like kids. This isn’t true. I don’t dislike them. I just like well-behaved kids and it seems to me that children these days aren’t disciplined enough. I’m not talking about beating the shit out of them (although the little dear outside my window had me sorely tempted). I’m talking about being stern with them and teaching them what’s appropriate and what’s not. Far too many parents these days let the TV do the teaching. And guess what, folks? It doesn’t do a very good job.

Parenting is a full time job and far too many people don’t approach it as such. It is a parent’s job to teach a child about the world, society, and how to behave in public. No excuses. Train your kid or keep them at home so the rest of us can read our books in peace, damn it.

OK, rant over. Did I even make a point? Don’t know.

Anyway, I had to put up with l’enfant terrible for another half an hour before the nanny finally got wise and stuffed a bottle in her mouth. She then managed to drag the three year old (now kicking and screaming) back into the house. Luckily, the walls between houses on my block are nice and thick and managed to shut out all but a faint trace of the ensuing tantrum.

Now if I could only get a thicker ceiling to shut out the shitty house music from my upstairs neighbors.

But that’s another story entirely...

Using the following for effective child-noise suppression:

Happy Rhodes - Ecto
(the love child of Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson; she’s got a 4 octave range, kids)

Inside Treatment - Isolated Suburban Psychokillers In Coma
(rough and tumble rock’n’dustrial from ages past)

Aqua Travesty - One Fish Two Fish Dead Fish New Fish
(imagine Depeche Mode with no gear; melancholy, DIY synth release from 1987)

Minimal Man - Sex With God
(tunes to slit your wrists to)

Ministry - In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up
(Al and crew rip your head off one more time with feeling)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

New view review PS

I've added another review over at an abstract view. This time it's Blackmouth. Enjoy!

Wil-blanks PS

I kinda feel sorry for Jennifer Wilbanks. Every time I see her, she's got that deer-in-the-headlights look. Then again, maybe she's just a moron.

"Has anybody seen my common sense?"

Slave To The Grind

Things here at work have been damned near comatose for quite some time now, so imagine my surprise when I was hit by a veritable avalanche of stuff yesterday, just before noon. So I began to plow diligently through this snowdrift of BS. Noon became three. Three led to five. Five bled into seven. I finally managed to get out from under at about 9:30 last evening.

Now, normally this would not be a problem. I'm used to having to work long hours on occasion and in some cases a mountain of work can be strangely motivational. However, yesterday pissed me off. The reason for my pissiness? One word:


Yup. I missed the damned concert.

No Kraftwerk-flavored goodness for me, not to mention $45 of my hard earned cashola (plus the $5 million processing fee from TicketBastard) down the tubes.

I am most annoyed.

Normally I would have said, "Fuck it. I'll finish the work tomorrow morning." However, the changes that needed to be made affected our overseas clients, so it was "get it done now or it won't work when they get in". So I was a good little worker drone and put in the time.

But somebody still owes me a Kraftwerk concert.

Yes, I've seen them before, but I was quite looking forward to immersing myself once again in the cool, digitized world of Ralf and Florian. And it's not like these guys are touring every year. I was also supposed to meet up with Bianca , Rebecca and Nick, and a bunch of other folk, so I missed out on the social stuff, too.

Boo hoo. Woe is me. Who wouldn't rather hang out with these guys instead of work?

I just pray I don't get worked out of Meat Beat Manifesto on the 30th.

The following sound nothing like Kraftwerk:

Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill
("I did it with a whiffle ball bat, so...")

Crunch-O-Matic - Caution Do Not Play
(good advice; I'd forgotten how bad this was; lame cut-and-paste industrial, circa 1991)

Still Stupid - Still Stupid
(rough, DIY punk from Philadelpia, 1984; lovingly transferred from tape to CD)

Colophon - MP3 Compilation
(droning guitars and heavy beats)

808 State - Utd. State 90
(that's right; "Cubik", bitch)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In praise of L'Uomo Casa E Famiglia

Several folks have been trying for quite some time to get me to check out Family Guy. Whelp, I finally bit the bullet and rented it from NetFlix.

Now if I don’t get my daily dose, I collapse into a jibbering mess on the floor, for the show had me hooked within the first 2 minutes of episode one.

The hook in question? Lois says something about bad self image causing people to do terrible things. Cut away to an exterior shot of a building labeled “Das Gym”, then to a suspiciously Hitler-looking individual struggling with small dumbbells. There’s chuckling in the background and the "camera" shifts to a completely buffed out dude with a chick on each arm… and a huge Star of David necklace.

Oh man. I knew immediately that I had arrived safely in the beautiful land of Pull No Punches.

Family Guy is just awesome. Nothing is sacred and the out-of-the-blue cultural references are constantly fast and furious. It’s simply glorious.

Now, I'm not usually one to go out and actually PURCHASE DVDs, but I’m sorely tempted to pick these up. The number of times I was up off the couch, jaw on the floor, hands at my trembling sides, screaming, "Oh my god, they really did it!" are just simply too many to count.

Finally, a show that indulges in the same kind of heartless, reprobate humor that I wallow in myself.

Vive Chef De Famille!

These Huggies do not make my ass look big:

Mortician - Chopped Up For Barbeque / Zombie Apocalypse
(more z-grade horror movie samples than you can shake a severed arm at)

Bowery Electric - Beat
(imagine My Bloody Valentine on an extended heroin nod)

Strategy - Drumsolo’s Delight
(dubby ambient goodies from the fine peeps at Kranky)

Nudge - Cached
(the further weird-ass jazz-o-glitch adventures of Nudge)

Anne Dudley And Jaz Coleman - Songs From The Victorious City
(Art Of Noiser and Killing Joker team up for Arab-inspired soundscaping)