Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All Apologies

I can barely stay awake. Haven't slept in 36 hours. Am in Zurich? This is how I feel:

Stone In Focus

"Stone in Focus" is the vinyl & cassette-only track on Selected Ambient Works Volume II by Aphex Twin.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Love Is Stronger Than Death

It’s a bit of a cliché already to remark that 2016 was in some way a year of deaths. By which, people generally mean famous deaths. Yes, for pop music, there are the obvious ones: David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Paul Kantner, Maurice White, Merle Haggard, Prince Buster, Bernie Worrell, Alan Vega, Vanity, Scotty Moore, and David Mancuso. Let us also mention the ones who made crappy music but who also passed away: Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Leonard Cohen, Pete Burns, etc. I do not wish ill on them.

There were, of course, many other famous people who died in 2016: Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, John Glenn, Ed Mitchell, Mohammed Ali, Alan Rickman, Umberto Eco, George Martin, Gary Shandling, Alvin Toffler, Edward Albee, Fidel Castro, Debbie Reynolds, and William Christopher (the guy who played the chaplain on M.A.S.H.!)

But I also personally felt surrounded by death. My beloved cousin (and basically a sister to me), Shampa, unexpectedly died in February. This was the most devastating loss I've had in my life. It's still hard to process even after all these months. I'll never forget her.

A close friend Ben, died in July. A lovely academic colleague, Ann Johnson, died in December.

Mark Fisher, k-punk, died recently, took his own life. I did not know him but almost felt like I died, having voraciously read his blog in the early 2000s. Simon Reynolds has written a wonderful eulogy to him. He was only just a bit older than me.

As I get older, there will be more deaths, I am sure, in my life.

Perhaps it's time for more earnest emotion, and less esoteric rumination. It's time to not be afraid to express those things that make us live and love. So anyway, Matt Johnson wrote this song a long time ago. I never really liked it when it came out, thought it was a bit embarassing. But as I get older, I kind of appreciate its unabashed lack of pretension. Love is, indeed, stronger than death. We have to believe that sometimes, don't we?

Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores

John Cale - "Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores" [b-side to "Mercenaries (Ready for War) (live)"] (1980)

Bauhaus - "Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores" [b-side to "Telegram Sam"] (1980)

Bauhaus - "Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores (live)" [from Press The Eject And Give Me The Tape] (1982)

Can - Halleluhwah

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Every hit song America ever had

Yo La Tengo's "Lewis" from their second album New Wave Hot Dogs (1987).

"Maybe just like you some day I will forget
Every hit song America ever had
Like 'this is for all the lonely people'
And 'Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man'
And 'I've been to a desert on a horse without a name'."

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction

"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be"

"... the sphere of authenticity lies outside the technical..."

"The uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being embedded in the fabric of tradition."

Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Reproduction" (1935)

Public Enemy - "Security Of The First World" (from It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back) [released June 28, 1988]

My Bloody Valentine - "Instrumental" (from extra 7" with Isn't Anything) [released November 21, 1988]

Sinead O'Connor - "I Am Stretched On Your Grave" (from I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got) [released March 20, 1990]

Madonna - "Justify My Love" (from The Immaculate Collection) [released October 30, 1990]

Asher D - "Still Kickin'" (from Still Kickin') [released 1991]

Enigma - "Mea Culpa Part II (Orthodox Mix)" (from MCMXC a.D.) [released 1991]

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Best of 2016

My very quick and dirty list of albums I liked in 2016. They are in alphabetical order. The list is rather conservative, a bit rockist, a bit of dad rock. The real standouts I've put in highlights. Those are the ones that are my favorite of the year.

Daniel Avery - DJ-Kicks mixtape
Bat For Lashes - The Bride
Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial
David Bowie - Blackstar
David Crosby - Lighthouse
DIIV - Is The Is Are
Dinosaur Jr - Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not
eMMplekz - Rook to TN34
Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness
Tim Hecker - Love Streams
The I Don't Cares - Wild Stab
Kristin Hersh - Wyatt At The Coyote Place
Katie Gately - Color
Mica Levi - Jackie [original soundtrack]
M.I.A. - AIM
Moodymann - DJ-Kicks mixtape
Phantogram - Three
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Rob Crow's Gloomy Place - You're Doomed. Be Nice
Savages - Adore Life
School Of Seven Bells - SVIIB
Solange - A Seat At The Table
Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
Wild Nothing - Life Of Pause

Random song that I liked:

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - "Juno"

The track was created to commemorate NASA's Mission Juno to Jupiter. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 5, 2011, the Juno spacecraft arrived around Jupiter in the summer of 2016. On July 5, last year, the 8,000 lb spacecraft entered orbit around the largest planet in our solar system. NASA commissioned this track as a kind "soundtrack" the trans-Jovian orbital injection.

Reissues that had good "extra" stuff worth seeking out:

Autechre - Amber / Incunabula / Tri Repetae
Chassol - Ultrascores II / Indiamore
Crowded House - Crowded House / Temple Of Low Men / Together Alone
Fleetwood Mac - Mirage
Flying Saucer Attack - Further / Chorus
Lush - Origami
Michael Jackson - Off The Wall
Primal Scream - Screamadelica
Carl Stone - Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties
Sun Ra - Singles
Underworld - Second Toughest In The Infants
The Who - Live At Leeds
The Verve - A Storm In Heaven
The Verve - A Northern Soul