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April 28, 2004

Lies, lies, lies

Forgot to mention a bit of self-promotional news: I'm happy to announce that I've finally been published in Slate. For any who missed it, two weeks back, it's a piece on Liars' new album (which I quite like, in contrast to most critics) and the critical beatdown it received from the likes of Spin and Rolling Stone. It lost a little of its nuance in the shortening for publication, but I'm happy with it, and rather pleased that for once I've staked out a contentious position. (It's tiring being so damned agreeable all the time.) Anyway, you can read it and call me names here.

Kölnifornia Dreamin'

I didn’t intend to pull another disappearing act, but being unable to work on one’s own computer has a detrimental effect on blogging. (When, o when, will Europe go wireless?) Back now from two weeks in London and Cologne with way more news than I can cover here, so just a few notes to get back in blogging mode.

First of all, big up Stelfox for the hospitality and classic English breakfast (my new production alias is going to be called “Blood Pudding” in your honor), Matt Woebot for the “Dibby Dibby Sound” 12” (Soft Pink Truth meets breakstep? Zinc and Soundmurderer meet Japanese avant-folkers Ghost?), Luka for consenting to come down to Plastic People for a Forward-affiliated night featuring Slimzee (it weren’t so bad now, were it?), Steve G and Nick Kilroy for representing at my Tate talk, man like Nick Docherty for the drinks and listage at Fabric, Nick Craddock for being him own sweet self, and probably a lot more that I’m forgetting – and that’s just London.

As for Cologne, what can I say – that’s a trip I’ve been waiting some seven years for, ever since I had my first vague inklings of the city’s strength thanks to records from Profan, Karaoke Kalk, Mouse on Mars, and other forces circa ’97. The city didn’t disappoint, from the droolingly fantastic Kompakt shop* (they really ought to supply logo bibs, to keep us vinyl Pavlovians from dribbling all over the pristine stock, which is ordered not only by genre and label but by catalogue number within each section) to the hospitality of the Kompakt, Sub Static, and Areal crews. I joked that I would arrive with an empty record bag and come home with a full one, and damned if I didn’t outdo my wishful quip – between purchases and promos I came home loaded down with an overflowing record crate plus two triple-bagged parcels of 12”s. (No thanks to German Wings for the 100 euro overweight fee!)

I barely know where to begin with a description of my haul, but highlights include:

-- Turner, “After Work” Carsten Jost Dial-remix (Ladomat 2000), played to masterful effect by Tobias Thomas at Total Konfusion
-- Phoenix, Alphabetical (Source) – a surprise hit in the Kompakt offices
-- Remixes for Lawrence by Carsten Jost, Isolée, et al (Dial) – an oldie but goodie
-- Geili Kylie, “Can’t Get You Out/Sahara” (white) – bizarre, clunky synthpop cover of the hit featuring male vocals – cheeky! creepy!
-- Donnacha Costello, “Grape” (Minimise) – classic minimal techno that’s as functional as it is moody
-- “I Need a Freak/Superfreak” (white) – bootleg electro-house remixes of Sexual Harassment classic from a well-known Cologne producer
-- W.B., three white-label 12”s from Wighnomy Brothers, remixing female vocalists I can’t identify into delicate, blowsy click-house (and schaffel) instaclassics
-- Panache, “Unicorn/Cheval” 10” (Atavisme) – Jackson and Pepe Bradock getting deeper than deep with strings and golden rattling hi-hats
-- Sten, Restless EP (Sender) – Lawrence showing a harder edge, though still well melancholic, under another name; two stun guns for the Sten gen
-- Frivolous, Coquitlam BC EP, 1 of 2 (Karloff) – Background-affiliated artist with a quad of hard-to-place house tunes, bright and sunny but still decidedly off-center; like Herbert remixing Blaze
-- Duplex 100, Shooting Star EP (Onitor) – juicy analog techno/house with echoes of Morgan Geist, Fabrice Lig
-- Dirt Crew, Cleaning Up the Ghetto EP (MBF) – dirty Chicago house on new Traum offshoot; wouldn’t sound out of place on Robsoul
-- Rabimmel Rabummel Rabum Bum Bum EP (Areal) – Basteroid, Konfekt, Metope and Ada getting naaaasty on four tunes dedicated to a children’s St. Martin’s Day carol, of all things; Ada is, as ever, organ-tastic, and when the bass hits, it’s like the sky peeling open
-- Robag Wruhme, Wuzzelbud “KK” (Musik Krause) – double LP of itchy, scratchy, raw-rubbed, salt-scrubbed drum machinations and glitch funk from the genius Wruhme, due out in June (that’s right I’m on some upfront shit!)
-- and last but not least… Westbam and Nena, “Oldschool Baby” (piano mix), featured on Mayer’s Fabric mix. I’m not afraid to ape the master!

And that’s just the shortlist. More updates soon…

* Photo above is from as-yet unbuilt studio spaces in the sub-basement of Kompakt's five-storey command center

April 12, 2004

London bound

Taxes are done, suitcase is packed, and I'm off to London - for the first time in 20 years, in fact. For anyone in the vicinity, I'll be doing a little talk this Saturday alongside Scanner and Stephen Vitiello at Tate Modern. If you're in the neighborhood, come on by.

After that it's off to Cologne -- so expect some properly jetsetterish site updates soon. It's been a little slow 'round Chez Sherburne, I realize.

Now go listen to Pepito.

April 11, 2004

One night in the Dogpatch

Yet another new set from the Beta Lounge has gone up online. This one's from last Thursday's little relaunch party. (Note that part of the relaunch entails a log-in function, which means you'll have to sign up to listen to streams on Beta Lounge now. But it's free.) You can access the set here. There are even a few photos, and a tracklist to come soon.

One note: the Kelis/St. Plomb mashup is totally ripped from Michael Mayer, who did the same combo (and mixed much better) in Miami. I couldn't resist trying to recreate it. So apologies and respect to the originator.

Here's a tracklisting:

Carsten Jost, "Krokus," Superpitcher remix (Dial/Ladomat 2000)
M.I.A., "Fade the Pages" (Sub Static)
Konfekt, "jez[sof]" (Areal)
M.I.A., "Don't Cry" (Trapez)
Rex the Dog, "Prototype" (Kompakt)
Basteroid, "Against Luftwiderstand Remixe," Ada + Metope + Jake Fairley remix (Areal)
Marcos Cabral, B1 (Trapez ltd 16)
Robag Wruhme, "Jena Maks" Koerner & Treplec rmx (Milnor Modern)
Kalabrese, "Set Me Free" (Perlon)
Laszlo Beckett & Steven Taylor, "You Gotta Work" (Hand on the Plow)
Yoshihiro Arikawa, "Lamp Black" (Kodaira)
St. Plomb, "A Bat in My Shoe" (Mental Groove)
Kelis, "Milkshake" (Star Trak)
Lucien-N-Luciano, "Stone Age" (Cadenza)

April 10, 2004

Lyric of the week

I knew I was in trouble when I received a CD from a band named Bad Acid Trip, signed to System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian's Serjical Strike Records. I can't decide which is worse -- the band name, the album title (Lynch the Weirdo), or the cover art, which features, um, a drawing of a guy in a suit with his face peeling off. And a flower with an eyeball in it. And some water. Water? I think it's water. It might be a sort of low-grade allusion to Van Gogh's Starry Night, but I think it's water.

Then I read the lyrics. The first song, called "Cigarette Pack," is about sex toys, and it reads something like a Good Vibrations jingle as penned by some posi-core kids:

"We are your sex toys
Plastic cunts and rubber dongs
Helping your imagination to grow nice and strong
Give you a ticket to the possibilities
Cuz society would rather
you hide your fantasies"

etc., etc. But it gets better! Just soak up this couplet, which is surely an outtake from the most P.C. espisode of Schoolhouse Rock ever (you know, from that episode where they teach you about dental dams -- long unavailable on network television, you can still download it on the net, I hear):

"We are your sex toys
The keys to your repressive cage
Crossing boundaries of race, gender, class, and age."

If ever there were a lyric less apt to make me less apt to badger the witness, it'd have to be that one. Funny thing is, though, that the band's not half bad. They play spazzy noodlecore that nods, between headbangs, to the likes of Mr. Bungle, RKL, the Accused, Eyehategod, Anthrax, etc. It's no Martha Splatterhead's Maddest Stories Ever Told, but it's hardly the worst example of the morbid goofcore department. In fact, if I had a car, this would probably become pretty standard drive-time listening. Now if only they could do something about that name.

April 09, 2004

Out of Office Reply

Thank you for your message. This is to inform you that Philip Sherburne will be out of the office from June 2 to June 6. During this time he will be attending Montreal's MUTEK festival. While he will make every effort to respond to your message in a timely manner, the festival's lineup -- which includes Plastikman, Ricardo Villalobos, Isolée, Krikor, Portable, Crackhaus, Richard Chartier and COH, Schneider TM, Donna Summer, Smith N Hack, Burnt Friedman with Jaki Liebzeit and Joseph Suchy, the core of the Raster-Noton roster, a DJ set from Herbert, and an opening night featuring Junior Boys -- means that for the majority of the five days and nights he will be subsumed deep within clicks, gurgles, ecstatic pulses, and roiling tones, far out of range of ordinary human contact, and reduced to communicating by means of stunned nods, awed gulps, coded blinks, and feverish text-messaging on his cell phone to all the sad mortals not fortunate enough to attend. He expects to return to the surface sometime after the festival's inevitable succession of after-parties, after-after-parties, and, pending confirmation, after-after-after-parties. Should you need to reach him with any urgent business during this time, it is advised that you encode your message in a format compatible with Ableton Live and pass it to one of the performing artists, with instructions that it be incorporated into their set.

Sebastian Koch
Administrative assistant, travel secretary, and concierge to Philip Sherburne

Gravel in the mix

I was reluctant to post this one, because my inspired opening -- a Dionne Warwick classic beatmatched into Superpitcher's "Baby's On Fire" -- goes more than a little awry, and there are a few rockier-than-I'd-like transitions in the first 15 minutes of the mix. But fuck it, it was 3 a.m., I was drunk, and Herbert says it's ok to make mistakes. So here you go, the archive (on the newly redesigned Beta Lounge) of the one-year anniversary party for Robot Speak Sessions, recorded a few weeks back.

My set begins at about 5:16:56 into the mix, right after Mochipet's devastating noise blasts, and runs until the close of the stream. It's pretty groovy.

Listen all the way to the end, past a few seconds of silence, for a lil' surprise.

April 07, 2004


Crap. You know you've been gone so long when your blog disappears. No fear - it's all still here in the archives, and I haven't gone anywhere permanently. Just wrasslin' with the tax man, keeping my editors happy, fighting off low-grade ennui, spending too much time reading the news. Eating lots of pa amb tomaquet, fantasizing about hitting Barcelona again in a couple of months. Speaking of which, the lineup for Sónar is out, and I'll be posting on that soon, really.

Now go listen to Kaffe Matthews.