Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ambient as Sirkian Melodrama

My review on Brock Van Wey's White Clouds Drift On and On,mentioned here, is up at PopMatters, complete with a nice compliment by the artist himself in the comment box. Be sure to grab this wonderful album as soon as you can.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Victory For the Forces of Democratic Freedom

My review of John Krasinski's adaptation of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Rarely does a film observe the male gaze with anything but fawning admiration, but Krasinski and Wallace view the behaviors of the 20th/21st century men as deeply diseased. These pathologies have been fostered through the complete aversion of scrutiny of male modes. As a result, men run away from themselves. The majority of violent acts- assault, murder, rape, abuse, suicide- are overwhelmingly committed by men. The men in Krasinski's film are dishonest and hideous because of a template for masculinity, reinforced by capitalist realism, that seems inescapable and inevitable.

But lines of dialogue are finally opening for men. Hollywood has long had a horrendous record of stereotyping and redoubling hegemonic notions of women, blacks, gays, native Americans, Arabs, et al. Yet, through all the critiques of the multiculturalist liberal establishment from the 80s onward, film criticism has scarcely realized that the dehumanization quotient is all-encompassing, and features little wiggle room for white men either. They don't call it the dream factory for nothing. Cinema has long functioned as a byproduct of the spectacle, the sister to advertising, creating not just identity but belief through focused fictionalizations that reinforce existing value structures using sympathetic narrators and the presupposition of an ideal. Moviegoers never "believe" that the action on the screen is real, of course, but it believes the "character" of its characters is real. In order to be sympathizable, a film's themes must be identifiably "true". In order for an ideal to be threatened, we must accept that the ideal itself is not also just as threatening from another angle.

There's plenty else I didn't get to talk about in the review of this fascinating film. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to expand some of these ideas further sometime soon in a larger piece.

Pop Paradise

On Annie's Don't Stop

An Album with an Unsettling Disposition

Kreng- L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu

Stark Enterprises at Hobb's End


Well, it's hard to call it a complete rip-off since the creators refer to it as an homage. But this is quite the "homage", eh? I mean, what are the odds that people who read Iron Man are also into Ghost Box? Seems like a pretty small fanbase for both and an even tiner venn diagram in the middle.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goodbye Billie Jean, The Meaning of Michael Jackson, Edited by Lorette C. Luzajic

goodbye, Billie Jean: the meaning of Michael Jackson

fifty-one writers, curated by Lorette C. Luzajic

Handymaiden Editions, 2009

316 pages

$27.95 (shipping approx. $6 to Canada, $9 to U.S.)

to order, contact Lorette at

book will also be available shortly online at Amazon etc.

Dearest friends, I am thrilled to announce the project that has occupied the last four months of my time. Please join me in celebrating the most fascinating person of all- Michael Jackson. I am honoured to have worked with fifty amazing writers to bring this book to you, a collection of thoughts, opinions, ideas on the meaning of Michael Jackson. These very interesting contributors range from therapist to Pulitzer-prize winning journalist to bestselling author to friend of Michael himself to monk to drag queen, and so many more. In addition, I thank internationally renowned pop artist Iaian Greenson for the custom cover commission. And I thank Toronto’s premier graphic designer, newly branched into fashion- designing shoes- Gonzalo de Cardenas for cover design.

The Writers

Jason Bourner
Russell Bowers
Coline Covington
Kevin Craig
Michael Davidson
Jeff Dayton-Johnson
Antony Di Nardo
Joseph Dispenza
Sherman Fleming
Eddie Ford
Timothy Gabriele
Stephen J. Gertz
Andreas Gripp
Andy Guess
Rohin Guha
Stan Guthrie
Chris Hedges
Obiwu Iwuanyanwu
Reuben Jackson
Pat Kane
Jamyang Khedrup
Willie James King
Jeff Koopersmith
Kimberly Krautter
Raymond Lawrence
John Lee
Lorette C. Luzajic
Jonathan Margolis
Ralph Martin
David Masciotra
Angela Meyer
Rev. Irene Monroe
Georgianne Nienaber
Jess Nevins
Dion O’Reilly
Carolyn R. Parsons
Samuel Peralta
Michael Hureaux perez
Javad Rahbar
Dr. Pamela D. Reed
Lauren Reichelt
Ralph Remington
Steven Rybicki
Tara Stevens
Edwin Turner
David R. Usher
Uwineza Mimi Harriet

Thank you to all of these amazing contributors. This anthology would not have been possible without you.

xoxoxoxo Lorette

Acid in the Style of Sigmund Freud

Hecker- Acid in the Style of David Tudor

In the spirit of Hecker, I engaged in some automatic writing as I was attempting to pen this review late at night. I began to fall asleep and realized I was writing gibberish, but continued to write anyway. Here, as it was originally wrote, is an alternate subconscious review

"vie center of the diaphram, sqheezj g lj,, kx lkls ad] d out like walkie talkie dreams ratio flowing off the arrwss triking pitch bendingcacophiny ewar'omg tje sogma; tp tje s[ace crasft seue;cj nots, moicrotonal for all small animals, stuffed furries, life is coming withg giant feet flatliningm too uninformved , something ciirdubates over radar airspace rhslrd str inyrllign t snf tun out budinrdd, sit vonditioning malfunction whipped frenzy, sadomasochism for machines, robot sex is brutal, thantos robot the encroaching fan of doom, chopping us al, barfed bits of machinal glitz sterile graphitti, arhotrated rebellion dance liason vague rhytm in the blas nintendodonkey cpmgptrpmocs glitching gremlins in eardrums, pacman ghosts, other infestations, bot sitable for public to discover forbidden planet underground world delia derbyshire m nust have malfuctiontim clal shooting tny lasr at the back of my eyeballjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj"

Amazingly, enough I spelled Delia Derbyshire correctly.

Here's two other recent ones:

Prins Thomas- Live at Robert Johnson Vol 2

Luke Hess- Light in the Dark

Hauntology Still

A new review on the stunning new Broadcast and the Focus Group album, with words on hauntology and the unknowing

Re: Ian's comments in the previous post regarding the above album.

I actually quite like the Avalanches album and don't even really dislike the others mentioned per se, but I meant to convey that there's an entirely different design at work in examining potential worlds forbidden by the betrayal of utopian ideals, as opposed to exploring the potential of hidden sonics that are completely possible within the existing model, but which have been swept aside by the rush of the marketplace. I'd say the Avalanches, unlike others working in pastiche, are more concerned with sublimation than recontextualization. Judging by their nearly complete absence over the past eight years, I think it's also safe to assume that egotism is far from their highest concern. That their one return I know of- a remix of a Belle and Sebastian song- saw fit to include no samples, dance beats, or electronics at all (and in fact foresaw the current vogue for ethnotourism of developing world folk sounds) seems proof positive that they're unconcerned with simply peddling cheap tricks to win clever points.

I'm glad Ian found me here though. I was actually saving in queue a link to his Resident Advisor review of Brock Van Wey's album to run in tandem with my upcoming review of the same album at PM. But since it runs parellel to an axis touched upon in the Broadcast article, it may be worth mentioning here. I thought Ian was spot on his observation of Clouds Drift On and On as the anti-Untrue, contemplating how Van Wey and Burial both share a nostalgia for rave in its 90s incarnation. As Ian points out, Burial carved out a city and left only the sense of loss of ennui for what had been carved out to externalize his sense of devastation at the unfulfilled heterotopian promises of rave. Van Wey, on the other hand, obliterated any connection to the community or even internal connections and aimed straight for the clouds, the heavens.

It's interesting to think of these two reactions biographically, as well. Burial, like Zomby and many other prominent artists after him, was far too young to experience rave first hand, but nevertheless found the hardcore and jungle of the time undeniable and inspired. "I see so much hope in those tunes, even the darkest of those tunes, jungle tunes and all that. In the UK – ‘cos that’s all I know – those tunes tried to unite people. I want to let those people know that they didn’t fail. Because to some people, those tunes mean everything," Bevan said in his interview with Emmy Hennings.

Van Wey, on the other hand, was in the very middle of the scene, as a partier and a deejay, and became totally disenchanted to the point where he sold all his records and moved to China. This dismissal makes the subsequent denial of rave in obliterative textural pieces seem fitting. It's also interesting to note the cultural disconnect- Burial being British and Van Wey being American. In America, rave was never legitimated by either the mainstream or within the counterculture, whereas it became a crucial part of British pub/club life, fueling a revolt against the failures of New Labour, becoming a topic of constant (and non-esoteric) concern for scared parents, finding occassional appearances on the charts, and maintaining a presence through pirate radio. Van Wey's disavowal presupposed that American communities were autonomous and had thereby betrayed themselves by the turn of the millenium, but as Simon Reynolds rightly pointed out in Energy Flash/Generation Ecstasy, the communities were anarcho-capitalist. It was only a matter of time before an unguarded sublimated space was consumed by nu-capitalists with no need for the "Anarcho". American rave had no powerful defense team, nobody infiltrating both sides of the isle to avoid hostile takeover. It was plagued by infighting and exclusivism. And hence it died in a car commercial somewhere near the turn of the millenium.