Friday, August 28, 2015

Co La- "Suffering (Tuesday)"

Angels Dust- "Shivers/Slow Tapes/Haunted medley (Walter Gross mix)"

Angels Dust is the name of the band, who are pretty great on their own.  Not sure what song is being remixed, but this remix is massive

UPDATE;  Walter Gross has contacted me on Twitter to inform me that it's actually three song- "Shivers", "Slow Tapes", and "Haunted" remixed together

Bernholz- "Consequences 4 (Ident Deification)"

Cassini- "Fermi"

Nothing Here Now But the Recordings

On the once revolutionary art of VHS and Yale's quest to digitize thousands of exploitation titles in its Beinecke Rare Books library:

"Today, a variety of video content is readily available via YouTube, streaming services, and BitTorrent downloads, but in the late ’70s and ’80s, the idea that someone could control what they watched was revolutionary. Studios tightly managed their content and essentially charged for every viewing. The VCR, however, tapped into a popular desire to consume culture at will. In response to huge demand, distribution companies dug deep into their inventories to fill shelves in rental stores, and amateur moviemakers emerged to satisfy the market. “Shot on video” movies like Sledgehammer, Video Violence, and Blood Cult could be produced on low budgets with relative ease thanks to camcorder technology, and could still find shelf space next to Hollywood blockbusters. Like the steam presses that produced the dime novels and yellow journalism of the late-19th century, videotape allowed a popular culture to emerge.

"The cheap print of the 19th century required its own distribution networks, including small stands on railway platforms, traveling salesmen who crossed the nation, and retail shops. Similarly, so-called mom-and-pop video stores emerged in the early 1980s to fill a distribution need, as Daniel Herbert explains in his new book, Videoland. With tapes costing a staggering $60-$100 in the early ’80s, the average person couldn’t build a personal video library. Instead people paid a flat membership fee to join a store and spend a few dollars every week to rent a tape. This meant choosing wisely, and often chatting with the clerk for advice or picking up a tape with engaging box art. A large contingent of young people who loved movies became nodes in a social network that brought the local community into the video store out of economic necessity. In this way, the video-rental store brought some movies back to life by creating new audiences for them—a novel phenomenon that contributed to the creation of some “cult classics.” Box art, recommendations, and repeat viewing of tapes offered audiences the ability to judge movies under new circumstances, allowing theatrical flops like The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, and Clue to eventually take off. 
-David Gary, Saving the Scream Queens, The Atlantic

On a related note, the giphy page for "VHS" is an experience unto itself

Thursday, August 27, 2015


A crucial thread about women's experiences in the music industry in response to a question posed by Jessica Hopper on twitter.  Some harrowing, some seemingly minor but impactful, some from deep in the the locales of the biz, some from virtual encounters.

I haven't had much of these experiences.  You can probably chock this up to me being oblivious, riding the pleasant crest of male privilege, although girlfriends and female friends I've gone to shows with have definitely felt not welcome/not wanted/not cool enough/ before and I've certainly seen guys at shows treat the rock concert like a sexual free-for-all.

I'd like to share on story though: One of my initial experiences with online harassment was also the birth of my disenchantment with the cult of cool.  As a shy, alienated young suburban kid, you find solace and connection in notions of taste, and the assumption is that those with similar but not popular musical taste are just like you.  They too latch on to the underground because they feel like outsiders and/or feel rejected from the outside world.  And it's easy too, particularly at a naive age, to be mistaken that everyone interested in progressive communities or artforms share progressive values.

In my first year of college, I spent February 14th alone in my dorm room downloading music from Napster.  Browsing a user's collection, I found an impressive selection of krautrock, ambient, IDM, shoegaze and other material that aligned pretty perfectly with my wheelhouse.  In the process, I received a message from said user looking to chat about music. In the course of the conversation, it soon became clear that he thought I was a woman.  Rather than correct him, I rolled with it.  Maybe because I was bored. Maybe because it was Valentine's Day and I chose to stay indoors at a computer screen.  Maybe he'd be into guys too.  Who knows.

Extremely abruptly and without warning, the user demanded topless pics.  I tried to politely decline, but he didn't seem to care.  After threatening to ban me from the site, the tenor the conversation grew aggressive and violent as I watched with stunned amazement as he threw out a torrent of vitriolic, misogynistic taunts and threats.  Even after I attempted to end the conversation, he did not relent.  Because he "wasn't done" with me.  It was important that I walked away with unsolicited certainty about exactly where my place in the world was.

I'd known women who had been abused/assaulted before this and who had had nasty things said about them, but this encounter was probably the first time when I got a real taste of what the danger of being of a woman felt like, a woman whose only crime was liking music and seeking companionship.  I don't go to shows much and my social awkwardness has never made me one for conducting interviews, but there's plenty that we can do to stop bad behavior in music as it happens rather than be forced to relive it in the comments section years later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rabit- "Straps"

Single File Line

"Considerable evidence shows that overwork is not just neutral — it hurts us and the companies we work for. Numerous studies by Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and her colleagues (as well as other studies) have found that overwork and the resulting stress can lead to all sorts of health problems, including impaired sleep, depression, heavy drinking, diabetes, impaired memory, and heart disease. Of course, those are bad on their own. But they’re also terrible for a company’s bottom line, showing up as absenteeism, turnover, and rising health insurance costs. 
"Even the Scroogiest of employers, who cared nothing for his employees’ well-being, should find strong evidence here that there are real, balance-sheet costs incurred when employees log crazy hours.
"If your job relies on interpersonal communication, making judgment calls, reading other people’s faces, or managing your own emotional reactions — pretty much all things that the modern office requires — I have more bad news. Researchers have found that overwork (and its accompanying stress and exhaustion) can make all of these things more difficult.
"Even if you enjoy your job and work long hours voluntarily, you’re simply more likely to make mistakes when you’re tired — and most of us tire more easily than we think we do. Only 1-3% of the population can sleep five or six hours a night without suffering some performance drop-off. Moreover, for every 100 people who think they’re a member of this sleepless elite, only five actually are. The research on the performance-destroying effects of sleeplessness alone should make everyone see the folly of the all-nighter.
"Work too hard and you also lose sight of the bigger picture. Research has suggested that as we burn out, we have a greater tendency to get lost in the weeds.
"In sum, the story of overwork is literally a story of diminishing returns: keep overworking, and you’ll progressively work more stupidly on tasks that are increasingly meaningless."

- Sara Green Carmichael, The Research is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and Companies, Harvard Business Review

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015


In the 1990s, the US was shaken into full-blown hysteria about crime, so much so that a heinous, villainous word had to be created to categorize our racialized fear of sinister, lurking amoral youth.  Hence, superpredators.  Something only the imagination of a culture deeply in denial about the kind of house it keeps could dream up.

Concurrently, Bill Clinton, eager to not have a repeat of Dukakis's Willie Horton moment, proposed sweeping crime legislation that came to the fore in the form of the 1994 crime bill (HR 4092- Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994), which was basically the genesis of the modern state of mass incarceration.  This all came to a vote before the Republican Revolution had swept the GOP back in power, and was handled with the complicity of the democratic leadership.  The bill pushed hard on building new prisons and putting more police on the streets, who were then pressured to make more arrests.   It also reduced the age that a minor could be charged as an adult and loosened limits on imposing the death penalty for minors, while opening up the possibility of the death penalty for nonviolent offenses such as drug trafficking.  It was also the origin of the notoriously abused three-strikes policy.

There were some decent provisions too, like the Violence Against Women Act and the sadly sunsetted Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but most of these provisions have notably had specific impacts on communities of color resulting in entire populations that are now "missing" from society.

In 1994, then Congressman Bernie Sanders made an impassioned speech against the Crime Bill...

...and then, bafflingly, proceeded to vote for it.

All the while, the superpredators are still out there, building prisons instead of rotting in them, demonizing/indicting victims and lionizing their murderers, and asking the starving, terrorized masses to foot the bill.

The Rumors- "Fire N' Ice"

More on Remissive.  A remix of a track I did when I was 12 or 13 of a reading of Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice" through walkie talkie

Spectral Park- "Varnishing Moths"

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Melancholy's Deep Cuts

n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.
- John Koenig

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows   is a web project designed to put words to out-of-place feelings of discomfort, melancholy, alienation and the sort.  Though a series of technically well-made videos have popped up like the below, the tendency of these videos to try to set a prognosis for each ailment winds up falling short, veering dangerously close to an Upworthy style treacle of uplift.  I prefer these as undiagnosed, uncurable ailments, blind spots on the cultural radar, if not on the collective unconscious.

Friday, August 14, 2015

"There exists, for everyone, a sentence - a series of words - that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first."-PKD, Valis

Love this, but feel like listicle culture has almost DESTROYED the use of the word "destroy" for us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Massacooramaan ft DJ Rashad and RP Boo- "Trainwreck"


Known/Unknown Pleasures

Emily Hall- Folie A Deux (Bedroom Community)
Dialect- Gowanus Drifts (1080p)
Ital- Endgame (Planet Mu)
Strategy- Noise Tape Self (Further)
Haunter- Ablesight, 1993 (self-released)
M.E.S.H.- Piteous Gate (PAN)
High Wolf- Growing Wild (Leaving)
Xosar- Let Go (Opal Tapes)

Passing Strangers

Ventila- For Human Consumption (Astro Nautico)
Prurient- Frozen Niagra Falls (Profound Lore)
Hanz- Reducer (Tri Angle)
Algiers- Algiers (Matador)
Michael Vallera- Distance (Opal Tapes)
Emika- DREI (Emika)

Moments in Love (pop edition)

FKA Twigs- "Figure 8"
Miguel- "Coffee"
Rick Ross ft Gunplay- "Scuffed Timbs"
The Internet featuring Kaytandra- "Girl"
Giorgio Moroder feat Kylie Minogue- "Right Here Right Now"
Big Sean feat Kanye, Drake- "Blessings"
Danny Brown & Clams Casino- "Worth It"
Pusher- "Basic"
The Weeknd- "Can't Feel My Face"

Moments in Love (popped off edition)

Nice Feelings- "Fresh"
Panda Bear- "Come to Your Senses (Danny L Harle Mix)"
Dux Content- "Snow Globe"
Popcorn_10- "Dennis"
Rytmeklubben- Girlfriend EP
Maxo- "Reach You"

Moments in Love (underground mix)

Magic Fades- "Ecco (Vektroid Mix)"
Amnesia Scanner- "As Angels Rig Hook"
Gremino- "Dystopicity"
Truss- "Kymin Lee"
Alfred English- "Maroon 6"
Keita Saino- "Onion Slice"


Ex Machina
The Eric Andre Show
Mr Robot (in parts)
Hannibal Season 3

Everything is Permitted, but Nothing Works

-Scanner Darkly, PKD

Bizarre Bazaar in Cinemascope

Bizarre Baazar in Cinemascope

1. Les Baxter - Quiet Village
2. Yma Sumac - Cha Cha Gitano
3. The Ventures - Fear
4. Bill Page - Music to Watch Girls By
5. John Lurie - Car Florida
6. Yma Sumac - Gopher
7. Tony Randall- Nature Boy
8. The John Barry Orchestra - Hip's Trip
9. Postmodern Jukebox- Careless Whisper
10. Ennio Morricone/Bruno Nicolai - Temptation in the Catacombs
11. Ennio Morricone - Stress Infinito (#2)
12. Sirto Tsifteleri - Don't Worry (LSD)
13. The Ventures - Penetration
14. Russia Meadowlands Song
15. Lalo Schifrin  - Broken mirrors
16. Henry Mancini - The Monster Gets Mark (Creature from the Black Lagoon)
17. Piero Piccioni - Spiral Waltz (Italian)

Monday, August 10, 2015

thecrater- "C Dream 2"

Lots of friends posting good music today

Grubby Little Hands- "Dial Tone"

Ogni Timore- "Broadcyst (Instrumental)"

A Cheap Vacation in Other People's Misery

"The script is by John Hughes—the man who invented the 1980s—adapted from his Lampoon short story “Vacation ’58.” That story is functionally identical to the movie, except Clark goes to jail for the attempted murder of Walt Disney and it’s set in 1958. Yet in both cases there’s the nuclear American family as doomed pioneers, bound for the West no matter how many are buried on the trail.

"Director Harold Ramis used this as an opportunity to poke fun at the American myth (going so far as to have Clark wandering through Monument Valley expecting to find a gas station) and updated the setting to 1983, when suburban America tried to start from scratch and return to Eisenhower ideals despite the social upheaval and progressive shift of the 60s and 70s. Norman Rockwell’s sentimental ideal of piling into a car for a ramshackle family adventure had a more desperate appeal, then.

"So Clark foists his own nostalgic idea of fun—a 1950s invention, when Disneyland (thinly disguised as Walley World in the film, because Disneyland never closes for repair) was new and the road trip was a conveniently packaged coming-of-age ritual—on his apathetic family. But he does it all wrong. Chase plays Clark as twitchy and glib, a pathological liar utterly devoid of empathy. Basically, he’s a high-functioning psychopath. He’s driven exclusively by pride and self-interest; the man has no moral compass. But he gets by.

"When he meets somebody who doesn’t get by—Cousin Eddie, a caricature of everybody Reaganomics wasn’t helping—Clark feigns empathy but doesn’t achieve it. Here’s Clark, in a new car, which happens to have the unfortunate luxury of being tacky, and here’s Eddie, clutching a six-pack of Coors in the middle of the day, with a rope for a belt, a daughter with no tongue, cheeseburgers with no meat, and dependent on a mean aunt’s social-security pension for even that. His wife works more than one night job. And Clark does his level best to ignore all of it. Clark is the National Lampoon‘s idea of the suburban 80s dad, and it’s scary as hell."

- Kaleb Horton, Rewatching the Original National Lampoon’s Vacation, a Postcard from Reagan’s America, Vanity Fair 

From Darkness

Emily Howell is an artificially intelligent computer code created by UC Santa Cruz professor David Cope that was fed a database of music and programmed to interpret feedback, musical and verbal, that it could interpret into its wholly original compositions

Friday, August 7, 2015

We Need a Retromania of the Left

Courtesy of Scarfolk Council

Some interesting notions in Steve Fraser's recent historical account of left resistance that concludes that America is too deeply into the reign of capitalism to be nostalgic for anything outside of it, fueling the notion that "there is no alternative".

"This is key to Fraser’s thesis. What ­fueled the resistance to the first Gilded Age, he argues, was the fact that many Americans had a recent memory of a different kind of economic system, whether in America or back in Europe. Many at the forefront of the resistance were actively fighting to protect a way of life, whether it was the family farm that was being lost to predatory creditors or small-scale artisanal businesses being wiped out by industrial capitalism. Having known something different from their grim present, they were capable of imagining — and fighting for — a radically better future.

"It is this imaginative capacity that is missing from our second Gilded Age, a theme to which Fraser returns again and again in the latter half of the book. The latest inequality chasm has opened up at a time when there is no popular memory — in the United States, at least — of another kind of economic system. Whereas the activists and agitators of the first Gilded Age straddled two worlds, we find ourselves fully within capitalism’s matrix. So while we can demand slight improvements to our current conditions, we have a great deal of trouble believing in something else entirely.

- Naomi Klein's review of  Fraser's The Age of Acquiescence, New York Times

Corey Robin actually one-ups this notion by indicating that it was a sense of lost futurism that was propelled the pre-industrial masses.  They didn't want to go back to a time before the technological advances.  Indeed, they wanted to collectivize and democratize technology, to have advancement advance them and not just the gilded class.

"In 1820, 80% of Americans were self-employed; by 1940, 80% worked for someone—or something—else. “The individual has gone,” declared John D. Rockefeller, “never to return.” Driven into the mills and the mines or onto the rails, these refugees from the shop and the farm were injured, maimed, or killed (35,000 per year) by industrial capitalism. They were the lucky ones. Many Americans couldn’t get work at all. In the 1870s, unemployment became a census category for the first time. So desperate were jobless New Yorkers that they got themselves arrested just to enjoy a night off the streets, in jail. They also struck, marched, organized, bombed and killed, launching decades of class warfare, literal and metaphoric, that would haunt the country’s elites for years to come.

"The fact of unemployment, Fraser writes, struck these men and women “as shocking, unnatural, and traumatic,” as did the astronomic new wealth of the nation’s plutocrats. That’s because they remembered a life before wage labor and their pervasive dependence on—and the compulsion of—the market. So powerful was this memory of a pre-capitalist past that it framed the way they understood their enemies: well into the twentieth century, Fraser reminds us, FDR was railing against “economic royalists” and “Tories of industry.” Not merely as propaganda but as a residue of the world not long ago left behind.

"But it was precisely that memory, Fraser argues, that shock of the new, that made these rebels so ready to demand something even newer: a cooperative commonwealth, in which production would be collectively managed and profit democratically shared. Scandalized by the novelty of capital, they did not opt for an escapist nostalgia. They instead turned to the state, traditionally an object of opprobrium, and demanded that it assume new responsibilities: take over industry, tax wealth, supply credit, store surpluses—all for the sake of a vision drawn from a pre-capitalist past.
 - Corey Robin, "We Have the Left and Right All Wrong: The Real Story of the Politics of Nostalgia and Tradition", Salon


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

If, Bwana- "AlMar Variation 1- Ponzi Piece 1"

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dave Smolen- "Biosensitivity"


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Title Sequences

Rape Culture Intervention/Listening to Women

I know most of you that have wanted to have probably already seen the story (and no amount of trigger warnings can prepare you). It was all over the news. My only two cents:

This has to be some kind of watershed moment in the history of rape culture.  Can you even recall another time when the victims were the story and not the accused/victimizer?  New York magazine cannot be given enough kudos for flipping the dynamic. 

Sublime-inal Cinema

RIP "Rowdy" Roddy Piper

At a cursory glance, They Live appears to be a film that toys with ontology as a cheap gimmick to decimate monsters. Perhaps the most lasting impression of the film is what Lethem dubs the “perfect sequence”, an artfully shot scene of Nada slowly uncovering the truth about his world as he strolls past a newsstand, through an upscale grocery store and bank.  Here, with his new glasses on, he finds that all billboards are subliminal masquerades for stark commands like “Consume” and “Marry & Reproduce”.  Lethem is absolutely correct in identifying the scene as “Ten minutes of cognitive dissonance as sublime as anything in the history of paranoid cinema, shot partly in black and white, and composed with the serene assurance of Hitchcock or Kubrick”, but if it weren’t so spellbinding as cinema, it’d be numbingly didactic and reductionist. There is absolutely no subtlety in the interpolation of advertising and media iconography as ultimately absent directives about obedience and conformity.  That the “true” world itself is filmed in black and white doesn’t help matters (though Lethem offers his own interesting series of explanations for this stylistic choice). 

Furthermore, Nada’s response is extremely troublesome. After he begins to believe his eyes, Nada has an almost instantaneously turn to violence. Without so much as an expository soliloquy on the part of the ghouls explaining their evil intentions, Nada gets right to slaughtering. Our overlords are never given an actual voice anywhere in the film. Instead, for Nada, the medium is the message, and it’s divisive enough to dictate that the newly manifest Manichean morality be reinforced by violence.
Lethem points out that, without the glasses (and even with them), the scenes of gunning down unarmed ghouls in white collar get-up is a horrific evocation of the endemic office shootings that regularly pop up across America. Nada (who is white), and later, his black construction worker friend Frank, become emblems of the emasculated male delegitimized under late capitalism, the very picture of a workplace shooter as described in Mark Ames’ treatise on the subject, Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplace to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond. Lethem also takes pain to note that Nada seems to reserve a particular bile for the indulgences of middle class housewives and the petty standards of high society ladies, breeding an unsettling undercurrent of misogyny throughout the narrative.

"It’s the second act revelation though, more than the third act revenge fantasy, that definesThey Live. This is a film about what goes unspoken, not only the ontological distance between our consented capitalist roles and our capitulated communal duties, but also the narrative gaps of experience. Nada spends the first part of the movie witnessing something happening, but he remains uncertain of what it is.  Frank, too, remains underserved by society-at-large, but requires an overlong fist fight with Nada in order to put on the glasses himself, the subtext being that the black experience in America is difficult enough without the knowledge of what lies on the other side of the veil.  Other characters side with the ghouls, proving that knowledge or “awareness” is not always an end unto itself. “Delusion,” Lethem says “is effortless, routine and stable, while the ‘truth’, acquired in some disreputable street transaction, is grueling, bewildering, and grotesque.”

- from my review of Jonathan Lethem's book on They Live