In the worlds of deep house and techno, artists don’t come more revered than Detroit’s Kenny Dixon Jr, aka Moodymann. Releasing records for almost two decades now, his music has attracted a devoted, almost cult-like fan base.
This is due largely to his unique sound, a blend of minimalist Detroit soul with spaced out disco, jazz and abstract electronics, not to mention the lashings of found sound, disembodied voices and crowd noise he weaves in and out of his hypnotic and, yes, moody tracks.
But it also has a lot to do with Moodymann the character. Staying true to his Detroit techno roots, Dixon tends to shy away from the press and the music industry at large, and on the rare occasions he does make a pronouncement, his Afro-centric and iconoclastic views can draw criticism. His releases follow the same ideological path, with regular 12"s and albums coming out independently through his umbrella organisation Mahogani Music. Often the only marking to distinguish these releases from an anonymous white label is the recognisable afro-and-shades Moodymann logo.
So it’s a surprise to see him releasing a new 8 track album digitally and for free through the website Scion A/V. Not that these guys don’t know their shit, with past free releases from the likes of Dam Funk, Skream & Benga and The Melvins, but more that Dixon has decided to persue this avenue of free digital releasing at all. Well, the times they are a’changin’.
If you are new to Moodymann and his work, this might not be the best place to start (I would recommend starting by checking out the sinlge “Joy Pt II” and the album A Silent Introduction) but at the very least this release gives you a taste of his work, and you can always ask for your money back. For the Moodymann fan who has not yet downloaded Picture This, well, what are you waiting for? The download widget for the free release is below, and here is the video for the album’s opening track:
Moodymann “9 Nites 2 Nowhere”
Philip K. Dick wrote an excited letter to Jeff Walker, at the Ladd Company, after watching a television preview of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the film version of his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
October 11, 1981
Mr. Jeff Walker,
The Ladd Company,
4000 Warner Boulevard,
I happened to see the Channel 7 TV program “Hooray For Hollywood” tonight with the segment on BLADE RUNNER. (Well, to be honest, I didn’t happen to see it; someone tipped me off that BLADE RUNNER was going to be a part of the show, and to be sure to watch.) Jeff, after looking—and especially after listening to Harrison Ford discuss the film—I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people—and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. Since I have been writing and selling science fiction works for thirty years, this is a matter of some importance to me. In all candor I must say that our field has gradually and steadily been deteriorating for the last few years. Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches BLADE RUNNER. This is not escapism; it is super realism, so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day “reality” pallid by comparison. What I am saying is that all of you collectively may have created a unique new form of graphic, artistic expression, never before seen. And, I think, BLADE RUNNER is going to revolutionize our conceptions of what science fiction is and, more, can be.
Let me sum it up this way. Science fiction has slowly and ineluctably settled into a monotonous death: it has become inbred, derivative, stale. Suddenly you people have come in, some of the greatest talents currently in existence, and now we have a new life, a new start. As for my own role in the BLADE RUNNER project, I can only say that I did not know that a work of mine or a set of ideas of mine could be escalated into such stunning dimensions. My life and creative work are justified and completed by BLADE RUNNER. Thank you..and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible.
Philip K. Dick
The tragedy is PKD never saw the finished version of the classic science fiction film, as he died 5 months later, on March 2, 1982, just months before Blade Runner was given its cinematic release.
With thanks to Jai Bia
“Let them eat cake”?
“Let ‘em starve to death” would appear to be more the message that Marie Antoinette House Republicans seem intent on conveying. The House GOP leadership, getting behind the so-called “Ryan Budget” cooked up by good Catholic boy and Social Darwinist Rep. Paul Ryan, are calling for deep domestic spending cuts so that they can maintain future Pentagon spending levels without raising taxes. Six different House committees will be clamoring for deep cuts in the fraying social safety net so that the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America can keep Germany safe from the Russians well into the 21st century!
While our own people go without?
And when the Pentagon itself doesn’t even want the money?
What’s wrong with this picture besides everything?
But what’s more explicit in this round is the real shift of resources from the domestic side of the ledger to military spending. Caught in the middle are not just Obama’s ideas but the working poor and long-term unemployed forced for the first time to rely on programs like food stamps in the current recession.
At one level, the pro-Pentagon, anti-tax stance fits traditional Republican doctrine. And the whole goal is to come up with enough savings to forestall automatic spending cuts that will fall most heavily on the Defense Department in January.
But what’s also driving the latest cuts is a newer narrative, voiced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock.” And even as the unemployment rate has begun to fall, conservatives are alarmed that the level of income-related government benefits continues to rise.
Nothing better illustrates this perhaps than the renewed focus on food stamps — now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). And the estimated $33.2 billion in 10-year savings there could have an immediate impact on the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.
An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases.
Indeed, food stamp enrollment and costs have exploded since the financial collapse four years ago, making SNAP a target for the right — but also a far bigger political issue in swing states like Florida, Nevada and Ohio.
National enrollment reached 46.4 million people in January 2012, a nearly two-thirds increase from the average monthly participation in fiscal 2008. The annual costs — now running in excess of $80 billion — have more than doubled in the same period. And even the most ardent food stamp proponents will sometimes say SNAP is a program “asked to do too much.”
It’s disturbing to contemplate living in a country that prioritizes guns over butter to the extent that America does, and we do so without ever really even asking ourselves why we do it. With so precious little societal debate allowed on the matter, when someone does try to question the Military Industrial Complex—like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich—they get marginalized FAST.
As nutty as Ron Paul is (and trust me when I tell you that I think he’s plenty nutty) I don’t think that it was his Libertarian views on taxation or the free market economy—or even the zany racism and conspiracy theories of his newsletters or questionable white nationalist associations or ANY OF THAT—which caused virtually the entire GOP establishment to turn their backs on him (these things were probably all considered pluses!) but the fact that the guy was openly advocating that this country simply minds our own goddamned business. How dare he!
Me, personally, I’d rather have new roads, Medicare for all, free schools, bullet trains, alternative energy resources, repaired levees in New Orleans and Sacramento, an expansion of Section 8 housing, subsidized energy costs, childcare for lower income families and things like that than a new nuclear warhead. I see a need for an American military, sure, but when we find ourselves supporting the perpetual war economy that so obviously causes a detriment and not a benefit for the society that actually funds it, isn’t it time to step back and ask WTF we’re doing!?
But hey, I’m glad the Republicans are pushing this kind of thing so aggressively, because I expect it to go nowhere and it demonstrates—once again, should anyone not have gotten the multiple memos—what their priorities are and why they need to be roundly defeated at the polls this year. Make no mistake, I’m not, nor have I ever been, or ever once considered myself a Democrat. I could not give less of a shit about the Democratic party. Truly I do not care, but these horrible Scrooge-like Republican motherfuckers need to be obliterated in a electoral wipe-out of epic proportions this year.
They keep this shit up and they’re going to get it, so have at it, lads!
Prophetic words: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of America’s greatest war heros, gives his outgoing message to the American people warning about the Military Industrial Complex on January 17, 1961:
Shit, another legend bites the dust.
On the surface Dick Clark looked about as hip as Dick Nixon and as a kid I thought Clark was somewhat dubious as a purveyor of youth culture, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate his massive contribution to rock history, particularly when he went out on the limb and booked edgy acts on American bandstand, including Pink Floyd Public Image, Captain Beefheart, Bubble Puppy, Love, and X.
Here’s something I’d never seen before and I think it demonstrates just how on top of the rock scene Clark could be. Pink Floyd on American Bandstand
According to the great director Fritz Lang, it was his meeting with Joseph Goebbels, the Mad Man of Nazi propaganda, that led him to flee Germany the very same day.
As Lang tells it, this fateful meeting came sometime around Goebbels’ ban on Lang’s 1933 film, The Testament of Dr Mabuse, which was outlawed for its veiled attack on Hitler and his vile policies. Amongst the oft quoted similarities between Lang’s film and the insane Furher, was Dr. Mabuse’s devilish plan for a 1,000 years of crime, and Hitler’s desire of a 1,000 year Reich. The unstated connection between brutal criminality and looney-tunes Nazis was there for all to see.
It’s a good story, but one that has little bearing on fact, as it now appears that the meeting never took place. Goebbels’ diaries have no mention of the alleged meeting, and Lang’s escape from the jackboot of National-Socialism didn’t happen until several months after the alleged job offer from Dr Joe.
More damaging in hindsight was Lang’s failure to make any reference to his own Jewish ancestry. His mother, Paula was Jewish, though she converted to Catholicism after marrying Lang’s father, Anton. Instead Fritz described himself as an “Austrian director”, at a time when the persecution of those of Jewish faith was a brutal reality on the streets of Germany. Indeed describing himself as an “Austrian director” could have been construed as aligning himself with the birth country of the Furher.
Later, while living in the safety of the United States, Lang said in his entry for Current Biography - “While many famous Jewish directors had to flee Germany because of the ‘Aryan’ work decrees, Lang, a Christian, fled only because he is a believer in democratic government.”
Okay, so Lang could argue that man made laws had no rule over him, as he believed in the Higher Court of his Christian God. Fine. But why persist in re-telling a fanciful tale forty years on?
Almost everyone tells lies, and the lies are not important. Some people are loved because of their ability to tell great lies, and we listen expectantly for them to tell their biggest and best whoppers. And so it is with Lang, as he tells tale after tale in this entertaining and immensely watchable interview with director of The Exorcist, William Friedkin. From running away from home, to surviving by his wits, to making his classic films Metropolis and M, to meetings with criminals and murderers - one killer kept the hands of victims under his bed, to his meeting with the Nazi Mad Man, to Hollywood and after, Lang, looking rather like Dr Strangelove, describes his hugely fantastic life.
With thanks to Wendy James
The anniversary of Dick Shawn’s death was yesterday (April 17) and I had intended to share this then, but there’s been so many posts about people dying here on Dangerous Minds that I held off. But fuck it, I love this video too much to sit on it. And any mention of Shawn is better than none at all, even if it is in the context of his dying. And Shawn’s dying, sad as it was, was also totally surreal - much like the man himself.
In a stand-up routine in San Diego in April 1987 he was portraying a politician, saying “if elected, I will not lay down on the job.” Then he fell face-down onto the stage. The audience thought it was part of the act and laughed, but after a few moments of silence, someone came onstage, checked him out, and called into the audience for a doctor. Shawn had suffered a massive heart attack. He was dead.
Even as he was receiving CPR on stage, the audience was not sure whether it was part of the act or not, but they began to leave after paramedics arrived. Most of them were unaware that he had died until they read the notices in the morning’s paper.
Here’s Shawn as the tripped-out beatnik Lorenzo St. DuBois in the movie The Producers. The song “Love Power” is kinda punk, ain’t it?
And I give a flower to the big fat cop,
he takes his club and he beats me up.
I give a flower to the garbage man,
he stuffs my girl in the garbage can.
And I give it to the landlord, when the rent comes ‘round.
He throws it in the toilet and he flush it down.
It goes into the sewer with the yuck running through her,
And it runs into the river that we drink.
Hey world, you stink!
Shawn was a “hipster” before the term became a dirty word.
Robert Gordon, Tommy Dean, Bruce Springsteen and Dee Dee Ramone
I love this story from Backstreets magazine:
Among his many accomplishments, Joey Ramone also played a small but significant role in Bruce Springsteen’s musical career, as Bruce himself related in his liner notes for 1995’s Greatest Hits: “I met The Ramones in Asbury Park and Joey asked me to write a song for ‘em. I went home that night and wrote this. I played it for Jon Landau and, earning his money, he advised me to keep it.” The song in question? “Hungry Heart,” which in 1980 became the first Top Ten hit both written and recorded by Springsteen.
Joey Ramone’s own hilarious recollection of asking Bruce for a song, filmed during a 1995 radio interview, appears as part of a bonus video segment on the DVD of End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones, the great no-holds-barred documentary on the triumphs and tragedies of the band’s career. In grand punk tradition, Ramone humorously berated “that Landau guy” and remarked that Springsteen “owes us.” When the interviewer suggested that perhaps Bruce could sit in with the band sometime, Joey replied that The Ramones didn’t want to be onstage with “some Jersey boy screwin’ up our song” if he couldn’t keep up with their ultra-fast playing. Ramone did, however, conclude the interview on a slightly more serious note by expressing “admiration” for Springsteen.
Here’s Springsteen covering The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.” Boston, April 22 2009. Not bad, but Springsteen ain’t no Johnny Ramone.
While no one will mistake this for a historic meeting of the minds, it does have its odd charm. The Marshall McLuhan of punk Billy Idol chats with Timothy Leary about rock n’ roll, cyberspace and computers. “Pretty deep,” Joey Ramone observes while Television (the band) let old skool technologies like drums and guitars do the talking.
ABC In Concert, 1993.