the ghost robot -

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
  hyper not hyper
Experimental Jetset is a three person Dutch design firm with a great name. They love music, simplicity, and Helvetica. They are probably most famous for their


t-shirts, a parody of which appears at the left. Explore their website- their work is inspiring, and their descriptions enlightening.

This video game nostalgia rap has little to do with Dutch design, but much to do with the popular resurgence of Bay Area rap. As Keak the Sneak says, it's about doing you- being excentric and individual and weird- not the predictable combination of bottles, bling and bitches that just might make you the King of New York. I have a strong desire to play this song for a large crowd of people, possibly as a segue into the vintage novelty hit "Pacman Fever."

Mac Dre and Mac Mall- Dredio
Thursday, May 25, 2006
  the wonders of the world

New Links

fluo kids
- a music blog in English and French, with a healthy interest in American television, striped shirts, sun glasses and dance music.

discopia- an online magazine from Scotland that focuses on disco and its descendents. great interviews with music makers new and old.

And now, some stellar interstellar chamber disco. Full write up coming tomorrow.

Kelly Polar- Here In the Night
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
  fight the urge
Corporate music blogging is upon us. Read on, and enter a brave new world.

NPR has created a new feature appropriately titled "Song of the Day." The project seems less a new member of the NPR family, and more a long-lost cousin. Call it This American MP3 Blog. The feature explores songs as auditory special interest stories; each little musical narrative tells us larger truths about our culture, our lives and ourselves. I appreciate the gesture, but it tastes like a bit like health food breakfast cereal, rich in fiber and riboflavin. Sure, it's good for me, and is provides me with the energy I need to get through another day in my active, balanced life, but it’s hardly a reason to jump right out of bed. I read music blogs for the snap of creative, experimental writings, the crackle of breathless excitement, and the effusive joy of writing about pop music. Song of the Day isn't oatmeal, but it sure as hell isn't Sugar-Coated Frosted Sugar Bombs Now With Marshmallows.

URGE sees songs not as feature stories, but instead as the Featured Product of the Week! Conceived by Microsoft and MTV as an alternative to iTunes, URGE offers a monthly service with unlimited downloads for your portable music player or a separate 99-cents-a-track plan. In the first plan, you rent your music collection, and in the second, you own. These corporate players have also recruited some top bloggers to generate content, which will hopefully in turn generate sales. Nothing wrong with helping people learn more about the music they love, and paying off some smart writers in the process. Fluxblog and HoustonSoReal are on-board.

While URGE sounds like a great legal alternative to them wild mp3 blogs, there's a catch. Several, actually. Songs from URGE won't play on your iPod, and the service is flat-out unavailable to Mac users. The songs come as digital rights protected Windows Media files (DRM .WMAs), which makes it tough to share, manipulate, or do any of the things associated with traditional ownership. Bummer, huh?

Instead of fighting iTunes of the corporate battlefield, URGE should focus on the listeners. We got iPods, ok? Many of us would rather buy, own, and love a single album than borrow a million albums from the rich kid up the street, on the strict condition that we return them on Saturday morning or he's teeellllling! Some of us have Macs, and we're really not all that bad. Lastly, while most of us don't really care, a few frenzied people believe that the internet offers the promise of free and universal access to any kind of information. These nerds and idealists take issue with all of your proprietary machinations and wonder why you deliberately worked to exclude some genuine music fans. Where the heck did that urge come from?
Monday, May 22, 2006
  sonic youth-schizophrenia

Sonic Youth is large and intimidating. They basically curated the 1990s. They are totally best buds with the people that make underground culture happen across the world. If something cool is going to happen, if a renowned painter is starting a band, if a band is playing at a museum opening, if you've figured out how to make guitar feedback into a limited edition t-shirt, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon will be there.
  yes we are

"...send me to Iraq I come back with don heat/
Teeth, less than a week, they be callin' me/
Chief of Defense, cuz I sure do cook when it's beef/"

Ghostface Killah- Biscuits (Featuring Trife)

That's what you expected from him, right? How about a surprisingly moving neo-soul ballad that is on some straight John Lennon shit? Hmmm?

Ghostface Killah- Love

Take a second listen to that pretty toney album. Ya Digg?
Sunday, May 21, 2006
  tell me when to bleep

I know that blogs are by nature self-referential, but I would like to try to keep that to a minimum. If you're not down with whining on them innanets, skip down to tha song.

I would hate to read through my archive and see every post begin with "Sorry for the lack of posts, but [legs eaten by sharks, saw a girl wearing a liquid liquid t-shirt and fainted, and other excuses unworthy of sympathy]"

It better to just provide CONTENT and hope that keeps the readers coming back. Checking on my "eXTReMe" tracking, I'm stuck around thirty readers a day. If I want more, the next step would be to email other blogs and ask (very nicely) for link exchanges. I could also just provide a better product for my existing readers, hoping for prasieofmouf. [Stream of consciousness neologism soon to hit the Times : "word of blog."] That would mean a redesign, more frequent posts, paying for webspace to get rid of yousendits and more frequent original artwork.

As far as I know, Sinden is part of the London brokenbeat scene around Solid Groove/Switch/Dave Taylor and his Counterfeet record label. They've been taking on U.S. hip-hop of late, and they are straight killin it. Downlaod, and See Murder.

E-40- Tell Me When To Go (Sinden Remix)

Fun link, soon to be added to my sampler.
Super Mario Audio Sound Synth
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
  turntables, laptop, sampler, cables

Nowhere Front: May 2006 Mix

While I am certainly proud this mix, my DJing is a workin progress. My commentary will hopefully show both what I have accomplished so far as well as where I’m still developing as DJ.

WARNING: the audio is spotty in a couple of spots, so be warned.

Untitled-Afrika Bambatta
and the Soul Sonic Force

This little chant comes from one of the godfathers of modern music, hip-hop in particular and electronic music in general. Since most of the mix aims to showcase exciting developments in hip-hop in the era of instant internet globalization, the refrain “we are the world of rap” works as my informal thesis statement. Granted, it does not work very hard, but I still thought it was a good way to punch in the clock

Most DJs use bits of found sound, often culled from film soundtracks, as sonic punctuation. Here, I used my sampler to play a kung fu flip sound effect and a quick laser noise.

Japón- Residente Calle 13
Fusing elements of salsa with hip-hop and its Jamacian
cousin dancehall, Reaggeton is an emerging genre of Latino music, commercial
force and a case study in how cross-pollination of musical influences can lead
to rapid artistic evolution. The strings and title evoke the unknown Orient, a
good place to start our trip. Residente Calle 13 is not the genre’s most well
known artist, but he’s a charismatic and sophisticated emcee, calling to mind
the witty drawl of the best Houston rapper’s today.

Social Commentary (Galore Riddim)- Dr. Evil
Leftside and Esco are one the hottest production teams in
Jamaica (think Pharrell and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes for a U.S. parallel).
Leftside recently started rapping over his own beats, and has adopted the vocal
characteristics of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers film series. Yes, that’s bizarre, but dancehall has a healthy appetite for novelty in its pop music. This plea for peace samples last summer’s reggae crossover hit “Welcome to Jamrock,” voiced by Damien Marley (Bob’s son). Intertextuality like what what what. Dr. Evil’s racist punch lines are distasteful, but quite world conscious (unconscious?)

Dans Le Club- TTC
I tired to do some scratching on this transition, hoping to
reduce turbulence on the leap from dancehall to French electro-crunk. TTC have
adopted all of the stylistic obsessions of American hip-hop, and I imagine the
lyrics are pretty similar to 50 Cent’s “In da Club.” While these French
gangsters may wear spotless sneakers and over-sized fits hats like their
counterparts across the sea, they have very different musical influences Most
American rap draws from the musical traditions of soul and funk, while TTC
culls more from the electronic off-shoots of disco: Chicago house, Detroit
techno, and sleazy continental dance pop.

Boliyann- Punjabi MC
Bhangra is Indian dance music that uses traditional
instruments and singers, but emulates the loop-based production style of
hip-hop. Bhangra also often interpolates popular hits. This song employs the
bass line of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Ya Money,” a huge popular production from
the Neptunes. Again, this was a pretty rough transition between widly different records. I tried to use a couple of ‘spinbacks’ [flicking a record quickly so it spins backwards rapidly] to center things, along with a bit of choice dialogue from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.

No Hay Igual- Nelly Furtado
The former VH1 songbird has sought out a harder, more club-friendly sound for her new album. On the last track, the East stole a bit from the West, and here the U.S. returns the favor, as Pharrell and Chad create a vaguely tribal rhythm. The world’s top musicians are constantly stealing from one another. Deal with it.

Holiday (Dub)- Madonna
Pass That Dutch (Acapella)- Missy Elliott
The Neptunes drums disappear, and a dub edit of Maddona’s eighties hit emerges. I failed to match the tempos the incoming and outgoing songs here, and consequently, Ms. Furtado sounds a bit uncomfortable on Ms. Cicconne’s beat, but I’ve done worse. The world’s top deejays have long created longer, simpler versions of hit songs for the dance floor, and this long dub of Holiday is a great example. With most of the original vocals gone and some room to work with, I’ve added a couple of Missy Elliott’s verses from ‘Pass That Dutch.’ This on-the-fly mash-up [or original remix] works pretty well. The introductory transition bridged r’n’b tracks separated by more than twenty years, and the acapella/instrumental combination puts some of pop music’s most creative women side by side. Success. Time for something different.

U Nah Have A Phone (Hello Moto Riddim)- Vybz Kartel
One of the best transitions on the mix, if I don’t say so myself, and I just did. Just as ‘Holiday’ starts to drag, I threw in another spinback and start a huge dancehall track about the importance of cell phones in today’s dating environment.

Short Dick Cuzi- Yelle
Another French song heavily influenced by house and techno, this is a vicious attack rap dis on Cuiziner, a member of TTC. This track is good antidote to Vybz Kartel’s relentless bravado, and a little interlude between dancehall tracks. Doesn’t French sound particularly suited to rhyming couplets? Again, I flubbed the transition a bit. Yelle and Vybz step over one another’s lines, like a less sophisticated Robert Altman film. The audio is suspect in spots, and I blame
the equipment.

Applause Riddim Instrumental
Bucky Done Gun (Acapella)- M.I.A.
Warning: Audio drop outs continue around 19:50, which is frustrating.

The Applause Riddim is the basis for Sean Paul’s “Temperature,” a multi-platinum hit this spring. M.I.A. makes music that has strong ties to dancehall, hip-hop, and the new British brand of syncopated urban music called grime. In many ways, she IS globalized hip-hop, and her lyrics will tell you so much. She made one of the best albums of 2005, and her bootleg mixtape with Diplo was my favorite bit of recorded music in 2004. M.I.A. has had the final say on the world of rap, so I’m leaving hip-hop and its direct relations for a bit.

Gold Lion (Diplo Remix)- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Diplo is one of the most experimental, exuberant and forward thinking DJs working right now. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have an equally strong claim to those three characteristics, but they prefer to be filed under ‘rock band.’

Pressure Zone- Beck
Classic rock, weirdo electronics, major-key harmonies, feedback noises, sampled spray cans and junk yard angle lyrics. Beck comes to your house, turns on your TV, your radio and your hi-fi, and says it just works best that way.

The Avenue- Roll Deep
Returning to grime, a distinctly British interpretation of hip-hop, commonly characterized by its bleak, minimal beats and exceedingly harsh accents. That’s doesn’t really sound like what you just heard. Oh wait! That’s because scene-pioneers Roll Deep Crew decided it was more fun to rap about heartbreak over cheesy new wave ballads.

E Minha-Deise Tigrona
Loud Brazilian tambour drums, stolen samples, home computer production, screaming kid MCs, and Portuguese sex raps. This is baile funk, an incredibly thrilling and vital music from the slums around Rio de Janiero. Diplo is primarily responsible for exposing this genre to an international

La Ritournelle (Metronomy Mix)- Sebastian Tellier
A little bit of twisted French house that just seemed right

Hot in Here- Tiga
Closer-Nine Inch Nails/ In da Club- 50 Cent
Tiga DJs in the European dance style, and here he voices a cover of Nelly’s “Hot in Here” in a self consciously ‘white’ way. Then I play a mash-up that pairs 50 Cent’s breakthrough single about da hip-hop club with Trent Reznor’s ode to animalistic lust. This might be a meditation on racially coded responses to universal physical desires, a statement about the universality of certain human emotions and the artificiality of musical genre. It’s not. These are jamz, plain and simple.

The Lovecats- the Cure
One Mic (acapella)- Nas
This is my closer. The shift in tone and mood is drastic, but I’m trying to get your attention. The Cure’s bass line continues the cultural confusion of the last two songs, and just enough rhythmic backing to Nas’s plea for self-expression.
Monday, May 15, 2006
  the island of misfit toys

Things I would like to know more about:

Contemporary regional music and the related issues of cultural imperialism, trend-hunting, the financial dividends of free promotion, and the importance of cross-pollination in artistic evolution.

The best process for organizing one's contacts, and whether the e-nerds have added an instant map feature for quick road trip planning.

How independence, both from academia and parental reach, will affect my cooking and, in turns, my eating and living.

What I've lost by leaving this college town. Items include access to the god-head OED, which charges $300 per annum for an individual subscription.

Nouvelle Vague- Human Fly

My praise for the last Nouvelle Vague album surprised even myself. Sample a song from their second effort. They've stuck to new wave covers, but they've lost a bit of the bossa nova instrumentation. Still good. Sasha (dearest) agrees here.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Daft Punk are (is?) making a movie. Interstella 5555 was Daft Punk's last movie and it RULED. Specifically, it ruled the sub-genre of animated films about rock bands kidnapped from other dimensions, set to the sophmore albums of French house duos.

La Bionda- I Wanna Be Your Lover

This number is about humans discovering that vodocoder'd aliens not only exist but are interested in more than just companionship.

Is the new Stills album good? I'll get back to you.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
  my brain, dry of thoughts
The problem with the Believer is that a magazine about writing, writers, books, and things worth writing about will inevitably make me want to read more. I currently do not read four novels a month, nor have I developed a sentimental relationship with another hardcovers. To repeat: I did not have literary relations with that publisher. [Although the recent coverage of Evergreen in both Stop Smiling and the aforementioned magazine has made me develop a crush, at least.]

Reading, not writing, goes on. One book follows another. Novels pile up on bedstands across American in filthy orgies, ink and glue everywhere.

All this is to say that I am in denial about music. I tell myself that each song has an end- that this balland would work so well as a mixtape-closer, that this album will teach me how to use reverb properly, etc. Very few of these things are true. Songs aren't fodder for my magical musical making machine. One after another, songs deserve to be loved for who they are, unique snowflakes and precious children, each different and worthy of all your heart.

Nick Hornby writes a monthly column in the Believer. He reminds me of a particular British sensibility that in turn reminds me of the following musical artists (but not the featured remixer.)

Badly Drawn Boy- The Shining (Avalanches Remix)

Belle & Sebastian- I'm A Cuckoo (Avalanches Remix)

Drawing: Peter van dyck, contemporary drawer.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
  can you do the genuflect?
Time for some heaters.

Architecture in Helsinki- Do the Whirlwind

Indie pop done soo well.

Snuky Tate- He's the Groove
Pushing the boundaries of disco. He's the groove, he's the man, he's the pope in the vatican.

Vbyz Kartel- Emergency

My favorite dancehall toaster pon di siren riddim. This is not blog-hot, but he's got an album out.

Genres I'm interested in learning more (much more) about: Soca, Bhangra, Bollywood Soundtracks, Reggaeton, Merengue before and after reggaeton, Tropacalia, Disco.

Genre's I'm not particularly interested in learning more about: Trance, Drum n' Bass, Jungle, Most Metal, Emo, Modern Alternative Rock,
pen to paper, fingers to keys, mind at work, never at ease.

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