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‘Recurring Dreams’: Homemade 1982 album sounds like Brian Eno playing the ‘Forbidden Planet’ theme
07.23.2014
03:53 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Yoga Records
Matthew Young


 
Yesterday marked Drag City/Yoga Records re-release of “New Age” outsider musician Matthew Young’s 1982 album Recurring Dreams. To call Young a “cult” artist is probably overstating the case—Jandek is a household name in comparison—but that may change when, say, NPR picks up on this 32-year-old obscurity. (Yes, this is one of those things with a bit of an exotic backstory that NPR absolutely loves, like The Langley Schools Music Project or the Ghetto Brothers.)

The album begins with a number called “Mistrial,” an ambient fantasia which calls to mind Brian Eno playing the theme to Forbidden Planet. That’s what a lot of it sounds like to my ears and I pronounce this a very good thing. Recurring Dreams is quite unusual. Although it’s not necessarily “foreground” music that demands your attention, I don’t know if I would exactly call it “New Age” so much either—it’s got much more in common with Morton Subotnick than with Yanni—as I would try not to categorize it at all. The self-released album has a “homemade” low-fi sound and was, in a sense, technologically hand-crafted utilizing EMS Synthi A and Roland synthesizers, piano, guitars, log drums, voice and tape manipulation. (Young took the Computer Music Seminar courses at Princeton. He knew what he was doing.)

Yoga Records is the label that released the (deeply fascinating) set I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America, 1950 - 1990 as well as Young’s Traveler’s Advisory. There’s only so much I can really write about an instrumental album like this, but Yoga’s Douglas Mcgowan made a charming short video introducing Young, shot at his home in New Jersey.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Everything to the extreme’: Be a guest at one of Henry Miller’s dinner parties
07.23.2014
02:04 pm

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
Henry Miller


 

“The earth is not a lair, neither is it a prison. The earth is a Paradise, the only one we’ll ever know. We will realize it the moment we open our eyes. We don’t have to make it a Paradise-it is one. We have only to make ourselves fit to inhabit it. The man with the gun, the man with murder in his heart, cannot possibly recognize Paradise even when he is shown it.”

― Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

“We get about as much information about the other peoples of this globe, through the movies and the radio, as the Martians get about us.”

― Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

I think I probably “discovered” Henry Miller from Tom Schiller’s SNL shorts that featured the dry wit of the Tropic of Cancer author and from his role in Warren Beatty’s Reds as one of the “witnesses” who had personally known John Reed and Louise Bryant. Miller’s presence onscreen was remarkable for a man his age and I wanted to know more about him. I was a kid, but I thought he was a very cool motherfucker for an old guy, like his near contemporary in authoring banned books, William S. Burroughs.

By the 1970s, Henry Miller’s work, once very, very difficult to come by in America, was being stocked in regular shopping mall bookstores and could be found on local library shelves, even one in a conservative backwater burg like my hometown of Wheeling, WV, which had most of his books. Frankly, the “erotic” Henry Miller didn’t really interest me all that much. I was more interested to read his opinions on things and events, non fiction essays, in other words, or interviews with him. High on my list of Miller’s writing were “A Nation of Lunatics,” his bicentennial contribution to an anthology titled Four Visions of America and The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, his scathing assessment of traveling around America in a car for two years after a decade spent in Europe (Think of it as a mix of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, which it preceded by many years. with Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night.)

When he was 84, Miller began a relationship with a young woman of twenty named Brenda Venus—a future Playboy model and author of several bestselling sex instruction books—from Biloxi, Mississippi. Venus found Miller’s address in a used book she’d purchased and had written to him. Miller was was infatuated by her and wrote her over 1,500 love letters, which were published in 1986 as Dear, Dear Brenda. (Worth noting that Dear, Dear Brenda was staged as a play in Russia a few years back, with Venus played by Olympic gymnast Svetlana Khorkina. According to her Wikipedia page, Brenda was invited to be the guest of Vladimir Putin at the premiere, which was held at the famed Moscow Art Theatre, home of Chekhov.)

Miller was an extremely gregarious man, known for holding court at frequent dinner parties he threw during the final two decades of his life spent in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the video below, you can be a fly on the wall during one of Miller’s dinners. “The Botticelli of Mississippi” is present at the author’s side. The Swiss poet and novelist who Miller is expounding on at length, and calls his “hero,” is Blaise Cendrars, who many considered the heir to Rimbaud. It’s probably a good idea to read the Wikipedia page on him before beginning this video, because he’s the main topic of conversation. Note that the conversation begins with Miller talking about how he’s hoping to win the Nobel prize (for the cash reward!) and where it ends up a half hour later.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Pig Pile’: Big Black live on their final tour, with members of Wire, 1987
07.23.2014
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Big Black
Wire
Steve Albini


 
In 1992, five years after their breakup in the wake of their amazing LP Songs About Fucking, the influential and scathing post-hardcore pioneers Big Black released a boxed set called Pig Pile, which featured a shirt, a poster, a VHS tape, a vinyl LP, and a clear-vinyl 5” single. The LP and VHS were documents of the band’s July 1987 concert at London’s Hammersmith Clarendon, and the 5” was a totally incongruous cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House.”
 

In My House by Big Black on Grooveshark

 
Yyyyyyyep.

Talking to NME about the show, the band’s singer/guitarist Steve Albini had this to offer:

We made a splash immediately before we broke up; now a band starts shopping its demos to majors after its third rehearsal. By the end, I think we improved; on the live record and video we were probably as good as we were ever gonna be. That gig was exciting—there was this giant belch and everyone involved in this giant belch felt immensely relieved afterwards.

 

 
It was indeed a hell of a belch. The band at its height was known for a relentlessly concussive and scarifying musical blitz—Albini’s guitar tone alone could practically sever limbs—paired with true-story lyrics that unflinchingly detailed the most reprehensible of human behaviors, often to genuinely chilling effect. The videotape and album show the band slaying an excoriating best-of set, and for their encore, a cover of Wire’s “Heartbeat,” they were joined onstage by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis in what must have been a fan-fantasy score of a lifetime. The LP was rereleased as a CD in short order, and inevitably came out on vinyl again in the ‘oughts, but the video has never been reissued in any format. Per the band’s label, Touch and Go records,

In 1992, Touch and Go released a Big Black live album and video, titled Pig Pile, that were recorded (mostly) in 1987 during Big Black’s final tour. Someday, we might release the video on DVD. Until then, please don’t ask us about it.

As of this writing, used copies of the complete set are being offered on discogs.com for between $60 USD (box condition fair, shirt worn) and well over $200. But if you’re really that hot to watch it, and you don’t mind tiny and fuzzy, here it is.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998
Awkward, hilarious interview with Steve Albini
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push in utero anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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See Laibach’s almost terrifying final performance with Tomaž Hostnik, 1982
07.23.2014
08:00 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Laibach


 
Tomaž Hostnik, who was one of Laibach’s first lead singers, gave his final performance with them on December 11, 1982 in Zagreb. Ten days later, he committed what Laibach describes as a “ritual suicide,” hanging himself from a kozolec—an ancient iconic Slovene hayrack, as was depicted on the cover of Laibach’s Rekapitulacija 1980-1984 box set, the group’s first album to obtain release worldwide.

Though laibach.org tells us that “Laibach disapproved of his act of suicide and posthumously expelled Hostnik from the group, returning him to his private identity,” the bloody-but-unbowed image above and Hostnik’s theoretical contributions remain of foundational importance to Laibach and the NSK State, Laibach’s country without territory.

Amok Books’ beautiful, long out-of-print catalog, Neue Slowenische Kunst, reprints several of Hostnik’s writings. In “The Origin of the Source of the New People’s Creativity,” he diagnoses the terminal illness of “so-called contemporary popular production” in a few oracular, Laibachian paragraphs: “the ceremonial and ritual elements are eliminated and automatically transformed into an affiliation to industrial and political life, which is again merely a state of continuous dependence.” Asked by a Slovenian organization called the Music Lovers Club to comment on the New Romantic fad, Hostnik penned “On the Delicateness of New-Romanticism (An instigation to reflection),” which, as promised, offers old answers to old questions. His 1982 poem, “Apologia Laibach,” is counted among the group’s manifestos:

Since when, sons of truth, are you the brothers of night?
What colors your hands with the redness of blood?

The explosion in the night is the flower of woe,
nothing can be justified by it.
The altar cannot be destroyed,
the altar of lies, that multiplies shapes.

The spotless picture, the painless lights,
the only harbors of the terrible night.

We are the children of the spirit and the brothers of strength,
whose promises are not fulfilled.
We are the black ghosts of this world,
we sing the mad image of woe.

The explanation is the whip and you bleed:

Break the mirror of the world for the hundredth time, —
all your efforts are in vain. We have overcome the night:
our debt has been paid
and the light is ours.

This footage of Hostnik’s last performance, first released on Vinyl-on-Demand’s Gesamtkunstwerk box set in 2011, is now available for all the world to see on Laibach’s YouTube. Has an unmanned drum set ever looked so sinister?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The first film footage of Palestine circa 1896
07.23.2014
07:53 am

Topics:
History
Movies

Tags:
Palestine
Lumière Brothers

palepicpopestine.jpg
 
Like an early Google Street View, the French movie pioneers brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière sent cameramen over to Palestine in 1896 to shoot the first moving images of life in the region. 

At this time, Palestine was a remnant of the Ottoman Empire with around 500,000 inhabitants—30,000 of whom lived in Jerusalem. 85% of the population were Muslim, 10% Christian and 5% were Jewish. All were subjects of the Sultan of Constantinople.

This incredible footage comes from the 93 reels recovered by Lobster Films, a film preservation company based in Paris, in 2007. Serge Bromberg, the company’s co-founder said:

…this year, we have something very special to show. In an antique shop, we have discovered 93 wonderful little camera negatives from c. 1897, all shot in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt.[...] etc), that would form an ideal 80 [minute] program of what could be among the earliest films shot in the region still in existence. … They are in wonderful condition … Not a scratch, no decomposition, and those little sprocket holes typical of the films of that year.

The clip of the Lumière’s footage shown below comes from the documentary Palestine: histoire d’une terre 1880-1950.
 

 
H/T Sabotage Times

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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David Lynch is now designing women’s sportswear!
07.23.2014
07:29 am

Topics:

Tags:
David Lynch
sportswear


 
I’ll be honest, I’m not that shocked by David Lynch’s new venture into lady’s workout clothes. The man has his own signature coffee—he will not be boxed in by your preconceived notions of what an eternally boyish American surrealist filmmaker is supposed to do! I guess what surprised me was the relative tameness of the designs. It’s not like I was expecting inspiration from Eraserhead—he’s always preferred his leading ladies in feminine get-up—but the look is unexpectedly… wearable. I would totally do pilates in that.

The line is actually a collaboration with model Alyssa Miller (the very Lynchian-looking doe-eyed brunette you see above), and a company called Live the Process—from what I can gather, it’s some kind of lifestyle brand, but the corporate New Age speak is a little vague. The venture was inspired by Lynch’s notable commitment to transcendental meditation, a practice Alyssa Miller recently undertook as well, and some proceeds go to Lynch’s meditation-focused non-profit. From the website:

David Lynch wants to bring Transcendental Meditation (TM) to anyone interested in practicing.

The award-winning director/writer/producer—best known for films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive and seminal TV series, Twin Peaks—has worked to raise public awareness of TM via his namesake charity, The David Lynch Foundation (established in 2005). Now, DLF, model Alyssa Miller and Live The Process are collaborating towards this shared goal, with a capsule collection, as well as an exclusive t-shirt designed in association with New York artist Jason Woodside communicating “Change Begins Within, Live The Process.” The collection will be available at Barneys New York with a portion of the proceeds going towards funding for DLF’s mission to make learning TM accessible to everyone globally.

Barney’s? Swanky! If florals aren’t your thing, the line also comes in a classic cheetah-print—a good workout look may cost you $150, but it’s perfect for cardio in the Red Room.
 

 
Via No Tofu

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Hitler’s fake passport
07.23.2014
05:32 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Adolf Hitler

hitsocimglersmall
 
Adolf Hitler’s fake passport as created by the British Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.

The SOE was established in July 1940 to organise resistance in Nazi-occupied countries. British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill ordered the SOE to “set Europe ablaze.” Hundreds of agents were sent over to France to infiltrate, spy and cause disruption to the invading German army. Key to their success was the manufacture of counterfeit identity cards and passports. These were of such quality that the SOE produced a fake passport for Adolf Hitler, which identified the Nazi dictator as Jewish “with a little moustache” and giving Mr. Hitler entry into Palestine.
 
passhitstamp.jpg
 
hitpassler22.jpg
 
hitpass888.jpg
 
Via the National Archives.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Cruelty Without Beauty’: Soft Cell’s criminally unknown 2002 reunion album
07.22.2014
07:43 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Marc Almond
Soft Cell
David Ball
Bob Gaudio


 
Most of the time when a band reforms, the results are lackluster. A creative partnership that’s run its course isn’t easily resurrected for love nor money and usually it’s for the latter and not the former that most reunion albums and tours occur.

That’s the way that I normally feel, but when Marc Almond and David Ball decided to reform Soft Cell in 2001 I was very excited to see what they’d come up with after 18 years. They had worked together on a few thing in the years since Soft Cell split in 1984, so it wouldn’t be an issue of them looking backwards to the 80s or anything like that. The idea of a mature Soft Cell seemed vastly appealing.

The first thing they released was “God Shaped Hole,” a track that was a part of a 2001 Some Bizarre compilation album titled, I’d Rather Shout at a Returning Echo than Kid That Someone’s Listening. They went on to record their unfairly neglected Cruelty Without Beauty album, which came out in 2002 and toured the globe in support of it. Sadly ticket sales were poor and most of the US dates were cancelled. I was lucky enough to catch them at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles (which was packed) and they put on one hell of an amazing show that balanced the hits with the new material.

The lead single from Cruelty Without Beauty was “Monoculture,” an infectiously catchy, but sharply-pointed diatribe about the bland horror show that popular culture was becoming (and this is years before the Kardashians or Cupcake Wars...) The evil Ronald McDonald-type character seen in the video is Some Bizzare label boss and former Soft Cell manager Stevo Pearce.
 

 
More Soft Cell after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Our Father, who art in Mordor…’: Hilarious reviews of Tolkien-themed prayer ring
07.22.2014
01:07 pm

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
Christianity
J.R.R. Tolkien

ringalone
 
I’ve been far too engrossed by the amusingly vitriolic negative reviews of protein supplement shakes on Amazon and almost missed the gloriously geeky reviews of one of the most absurd products of all time:  a men’s black ring with the text of the Lord’s Prayer written in Elvish script.
 
ringdescription
 
According to Wikipedia: “The Tengwar are an artificial script created by J. R. R. Tolkien. In his fictional universe of Eä, the tengwar were invented by the Elf Fëanor, and used first to write the angelic tongue Valarin and the Elven tongues Quenya and Telerin. Later a great number of languages of Middle-earth were written using the tengwar, including Sindarin.” 

Here are a few highlights:

Exactly what I wanted. Lovely ring. Well made. I’m only giving it a 4, because it is a little uncomfortable. But my plans for world domination are now coming along quite nicely. The included power to command the wraiths has been very convenient.


Stainless? I don’t think so. This ring is supposedly stainless steel, but the mark it left on my soul will never be healed. Beware, my friend, beware.


Simply precious! I love this beautiful ring. It’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Although, ever since I’ve started wearing it, I feel like someone is stalking me. He follows me constantly, staring at me from the shadows, mumbling and hissing. He wants to take the ring.


I bought this ring as a weight-loss aid. I’m giving it only three stars, because while it did help me lose weight, it left me feeling thin, and stretched, like butter spread over too much bread.


Special Care Instructions. I found this ring to be of fantastic quality and very durable - at one point my friend had hit it with an ax with no noticeable damage. However, I would suggest the following tips when caring for this ring:

1. Keep it secret
2. Keep it safe


I keep mine in an envelope and this works very well.


Didn’t last very long. Wanted as family heirloom to last several generations unfortunately they neglect to list that it’s Not lava proof, #thoroughly disappointed.

Via io9.

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Billy Bob Thornton hates on ‘Cupcake Wars’
07.22.2014
12:42 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Food
Television

Tags:
Billy Bob Thornton
Cupcake Wars


 
I never thought in a million years that I’d ever be typing out a title that says, “Billy Bob Thornton hates on Cupcake Wars.” I wouldn’t even think Mr. Thornton would know about such a show! But he does.

And he doesn’t like it.

If you don’t know what Cupcake Wars is, it’s a mind-numbing reality-based competition TV show on the Food Network where people are judged by their cupcake-making abilities. Apparently there’s a rather large audience—who don’t even get to taste the cupcakes for crissakes—that watches this show. I’ve only ever seen it briefly at the gym (I know, Cupcake Wars on at the gym, right?) but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would care about this stuff.

Anyway, Billy Bob sorta nails it with America’s (and perhaps the World’s) fascination with shitty reality television.

We don’t need one show about cupcakes, as far as I’m concerned. But you know what, if you’ve got one, okay, that’s fine, let’s have a show about cupcakes. But does it have to be a fucking competition? Do you have to have cupcake ‘wars’? And I’m sure people who have been in war kind of take offense to that. Because seriously, it’s not that goddamn dangerous to make a cupcake.

I’m not going to lie, tho… I do love me some cupcakes every now and then. I can’t take a side.

 
via D-listed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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