Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ashes to ashes

Skip died yesterday evening at about 7PM. The cancer had spread to his brain and he'd slipped into dementia and then semi-consciousness, so who knows how it was for him at the end. Chances are, however, it wasn't too bad.

Quite the few couple of days. My sister was married on Sunday, my greatgrandmother died that same day (at the age of 99, so no surprise there), and then Skip died yesterday.

I love rollercoasters, but this is ridiculous.

R.I.P. Skip
R.I.P. Marylyn

Mood altering drugs:

Various - Thinner Volume 08
(more dub than thump)

Various - Thinner Volume 09
(more Danny Kreutzfeldt goodness)

Various - Lisa And Tom's Wedding Mix
(sweet songs of lub mixed by me)

Panzerchrist - Soul Collector
(because death metal sounds so much better when done by Danes singing German)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Works of fiction, works of faith

The Vatican has finally come out and condemned The Da Vinci Code, calling it an indication of "mass ignorance".

This coming from a group of people who base their entire belief system on the bible.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

The bible, while no doubt based in fact, is also undeniably a work of fiction. Either that or we have to believe that God talks to people from burning bushes, guys can walk across water, turn said water into wine, and then rise from the dead.

Talk about "mass ignorance".

Apparently there has been talk about not only boycotting the upcoming filmed version of the novel, but perhaps even bringing legal action against Dan Brown, the book, and the film.

Man, I would love to see that trial.

"I'd like to call as my first witness, God, the Supreme Being, Creator of All." Some days later... "Now I'd like to call His only begotten son, Jesus Christ." It seems to me, however, that the Church would be able to call the Trinity all at once. After all, apparently they're the same person/entity/deity.

Now, I know I'm sounding intolerant, but I just can't believe the Church is having such a hissy fit about this book. Anyone with true faith in the Church's teachings (i.e. Jesus Christ really did die for our sins, lived a chaste life, etc.) won't care what Brown has to say. Likewise, anyone who takes the bible with a grain of salt will realize that The Da Vinci Code is no more a true historical document that the bible that they already doubt. A true testament to faith is when it's challenged, yet its follower remains unmoved.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said, "What I'm concerned about is that decent people who do not have the proper religious education will take this nonsense for the real thing."

Proper religious education? Guess who dictates what that is? The Church! Sounds like someone is feeling that their monopoly is being threatened. And I think this may be the crux of this situation (man, is that an obscure pun). The Catholic Church is feeling threatened by a rival take on what they've programmed so many people to believe. And Brown is a half way decent writer, so they're concerned that folks who read this book will turn away from their "true teachings". Well, I've got news for you, folks:

Anybody who stops going to church because they read The Da Vinci Code didn't fall for your shtick to begin with.

I saw Dan Brown at these concerts:

James Brown - Sex Machine
(get on up)

Chemlab - 10 Ton Pressure
(head on collision in EP form)

Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks - It's Raining In My Bedroom
(a truly Worthy recording)

Hardfloor - Funalogue
(harsh acid is my friend)

Ministry - The Land Of Rape And Honey
(playing with RevCo in June!)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tune up the band

Any artist (and I use this term extremely loosely in regards to myself) will tell you of the horrible frustration they experience when their creativity seemingly runs dry. Visions of authors (and bloggers...) slamming their heads against the table in an attempt to break the wretched grip of writers' block. Photographers shaking their heads sadly as their eye refuses to see that hidden glimpse of art that at one time came so easily. Painters gazing mournfully at a blank canvass, unable to summon that inner something that enables them to bring life to that empty space. Musicians looking inward and hearing only silence.

It's the last of these that I had been struggling against for what seemed like months. Each time I'd tell myself to sit down and at least fiddle around with some riffs or some such, nothing happened. Sure, occasionally I'd hear a glimpse of something, but it would flit away before I could get my fingers and ears to agree what it was.


However, I have apparently had a breakthrough of sorts. I've started work on a couple of new tunes and have really been enjoying them. The following are pretty much finished except for maybe some additional mastering.

Silicon - It had been so long since I had sat down and written a wonderfully cheesy dance tune, so I ended up spitting this out in the last couple of days. Lovely four on the four and some acid. And a grotesquely blatant use of the Funky Drummer. And it's about 120BPM, for Christ's sake. How much more straight up techno can you get?

Spacefall - Man, do I love stealing vocal samples. This is a simple downtempo, acid tune that I threw together just for yucks. I dig it, though.

Faded Beauty - I'd had the basic riff for this sitting around for awhile, as well as skeletal idea of beats. I was screwing around with it and my friend Tim heard it. "That sounds cool", he said, "but it needs guitar." So he laid down some stuff onto of the basic structure. And this coming from a man who toured with Chemlab, GWAR, and KMFDM...

Yet Another Song About Rain - I recorded the piano lines on my mom's baby grand. The most fun part of this, however, was manipulating some turntable static and pops to sound like rain. Nifty.

So it seems I'm writing again, which is great. We'll see how long it lasts...

Bump bump boomin' in your back trunk:

Redman - Muddy Waters
(enter the psychotic mind of the Funk Doc)

Godflesh - In All Languages
(two discs of the ultraheavy shit)

Various - Neh/Not Unlike MP3 Compilation
(two bedroom musicians do their thing; one on the electronic tip, the other on the downtempo tip)

Slayer - Reign In Blood
(when you absolutely, positively have to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitute)

Breaks The Blank Day - Floats In Static
(glitch crackle pop)

Monday, May 08, 2006

What a weekend

The winter months are always tough for me. I tend to become a bit of a hermit, huddled in my apartment with only a book or my DVD player for company. OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but suffice it to say that I'm considerably less likely to go out and do stuff when it gets dark and cold by 5:30pm. However, this last weekend may have signified the advent of summer.

And, man, am I glad it's back.

I headed out with Bianca on Friday night. We went to Subtonic, which was pretty fun. There weren't too many people there at first, so we hung out at the bar chatting with some of B's friends. I got some dancing in, which was cool, but a lot of the beats were just too slow to really throw down to. Still, I had a good time. We stayed until about 1:45. At this point, the place had gotten pretty crowded, but we had managed to find a bit of space to dance in, which was good because a DJ from Ghostly International was doing his thing (i.e. much better beats to flop around to).

I did my usual back to back spin classes on Saturday morning and then headed to the doctor's for my annual checkup. After receiving a clean bill of health, I met up with Danny and we headed into the city to catch MI3. Thoroughly enjoyable, despite the presence of a small, squirming child to my left and a majorly mental old man sitting behind us who would not stop crinkling the plastic bag he had clutched in this hands. I guess the movie was entertaining enough to keep this distractions from really... distracting me. Not entirely, but close enough.

After the movie, it was off to dinner at Arte Cafe, which was fantastic. We had some lovely vino and much incredible food. By the time we'd finished, it was slightly after 9pm. Now, Danny and I had discussed going to the Carnegie Club to catch Steven Maglio and the Stan Rubin Orchestra (they're a Sinatra tribute act). Well, by the time dinner was finished, I was convinced that we should go (as was Danny). So we went.

Simply amazing.

Maglio sounds EXACTLY like Sinatra. So much so that you could close your eyes and believe that you were actually listening to Ol' Blue Eyes himself. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and plan on making a regular habit of it (in spite of the somewhat prohibitive cost). By the time the band had finished, I was in such a mellow and pleased state that I simply did not want to leave.

But leave we did.

Danny got me home slightly after midnight and then headed back to Long Island. Now I had already signed up for the Five Borough Bike Tour on Sunday, but considering that I had to be at the starting line at 7am... I took a pass. I slept in until 9:30 and then bummed around the house for a bit. I was, however, in the mood to do something musical, so I starting compiling a new mix. At first I thought I was going to go with a down tempo, trip hop, DJ-Krush type of vibe, but this rapidly mutated into a more ambient/ambient house type of deal. The result? DJ Abstract 15: The Slipstream Mix. 70 minutes of synths, sweeps, and mellow beats.

01 Single Cell Orchestra - Transmit Liberation
02 Young American Primitive - Sunrise
03 The Higher Intelligence Agency - Spectral
04 The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds (Dance Mk II)
05 Primal Scream - Higher Than The Sun
06 Influx - Dreamscape
07 Locust - Prospero
08 Omicron - A Thousand Dyes On The Moist Earth
09 Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia - Obsidian (Deconstructure Edit)
10 Opus III - When She Rises

This mix really went places that I really did not expect. I am, however, enjoying it right now. If you'd like a copy, let me know.

So, all told, this was probably one of the most enjoyable weekends I've had in quite some time; lots of fun, great weather, and an innate feeling of contentment. Let's hope this trend continues.

Mixin' it up:

Various - DJ Abstract 15: The Slipstream Mix
(slowly spin those wheels of steel)

Various - DJ C's Mid 90's Style Chillout
(different, but still mellow)

Various - Spintrax 11

Various - Speed Limit 140 BPM Plus

Venetian Snares - Doll Doll Doll
(he'll fuckin' murder your young styles like JonBenet Ramsey)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I love the smell of exhaust in the morning

Now that the weather has turned to the warm and nice, I've decided to get some morning bike rides in. Hopped on my machine at 6am this morning and did myself a sweet 20 miler. I pedal a route that takes me over the Brooklyn Bridge, across Chambers Street and then up the West Side Highway to 125th Street. Then I turn around and head home. There was a headwind on the way out, so I was only cruising at about 18mph. However, since headwind turns to tailwind when you turn around?

21 to 23mph on the way back.

All told, I road for a little over an hour and felt really good. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't that enthused when the alarm went off this morning, but I went ahead and rode anyway and I'm glad I did. Hopefully all this physical activity will keep me from indulging too much in the firewater...

This bike looks like my baby.

Drop da beat:

Danger Doom - The Mask And The Mouse
(Danger Mouse + MF Doom = the shit)

Junkie XL - Radio JXL: Broadcast From The Computer Hell Cabin (7AM Dance)
(can't seem to get this one out of my head)

Entombed - Left Hand Path
(metalhead tested, Satan approved)

Bowery Electric - Beat
(mellow moves ya)

Duke Ellington - The Duke: The Essential Recordings
(3 discs of jazz perfection; 15 years of mastery)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Back in the saddle

Well, the weather is beautiful, I'm writing some music, and the Yanks are tied for first in the AL East. Life is kind of bright at the moment. Yesterday afternoon I hopped on my bike for the first time this year and went for a pleasant little ride. I showed up for my 6:30am spin class this morning only to discover that the key to the studio had been lost, so it looks like I'll be hopping on the bike again after work. Then I'm contemplating catching a photo show several of my friends are participating in at Arlene's Grocery tonight.

My good mood was slightly tripped up yesterday by a phone call from Mom. Apparently Skip has decided he wants to leave the hospice and come home, as he's feeling better. Unfortunately, this puts a lot more strain on Mom, given the ill relations between her and Skip's daughter. Additionally, the new medicine that Skip wants to take will cost $3000 a month and is not covered by his insurance, so it looks like he may bankrupt us all before he dies. The new medicine won't cure him, but may give him another six to eight months. Given his current state, I don't think it's worth it.

But then again, I'm not the one who is dying of cancer.

Dialing my brain from blend to puree:

Junkie XL - Radio JXL: A Broadcast From The Computer Hell Cabin (7AM Dance)
(slammin' uptempo mix from JXL)

Junkie XL - Radio JXL: A Broadcast From The Computer Hell Cabin (7AM Ambient)
(slumberin' downtempo mix from JXL)

Abstract Audio Systems - Gossamer
(the next CD I plan on submitting to CDBaby)

Opeth - Blackwater Park
(the soar with the roar)

Iggy Pop - A Million In Prizes
(38 tracks of unmitigated Ig)