Monday, July 31, 2006

Revamp, renew (5 of 6)

M.J. Harris and Martyn Bates - Murder Ballads (The Complete Collection)
Invisible Records

M.J. Harris is just one of the monikers of the prolific Mick Harris. As the original drummer for grindcore godfathers Napalm Death, the musical direction he has pursued since leaving that seminal band may come to some as a surprise. While Napalm Death pummeled its listeners with lightning speed and aggression, much of Harris’s current output takes a completely opposite approach. ND’s sub-one-minute noise blurs have evolved into floating soundscapes that more often than not stretch past the ten-minute mark.

One of Mick’s first post-Napalm Death project was Scorn. This project's first album, Vae Solis, was released in 1992 and featured fellow ND alumnae, Justin Broadrick, frontman and co-founder of the colossal musical juggernaut, Godflesh. While Vae Solis played very much in the grindcore vein, fleeting glimpses of Harris’ future musical vision appeared in tunes like "On Ice" and "Heavy Blood". Both these songs would be later featured on the excellent Lick Forever Dog EP, the remixes featured on this 4-track disc tipping their hat even more in the beat-ambient-isolationist direction.

1993’s Journey Through Underworlds marked the first release by another of Mick’s projects, Lull. Focusing on darker, more isolationist ambience, Lull abandoned percussion almost completely, preferring rumbling, distant bass and slowly evolving, floating textures. Future releases, such as 1996’s Continue (featuring a single, 62-minute track), would push this idea even further. Mick continued to champion this style of production when he teamed with Martyn Bates, formerly of the 80s pop duo Eyeless in Gaza, to create Murder Ballads.

Originally released between 1994 and 1998 as 3 separate albums (Drift, Passages, and Incest Songs), this three-disc set is an almost definitive example of dark ambience. Each of these chilling, beatless texture pieces centers around Bates’ almost feminine vocals. As the title of the compilation suggests, the songs are inspired by (and seemingly modeled after) traditional English folk murder ballads. There are tales of the soon-to-be-married woman murdered by her fiancé ("The Death Of Polly"), the mother killing her two babies with a penknife ("The Cruel Mother"), the woman accusing her lover of the murder of her brother ("Edward"), and more gory tales in this vein. The subject matter is somewhat of a return to form for Bates, who grew up in England during the folk boom of the 1960s.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this collection is how Bates’ vocals interact with and compliment Harris’ sinister drones and clatters. While it’s easy to concentrate on the lyrics and Bates’ calculated delivery, there are many hypnotic instrumental breaks that allow Harris to display his talents for soundcraft. The placement of the vocals in the overall mix is key. They stand at the front and are, with the exception of occasional reverb, almost completely untreated, immediately grabbing the listener’s attention while moody synths and rumbles swirl about, yet remaining firmly anchored to, the vocal.

In all, this is a stellar example of dark music. The unsettling topics, presented in Bates’ almost crooning style, coupled with Harris bleak, nightmarish sonics, make for a starkly beautiful listen. Fall asleep to this and bad dreams will ensue.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The boom, the bip, the boombip

One of the best things about living in New York is that our fair city is chock full of artistic people. A perfect example of this happened to me just yesterday.

I was on my way to Port Authority via A train to meet Susan, as she and I had made plans to go see the David Chihuly exhibits at the New York Botanical Garden that evening (which was great; perhaps more on that later). Since I'd ducked out of work at about 4pm (having arrived at 7 that morning), it was still fairly early, so I'd managed to snare a seat and was kicking back, listening to some MF Doom.

As we pulled into the West 4th Street station, the doors opened, admitting the usual crowd of straphangers and two guys carrying congas. These two gents sat down and one of them launched into his spiel about living in New York, his words accented by a pleasant, beat-poety rhythm. Nothing spectacular, but intriguing.

However, he then picked up the pace of his dialog, riffing on how things in New York moved so quickly. The beat also picked up speed as well as complexity. The first drummer's hands were soon a blur as they shot between his two congas, all the while his partner laying down a steady bass beat. Simply amazing stuff; lightning fast polyrhythms, talking-drum techniques, tight tempo and volume changes. These guys were simply masters of their instruments.

Luckily for me, they were also hawking CDs. When the show was over I didn't hesitate to toss in for one. Turns out that the stuff is also available through CD Baby. It's currently out of stock, but if you can have get a note sent to you when more copies arrive. It is also important to note that I only got to hear two gentlemen performing on the subway. The CD contains recordings of a nine piece drum collective and while the performance I was fortunate enough to catch was incredible, the nine piece recordings are even more so.

So go to CD Baby and have them to send you a copy when they can.

Primal, baby. Primal.

Contains 100% of the USRDA of THUMP:

Meku Yisrael - The Truth
(and that ain't no lie)

Black Sun Empire - Cruel & Unusual
(this one is definitely caught in my craw)

Massive Attack - 100th Window
(Mezzanine v2.0)

Nasum - Grind Finale
(two disc of brain-crushing grindcore)

Proem - Socially Inept
(yes, I am)

Revamp, renew (4 of 6)

Blackmouth - Blackmouth
Crowd Control

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts". This expression has been applied to many a musical collaboration, more often than not to denote the relative lack of talent of the individual members. It is only through the collaboration that this lack of talent is overcome, the strengths of one member complimenting the weaknesses of the other and vice versa. There are, however, rare instances when the whole is a reflection of the brilliance of all those involved. Blackmouth is one such instance.

This self-titled album was recorded between 1999 and 2000 and is the collaborative effort of producer John Bergin and guitarist Brett Smith (members of the dark sound explorers, Trust Obey) and Jarboe (famous for her work with Swans as well as her own challenging solo releases). The 14 tracks within are soaked in emotion, each a finely crafted gem that freezes a feeling in time and presents it to the listener to examine. And yet a constant flow and mood is maintained, all the while exploring different, sometimes seemingly discordant, musical genres; from black ambient ("The Conversion – Silent") to down tempo (the title track), through spoken word vocals ("Surrender To His Heart") to near-metal guitar pieces ("Seduce And Story"). Each track strikes a delicate balance between Jarboe’s stunning vocal talents and Bergin/Smith’s haunting instrumentals.

The album opens with the first of three versions of "The Conversion". This "Silent" mix floats into being on a wave of horn-like synths that swirl in the distance until Jarboe’s echoing voice bubbles up from the depths. There is a palpable confusion and longing in her words, as she questions a lost lover, "I’ve been trying to find a reason & you know what? I don’t think there is a reason – or an answer to it… It’s just all of this, well… weren’t we meant to be it? I can’t deny it… Can you deny it? What you want, what I need… & then just… you know the rest…" Then she disappears again into darkness, leaving that sense of ache hanging above a black sea of regret.

The title track is a loose, growling instrumental mix of slow percussion and bass rumbles. Here Bergin and Smith display their considerable talents, crafting a lurching, yet somehow funky soundpiece. At an even 2:00 minutes, this is the shortest track on the album, although Bergin and Smith’s other instrumental, "In A World Of Her Own", is a mere 16 seconds longer.

Other CD highlights include "Black Pulse Grain", wherein Jarboe displays her considerable vocal range, from a tiny child’s voice down to a guttural growl. The song itself is a chilling piece, populated with heavy bass thuds, thick percussion, and squelched woodwinds that curl around the vocal track like a strangling vine.

"And I Call Myself Hag" is composed completely of various overdubs of Jarboe, creating a vaporous, disturbing sound canvas replete with visions of MacBeth’s sinister Three Weird Sisters.

Perhaps the most unsubtle, powerful piece is "Seduce And Destroy", which begins with an upright bass providing the background as Jarboe croons, "You say contentment is… boring. And life is just so dull. A girl needs strife to have a good life. Well, you know what I say… F*CK OFF, BABY!" Then an explosion of a cavernous bass drops and crunching guitars from Bergin and Smith, while Jarboe’s vocal is electronically stretched and twisted, becoming a stunningly vicious bellow guaranteed to raise adrenaline levels. This on-again off-again pace is maintained throughout the piece, entrancing the listener one moment and then pummeling them the next.

This entire album is a testament to the talents of the three artists involved. Each member has a keen sense of how to meld their respective skills into a cohesive vision. The result is ominously dark and thought provoking.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Revamp, renew (3 of 6)

The Mystifying Oracle - Quintessence

In these days of MTV-fueled, mass media consumption of popular "musicians", it is rare to find artists that create for the sake of their art rather than for that of their wallets or their popularity. "Face time" and recognition seem more important than quiet quality.

Conversely, a good deal of the electronic fare that we are served up via the internet and other "alternative" music sources is created by anonymous, bedroom studio producers. However, in most cases these producers remain anonymous simply because their product does not warrant enough attention to make them famous.

Not so Portland, Oregon's ambient masterminds Austere. With six releases since the late 1990s, Austere continues to produce some of the most beautifully compelling abstract music I've heard. In spite of their obvious talent (or perhaps because of it?) this duo has proved to be extremely camera shy, preferring to have their music speak for them, as one of their posts on The Ambient Way states.

"We're trying to avoid the typical fandom/cult of personality that grows around musicians but rather try to let the merits of our music (or lack thereof) stand alone in how people judge our work. We're also determined to explore areas of music that interest us without regard for popular or commercial potential, and as long as we're happy with the results, we've no mind as to how others take them, other than really enjoying when someone else hears our music and enjoys it too. It surprises and delights us, as we do like bringing happiness to others."

"Wanting to be anonymous seems to put many people off or have them decide that we're not be taken seriously and we're fine with that. We're just trying to make music we like and live up to our own ideals, which we readily admit are not those of the mainstream."

This adventurous and exploratory attitude has resulted in some incredible releases as well as the birth of a side project. While specific details on this undertaking are sketchy (very in keeping with Austere's approach to the public), The Mystifying Oracle features at least one member of Austere and their first release, Quintessence, expands on the ideas first set out by those elusive Oregonians. While the vast majority of Austere's work is beatless ambient, TMO combines the floating, wispy feel of their forefathers with an excellent sense of deep, slow rhythm.

This beautiful CD consists of 3 proper tracks separated by 4 untitled "interludes". The first interlude serves as a short, beatless introduction to the album, flowing directly into the second track, "sagacious gibber". This extended piece combines the tone set in the introduction with an almost tribal beat, yet never loses its dark, droning feel. The bass drum that sets the rhythm puffs along softly, accented by well placed conga strikes and discrete hihat work. All the while, shimmering tones, almost like birdsong, float high above distant, subtly distorted guitar strums. One hears hints of Seefeel and other shoegazers in this track, but is by no means derivative.

Track 3 is a patchwork of Kraftwerk-like electronic tones that skitter in and out of focus. While not loud enough to feel disturbing or chaotic, there is a certain claustrophobic quality to the piece, as if one were floating in muddy water, beneath the surface, tiny fish flashing in and out of your field of vision.

From there, the leap into "effervescence" is something different entirely. The first view seconds are filled with a barely audible drum beat and the this near silence is broken by a melancholy piano chord progression, sounding as if it was played in some distant, lonely room. A cymbal and shaker pattern takes up the rhythm and the drumbeat becomes more pronounced. Bell-like tones and washes sweep in and around the groove. Then, floating out of this beautiful grayness, comes a woman's voice. She sings a brief snippet of "You Go To My Head" in an almost offhand way, her delivery rife with a bleakness reminiscent of Billie Holiday. The singer pops up throughout the track, always sounding as if she too was crooning in that distant room.

Track 5 is a spooky vocal sample that leads right into "laggard's swag". This final instrumental recalls the swirling atmosphere of "sagacious gibber", but seems even more spacious. A dusty snare-like splash begins an appropriately laggardly rhythm and is soon joined by soft cymbal strikes. Then a wonderfully rounded bass drum fleshes out the beat and the song floats off into nothingness. Echoing chimes and quivering synth stabs spiral above the drone, accented by quick, wordless vocal samples, a la early Aphex Twin. The tune then disappears with one last touch of reverb.

The final track is yet another vocal sample, this time recited by an ancient sounding man. "The moving finger writes, and having written, moves on. Nor all your piety, nor wit, shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it." Strange words, yet an appropriate denouement for this CD, as the overall feel of this release would be irreparably damaged by the removal of any of its finely crafted pieces. Contained within these tracks is a journey into the spaces, both inner and outer, and The Mystifying Oracle proves a more than able pilot of both.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Playing favorites

The mideast peace talks that are currently taking place in Rome have, for the moment, failed. And who's fault is it?


Every nation involved in the negotiations, with the exception of the United States, has called for an immediate cease-fire. However, we've resisted because we're insisting that Hezbollah must first disarm. This would, of course, leave them sitting ducks for the Israeli military. Then again, I suspect this is pretty much what we want. Fact is, I bet we're simply stalling so Israel can continue to pound the hell out of Lebanon. Meanwhile, civilians as well as combatants are getting killed left and right, not to mention that Israel has carried out an "apparently deliberate" bombing of a UN outpost.

We should shut up and let the rest of the world do the right thing. A cease-fire would benefit everyone and we're just getting in the way. Meanwhile, more of the Middle East will look like this.

Drop the doom with:

Nile - In The Beginning
(sound as a method of torture)

Final - 3
(two discs of alien guitar)

Jesu - Silver EP
(Justin does his best Lush impression)

The Redeemer - Hardcore Owes Us Money
(Panacea and DJ Scud want to hurt you)

Ocosi - Hear And Loathing
(primo dark hopness)

Revamp, renew (2 of 6)

Ocosi - Hear and Loathing
Manifold / Economy Records

In the early 1990s, several British labels (including Mo’Wax and Ninja Tune) began releasing music that veered sharply away from the disintegrating acidhouse movement. This new, downtempo style had more in common with the breakbeat sounds of American hiphop than the 4-on-the-floor smiley face of house, but was far more experimental that either, pairing the cut up rhythms and breaks with sounds that tipped their hat more to the ambient music experiments of Brian Eno and Klause Schulze than to the funk and soul of James Brown and Sly Stone. Perhaps sighting this atmospheric, trippy approach, the British music press christened the new style “trip hop” and bands like Portishead, Tricky, and Morcheeba where chosen as its standard bearers, along with Massive Attack, who’s 1991 release Blue Lines is often sighted as the first trip hop album.

Further genre splintering ensued as the style progressed. More elements of jazz, funk, and soul began to appear in the music of bands that bore the trip hop label, but the generally relaxed, slightly stoned feeling remained. Some musicians chose to emphasize this light, trippy feeling, while others continued to experiment with the darker edge which lay just beneath the surface of the feel good chill out. It is through this latter experimentation that dark hop was spawned and, as of this writing, Ocosi is one of that genre’s most talented and cutting edge practitioners.

Ocosi is the brainchild of UK-based noise and beats crafter Paul Molyneux. Having left what he calls "a sonicnoise Skullflower meets Godflesh vs Ministry type unit" in 1997, Paul met a likeminded artist in Simon Smerdon. Paul recalls, "We hit it off musically and we both had warped senses of humour, so that helped." The pair released their first full-length album, [In], the following year. This released was based on organic grooves and deep, near subsonics. 1999 saw the release of Horchata/Ocosi, a collaborative effort with New Hampshire’s dark side musicologist Horchata. The duo contributed tracks to various compilations during 2000, but by 2001, "differences in direction" had come to a head and Simon left to pursue solo work as Mothboy. 2001’s Guided featured some material from Simon, but by this point, Ocosi was Paul Molyneux’s alone. 2002’s release Hear and Loathing reinforces this, showing a man with a singular vision.

This ten track CD takes the broad and sweeping tones of classic trip hop and crushes them into claustrophobic and eerie shudders and static, creating a sonic fog through which indistinct shapes fade in and out of view. Stout beats assail you, heavy on the snare, while thick bass rumbles slither in and out of time. Glitchy pops and wiggles careen over dub timed sound pieces. What at first appears repetitive soon becomes hypnotic, yet a careful listen reveals constant, subtle changes in the underlying structures of the songs. There is a pervasive feel of something unsettling, as if the murk would suddenly part, revealing… who knows?

Hear and Loathing is dark hop at its most experimental. Songs like "Insex", a 45 second organized chaos of static based glitch, border on antimusic, sounding as if a swarm of robot cockroaches were caught in your ear canal. "Quat" morphs and distorts a simple beat into something altogether more sinister, all the while encircling the rhythm with distant drones and blurred, slippery cascades of sound. "Own Way" actually incorporates vocals (somewhat of a rarity in dark hop), although they are buried so deeply in static and the beat that they become almost another sound completely, adding color at points before disappearing back into the background, only to resurface again. Perhaps most chilling is the final track, simply entitled "C". Drifting waves of darkness float out of the speakers while a robotic bass line trudges beneath. One is struck by visions of some empty space wreck floating through endless night in the far future. The emptiness is palpable as the bass line disappears, leaving only the haunting synth line, a glimpse of a distant star in all that blackness, a stunning end to a powerful piece of work.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Revamp, renew (1 of 6)

Seems like I'm not really doing much with my other blog, so I've decided to move its contents to here, so behold the first of six review reposts.

Deru - Trying To Remember
Merck Records

Hearing this record is the audio equivalent of biting into a really good peach: warm and fuzzy outside, sweet and just a little tangy inside. Deru's Ben Wynn has pieced together this aural confection using a wonderfully diverse palate of manipulated static, soothing pads, and lovingly twisted, processed beats. Unlike many current offerings from other electronic acts, however, Trying To Remember is not at all icy or overtly technical. In fact, there is a distinctly organic feel to the whole affair. Beautiful melodies float above the seas of fuzzy rhythms and hiss, as if to remind me that tunefulness is just as important as groove. Pieces like the album’s opener, "I Don’t Know You", ease into a comfortable, blissful space before slowly adding subtle elements of beat that are neither distracting nor completely forgettable. Wynn is also not afraid to abandon the beats and glitches altogether, a prime example being "Loki" which features a rhythm that gradually fades into a series of haunting vocal overdubs that still succeed in creating a huge sound space. The record also has its darker moments, like the strangely droning "Tapah", which incorporates a heavy hiphop beat atop what sounds like Middle Eastern horns. Whispering female vocals begin to swirl in and around the rhythmic, staccato stabs and just as the track is about to start sounding sinister, a lovely synth washes over the top, completely changing the direction and feel of things. It is moments like these that make this record stand out for me amidst the sometimes tiresome and sterile "clicks and cuts" approach to music. If this elegant group of tracks is at all representative of the rest of Deru’s work, I will definitely be picking up more of his creations.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Faint of heart

In a world-altering bit of news, has let me know that the newly crowned Miss Universe collapsed only a short time after receiving her Tiara Of State (or whatever they call it). Yes, Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, apparently fainted dead away less than an hour after winning this intense competition. The 5' 9", 18-year "was leaning on some assistants when her face fell to her chest, her new tiara atop her head. Tottering on high, spiky heels, she appeared to lean in this fashion for about 10 seconds and then collapsed in the arms of pageant assistants."

Gripping news indeed.

Thank god someone had the presence of mind to rush this important young lady to a hospital, but my diagnosis?

Girl needs to eat.

"I've been full this many times."

Staying super-skinny (so the boys will like me, even though I look like one) with:

Panacea - Underground Superstardom
(heavy on the beats, heavy on the bass)

Eon - Void Dweller
(what's in the basket?)

Black Sun Empire - Cruel & Unusual
(will reduce you to your component molecules)

Blind Willie Johnson - The Complete Blind Willie Johnson
(singin' 'bout god though he still can't see shit)

Enya - Watermark
(go ahead, say something; I will knock you the fuck out ;-)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Steady mobbin'

My obsession with music is no doubt innate, but really started to blossom when I was about 10 years old. My Mom, my sister and I had moved to Philadelphia and I was being exposed to a lot of new (i.e. black) culture. The first recording I ever bought for myself was a cassette copy of Run DMC's first album. And where did I get it?

Columbia House, baby.

Yup. 12 tapes for a buck or something like that. However, once you signed up, you were required to buy about 90 more before your indentured servitude was completed. I did get a lot of good stuff from them, but in the end it was tough to keep up.

This left a sour taste in my mouth.

So it was with some reluctance that I let Susan convince me to sign up for BMG Music. Their offer: 12 CDs for the price of one and, of course, the cost of shipping, which is how they make all their money. $21 for 7 CDs! Ouch. Still, once you've done your thing, you're not required to buy any more CDs. You have to tell them you don't want the selection of the month, but that's not a problem.

So I got my second batch from BMG today and I find myself knee deep in hiphop.

Dr. Dre - The Chronic
Eminem - The Slim Shady LP
Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle
N.W.A. - Efil4zaggin
Ice Cube - Amerikka's Most Wanted
Ice Cube - Death Certificate
Ice Cube - Lethal Injection

Yummy! Don't you wish you were me? Of course, most of y'all probably already have these.

Or wouldn't want them anyway.

It's funny. My tastes are so all over the place that I don't always have what many consider to be classics of a certain genre. However, the above constitute a small step in the right direction, hiphop-wise.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

All hail the Black Sun

I love the internet. In fact, I would call myself a web ho. The thought of being away from it for an extended period fills me with a soul-killing, depthless dread.

OK. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but I have to say that the net is awesome because of the amount of music it exposes me to. One of the great ways to discover new sounds is to download and listen to DJ mixes that you can find scattered about all over the net. One such source is one of my favorite DJs, a New York local named Kris Gale, who records and spins under his Rekall moniker. You can check out his wicked skillz at Actual Music.

Anyway, I was listening to his "Extend" session (200 minutes of prime drum and bass nastiness) and it was so good, I went on a buying spree, picking up a couple of pieces of vinyl that he'd spun in the mix. Now, when I shop at places like Breakbeat Science, I always feel obliged to buy more than one item. So while I was picking up No Turning Back by Calyx, I did some browsing and came across Black Sun Empire. The name, as well as the album covers, intrigued me, so I took a listen.




These guys are just sick. Micha Heyboer, Milan Heyboer and Rene Verdult have got some serious skills. Their beats are not all that unusual; mostly tech step and jungle. Think Dom & Roland, Ed Rush & Optical, and sometimes even ancient breaks like Grooverider. Their mastery of bass, however, is just amazing. Huge rolling lines; miasmic, churning drops and fills. Just so good.

Viscious and lovely.

I snagged two of their releases, both which include a full disc of Black Sun Empire tunes and a companion mix CD incorporating bits from the first disc as well as music by other artists on their label, Black Sun Empire Recordings. It's a tasty bonus that these guys have worked with other dnb heroes of mine, like Noisia, Kemal, and Rawthang.

Quite a treat.

So if you're a fan a wicked evil drum and bass, you owe it to yourself to check out the wonder that is Black Sun Empire. If ya doubtin' me, check out their tracks Bitemark and Hideous. The latter features Noisia and starts off slow, but is guaranteed to peel the paint off the walls by the end.

Rocketing down the information supahiway wid:

Black Sun Empire - Cruel & Unusual
(Black Sun gets it done)

Black Sun Empire - Driving Insane
(get it done with Black Sun)

Calyx - No Turning Back
(more dark ass drum and bass)

Louis Armstrong - Hot Fives And Sevens
(prime Satchmo, 1925-1928)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Viva hate

After a period of relative silence (at least for that area of the world), the Middle East has once again decided to try to rip itself and the rest of the world apart. Hezbollah killed several Israeli soldiers earlier this week and kidnapped two others. Israel responded by attacking Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. There have, of course, been plenty of subsequent casualties on both sides.

It's also so unfortunate that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians was actually making such progress before being hamstrung by the advent of Hamas being brought to power by the general election.

It seems to me that things are once again disintegrating and the Middle East will be consumed in the anarchy of all out war one more time. Sadat and Begin must be looking down on all this and shaking their heads.

But then again, how can you compete with this kind of craziness?

Far from the madding crowd:

Enduser - Form Without Function
(Lynn does even more to make other hard electronic obsolete)

Nile - Black Seeds Of Vengeance
(C is for cookie and I'll rip off your face)

Junkie XL - The Broadcast From The Computer Hell Cabin
(two discs of primo techo, hop, and trance)

Dead Kennedys - Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death
(classic DKs, including "Too Drunk Too Fuck")

DJ Throttler - MP3 Compilation
(dropping the hammer... repeatedly)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sad PS

Apparently Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd (at one point my favorite band in the entire universe), died today at the age of 60. Thanks for all the madcap laughs, Syd. RIP.

Look how they massacred my boy.

Because of his wound, Boopo had to wear one of the ridiculous satellite dish collars to keep him from pulling out his stitches. Unfortunately, this has also kept him from being able to clean himself. Add to this the unfortunate... digestive side effects... of some of the medicines he's been on and...

Icky fur.

So in an attempt to clean him up and also cool him down a bit (hard to be a long-haired cat in high humidity, high 80s weather), the vet shaved him down, with very funny (and slightly pitiful) results.



I still think he's beautiful, but he does look like he's wearing a particularly tight-fitting pair of long johns.

Man, is he pissed off.

Choirs of angels sweetly sing:

Hardfloor - Da Stuff 1
(compilation of 12" I pulled of

Various - Rekall's Extend (Parts 1-3)
(slams so hard there isn't time to cry)

Horace Andy - Dance Hall Style
(ruder than vous)

Abstract Audio Systems - Fadepoint
(more experimental weirdness from moi)

Einstürzende Neubauten - Strategies Against Architecture '80-'83
(this is gonna hurt you)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Graven images

I know it's been quite a bit since I've posted anything. Blame it on two things: family happenings and a lack of things that I find amusing or annoying enough to comment on. However, the mood seems to have taken me this afternoon, so I may just have something to say after all.

First the family stuff.

Mom has really done it this time. She fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Yup. Broke her neck. Luckily, she only sustained a hairline fracture of her C2 vertebra along with a small fracture of her pelvis. She won't need to have surgery, but she's going to be in a hard collar for several months and will need physical therapy, etc. Needless to say it's been a tad stressful. Add to that the after affects of Boopo's wounding (turns out he was not OK; needed stiches and I've had to take him to the vet 3 times since for varying problems) and it's just been a banner couple of days. Things do seem to be improving, however, so my fingers continue to be crossed.

Now the amusing/annoying.

Seems the pastor of a megachurch in Memphis, TN has paid $260K for a 72 foot tall recreation of the Statue Of Liberty. However, the good apostle Alton R. Williams has had the statue slightly... modified.

Instead of holding aloft the flaming torch of liberty, this version is toting a huge golden cross. And in place of the tablet which bears the inscription of the date of the Declaration Of Independence? A copy of the ten commandments. The new Lady Liberty (rechristened "The Statue of Liberation Through Christ") also sheds a single tear, apparently due to the increasing godlessness of America (at least according to pastor Williams).

Somebody give the lord a handclap.

In his pamphlet "The Meaning of the Statue of Liberation Through Christ: Reconnecting Patriotism With Christianity," Williams explains that the teardrop is God's response to "the nation's ills, including legalized abortion, a lack of prayer in schools and the country's promotion of expressions of New Age, Wicca, secularism and humanism." Then again, this is also one of those fine fellows who said that Hurricane Katrina was retribution for New Orleans's embrace of sin, so he may just be a bit off base.

(BTW, isn’t it funny that the French Quarter, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, was one of the few places that stayed above water? Apparently God's aim ain't so good.)

(Oh, I almost forgot to mention. The good pastor Williams also hates faggots.)

In truth, the statue doesn't even piss me off. It's so ridiculous that it makes a mockery of itself and the church it's meant to represent. Talk about "methinks the lady doth protest too much". This type of noise simply puts true faith and belief in sharp relieve. God and the spirit are glorious intangibles that live in and around us, not in some clunky piece of stone and steel. Your faith is pretty weak if you need this type of side show attention grabbing as reinforcement or representation.

"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." - Exodus 20:4

"Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female," - Deuteronomy 4:16

Then again, I'm not exactly a big follower of the bible, so what do I know?

I do know I could find a better way to spend $260K.

Do-si-doin' at the heathen hoedown:

Various - DJ Abstract 11: The Headcrush Party
(fuckin' metal)

Nile - In The Beginning
(straight outta that other, older Memphis; you know, the one with all the sand?)

Duke Ellington - Ellington At Newport 1956 (Complete)
(two discs of classic jazz)

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich - Dust To Dust
(two of three the hard way in your face)

Terminal Sound System - The Black Note EP
(ripped and clipped)