Monday, August 27, 2007

Going, going, Gonzales

It's getting to be like Ten Little Indians.

Finally buckling to pressure from just about everybody except the president himself, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned. AG the AG (ever notice that?) has been tied to the wonky firings of eight US attorneys that stemmed, it appears, from political reasons. After his continuing tissue-paper-flimsy testimony to Congress, this comes as no surprise to anybody; except... perhaps the president himself. Actually, probably not; I'm sure he knew Gonzales was fucked months ago and just put his head in the sand.

He's really good at that.

Yes, our Fearless Leader will emerge from his vacation at Crawford to make the announcement.

(Side note: Is it my impression or does GW take more vacations then any standing president that I remember)

Donald Rumsfeld. Paul Wolfowitz. Karl Rove. Alberto Gonzales. Bush is running out of cronies. I can just imagine in about 6 months...

"President Bush announced today his appointment of Bob Smith to the position of Secretary of State. Smith, a former White House janitor, is said to have developed a close and personal relationship with the President over his 7 year tenure at the White House. Congress has already begun to question Smith's qualifications. No reaction so far from the administration."

GW sits alone in the Oval Office and cries in a pitiful voice, "Where'd everybody go?"

Posing for his milk cartoon picture.

Celebratory dances provided by:

Various - Lousiana Swamp Blues
(bring da zydeco, ho)

The Cure - Disintegration
(another feel good all time classic)

The Clash - London Calling
(phony beatle-mania has bitten the dust)

Anti Sound System - Deep Black Static
(australian for "oh, my fucking ears hurt”)

Anti Sound - Five Wounds
(another slab of vicious noise done aussie style)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Open the glitterbox

Elisha Grey invented the synthesizer in 1876. Robert Moog made the first one that wasn't as big as a house in 1964. The Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 introduced us to polyphony in 1978. Casio started pumping out cheesy keyboards in 1985.

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Some musical purists frown at the idea of these instruments and say that electronic music has no soul. Some manly men insist that guitars are an absolute requirement and must always have the lead. If there's no axe on stage, it's not worth listening to. Some say that modern music in general has nothing to offer the human race.

Me? I loves me some synthesizer.

True, I'm a devotee of pretty much everything from extreme metal (where the guitar is king) to acoustic music (bring me some of that jazz, folk and blues, baby), but I do loves me some synthesizer. There is an innate beauty in a gorgeous synth line. Programmed drums? Shonuff! Thunderous dnb bass drops? Yummy! Clicky robot pop freakin' rules! I worship at the altar of Kraftwerk and YMO.

And Switched-On Bach.

I bring this up because I've been listening to purely electronic music today. Drum machines, synths, all that. Even the vocals are vocoded; nary an organic sound to be heard. My primary focus has been two albums by Solvent. Both were released on the nearly peerless Ghostly International label and they're prime examples of synthetic confection. The first, Apples & Synthesizers, contains 13 lovely Solvent tracks, while the second, Elevators And Oscillators, features several remixes of stuff from Apples & Synthesizers as well as more original tracks by Solvent.

This is great music. Sometimes delicate, sometimes distant, the tunes on these two CDs are premium ear candy. Here's a sampling:

"My Radio (The Mitgang Audio Remix)"
"For You (Isan Remix)"

How can you not love this stuff? From the Yaz-like opening of "Wish" through its Visco Space Drum beats and orbiting synths and vox, it's just a gorgeous tune. The remix of "My Radio" again brings the float. Sure, it's grounded by a beautifully burbly arpeggiated synth line, but the soaring vocoded chorus takes me right out of my head; amazing to dance to, especially at double time. Isan's remix of "For You" is straight from outer space. Listen to the fireflies in this tune! The vocals sit right in the middle, but everything around it drifts about like helium. So sweet.

So, no, it ain't ZZ Top, the Stones, or Aerosmith.

This is me not caring.

Helping robots devour the earth:

Solvent - Apples & Synthesizers
(have a bite. it's tasty.)

Solvent - Elevators And Oscillators
(it's tasty. have a bite.)

Strategy - Drumsolo's Delight
(on the electronic dub tip)

Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity
(making 1975 sound like 1995)

Various - Thinner Volume 01
(dubtech madness)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tale o' the mellow fellow

It's been a busy two and a half months since I sat down behind the decks and churned out a mix. Admittedly there have been a few abandoned attempts, but last weekend the stars aligned correctly.

I tend to go on about how difficult creating a set can be, what with all the music choices I have, but this time I was fairly certain I wanted to do a chillout mix somewhat in the vein of Midnight At The Velvet Club. So I pulled out about 60 CDs from my collection and whittled them down to about 70 minutes of prime downtempo-ness. For the most part, the mix is a major mellow-out, but there are a couple of upbeat sections that break it up nicely. Welcome to DJ Abstract 21: Late Night Fable Mix.

01 Bonobo - Noctuary
02 Skalpel - Break In (Backini Remix)
03 Alif Tree - Enough
04 Lamb - Trans Fatty Acid (Kruder & Dorfmeister Session Mix)
05 Branestorm Productions - NoOnes Lost
06 Ordio - 3 In 1
07 Aphilas - Lifelong Fiction
08 Blunted Minds - Lushen's Revenge
09 Sifu Beats - Taiten
10 Sub City - I Remember Everything
11 Bowery Electric - Passages
12 DJ Cam - Gangsta Shit
13 Sofa Surfers - Sofa Rockers (Richard Dorfmeister Remix)
14 Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Where
15 Peace Orchestra - Domination
16 Portishead - Interlude

It's actually been a bit of a musical reawakening for me of late. I've contributed a couple of Abstract Audio Systems loops to Austere's Zen Machine project and plan to toss them some Bonechurch loops as well. I also got PAID for a bit of soundtrack work that the aforementioned Austere guys put together. They used some of the tracks we did together on evergone and were kind enough to send me some of the resulting moolah.

Great guys.

I've also been throwing together some new tracks of my own. One is comprised of loops from the Tapegerm Collective. I just posted it there, so hopefully it should be seeing the light of day in a bit.

So life goes on and goes well so far (knock on wood).

From the Sea Of Holes into the Sea Of Green:

Austere - Mirror
(cause I loves the shiny stuff)

Benny Benassi - Hypnotica
(funk yo butt)

Terminal Sounds System - Compressor
(intestinal rearrangement made simple)

Ellen Allien - Berlinette
(so fressssssssh)

Milieu - Slow Lid Close
(cause da man nose)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pulling out my hair

Let's hear it for sagas and dramas.

Back story: several months ago, my boss's boss moved from the department where I work to another department within the firm. After her move, she contacted my boss and invited him to come join her. After some (albeit brief) consideration on his part, he agreed to the move and off he went. During the course of all this being unveiled, he and I discussed the possibility of me jumping over with him. Both he and his boss are very confident in my abilities and see me as a valuable addition to their team. Several conversations took place, promises and offers were made and I came to the decision that, yes, I would like to join them as a full time employee (I've been consulting for this particular firm for 12 years).

Then... nothing.

Well, not entirely nothing. Basically I've been putting up with months of administrative bullshit. First it was the effort of actually getting the OK for the creation of the position in the first place. That took forever and a day because this has all been occurring over the summer when a lot of folks are away. Suffice to say that the requisition was OK'd only about 2 weeks ago. I "officially applied" last week, finally.

And still... nothing.

My future boss is chomping at the bit to get me on board. My current consulting contract with the firm runs out at the end of this month, so unemployment looms large. It's just the middle men I need to work my way through to get to the people who have told me I already have the job.

Damn you, middle men. Damn you all to hell.

I'm starting to loose sleep over this as I don't relish the idea of sitting on a corner, shaking a cup for change come next month. OK, that's a drastic thought, I know, but I fully expected to ALREADY BE GONE from my current position by now. I've got a week long vacation planned for September that's been on the books since early this year and it's going to suck to start the new job and then turn around and go on vacation.

The worst part is the feeling of powerlessness. I'm at the mercy of these fuckers at the moment (and by fuckers, I don't mean my new employers; I mean the schmucks who aren't doing their jobs fast enough to get through all the administrative crap). In the meantime, the really interesting work that needs to be done at my current position is slowly drying up. I've trained my replacement and am ready to get the fuck outta dodge.

It's just that the HR guys won't let me outta town yet.


So here I lounge in dreadful anticipation. I am tired of what I am doing presently and want some new challenges and responsibilities. And I could be attacking those new challenges if the goddamned bean counters would just the hell out of the way.

Hear my 9mm go bang:

Meat Beat Manifesto - Archive Things 1982-88
(chunky funky noisy from Jack and Perennial Divide)

Bonono - Dial "M" For Monkey
(sweet, fat downtempo stylings)

Boxcutter - Oneiric
(glitchin' you up)

Mothboy - Sells Out Demo/Raw Loops And Numb Breaks
(master of the broken beat breaks you up)

Milt Jackson - Wizard Of The Vibes
(he is a wiz of a wiz if ever a wiz there was)