Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sweet annihilation

So the doctors have decided to kick Mom out of the hospital today. She's not "acute enough" for them to keep her in rehab. This despite the fact that they've been giving her morphine every four hours for her pain. Luckily a friend of the family has volunteered to take her in until it's time to move down to Atlanta. But I've got some major concerns over this, given the amount of drugs she's still on to keep her comfortable. However, it's out of my hands, which is infinitely frustrating.

So how does one deal, at least in the short run?

Toss on some grindcore.

Yep. It's been awhile since I've done the grind thing, but I have to say that today's listening has improved my outlook on things considerably. So I'm flailing around the office, slamming into people, and bellowing at the top of my lungs.

But all on the inside.

The blastbeats, unbelievable riffs, and the general rage-against-the-evils-of-the-world attitude are so purgative. Don't believe me? Check out these three Nasum tracks off their album Human 2.0. Guaranteed to mow down anything in their path.

A Welcome Breeze Of Stinking Air - Hyperbeat madness until the 40 second mark and then the groove kicks in. Add some political nihilism and everything seems so much brighter, no?

Now the balance is set
We're changing foot from left to right
Eager and with false hope
We gave them our trust
Speech on speech
Lies on top of lies
Empty Promises
The guys are having such a blast....
But nothing's changed
It is just a different set of lies
Nothing's changed
It is just a different set of lies...
Attempting to win
It's a race without a finish line
They're all relay-runners
And you're left behind
Thank you, come again
It has been nice shitting you
Improvement's around the corner
Your vote made a difference...
But nothing will change
It is just a different set of lies
Nothing will change
It is just a different set of lies...

We're Nothing But Pawns - The inverse of the above. Groove first and then destruction. Strange how the pessimistic lyrics still make me wanna fight for something.

In the world where we live
We're nothing but pawns
A tool of their trade
A brick in the wall
- Nothing but pawns

We are nothing - only tools
Disposable and easy to get
We got fucked, we are such fools,
We saw the hook and swallowed the bait

They fool us, seduce us, buy us, use us
Defuse us, smash us, kill us, trash us

In the world where we live
We're nothing but pawns
A tool of their trade
A brick in the wall
- Nothing but pawns

Sometimes Dead Is Better - One of their most melodic tunes. Check out the positively upbeat introduction. Sounds like Pearl Jam for one second and then rips off your face. Once again, there's a certain hopelessness in the lyrics, but glimmers of hope ("Let's reach for the door before we cave-in")

Your heartless compassion just tears through my flesh
Like burning red flaming blades of steel
You got it all but there's always one more pound
Cutting with precision you know what you want
Don't divide me from myself what you say fucks my mind
Got me in a tight grip but still you clutch harder
Sucking me dry by just looking at me with your eyes
Disengage me from this constant pain
Our worlds keep on colliding,
we're heading for the total collapse
So why do we bother trying?
We are just destroying ourselves
All this makes us fucking blind,
or are we just to scared to see?
What's dead can't be kept alive,
so let us just leave this be
My stubborn struggle to hold on only pushed you further away
I didn't know it killed you though you bled before my eyes
There are still things about you that I will never learn
I could never understand when something was wrong
I sense a cold shiver as everything falls into place
Nothing good will come out of this
Let's reach for the door before we cave-in
But everything will explode
Our worlds keep on colliding,
we're heading for the total collapse
So why do we bother trying?
We are just destroying ourselves
All this makes us fucking blind,
or are we just to scared to see?
What's dead can't be kept alive,
so let us just leave this be

Today's episode is brought to you by the following:

Nasum - Human 2.0
(premium mind erasure material)

Various - Position Chrome
(Panacea and the boys do dey thang)

Lamb - Lamb
(jazz and dnb live in harmony)

LFO - Frequencies
(blip bloop doop)

Diana Krall - Love Scenes
(because it can't rain all the time)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Strange how there are things about yourself that you simply don't know...

Which Trainspotting Character Are You?

Lager, lager-ing to:

Aphex Twin - Drukqs
(it's a mess, but parts of it are awesome)

Revolting Cocks - Big Sexyland
(we shall cleanse the world)

The Cure - The Top
(hello piggy)

Happy Flowers - I Crush Bozo
(because sometimes reality is just no fun)

Poor Righteous Teachers - Black Business
(I and I survive, mon)

Monday, August 28, 2006


Has anyone else noted the prolific number of conservative nutcases that have been spouting off in the media of late? I am actually tempted to pick up a copy of Anne Cunter... sorry... Ann Coulter's Godless just to read further into the woman's insanity. Know your enemy and all that. My current favorite, however, just came from good ol' Katherine Harris.

Y'all remember Ms. Harris don't ya? Florida's Secy of State during the 2000 Presidential election? The one who did all she could to completely fuck over Democrats so that Dumbya could take the state and thereby win the election? That stellar example of public servant who was subsequently elected to the House of Representatives wherein she still resides today?

At least, it seems, until the election in November? :)

Here be the skinny.

Harris apparently told the Florida Baptist Witness (some flake-o paper from down yonder) that separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told", a lie that is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."


But my favorite little gem that she came up with during this particular eruption of "oh my god, did she really just say that" was this:

"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."

Wha? Come again?

Thank you, Kathy. Thank you for handing your seat to the Democratic party. Seems what goes around really does come around.

Then again, it's really no surprise that Harris said these things. After all, she's a quintessential right-wing party-liner; anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, and probably closet anti-Semitic. But these statements take her a bit beyond the pale even for her fellow conservative mush-heads, methinks. Calling the election of non-Christians "a legislative sin" might be a bit... extreme?

Then again, when it comes to legislative sin, Harris would know more than I would. After all, she's under investigation for the 30 grand she took in illegal campaign contributions from defense contractors. Funny how these religious bigots are so good at remembering all the Seven Deadlies except GREED, no?

"I'd've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids and your intellectual elitism."

Kathy secretly rubs her bean to:

Various - Killabites 2
(Tech Itch rips off your head and screams down your neck)

Milt Jackson & John Coltrane - Bags & Trane
(unmitigated mastery just about covers it)

Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar
(oh, Brian, you're so cute when you're evil)

Nile - Annihilation Of The Wicked
(ate Brian for lunch)

Neotropic - Mr Brubaker's Strawberry Alarm Clock
(stoned to the bone)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Gettin' my sultry on

Even a cursory glance at my CD collection will reveal that there is something seriously wrong with me.

True, hell-inspired devil grunting by the likes of Belphegor and Panzerchrist sits side by side with the lightning-fast aggression of bands such as Nasum and Napalm Death and Curse Of The Golden Vampire always lurks in the background, ready, willing and able to obliterate just about anybody. It's more that these likeminded fellows don't see eye to eye (or ear to ear) with some of the other residents on my overly packed music shelves. Can you imagine seeing Fred Astaire (were he not dead) at a black metal concert? Not impossible, but highly unlikely. Likewise, I would hazard a guess that the strapping gents from Immortal would prefer to keep their distance from the next big hiphop tour.

Suffice to say I'm a bit schizophrenic when it comes to da tunes.

And I wouldn't want it any other way, baby.

However, as I am blessed with a highly organized brain, I can manage to focus musically if I REALLY CONCENTRATE. The most recent time I did this, I was feeling in a mellow mood. I'd stumbled upon a long lost copy of Gotan Project and had quickly plunged further into that seriously laid back vibe. But try as I might (and I WAS REALLY CONCENTRATING), I couldn't stop my trusty old thinkin' box from making sonic connections. Visions of flows and mixes danced in my head and lo, the birth of DJ Abstract 17: Midnight At The Velvet Club.

I'm digging this one a lot. There's a distinct jazz and latin feel to it, but I also threw in some more melancholy sounds (the Moby track especially) and some pretty wicked underground hiphop (The Opus is The Bomb!). The flow is good, though there are a few mixing foul ups. Still, I'm happy. I wanted a smoky, after hours, early morning hideaway feel and I think I pegged it.

Here be that list o' tracks:

01 Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Feel The Void
02 DJ Krush - Song 1
03 Skalpel - Sculpture
04 Bajofondo Tango Club - Forma
05 St. Germain - What You Think About
06 Tricky - Suffocated Love
07 Gotan Project - Chunga's Revenge
08 Monsieur Leroc - Apres Ski
09 Puracane - Big Day
10 Moby - The Sky Is Broken
11 The Opus - Isis
12 Omid - Club Apotheosis
13 Boom Bip & DJ Osiris - Voodoo Science
14 VU - Seven Grain
15 Waldeck - Fallen Angel (Urbs Remix)
16 Sub City - Parasight

I also had a chance to see Bianca last night for the first time in about 4 months. She spun a sweet (but miserably short) set of goth/industrial at Happy Ending last night. It was a brief visit, but fun was had.

But then again, that's always how we roll, no?

Causing further fractures in my head:

Various - DJ Abstract 17: Midnight At The Velvet Club
(home of the suave, son)

Pink Floyd - Animals
(I now own each of Floyd's Big Four)

Various - Fear Of A Digital Planet
(Vinyl Republic offers up the audio goodies)

Mos Def - Black On Both Sides
(keeping the Native Tongue vibe alive)

Milt Jackson - Wizard Of The Vibes
(ain't that the truth)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hey, Boston

Have some nasty medicine:

Belphegor - Necrodaemon Terrorsathan
("Vomit Upon The Cross"; that's all I'm sayin')

Hardfloor - Da Stuff 2
(acid masters take a turn at downtempo)

Man With No Name - Interstate Highway
(thump for ya trunk)

The Opus - Breathing Lessons
(primo instro hip hop)

Kansas City Kitty & Georgia Tom - Kansas City Kitty & Georgia Tom 1930-1934
(the complete recorded works; in chronological order, baby)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Diverted, not delighted

Ever since moving to New York City in 1995, I've had a tawdry love affair with Irving Plaza. I've seen any number of great shows there (Swans, Meat Beat Manifesto, The Crystal Method; the list is extensive) and it remains one of my favorite venues. Just the right size so that there's room to dance, yet it doesn't feel like you're knocking around inside a giant box, a la stadium shows.

If I were to compile a list of the top five shows I've seen at Irving, one of them would have to be Gary Numan. While the exact year escapes me presently (I'm thinking 2000-ish), it was right around the time when his career was in resurgence, thanks to name drops from the likes of Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson and others in the darker music realm. Bands who were so obviously influenced by Numan's sound were finally fessing up and in turn their fans were taking a listen to an artist who was woefully ignored by the American public during the height of his career. He was light years ahead of his time in the 1980s, yet many people think of Numan as a one-hit wonder (I suspect he despises "Cars"). He was a megastar in the UK, yet we paid no attention. This is par for the course when it comes to music fans in the US: ignore a genius like Numan, yet latch onto "bands" like Spice Girls; go figure.

(Yes, I know that Gary Numan and the Spice Girls aren't exactly contemporaries, but that's not the point.)

Anyway, by the time I first saw Numan at Irving, his sound had continued to evolve, yet it still remained rooted in the ideas he'd set forth during his beginnings with Tubeway Army: synth-driven music with a distinctly detached, somewhat cold feel. After all, the man suffers from Asperger's syndrome (a form of autism), so it's hardly surprising that this is reflected in his compositions.

The show was a monument to this approach: icy, treble synths washing over organic beats and moving bass. Not a lot of guitar or noise; more of a focus on creating that chilly, robotic feeling that, strangely enough, is really amazing to listen to. It was fantastic show, as Numan ripped through a sizeable portion of his discography, slightly updating some songs, but staying true to their initial sound and feel.

Last night I got the opportunity to see Gary Numan again at Irving Plaza. Susan was kind enough to accompany me. I have to say that while I was not completely disappointed, the show did not live up to his previous performance.

And why is that, you ask?

Perhaps it was concern that Susan was not enjoying herself (she's a relative Gary Numan newbie)? Perhaps it was because I was feeling a bit tired after a long day of slaving away in the salt mines? But, honestly, I don't think it was either of these things. Susan is an adult, can take care of herself, and certainly wasn't complaining; I also wasn't that wiped out. I think it was something a good deal more sinister and disappointing:

Gary was trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Last night's show was much darker and guitar-drvien than anything I've heard from him before (at least live). While the icy feeling was still there somewhat, it seemed as if Numan was trying too hard to be the angry, tortured soul as opposed to the detached, uncaring super being. The synths were also present, but buried further back in the mix, therefore losing a lot of their punch. In short, it seemed like a pretty straightforward rock show with some electronic flourishes. Certainly there were moments when I felt the kind of elevation I'd felt at the previous show, but for the most part, I was not particularly moved.

I suspect Numan has fallen into the trap that ensnares many a successful veteran musician: a new artist models their sound after you and then you feel somehow obligated to sound current yourself. In the end, you simply end up aping the younger musicians who've cited you as an influence. Essentially, Gary played a dark, hard rock show last night (a la Nine Inch Nails, Manson, etc.). He did not play his unique brand of icy robot pop; the stuff that has had such an impact on electronic music. Because Numan played a straight up dark, hard rock show, he ended up sounding like too many of his followers as opposed to the leader that he was.

Interesting cycle, no?

Gary, Trent wants his schtick back.

I suppose there is always the desire to sound current and cutting edge, but I think there comes a time when an artist runs out of fresh ideas. Soon much of what they produce either sounds recycled and dated or simply an inferior carbon copy of a current trend. Some artists manage to avoid this. For example, Bowie's Earthling did not sound like then-current drum and bass. Instead, it sounded like Bowie's take on drum and bass. But more often than not, when a veteran artist tries too hard to sound "hip", the results are simply embarrassing. While I wouldn't describe Numan's recent output (or his performance last night) as embarrassing, I don't feel it's up to his previously lofty heights.

Anyway, as I mentioned, there were a few high points during the show. His half-acoustic/half-rock version of "Are Friends Electric" was stunning and one can't help but get into "Down In The Park" and "Films". He actually ended the night on a high note with a great tune. It was not one I'm not familiar with, but it was spectacular; atmospheric keyboards and high pitched vox with very little guitar. Best song of the evening, I thought. In truth, it was a refreshing change from the guitar crunch we'd been served all night. Don't get me wrong, I like crunchy guitar (one can't like death metal and not like guitar, no?). I just don't expect it (or particularly appreciate it) from Gary Numan.

So all in all, last night's concert was more of a diversion than a delight.

Other dreams and diversions:

Sidney Bechet - The Originals: The Aristocrat Of Jazz
(weaving jazz spells from the most basic of ingredients)

Miles Davis - The Complete Concert 1964)
("My Funny Valentine" and four more)

Monsieur Leroc - Le Slow Motion Boogie Woogie
(not as good as I'd hoped, but the last track is awesome)

Ministry - Rio Grande Blood
(lock Al in a room with Dumbya and...)

Junkie XL - Radio JXL: A Broadcast From The Computer Hell Cabin
(long ass name for some bad ass tunes)

Friday, August 04, 2006


The "leader" of Arcadian Fields Ministries, a church in Cleveland, has been charged with a whopping 74 crimes, including "rape, pandering obscenity of minors and corrupting another with drugs."

His defense?

"I am a pedophile."

Phillip Distasio insists that "having sex with children is a sacred ritual protected by civil rights laws." He goes on to say, "The only reason I'm charged with rape is that no one believes a child can consent to sex. The role of my ministry is to get these cases out of the courtrooms."

Besides the blatant stupidity of this statement, it's further weakened by the fact that all of his victims are either physically or mentally disabled. Some are autistic. And all but one of them has been under 13 years old.

Apparently, Distasio initially pushed for his court-appointed lawyer to pursue a religious freedom defense. He then tried to fire the guy when the lawyer refused. As a result, Distasio is now acting as his own lawyer, his former attorney remaining as an adviser.

I can't believe anybody in their right mind would believe that it is somehow morally acceptable to have sex with kids, let alone kids that are mentally and physically handicapped. Talk about taking terrible advantage of a situation. Fortunately, if convicted on any of the seven rape charges, Distasio will be automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Lock this guy up and try to get him some help, 'cause this is one sick fuck.

Countering the evils of the world:

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
(the little album that could, 18 million+ times)

Norah Jones - Feels Like Home
(and she still manages a great follow up)

Massive Attack - Unleashed
(Jet Li may break your head, but the Massive boys will chill you out)

Pinataland - Songs From Konijn Kok
(retro futurist orchestral jam out)

Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue
(yes, it is)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Well wicked

With all of the lovely drum and bass I've purchased lately, I've been itching to throw together a new mix. Unfortunately, I've been so very busy, both in and outside of work. My weekends have also been packed, slaving away in Philadelphia, having fun with Susan, or both. However, I found myself with a free moment yesterday after the gym and after a suitable recovery time (my trainer Jeff wiped the floor with me, as usual), I got down to business.

So without further ah-duh, I present to you DJ Abstract 16: The Acid Black Mix. This wicked slice of nasty is comprised primarily of drum and bass in its various forms (techstep, jungle, darkside, etc.) along with a smattering of breakcore. Here's the tracklisting.

01 Panacea - Power Of Darkness
02 DJ Throttler - Obey (RMX)
03 Konflict -Messiah
04 DJ? Acucrack - Recalx
05 Calyx - Are You Ready? (Hive & Gridlok Remix)
06 Enduser - Assasin
07 Black Sun Empire - Hideous (BSE & Noisia)
08 DJ Mumblz - Dirty Chores
09 USVA - Manatic
10 Fusebox - Rook
11 E-Sassin - Abduction
12 Noisia - The Distance

I have to say that I'm pretty proud of this one. The flow works well and my mixing felt right on. It's suitably nasty, yet it has some breathing space here and there and ends on a beautiful note with the Noisia track. If you'd like a copy, let me know and I'll throw you one.

Mixes like this make me wish I was DJing more. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and effort to get your name out there. The effort I'm willing to put in; it's just the time that I don't have. But if you're looking for a decent DJ, please let me know. I'll spin pretty much whatever you want, from dance to downtempo. I've got a lot of stuff, as you can see here.

And I work cheap. ;-)

Sonic bread and butter:

Various - DJ Abstract 16: The Acid Black Mix
(churning bass and massive beats)

Hardfloor - Da Stuff 1
(get up out ya seat and worship the gods of acid)

Ice Cube - Lethal Injection
(if you're down for whatever)

Puracane - In Limbo: The Lost Puracane Sessions
(includes an amazing cover of "Fake Plastic Trees")

Charlie Parker - Complete Jazz At Massey Hall
(with Diz, Bud, Mingus, and Roach; aw yeah!)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Revamp, renew (6 of 6)

Various Artists - Lighted Apartment

Compilations can be a tricky business. More often then not these releases will have a portion of good tracks and a remainder that is, at best, boring or, at worst, simply unlistenable.

These CDs also sometimes end up with no flow or sense of direction due to the mishmash of styles the compiler has chosen. In other cases, all the tracks simply melt into one another, which can be quite boring.

Luckily, Lighted Apartment avoids all these pitfalls.

Described by the label as a collection of artists who specialize in "severely atmospheric ambients", this compilation contains ten diverse, but not unrelated, tracks. The choice of song order is excellent, as it maintains a constant yet intriguing flow.

All of the tunes are heavily electronic, with an abundance of pad work and sweeping drones. Several tracks, however, include more organic aspects, found sounds, and experimental percussion.

A prime example is Sabi's "Plastic Stains". Build upon a base of swirling synths, it is driven by a glitch rhythm that grows in complexity as the track progresses. More layers of melody are slowly added until the song comes to a beautiful, glittering end.

"Fascination Pour Les Oeuvres Mineures", the album's closing track by Jules, likewise incorporates glitchy elements, though in this case the rhythmic structure is a great deal more loose. Given this and the song's dark feel, it's no wonder it is my favorite track here.

There are also several straightforward ambient pieces, like Helioce's "Orange", a beautiful track drenched in reverb and aching, distant synth lines. Helioce's other contribution, "Liendale", is a bit more harsh, its sirening keyboards slicing through a thick haze of drone.

Perhaps the only misstep here is Xhale's "Distress Amount", a tune composed of jittery sounds (clanking bottles, bouncing springs, clattering pipes). It contains too many distractions and quick changeovers for my tastes, effective breaking (however briefly) the overall feel of the album.

Several of the other tracks contain rhythms that are almost danceable, but these beats are placed so well within the mix that they are as easy to relax to as they would be to move to.

As an added bonus, the compilation is distributed through the Miasmah net label, so it's free! It's worth the download time, so go do just that here. There is full color artwork included as well as a complete track listing.