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June 29, 2004

Who's slacking now?

That's right, even when I'm chilling beachside and sucking down Estrella Damm like a thirsty elephant in a lake full of, well, Estrella Damm, I still find time to write things, like this little piece for Slate, a roundup of recent no wave (and related) reissues.

In case I didn't make it clear as clara in my review (and despite its name clara is actually pretty milky, but no matter), that So Young But So Cold comp on Tigersushi is the bees' trapeze. No wonder, considering that K.I.M. and Joakim's sets at Sonar were probably my highlight of the whole festival.

June 28, 2004

Schaffeling towards Bedlam

Well what the hell do you know -- tipped off by the allmighty ILM, I have discovered that my predictions are in fact coming true: schaffel shuffles toward the overground with Rachel Stevens' "Some Girls," a Richard X-produced glitterbeat monster that picks up where Goldfrapp's "Train" left off.

Also in schaffel news, Undo & Vicknoise's new EP on Factor City contains two luscious, synthpoppy romperstompers, one with vocals. Quite mournful, really. Somewhere in between T.Raumschmiere's mix of "3 Hours" and Jonas Bering's "Down to Big Sur"?

Speaking of schaffel, as soon as I'm home I'll post the mix I did for Sonar a la Carta. I know you can't wait. No, really. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Sonar, I know that my overview is long overdue. Stay pruned.

And speaking of long overdue, let's not even mention MUTEK for the moment, ok? Stay festooned.

Meanwhile, I think I hear the roar of the surf and the slippery sploosh of sun cream being applied on the beach at Bogatell, which means it's high time I get away from this computer. Stay Cancuned...

June 15, 2004

Yes we have no bad fanbelts

I am a crummy blogger. MUTEK is already a week behind us, and my promised review is still largely in my mind, where scary things happen that often prevent other mind-things from ever dancing their way into the light of day and the pixelated surface of screens and paper. I am here in Barcelona after a long weekend in New York that consisted of two radio shows, one club gig (all three of which had me wondering if I should give up DJing once and for all, incidentally, but enough about my neuroses), one thwarted attempt to see Richie Hawtin, and one absolute corker of a game between France and England, caught in a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend's loft in Chelsea, where the Zidanistes were heavily outnumbered and outinebriated by the Beckhamians, so that when France scored their second glorious goal (both scored after the 90 minute mark) and the game wrapped up, we beat a hasty retreat. The Brit supporters, after all, had been lobbing full beer bottles to their friends in mid-game, from across the room and with alarming speed. We didn't want to catch those empties on the way down.

Also saw two potentially dead people lying face down on the street this weekend: one a middle-aged woman planted face-first on the sidewalk, surrounded by medics; the other a young man felled in a fight at a Brooklyn party, a tidy pool of blood beneath his head. Both looked peaceful, but the latter was the only one that looked like a Weegee photo.

Since no one, least of all me, knows when I will blog again substantially, I will sub in some notes scribbled somewhere over the Atlantic, and we'll call it a day. See you in a few.

* * *

May I suggest that the airline industry get their fucking story straight. First you couldn't use a cell phone anywhere near an airplane; now, at least on American, you can use it as soon as you touch down. When I was a teenager, you could listen to a Walkman whenever you damn well pleased, but now you have to wait with bated breath to clear some imaginary marker and fire up the iPod. I've even been scolded for taking pictures during take-off with my digital camera. Listen, lady, if the microchip can't even make the autofocus light work, it ain't gonna bring down the entire plane.

Anyway, the stern Iberia stewardess, speaking in a voice I'd expect from a Russian orphanage-marm, just accosted me, pointed at my computer -- practically wagging her finger -- and inquired, "It has no CD-ROM?" but in a tone of voice that sent the question mark skittering off with its curlicue between its legs.

It didn't seem worth explaining that in fact, at the moment, my CD-ROM is broken. So I just said no. Then I got cheeky -- must be the second bottle of this excellent vino tinto I'm halfway through -- and asked why. Or rather, Why not? She just shrugged and walked off.

Someone or other said something about consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds, a phrase that was very popular among my sophomore year high school English class -- possibly because the word "hobgoblin" established a wistful, if tenuous link between our receding childhoods and this strange new adult world of philosophy and contradiction -- and so I must admit my own small-mindedness here and ask why, if CD-ROMs have likely been used on a hundred thousand plane flights since their introduction, without incident -- and I might add that right next to me, the very middle American family wearing some kind of red-white-and-blue "United States 'International' Martial Arts Team" warmup suits (scare quotes theirs -- another of my serious pet peeves, unnecessary scare quotes) is watching a DVD on one of those rental players, and what is a DVD player but a CD-ROM drive -- Iberia airlines finds it necessary, out of the blue, to make an entirely half-assed attempt to keep them from being used on this particular flight, without even justifying the decision. (And no, I'm not sure if that's the same thing as a half entirely-assed attempt.)

Reminds me of the time, actually, during the last great terrorscare, in the 80s perhaps, when a half-witted security guard in Mexico City confiscated the double-A batteries from my Walkman, ostensibly for security purposes. I didn't feel so annoyed that time, though, because I had several more sets sealed in blister packs in the bag he didn't bother to search -- my consistency alarm went off that time, too -- and because I knew that, in the end, he was probably just going to use (or sell) whatever he confiscated. Corruption I can understand. Arbitrariness? Not a whit.

June 09, 2004

Tonic for your tronic

I know, I know, I owe a full MUTEK report plus the photos I squeezed off before my auto-focus died. (And yes, I know, you can shoot without autofocus, but it's not so easy in the dark.) But before I get to that, let me just inform any well-wishers in NY that I'll be playing at The Bunker this Friday night at Sub Tonic. I'll have lots of new wax I scored at MUTEK, plus all the usual crap. I'm not on until 2 a.m. so nap in the afternoon and drink lots of [insert choice of energy drink here].

June 07, 2004

The aftermath

The camera is broken, the body beyond, and the mind still reels, so hold your horses while we reboot and prepare some comments about MUTEK 2004, which may quite possibly have been the best edition yet. From Egg to Crackhaus to Isolee to Smith N Hack to Burnt Friedman et al to Matthew Herbert's DJ set -- more on this later -- the highlights have never been quite so stellar.

But one thing must be said. We have never been of a particularly teleological mindset, but today we must indulge in a Fukuyama and report The End of Music. After Jamie Lidell, all other musicians may quietly lay down their tools and slink off to collect an artist's pension in some quaintly socialized Scandinavian country. Lidell is all there is, all that's left, all that need be.

June 03, 2004


Quick note before I go embarrass myself on a panel on electronic-music journalism alongside my colleagues Nick Doherty, Martin Turenne, Ben Rayner, Joshua Ostroff, and Dimitri Nasrallah -- the archive of the Sound and Surface event at Tate Modern is finally up online. You can download a performance from Scanner and Stephen Vitiello, and if you can stand listening to me drone on for half an hour, you can even stream my talk, and bits of the Q&A afterwards, in which Scanner proved himself an infinitely more appealing stage presence than yours truly. That charismatic bastard!

Easy hackin'


Aside from Skoltz/Kogen's brain-explodingly good A/V performance at yesterday's opening show, about which I will have more to say when I have snapped the pieces of my cerebellum back into place, the clear highlight of MUTEK so far is Smith N Hack, who assaulted disco (?) samples, broke them down into bare-bones lumps and thumps, and built them back up into a shimmytime dance party the likes of which I haven't seen at a "techno" show in ages. They slowed shit down, they sped shit up; they dropped out beats and looped themselves silly. And the highlight of their performance, undoubtedly, was their Chipmunk'd version of Villalobos' "Easy Lee," with the vocals lifted about three octaves, and the beat turned into a tinny 80s elektrofunk ditty. Seemed like a sly, friendly "fuck you" to a tune that's become ubiquitous; it was enough to make me love it all over again, and adore their cheek even more.

June 02, 2004

World on fire


Dawn, somewhere over the American Midwest. Yesterday.

I'm here in Montreal for the next week for MUTEK. Stay tuned.