by Dan Jackson
put-out ads for music collabs
to what end
non-noodly, psychedelic visual rock
that's spiritual, space-prioritized
Irony/ironed buzzy post-apocalyptic
Jaco Pastorious meets Dishwasher hum
Jimi Hendrix with
no limbs except his
left-arm to strum
3 worn strings and his tongue
to press on the keys
Larry David with the soul
of Chuck Berry
Roy Orbison heard from
a mile away and
minimal amplification +
a continuous splash
of freshly oozed-out
produced by Tricky
Lou Reed on life support
Sonny Sharrock plus Zelda
Arvo Part wins Eurovision
Produces new Justin Timberlake
The accrued tinnitus of a
billion iPod users, mid-
passed filtered to a
variable rate wave.
Plus crispy hi-hats and
Smokey Robinson with a
very bad sinus infection
Russian Polka Techno
minus the Roland
beats and the
accordion. Bag Pipes
Steve Albino/Bernie Worrell
North Korea Stadium Tango
Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Okay, so I was listening to AM radio yesterday on the way to my brother's house and the Boulder station was having a Grateful Deadathon. I don't know if they do that every saturday night. It was KGNU and I can't seem to reconcile what's on the playlist. There's a playlist that says "Jam Sandwich" and you'd think that'd be when they were playing Grateful Dead. Dammnit. Maybe it wasn't KGNU. But I was pretty sure it was 13-hundred station. And it couldn't have been 1340 because that's NPR and all they play is news and that show that Laogzed has a vendetta against.
Anyhow, they were playing a song and it was really really good. It was a live song. And it wasn't too noodly; it was just a great fuckin' song. Like Neil Young at his best!!! But I'll never find it because I'm too busy catching up on 8bit Dubstep--and I do NOT want to listen to every Grateful Dead song ever made just to find that one song. I imagine that somewhere on the bittorrents there's a mega discography of every Grateful Dead bootleg in existence. It's got to be at least 1 percent the size of the whole internet. Or that percentage point that isn't porn.
I have another post, some notes about the kind of band I want to start. I have been in the STudio with Laogzed today, but he just wants to mope and listen to Schubert Lieder. Things are tough in Troglodyte land. But it's tough everywhere.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I have a very large music library. It is nearing 300 GB. It's ridiculous. But that's the reality. In a few months I will be back on a payroll, and so I am contemplating purchases. All I want is a decent laptop--only for listening to music, basic internet use, and word processing. That's easy. But what I'm looking for is a magical Mp3 device that will let me upload TONS of music and also let me record on the fly.
ANd I don't give a damn about how big the LCD screen is. My 1st edition nanopod's LCD screen is as big and nifty as I could wish for. But it seems like all the rage is LCD screens? What's up with that? Kurosaw and Herzog don't translate so well at that size. Though getting this up on my iPod:
would be sweeeet. But never mind that, LCD playback drains on the battery--gimme music, gimme recording--I don't give a damn about the rest!!!!
So, I will come back to this after I do some research. For about $400 dollars I can get 160GB player by Archos. It looks very nice--and man, the field is so competitive that you'd figure that somebody would get their price down below the 160gb iPod Classic! The strategy of the manufactures seem to be to add more features. And I want a particular feature, line-in recording, and ability to play lossless formats would be nice too. But I wish there was a streamlined player with good PC interface, lots of playback options and a freakin' line in for recording! And shitty mic for kicks.
All I have to do is upload my bootlegged copy of Sony Vegas and I can make tunes without nothing but my index finger! Keep me posted.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Popol Vuh is the creation story of the Maya. Below is one part of this story that recounts the first attempts of the creator, Heart of Sky to make humans. The story goes on to explain that the final attempt, that resulted int the "True people" was accomplished by constructing people with maize. This is a very reasonable explanation since, in essence, it was the cultivation of maize that gave the early Maya culture the means to change from hunters gatherers to their highly advanced civilization.
I have edited this sample, based on the wonderful translation by Dennis Tedlock. His book is available through Amazon.com and is listed below. I've also included here a few preliminary illustrations I would like to use on an interactive CD someday.
Here is the story of the beginning,
when there was not one bird,
not one fish,
not one mountain.
Here is the sky, all alone.
Here is the sea, all alone.
There is nothing more
–no sound, no movement.
Only the sky and the sea.
Only Heart-of-Sky, alone.
And these are his names:
Maker and Modeler,
But there is no one to speak his names.
There is no one to praise his glory.
There is no one to nurture his greatness.
And so Heart-of-Sky thinks,
"Who is there to speak my name?
Who is there to praise me?
How shall I make it dawn?"
Heart-of-Sky only says the word,
and the earth rises,
like a mist from the sea.
He only thinks of it,
and there it is.
He thinks of mountains,
and great mountains come.
He thinks of trees,
and trees grow on the land.
And so Heart-of-Sky says,
"Our work is going well."
Now Heart-of-Sky plans the creatures of the forest
-birds, deer, jaguars and snakes.
And each is given his home.
"You the deer, sleep here along the rivers.
You the birds, your nests are in the trees.
Multiply and scatter," he tells them.
Then Heart-of-Sky says to the animals,
"Speak, pray to us."
But the creatures can only squawk.
The creatures only howl.
They do not speak like humans.
They do not praise Heart-of-Sky
And so the animals are humbled.
They will serve those who will worship Heart-of-Sky.
And Heart-of-Sky tries again.
Tries to make a giver of respect.
Tries to make a giver of praise.
Here is the new creation,
made of mud and earth.
It doesn't look very good.
It keeps crumbing and softening.
It looks lopsided and twisted.
It only speaks nonsense.
It cannot multiply.
So Heart-of-Sky lets it dissolved away.
Now Heart-of-Sky plans again.
Our Grandfather and Our Grandmother are summoned.
They are the most wise spirits.
"Determine if we should carve people from wood,"
They run their hands over the kernels of corn.
They run their hands over the coral seeds.
"What can we make that will speak and pray?
asks Our Grandfather.
What can we make that will nurture and provide?"
asks Our Grandmother.
They count the days,
the lots of four,
seeking an answer for Heart-of-Sky.
Now they give the answer,
"It is good to make your people with wood.
They will speak your name.
They will walk about and multiply."
"So it is," replies Heart-of-Sky.
And as the words are spoken, it is done.
The doll-people are made
with faces carved from wood.
But they have no blood, no sweat.
They have nothing in their minds.
They have no respect for Heart-of-Sky.
They are just walking about,
But they accomplish nothing.
"This is not what I had in mind,"
And so it is decided to destroy
these wooden people.
Hurricane makes a great rain.
It rains all day and rains all night.
There is a terrible flood
and the earth is blackened.
The creatures of the forest
come into the homes of the doll-people.
"You have chased us from our homes
so now we will take yours,"
And their dogs and turkeys cry out,
"You have abused us
so now we shall eat you!"
Even their pots and grinding stones speak,
"We will burn you and pound on you
just as you have done to us!"
The wooden people scatter into the forest.
Their faces are crushed,
and they are turned into monkeys.
And this is why monkeys look like humans.
They are what is left of what came before,
an experiment in human design.
I check my sitemeter about once a week. It's just interesting to see where people are when they look my site. For a couple of months I was getting a lot of hits from Italy, people looking for the lyrics to Billy Joel's [title of song Deleted for purposes of taste and quality.] I usually get hits from NY, Pittsburgh, a few from Madrid, Massachusetts, a few from Korea--places where my friends are, and then the occasionally random places like Stockholm, Argentina, or the Philippines. Weirdly, there's always a hit from Houston, specifically the University of Houston server. Who's down there checking out the weirdness? Come on out of your spiderhole!
Btw, did I mention that not only am I perfect, I'm Finnish too. (I still don't know what that means.) Being half Finnish, half Jewish, I can't imagine one saying, "Not only am I Perfect, I'm Jewish too." It's definitely a weird Finnish thing.
Oh yes, in other news, Laogzed's world has been plunged into chaos in recent months, but it seems that things have settled down for the time being. It has to do with Gormo, collectivism and Christianity. All will be illuminatingly elucidated by Laogzed podcast in the near future (I hope!)
Monday, December 24, 2007
This is an extremely odd novelty mug that was procured or gifted or somehow obtained by some person in my family. What is the message of this (the mug, not the picture)?
Not ONLY am I perfect, but I'm FINNISH too.
It only makes sense to a Finn, not an Iceberg.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Here's one from Leninology that examines whether a Venezuelan minister, who espouses egalitarian values, should be criticized for wearing nice clothes.
thod should use this in her class.
Yglesias ponders wearing a tie to work.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Not usually a big slap fan. Usually it's those sharp slap-fills that punctuate crappy pop songs, or movie-house popcorn advertisements--I hate those, but this is very artful. Play this with Chris Dodd:
Do it. Play both at the same time. You can do it. Don't press play on the bass video until Ted Kennedy starts talking about the FISA Bill.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
H. RES. 847
Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 6, 2007
Mr. KING of Iowa (for himself, Mr. AKIN, Mrs. BACHMANN, Mr. BAKER, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. BRADY of Texas, Mr. BROUN of Georgia, Mr. BROWN of South Carolina, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. CARTER, Mr. CONAWAY, Mr. DAVID DAVIS of Tennessee, Mr. DOOLITTLE, Mr. FEENEY, Mr. FORTENBERRY, Ms. FOXX, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. GOHMERT, Mr. HAYES, Mr. HERGER, Mr. ISSA, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. KLINE of Minnesota, Mr. KUHL of New York, Mr. LAHOOD, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. LAMPSON, Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California, Mr. MCCAUL of Texas, Mr. MCINTYRE, Mrs. MCMORRIS RODGERS, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mrs. MUSGRAVE, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. NEUGEBAUER, Mr. POE, Mr. SALI, Mr. SHADEGG, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. STEARNS, Mr. TERRY, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. WALBERG, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky, and Mrs. DRAKE) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.
Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;
Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;
Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;
Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible;
Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;
Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity;
Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;
Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace; and
Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;
(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;
(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;
(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;
(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and
(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.
I wish Laogzed would just go get his friends and just eat them. This is beyond parody. Meanwhile...
This man runs free.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here is a quote that is becoming favorite among Ron Paul supporters to quell the notion he is a racist:
Racism is an ugly form of collectivism.
Quoted from his essay "Racism and Government." This is not something dredged up from the past. This was written half a year ago.
In other words, racism is symptom of a collective mindset.
This does not sit easy with me. Hardly anything does, except a nice hot cup of Lipton Yellow Lable and Herzog flick. But it seems to me that Ron Paul's worldview is totallogically digesting a very complicated concept, "racism," and a social political problem, "racism," as if it were just a bitter pill to swallow up. Notions of class and race and stratification and hierarchies are nothing to this man. It is a question of "identity."
This is what I am extrapolating from Ron Paul's writings. Racism is an ugly form of "collectivism." And to think collectively, is to associate yourself with one "identity," and to associate others with another type of "identity."
The notion of identity is very difficult for me to examine. What is an identity? What is my identity? I'm not trying to be an asshole, but it is very difficult for me. I am "Jewish." I am "Male." I am 33 years old. What else am I? What constitutes my identity? And if certain forms of collectivism, such as associating myself with a race-related identity, "Jewish," which forms aren't so ugly? Is it racist to call myself a Jew?
Let me try to stay on point here. Ron Paul would have me believe that if I blame certain liberties being deprived from me because of my ascribed "identity" that I am not the victim but in fact the perpetrator. Those who ascribe racial identities perpetrate the disliberties.
This is such a staggeringly simple-minded approach to the whole subject.
The idea of race is a construct. BUt so is the idea of a collective, and, I would say, so is the individual. At home, in front of my computer, I can sit here and think how I am both a part of a collective, and something wholly unto myself, an individual. I think the so called "individualist" approach that Ron Paul espouses is created in order to insinuate certain things, and is a dishonest approach at viewing society. Society can be grouped into many categories, and those categories interact with each other in astonishingly complex ways. Social Science is the study of these interactions; and most honest social scientists will say that we are still in the dark ages as with regards to our knowledge about said phenomenon.
Now I agree that we must distill things, and attempt to simplify things in order to get to a working knowledge for application; but we must not simplify things so hastily, especially so that can be pressed into the jigsaw that is our precarious total understanding of the world. In other words, I say that Ron Paul is using the gospel of Libertarianism to explain the inexplicable.
And so, if you dissect what he says, like what many libertarians say, I think you will find that they are saying could be claimed, in distillate form, as "racist." What they say, and how they say it are crucial. To simply boil down racism as to an "ugly" form of "collectivism" ignores institutionalized legacies...
But before I go any further, it should be obvious what my leanings are. If I were to say I was a collectivist or an individualist, I would say the short answer is that I am a collectivist. But that's not taking the account of the complexities and shortcomings of any idealogy being put into practice. Should we value the individual? Of course! Anybody who knows me knows that I value individual creation more than anything. Every human being is a genetic aberration, and we are all definitively individual. But we are also definitively connected to everything else in this world. Whether in purely physical terms, societal terms, or in the realm of physics! The binary of individual and collective cannot be spliced so neatly.
But I think Ron Paul and others who share his worldview know this. They show themselves as persons who want to jump off the fence on the collective/individual divide, but the jumping action hides their real purposes. And all you have to do is delve into the bunker-crypts of libertarianism, look for the gold and weaponry hoards underneath their basement planks, and you'll find a collective mindset of paranoia, vigilante idealism and buried hatreds that they long to unleash in the great READJUSTMENT. Oh, how we will have wished we'd listened--you'll see, when the collective comes crashing down on us and the thin sheet of civilization that separates us from barbarous anarchy crumbles into a vaporous shrapnel dust that will choke our collective throats.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
If you're not easily scared, here the Tarkka Orchestra live here!
The Tarkka Orchestra Meets Rad Unicorn=Tarkka Unicorn.
Thanks, Ero, for putting this stuff up. It makes me feel all warm inside. Hopefully in the future we can make some more warmth.
ps, I swear I'll buy new glasses this week.
I've almost given up on my MP3s. I've got so many of them that its really really gross. It would probably do me good to get a hold of an Mp3 player with tons of capacity and portable speakers so I could just listen to them wherever I go. As it stands, they all fit on a portable hardrive that I bought for that specific purpose. A 500gb hard drive that is 2/3rds of the way full. And my friend Linda has turned me onto WFMU, a self-described "freeform" New Jersey Radio Station. I found two shows that I really like and are definitely "freeform" but also coherent. The first one is The Dusty Show with Clay Pigeon. He has a very friendly voice that overlays a David Lynchesque soundscape (I mean that in a good way) and muses on topical subjects such as Thanksgiving, the Holidays, eating, drinking, and music. Music concrete meets Prairie Home Companion, again, in a good way. Because he plays good music. For example, his last show showcased artists from Blipfest 2007 in Manhattan. This Blip music is a scene that's been percolating for a lot of years (since the 90's) but has recently exploded, as evident by use of blip sounds in the mainstream. (This dovetails easily with everything Electro.) Blip sounds are essentially, as I understand it, sounds derived from 8bit computers, such as old Ataris, the NES, and the Commodore 64. I've been using these sounds a lot because of Plug-ins such as Peach from Tweakbench, and newer ones like TriForce. But according to what I heard on the Dusty show the hardcore Blip artists don't use emulators, but use the real things. I'm not sure about that--how could you tell? Anyhow, it's exciting stuff. I've always loved 8bit sound, and I love finding out how hip I didn't know I was. Even if I could never be considered a purist. Anyhow, purity is for schmucks.
The other show is the Ed Shepp show. Ed actually commented on my blog a few years ago, lamenting that he couldn't download my tunes. Well, Ed, if you're listening, I got tons of tunes, all downloadable. Here are some of my personas available on myspace:
But thanks to WFMU, I've got a whole bunch more music I want to buy and I haven't listened to what I have. It's ridiculous. Before I catch up with Blip and dub-step, they'll have converged into a new scene.
But I love the grassroots nature of WFMU; there is little right in this world, but WFMU represents something that is right. (At least on the surface.) And that's what I feel the Dusty show is doing quite well, celebrating what needs to be celebrating, but still acknowledges the inescapable trivialities that trip us up. Let us acknowledge our hang-ups, but move on.
And I suppose we need Mike Gravel, the same way we need Ron Paul, Kucinich, as well as The Space Needle, and Garrison Keillor's horrible, horrible, horrible singing. Hillary gets worse and worse (unless I'm mistaken, she's still freaking hawkish on Iran), Obama is abominable, and well...Edwards is winning by default in the general election in my head.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
On Monday, a person posted this on the "politics" page on the Denver Craigslist:
"[Ron Paul] and his message is the only one that I can endorse.
Limited govt, more individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, protected borders,
it just makes sense.
goverment the way our founders designed it to be. Of, by and for the people.
Its so refreshing to hear someone articulate this platform.
I dont really care about the polls, he's got my vote."
And so, for the first time, I decided to respond with Sloppy's post concerning this Presidential candidate.
And, interestingly enough, someone else responded to it with this:
"I live in Denver Colorado. I was raised here in Denver until I moved to Boulder in 1987. Boulder, even today is concidered a "hippy" town or a "yuppy" town.
My first year in Boulder I witnessed at least 2 gang related crimes. Bloods vs. Crips in Boulder 1987. When I was 17 I joined the Navy and ended up in San diego for school. Again, I witnessed gang crime on mission beach and again Bloods vs. Crips. The guy in Blue getting shot at for selling drugs in the wrong territory by the guy in Red. Scarry as hell. Then I was stationed in Philly. This town was the worst I'd ever witnessed myself. I watched a Crip in the downtown movie theater have his head blown off because the four Bloods sitting behind him didn't like him. During my year and a half in Philly. My car(RED) was stolen twice. My car trunk was forced open with a crow bar to steal my stereo and my roommate was mugged five times. When I recovered my car the second time(Without police help) Not only did the guy come looking for me(angry I'd stolen my own car back) But he also shot up my friends house where he knew I'd been. The news at the time was warning of three predominently black gangs in the philly, DC and New York areas, as well as the more famous LA Bloods and Crips.
I told you earlier that the police wouldn't help me get my car back. Well just to clairify. I knew where the car was through the friend who had his house shot up. I informed the police and they told me "If we pull someone over in the car we will return it to you, otherwise there is nothing we can do." So, I went and got it myself. This was in 1991. We all remember Icetea, NWA and the other gang rappers of the time telling us "pull out my gat(gun) bam bam.. DEAD mother F@#k$R" These guys made the kids want to be gang bangers. The LA riot was on april 2nd 1992.
I only point this out, because at the time when these things were said. The gang issue WAS out of control, there were National outcries. Not just in DC but ALL of the cities from DC to NY and LA. The television was telling everyone that these laws needed to updated. The police were doing nothing about the issue(Not that WE knew this). So, if the not so perfect Ron Paul jumped on the anti-gang band wagon like everyone did. Then so be it. knowbody is perfect. He would still make a better president then we have seen in over 100 years. I also doubt anyone could find a politition who wasn't on that band wagon in 1992. "
So, well, I don't know. I guess what I find most interesting about this is how responsive people are to this...I still see those hand-stenciled Ron Paul signs around town, and about how wonderful it is to have a grassroots effort such as that, but how misguided they might be. But I know I am too, because the candidate that I ultimately will endorse is not the perfect choice. But I guess that's what being a grown-up is all about...settling with these lowest common denominator choices and dealing more directly with the things in my life I can actually control.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Christ! I've got new tunes
1. Spielberg's Wife and Children: Strange thing I did very quickly.
2. Stencil Squids: More conventional, took me a year. Still needs some work, but fuck it.
can you believe it? I haven't finished anything almost a year and a half.
and I got another tune I call "What we keep inside our heads"
featuring a sample from "12 Oz Mouse."!!
a better tomorrow ii
I can't keep up with all the genres anymore. Dubstep? Okay, sounds like a great idea. Drum N Bass/Jungle has been a guilty pleasure of mine for more than a decade, since the release of King of the Jungle, the first DnB stateside release. I bought it randomly, as I often have performed with my mysterious, sporadic infusions cash. Like all of my greatest purchases, I could not make head or tales of it when I first purchased it. I had been pumping myself up with the post-techno breakbeat releases of Instinct Records; as noted in the wikipedia article, they released a lot of Moby early stuff. They released a series of comps that featured techno rave-ups, early hard techno, and what I liked most, breakbeat based techno. I ate it up. Electronic Music has been a continuous thread of interest for me. I'll fight to the death defending synth- and sample-based music. Even if 98 percent of it is crap. 98 percent of everything is crap, anyways. Anyhow, as I was wont to do back in the day, I transferred King of the Jungle onto a cassette and listened to it as I drove around in my beige Nissan Sentra from School and back. I also frequented book stores and CD stores, such as Best Buy. Around the same time, my cousin Jason was staying with our family and he introduced Rap music to me (Via Tribe Called Quest), and I, in complement, introduced to him techno-derived music. Our previous disdain for each other's music transformed into complete absorbtion. He became a big fan of electronic music, and slowly I discovered the delights of early Hip-Hop. This was around the same time I was becoming disillusioned with studying academic music, the radio was playing terrible derivative grunge music--but it appealed to me because it was something different. I sook real knowledge, and I found it in the guise of Spin Magazine's Guide to Alternative Music. I still have the book, and I still go to it. Back in the day, it was my record-buying Bible. At the time I was listening to the heavy bands and I knew I liked the sound, but I had wondered where these people came from? I started digging Nirvana, whom I hated in 1993. It was too noisy. I had liked Pixies, via Bossanova copied from my buddy Mark--the main arbiter of taste in my life during Middle School and early High School. I didn't get into any techno music until that other early influence, Randy Buckle turned me onto some things, such as techno and Brian Eno. I started appreciating Techno when I started emulating it in my own music. I had no idea of its origins. Detroit, Kraftwerk.
So, anyway, King of the Jungle, released by Instinct (my new arbiter of taste), opened an alien world of fractured beats, obnoxious vocal samples, and smooth bass. The first track on it, and one of the best, is the [whatever]-step presager "Jazz Note." An abstract, intractably syncopated organ bass note starts it. Then it starts layering quick and light, unbroken break beats on top. It is a very effective track. Also, the opening track "Dance Hall Massive" by DJ Massive is an ear-opener, with an extremely smooth yet hard swooping bass lick that you wouldn't mind hearing all day and night, over and over again underneath a super crispy off-kilter but tight with the accents of the broken beats based on a 3/3/2 beat that would become fodder for permutation for years and years and years. (I have no how original the track is--but it's effective. And the artistry in DnB effectively submerges the notion of "derivative," seeing how the majority of it unabashedly derives its sounds from the whole world.) (Got to Ishkur for academic accuracy, I'm not the greatest Virgil to accompany you into this particular Inferno.)
Yet, when I first heard it, even though my dad's radio-shack built stereo system had very nice bass response, I thought it was too light. Classic jungle doesn't "rock" like early nineties techno. Not in a headbangin' way. (We'd have to wait for Jonny L's "Piper" for that, and it's infinite iterations.) But I dutifully listened to my tape on my car for a few weeks. At times I liked it, but (like so much much music we aren't accustomed to) it started to all sound the same.
And then, somehow, it just started to click for me. I became obsessed with the beats, and marveled at the clarity and power of its sinuously smooth bass lines. As an agoraphobic outsider, I can only imagine the genesis of this music and clubs. Somebody, I don't know, started really fucking with the beats. Once I got a hold of a sampler I used breakbeats. There was a particularly nice beat that came on a disc with my ESI-32 I played around with. I made many Homer Simpson Enchilada songs using it. (Sample some here, and here.) I remember Randy coming over and playing with the sound and he played the beat, and then in the middle of the beat, re-triggered the beat on an offbeat rather than letting the whole sample play through and then simply retrigger it after the full 4 beat count, and I realized that's how breakbeat technoists Prodigy got their off-kilter beats. I don't know if I ever told Randy that. He's the guy who always encouraged me the most, as far as my music went--and encouraged my excursion into Techno. Anyhow, from there, I figured out that you can cut the samples up, move the snare and its ghost notes go off of in unexpected places. But the big revolution in the jump from Jungle to its predecessors was cutting the beats to start on ghost snare hits, or, more commonly, on hi-hat hits. When you have a sample cut from a funk rhythm that starts on one of these light notes you can do incredible things. Run an eighth note series triggering this ghost note sample, and at the end of the sample you hear the snare, those swinging the stronger, louder snare. A total off kilter sound that revolutionized the whole sound. Sometimes these eightnote hits (which are really swung 16th notes because you have at least two notes in each eight-note hit) are faded in as an intensity building fill. And sometimes they comprise part of the main beat. Anyhow, this beat chopping is the foundation of the new style. Many junglists used a Steinberg product, ReCycle, to accurately chop up the samples, cutting the transient points accurately. I cut them just using my sampler, gradually learning how to make smooth-sounding ("rolling" beats.) King of the Jungle is a representative, text-book example of the early use of this beat-chopping and scattering. I once read an interview with master-rap producer Shock G of Digital Underground where he explained that the "melody" of rap was how the sample interacted with the programmed beats. Movie-actor Goldie mentioned in article in Keyboard Magazine that the power in the music lay in the relationship between the beats (produced to seem faster than they were) and the bass.
This being said, I should say that I was a bit misguided in my DnB producing years. I don't have the funk. Sometimes I can muster some sort of semblance of it. I can fax in the funk. But I'm more of a tonal maximal composer, for better or worse. But I did learn how to edit audio and there are a few tracks that I feel I did some justice to the genre.
Anyhow, back to King of the Jungle. It's a treasure trove of funk and weirdness. It features tracks by artists, hardly known at the time, but it seems at least half of them became stars. Some, like Roni Size, Dillinja, and Krust, super-sized stars. The Roni Size track was, as most of his have been over the years, stellar, prescient. His beats and bass roll so smooth, so hard. How could you not love it? DnB, unlike any other genre, seems to be derivative of the past and the future. It is so limited, and so unlimited. So unique, yet, like a virus, able to incorporate itself and takeover any number of genres. Besides techno, its roots lay in styles that I had no exposure to, and still am pretty damned ignorant about. Ragga, dancehall, RNB. Some junglists have liked to say that DnB was the first style of music that owes its genesis to both black and white artists. I don't know if that's true, but it's a pretty idea. I've heard that it grew out of a coke culture rather than hallucinogenics and friend-making drugs of the older hardcore rave scene. (What did Ali G say, is it true that taking E makes house music actually sound good?) Over the years it got dark, and then lightened, and darkened. It seemed to have to get dark to get new types of grooves, and then pads could overlay the dark textures, transmogrify a sense of foreboding into a sense of wonder. Powerful stuff, if you succumb to its textures. But it seems foolish sometimes too, like other unironic styles of music such as Death Metal. You can see my ambivalence mixed with love. But, ultimately, DnB is functional, and therefore claims of it being silly are unjustified.
And over the past couple of years I've been introduced to genres of music that have informed DnB. I know a lot more about dub now, for example. These mostly analogue genres seem more authentic and nourishing than most DnB. ANd that's why I deem DnB a guilty pleasure. Well, whatever.
So, Dub-step. I'm going to have to make some purchases. I heard a track from Boxcutter on WFMU this morning that was very slick, a little too slick, like some of inferior jazz-step stuff. But also had some grit, and a really nice fluid sound that reminded me of some of the better tracks off my beloved Liquid Funk comp. DnB had to slow down. I've wanted it to slow down for a long time. It just seems faster and faster. There needs to be a beer-drinking DnB. I'm looking for an Otis Redding of DnB. Or, perhaps a Led Zeppelin. I'd never ask for Lou Reed of DnB. Of the latter era junglists, Bad Company were pretty with it. Inside the Machine is an album I still listen to. There hasn't been much in the DnB world that has excited me as much since. Though Pendulum makes amazing, rocking tracks. Everything that Ed Rush touches is black gold. And Dieselboy mixes and tracks are always exhilarating. I love techno, trance, house, all of it. Especially the pioneering techno of the early nineties, like Black Dog, and the Rephlex stuff. Not to mention Juan Atkins, and the timeless tracks of Derrick May. But DnB seems to be the electronic genre that seems to have the inexhaustible ability to renew itself. Not so much reinvent. It keeps going back to its basics, the same breaks, Ragga, Dub, Reggae, RnB--and probably most crucially, Hip-Hop. It's a real cultural stew that might be so tasty because it has so many deep roots in so many cultures.
But it's so disposable too! Every track on King of the Jungle is a throwaway. Really good junk food. In that way it's similar to Punk Rock. Almost every single Ramones tune is junk in the most delicious way. What makes it junk food? It can't be pure quantity. Take Bach. Now, Bach would burn up a cantata to warm up the living room--but only in that sense is a Bach cantata disposable. Maybe DnB achieves postmodernity in a way that the Ramones could never conceive, because of its total assimilation and total irrevelance as soon as its moment has past. The Ramones were creating something that they felt needed to exist. Something to perform. They wanted to recapture Pop, and recapture youth--but it's impossible to recapture the past. DnB and a McDonalds cheeseburger has no history and no future. The Ramones are disposable in the way Warhol's soup cans are. But DnB are TV dinners for the ears. Anti-pop pop? I don't know what the fuck. I can't figure it out. Candied Garlic?
Anyhow, I am trying to enact new exciting changes in my life. Dude and dudettes, I'm in my Late Spring. Like everyone, I've unrealized ambitions. I won't go into detail. But if you know me, you have an idea of what those ambitions entail, if vaguely.
I'm listening to a DnB mix on breakbeat.co.uk and the MC is singing along with the bass melody:
"Dum-dumdumdumdum. Drum-n-bass no matter what. Dum-dumdumdumdum. Drum-n-bass no matter what." I don't understand the drum-n-bass MC phenomenon. Anyhow, I've got go help Laogzed with his next broadcast. Things are a bit haywire in the Troglodyte world. I got to see what I can do to help. Or not. I'm a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. Only because I'm not sure if the Trogs have our best interest in mind, despite Laogzed's insistence to the contrary.