the ghost robot -

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
  for your consideration

Dear Best of the Year Listmakers,

First of all, I salute your fortitude. Organizing cultural artifacts is difficult, and it's especially hard to convert your personal preferences into numerological form. While I admire your work, let me make it easier for you: include Boy Least Likely To. People with sould and hearts and unfortunate crushes like them. That means you, dweeb.

The Boy Least Likely To- I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To Your Star
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
  beers in the fridge, socks in the dryer. we're all lost.
In reference to the post below about "Oh Yes," here is a picture of Lindsay Lohan grinding up on Julez Santana, who dressed as a postman. In the photo, Jay Leno appears both alarmed and unhappy, replaying the paternal drama of Lohan's new single.

And now to switch things up a bit, here's some honest, gold old fashioned guitar-bass-drum-vox bliss. Wish I had something more to say, but I guess that goes by the wayside when you try for daily updates. Thanks for visiting!

Tapes n' Tapes- Just Drums

The Tapes give great website.
Monday, November 28, 2005
  don't watch me, watch tv
What are our collective expectations for rap albums? As in, how many tracks have to be good, and good as in potential singles or backpacker feud fodder. The new Juelz Santana has six or seven quality cuts, and has been reviewed on the good side of medicore, mostly because neither hip-hop fans or the Diplomats really dedicated to the album format. So let's not fault penguins for not flying, huh? Juelz is not Kanye West, and so I do not expect Jon Brion strings or emotional range. This is not to ignore or discount Santana's charisma or mastery of language, but rather to recognize the commerical drives behind his work. Riff Raff recently said that Juelz is too busy repping the hood and stacking paper to actually rap, and that's okay.

Moving from a description of Santana's place in rap-art-commerce, let's talk about how he raps good. Cowabunga dude will pop your culture like he pop the glock. Relentless flow, personality from here to Harlem riding a speed-up soul sample. On that modernist tip, Juelz is a work to be confronted and understood on his own terms. Heads, you ready for something to get all caught up in you?

Juelz Santana- Oh Yes

I wonder if his producers got inspired by this little baltimore club number. Just goes to show... something about the original, about the fungibility of sixities soul er something.

DJ Technics- Mr. Postman

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
  with a fist and a fall we meet with the floor
A friend recently described me as someone who gets hung up over girls. Well, it's probably true, I think. I started to rationalize that I probably don't do it any more than the next guy, but then realized that appeals to normalcy don't go anywhere, and the next guy is usually a bastard anyway. So what is it? Is it just all the usual reasons that make girls so great, or is this some psychological stand-in for some larger existential crisis? What makes you hungry late at night, lying in bed, trying to sleep? Maybe I shouldn't worry about it so much, or worry about the worrying, but instead keep making music.

This song might be about getting hung up over girls. At least it was for me, a couple of weeks ago. Triumph of the listener and all that. It suggests filling the silence with deep soul drums, some high-hats, and satisfying synths. Notice how the DFA emphasize the 'quiet' of the breakdown by putting a tiny drum machine way down in the mix. Little sounds make the silence feel big. I think they might also play with the stereo balance a bit. ANYWAYZ, this song is on some flat-out amazing "In Your Eyes" Llyod Dobbler shit. To speak like a magainze, I am most anticipating the DFA-produced Hot Chip full length, due in early 2006.

In self-reflexive consideration of format news: Nick Catchdubs, a writer at the Fader, as well as a dj, and graphic designer, asks “How hard is it to put up an mp3 and say ‘He raps good?!’”

Hot Chip- Just Like We (Breakdown) (DFA Remix)
Saturday, November 26, 2005
  thrift store paintings

Well, I guess it's time to step my German microhouse game up. Kompakt records, here I come.

Superpitcher is one of Kompakt's star artist/remixers. His dark compositions evoke night drives, Brian Eno, private notebooks, the paintings of Gustave Moreau, longhand love letters, and the midnight romanticism of De Esseintes.

The MFA- The Difference It Makes (Superpitcher Remix)

DNTEL- (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Superpitcher Kompakt Mix)
Friday, November 25, 2005
  straight up primpin you can find me in l.a.
Sure I'm bored now, but in a month, I'm be back in Los Angeles.

Aaron's records on Pico is closing, but the news has been out for about a month, so it'll probably be picked over by the time I get there. Going to Amoeba is always fun. I think it's the biggest record store in the country. I've never really looked through their used vinyl section, so that'll be a treat. I also want to stop by SoulSounds (flyer at the right).

In other news, I'm starting to wonder about the the usefulness of this blog, and in some of my other projects in general. I stumbled onto some punk highschool kid's server space. "DJ darKstaR" had a bunch of pictures of the car his parents bought him, topless myspace girls, and his junior turntables. I think I actually knew this guy from a message board. He also had cover art up for "the Art of the Mixtape" or some shit. How could I not download it and listen? Could I resist?
No fucking way. You do not look a gift from the internet in the horse mouth. Or something.

And now the story gets worse. Much worse.
It was really good. Probably an hour long- but with four DFA/lcd cuts, Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and some of my favorite electro jamz. Very competent blends too. Ugh- gross. I feel kinda nauseous. I respect the technique, and I'm jealous of the skill, so I should hate this guy, right? Hate the player not the game? Do the uncool destroy the cool? Are the cool just touchable so it doesn't matter? Am I stupid for caring? Wait, who inheirits the earth?
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
  take pictures

Shit man, I hadn't blogged in like 12 days. And i've gotta do something while I listen to music, right? So the posts keep on rolling.

I'm going to put out a mix next April, and I'm already thinking about it. I really wanna show how "subterraean homesick blues" illustrates most of the ideas of hip-hop, a musical movmement that comes decades later and is based on very different, though no less American, musical sources. People usually don't think about Sixties folk and contemporary hip-hop together; our culture treats Sixties folk as the sacred words of the prophets, and while hip-hop gets career achievement specials on tv, some still susupect it of somehow disposable. Nelly is not quite temporary, but he's not timeless. Tupac is a matyr, but do people fall in love to "I get around," they ask?

I'd like to make a blend that bridges the gap a bit. Subterran homesick blues is an up-tempo joint with inside jokes, nonsense lyrics, and an incredibly repetative bassline that is nothing short of revolutionary. I mean, leftist terrorist groups take their names from this song, son! Word is bond! I threw "Westside story" up, but it didn't work out all that well. Then I tried "Drive Slow," which faired better but left me wanting more. Now i'm going to try Dead Prez's hip-hop and the "The Corner" to see if I can get some music-message synergy going. I'd really like it if "Grindin'" would work- give it that raw crack rock sound and watch people freak out.

This song doesn't really do the trick, but it could work help out in the larger mix. We'll see.

Sizzla- Subterraean Homesick Blues

I've tried not to say much about my personal life. At first I thought it was because I wanted this thing to be semi official respectable. I hit a stride there for a while and thought it might be going place. After a really hard week (hence the lack of posts), I've decided there might be another reason. I think that sometimes I might be embarassed to admit who I actually AM to the whole wide world web. Well, I'm not. At least I'm not anymore. I mean, this thing isn't finna turn all emo rap or shit like that... just sayin'.

Started thinking about my winter/holiday mix series. Last year, dude and I picked the tracks, and recorded a comedy bit in the middle. Then I made a custom collage for each one and ..sent 'em out to tweleve friends. It was fun, so I'm doing to do it again. Word.

Taste of what's to come.

Run-DMC -Christmas In Hollis
Thursday, November 10, 2005
  cee-lo doesn't fuck with the kilo

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Clipse and the Re-Up Gang, in a repetative association with Clinton Sparks, proudly present:

the Drug Dealer as the epic hero of modern life.

We Got It 4 Cheap, the Clipse's recent mixtape series, bluntly aims to assert complete lyrical domination over the entire commercial industry. They will get on your beat, they will out rap you, and leave your heart stopped like thatmotivational speaker yelling "Whoa! Is that Bill Shakespeare I see over there!?"

Kanye "Crack Music" West and Ice "Push Rhymes Like Weight" Cube have already made the analogy, but music enriches lives, while crack destroys them. The Clipse don't rap like dealers- they're good at both, but they're seperate sports. In a ghetto far, far away, Baudelaire said the figure of the prostitute best represented his time and his city. The Clipse choose a different protagonist, and make a ruthlessly compelling case for the righteous grandeur of the villian, reminding me a bit of the irrespressible charm of Humbert Humbert.
What does this all add up to? How can we evalutate their case? Pitchfork/ Hardly Sean +Riff Central have already talked their shit. Read about it, while I think on it.

Wax on wax off, poetic:
Re-up Gang-Zen
  glitch you can't scratch

I started writing several different posts for today, but I couldn't quite get it right. Early this morning, I tried to write up my first impressions of the leaked Strokes tracks. I wanted to analyze the types of files that had leaked, how this pattern differs from major leaks and indie leaks alike, talk about the songs, admit that I hadn't listened to that much, then discuss what my non-listening could mean for me as a dude and for the Strokes as a band. Well, none of those clauses actually contains any description of music itself, which sort of defeats this enterprise, so I resolved to listen more, write reviews, and find something else for today.

So I tried posting "Your Mama's On Crack Rock," a Miami bass song with lewd raps, good punch lines, and playground taunts for a chorus. I haven't really discussed misogyny in rap, or the ethical implications of purchasing or playing music with a damaging social message. While this post also looked good, it quickly degenerated into a beat vs. lyrics, intention vs. meaning mess that might please some twisted lit professor in a cruel corner of the world, but proved too much for me.

Instead of working out the snags and pressing on with two good post ideas, I've now fallen into "what should I write about" writing. That approach is kinda boring, trite, dreadful, whatever. Or is it? Example: At first, I thought that the Nas verse on "We Major" sorta sucked.Esco, you're a rap legend, but c'mon dude. Stop musing about what you should rap about and get to the point, right?

"I heard the beat and I ain't know what to write
First line, should it be about the hoes or the ice?
4-4's or Black Christ? Both flows would be nice
Rap about big paper or the black man plight
At the studio console asked my man to the right
What this verse sound like, should I freestyle or write?
He said, Nas, what the fans want is Illmatic, Stillmatic
Picked up the pad and pencil and jotted what I feel"

But maybe there's more to this. Maybe it's a statement of purpose. Maybe his indecision is the fucking message- he's taking apart the false dicotomy between the commercial and conscious rap- like Kanye did, and on Kanye's new album no less. The rest of his verse is pretty great too- he starts talking about starting his own label and the derth of black executives (a purposeful echo of Jay-Z's recent career path, subtle foreshadowing to the Carter-Jones truce perhaps?)

So, like Nas and Kanye, I'm gonna talk my shit again, and I will jot what I feel. Which I just did. Which proves my point. Which is that I didn't have a point.

The Unicorns- Abomidable Snowman

Listen to the Unicorns. Buy their album. Listen to Islands play this song on their new record. Let us look to the heavens, let us find a god, and let us request that the Unicrons get back together, cause the Islands version isn't as good.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
  crack n'roll

Warning: the following song contains offensive material on several levels. First of all, there's kids making fun of other kids and saying mean thangs about kids' moms. As your DARE officer said, teasing isn't cool, and skateboarding is dangerous. Secondly, there's a candid description of a drug epidemic, a portrayal of the prostitution of desperation, and a fatalist attitude that gets us nowhere. There's offensive, insensitve language. Did I mention the vicious msyogeny? No? Well I should. Because there's a lot of it. The rapper actually exploits a crackhead's need for a hit to satisfy his own sexual desires, taking it from bad to evil.

But its kinda funny. A little bit. At least in the same way that many terrible jokes are funny.

So what to do? What are the ethical implications of listening to, playing and sharing music with specific negative messages? Context matters, and you probably can listen to stuff as an "joke" with out doing too much harm, but where does irony end? Do jokes excuse evil shit?

The Doggs- Your Mama's On Crack Rock
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
  watch me work
Holy barely concealed sexual metaphors, Fix-It Man! I was trying to find a song that fit the picture, and this was as close as I got. You win some, you lose some, and then you blog some. Tracklisting from last show coming soon.

Ragtyme- Fix It Man (Marshall Jefferson Vocal Mix)
Monday, November 07, 2005
  voididson college

Original content coming at ya:

Whoosh! There goes the tryanny of distance, the driving map of the world folded together by wires, the parlour globe smashed and swept into a tidy, incoherent pile. Emotions and insights expressed though song lyrics, meaning defined by television retrospective! Like OMG we're totally POMO!!12.

In other words: I scanned a bunch of stuff lately, so they'll be less blatant content-image stealing from the internets, but just the same amount of song listening experience sharing.

For your ears only: here's an early M.I.A. song, recorded for her XL demo. In this interview with Stylus, she maintains that she really, really wasn't influenced by grime. While that's certainly true of her album, this sounds thoroughly Roll Deep to me. Can anyone identify the other vocalist? I obviously need to step my grime game up, else fall behind those Midwest high school freshman with myspace accounts and several drafts of their "best of 2005" list already written.

M.I.A.- Lady Killa
Thursday, November 03, 2005
  positive re-enforcement
The following song is dedicated to the GA girls who rushed over to my blog and scattered semi-coherent comments all over the place.

Fabric is a popular night club in London, Eng-a-land. In addition to being super hyphy (duh) on a regular basis, Fabric releases mixes from its celebrity song pickers. Diplo just put out Fabric 24, and Detroit techno gawd Carl Craig helms 25. Today's song comes from a mix that Dips did to promote the other, commercially avaliable mix.

Now, much electronic ink hath been spilled over the burgeoning micro-crunk bounch aesthetic. To put it plainly, I have little to add. Lil Jon heard "Grindin," and understood how silence in hip-hop could be downright dirty-scary, especially in the era of Bad Boy samples of overblown 80s hits. So, Lil Jon started writing four note synth lines and made millions, and now every no name producer is trying to do the same thing. With such a starck background, the MC's has got to have a big voice and a bigger personality to fill the song out.

"GA Girls" takes crunk, keeps it quiet, but makes it pretty. I wish I knew more about this song. I think the girls in Crime Mob are responsible.

Four-sound independent crunk beats three chord punk five times out of five.

GA Girls- GA Girls
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
  escape from l.a.
"Who is this?"
"What is this song you're playing?"
"Uh.. hold on a second. Okay. It's Hot Chip."
"I've never heard of them."
"They're gonna have a new 12 inch on DFA."
"What? What?"
"Uh nothing. Do you know what's going on after?"

Hot Chip- Over and Over

Turn it up.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
  status ain't hood, or, could possibly be hood
Most band and personal blogs are pretty boring. I was here, and then I was there, and then I created a sense of self-identity through my selection and endorsement of music, books, tv, etc. These musings are "personal" in that they present an online datebook, but more often resemble a demographic portrait than the struggles and insights of a particular mind, situated in a very particular skull.

John Mclean's diary entrys are pretty far from an excercise in demography. His sober musing on drug music, and his own drug past, are captivating, brutally personal, and pretty damn insightful without feeling like weekday sermons in some L.A. bungalow. Take a look:

"We could get her over to her apartment, she had a room like a half mile away in a building where a lot of real lowlifes lived so it would be not so out of the ordinary to find some chick od'ed in her little room. But anyway, you can imagine some of the complications, like you don't just carry some body around. To make a long story short, we decided to take the cushions off the couch, put her on it where the cushions go, and throw a blanket over the whole thing, then make it look like we were moving the couch to her place. Looking back on it, there were a lot holes in this scheme. "

Juan, make the Walkmen and write a novel.

The above brings me to a pressing, self conscious question: how personal should the blog be? My individual taste is on display (with ribbons!), but I've tried to avoid personal details and focus on "the music" or at least "the culture." Wise decision? While I really don't have that many readers, some of my real-life friends do check in here from time to time. Hmmm. I guess I'll get some better webstats for the page and think on it.

Daft Punk-Human After All (Juan Maclean Mix)
pen to paper, fingers to keys, mind at work, never at ease.

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