me 11/08

Paean for my peepz

Previously on our pro­gram, I dis­cussed a close friend, lost five years ago. When I was writ­ing that post, I had my friends in gen­eral on my mind. Living where I do, I haven’t got a social life out­side of work. OK, yes, I pop into the city once, per­haps twice a month and see a cou­ple peo­ple, but that’s it. When I was in Rochester, I went out with friends a few times a month at most. So why am I now giv­ing a damn? One might say it is because it is one thing to have an option to see friends and choose not to do so, but it is another thing not to have much of a choice as to whether or not one sees friends. That per­son would be right, but that’s not the meat of it. I think I have per­formed my trade­mark uncon­scious stress­ing over changes in my fam­ily struc­ture and per­formed my trade­mark obliv­i­ous­ness towards how I feel on a day-​​to-​​day basis. Dammit: I have really loved con­vers­ing with, spend­ing time with, and just feel­ing the warmth from my friends over the past 18 months.

I don’t think Chris knew just how much I loved spend­ing time with him. No, I won’t beat myself up over the missed chances to tell him so. So I think I’ll now make November 4th the Bizza Memorial Tribute to My Friends. A guy as hon­est and kind as he, it makes sense.

I am afraid that I will step on a few toes with the fol­low­ing action: I’m going to tell a bunch of peo­ple how they’ve been won­der­ful in my life lately. I sus­pect some peo­ple will feel offended if they’re excluded. Well, er, I am sorry — if we’re still friends, then I obvi­ously like you. If you know me, you know I have lit­tle tol­er­ances for wankers. I wouldn’t keep you around if you didn’t mean some­thing to me. It’s just that…well…some peo­ple I really have to give them applause. It’s noth­ing per­sonal to you. Consider this an Oscar speech where you shouldn’t be offended by falling under the “and every­one else who means a lot to me” head­ing. I hope you understand…I assume you do, you’re smart enough for me to be friends with. ;) On that note, and in the order in which you all come to mind, let the pub­lic dis­plays of affec­tion com­mence. I love you all:

Peter Carbonaro, J. Christian Guerrero, and Shawn Rahman: of course it is fit­ting to thank the League as one, even though you are all seri­ous fuck­ing indi­vid­u­als. No fool­ing here that I look up to all of you as the cool older broth­ers I never had, and I always feel blessed to be in your pres­ence. You raise my game. May the classy-​​assed hijinks con­tinue through­out the years. Thanks to you all for hav­ing kids as well, because you give me hope for the future.

Noah Stupak: miss me now, don’t you, you fool? Ya shoulda never moved out. Oh, er…

Melissa Farnand: …I’m glad Noah moved in with you. Always won­der­ful to drop by for din­ner and a movie, even though Lola hated me. I think.

Brandon Snavely: a week in PA was really per­fect for us, eh? We both we say­ing good­bye (which was tougher than I fig­ured), and hang­ing with your par­ents is always decent. I feel I sorted a lot out talk­ing to you under the mete­orites that night.

Jessica Rider: nobody ever tried harder to get me out in pub­lic and meet new peo­ple. It was an utterly thank­less task you took upon your­self, but it has done me good and I just never knew how to be grate­ful (or grace­fully decline). I am very glad you cor­nered me before Edline’s class three years ago, and I am more glad you weren’t offended by my sour face.

Daniel Pontillo: thanks for help­ing keep me sane through my last year of RIT when I just wanted to split and get my fuck­ing life in gear. It was brief, but we’ll always have Boris and Antichrist (nobody else wants ‘em, probably).

Dave Loehlin and Genevieve Waller: thanks for being one of the odd­est bits of domes­tic­ity I had in Rochester. Duden, Boggle, and kale was always a good time.

Judy Margo: I am very glad your mother raised you to be a sen­si­tive per­son, and your tol­er­ance and desire to under­stand are unpar­al­leled. Thanks for lis­ten­ing to my wack­i­est ideas in their most unfin­ished states and help­ing me to see what I was thinking.

Niall Munnelly: I am glad you are here, happy, and forth­right. You’re a fuck­ing good egg, and I can’t see how someone’s life would not be improved with you on their side. Thanks for help­ing me out here out here.

Cristina Stoll: why the hell are you so easy to talk to? Seriously, I was drag­ging out crap I rarely tell any­one about in your pres­ence, and very quickly. Oh, Deutsches Voodoo auß New Orleans…? Macht’s kein prob­lem. I hope some­day to repay you, at least for the crash space.

Keren Fleshler: as if it wasn’t enough that we met after I left NYC, did you have to rub it in by mov­ing two blocks over from my old place? Fiddlesticks. Thanks for being so tol­er­ant and gen­er­ous. You were the per­fect per­son to go see a-​​ha with.

Kristin Brumbach: thanks for open­ing the door, and also for giv­ing me time with a kid that was awk­ward in how decent it was. I’m happy you’re one of my repro­duc­ing friends.

(last but far­thest from least)

Yoli: no list of grat­i­tude and love for the good peo­ple in my life is com­plete with­out you. No list of good peo­ple in my life is com­plete with­out you. No life of mine is com­plete with­out you. I’ve tried time and time again to put into words all you’ve done and do for me, and, even if I talk for hours, I never come close to all that could be said. Many things between us are, per­haps, bet­ter left unsaid…words just don’t cut it.

no alco­hol was involved in the writ­ing of this post

me 11/08


Vergangenheitsbewältigung might be my favorite German word. Lots of jokes about the German lan­guage hav­ing a (nor­mally long) word for every­thing, and, well, it’s true more often than not. “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” means “a strug­gle to come to terms with the past.” I’m think­ing about it today because it’s the five year anniver­sary of the death of the only Doktor I have ever known.

You can click through my archives and find other November 4th posts about Chris. Each year I say some­thing. I feel decent about what I’ve writ­ten in the past — in fact, one of them I think is one of the best things I’ve ever writ­ten. This year, though…well, I’m not going to call this a waste of a post, but I felt like I had to find an angle for writ­ing this. “An angle,” what the fuck? You just write and your feel­ings come out. This is seri­ous shit, you don’t need some mag­i­cal gate­way, you’ve got it all in you, if you start you’ll finish.

Well, er, not always. Sometimes you don’t even start. Sometimes you sit all day, think­ing about his loss, my loss, our loss, and you real­ize you don’t feel it like you used to. You just…accepted it. You came to terms with it. Sometime over the past year, a dead Chris became part of my Weltanschauung (German vocab time again; “world view”). I think I feel guilty and/​or ashamed about this. Why should I? I left a lit­tle piece of my life behind that day, but there’s no rea­son to leave a bread­crumb trail of more lit­tle bits of my life back to it, espe­cially as I like to believe and often claim that I have a very enlight­ened (per­haps a/​k/​a callous(ed)) view of death. So why do I feel like a dead Chris is now a Chris I know, and a live Chris isn’t, and both of these feel wrong?

I’ve had tragedy over the past year. I have mourned a few times and nearly mourned a few more. Have I sup­planted tragedies? Is this pos­si­ble? Do we do it con­sciously? I doubt it. I think we…live. These are the actions of a liv­ing soul. These are things peo­ple do in their day-​​to-​​day lives. We start anew reg­u­larly (momen­tar­ily, anon) and prob­a­bly don’t notice it because we still have reminders of the past. My life has, well, greatly started anew and maybe the unan­chored nature of my life since May has put me in a state where the past does not hold as it once did? (Maybe, my ass: the past is another planet to me now.)

And that’s what got me today about not hav­ing Chris any­more. Selfishly self­ishly, I want to talk to him. I want to tell him about how I’ve finally got­ten my shit together and am pretty damn happy. I want his advice on some things. I could greatly use his sym­pa­thy, under­stand­ing, and kind­ness at times. I think he would enjoy vis­it­ing me in Chicago. (I know I would sure as hell enjoy it.) He’s miss­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to share in his friends’ suc­cesses, and we’ve got no idea what his suc­cesses would be.

I am com­ing to terms with the past. I accept what has hap­pened. I see it as it is. I am liv­ing my life as best as I can. Chris…shit, if it could be said of any­one, it must be said emphat­i­cally of him:

It’s what he would have wanted.

me 11/08

Wisdom from last night’s dream

I was in a the­atre watch­ing a movie that was a bit of a mash-​​up of Inception and Fitzcarraldo (in my dream, it was cool, but look­ing at it now…yeesh). At one point, one of the char­ac­ters (a young actress cur­rently pop­u­lar whom I sorta respect, not remem­ber­ing who now) tells some­one “Don’t swim in the cur­rent. Stand, stand­ing is benthic.”

In my dream, in the the­atre, I punched the air and yelled “yeah!” Looking at it now, it looks like dream wis­dom, but that can be use­ful and sorta applic­a­ble in real life if you think about it enough.

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    a-ha "Over the Treetops"
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Song of the day “I hold the line, the line of strength that pulls me through the fear”

Peter Gabriel “San Jacinto”

Thick cloud — steam ris­ing — hiss­ing stone on sweat lodge fire

Around me — buf­falo robe — sage in bun­dle — rub on skin

Outside — cold air — stand, wait for ris­ing sun

Red paint — eagle feath­ers — coy­ote call­ing — it has begun

Something mov­ing in — I taste it in my mouth and in my heart

It feels like dying — slow — let­ting go of life

Medicine man lead me up through town — Indian ground — so far down

Cut up land — each house — a pool — kids wear­ing water wings — drink in cool

Follow dry river bed — watch scouts and guides make pow-​​wow signs

Past Geronimo’s disco — Sit’n’Bull steak­house — white men dream

A rat­tle in the old man’s sack say — look at moun­tain top — keep climb­ing up

Way above us the desert snow — white wind blow

I hold the line — the line of strength that pulls me through the fear

San Jacinto — I hold the line

San Jacinto — the poi­son bite and dark­ness take my sight — I hold the line

And the tears roll down my swollen cheek — think I’m los­ing it — get­ting weaker

I hold the line — I hold the line

San Jacinto — yel­low eagle flies down from the sun — from the sun

We will walk — on the land

We will breathe — of the air

We will drink — from the stream

We will live — hold the line

Hold the line — Hold the line

We will live — hold the line

Hold the line

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Coming to (new mix)

I hadn’t done a mix in a long while, and after that awful Red Wings loss Saturday, I needed to turn up some loud music and feel a lit­tle bet­ter. I ended up throw­ing a mix together that’s a lit­tle springly. Saturday was a warm, sunny spring day; Sunday was a cooler, rainy spring day. It’s a lit­tle sloppy at the begin­ning, but there are some inspired moments throughout.

Young America Primitive “These Waves“

God Within “Raincry” Submerged

The Future Sound of London “Papua New Guinea” Journey to Pyramid

Chicane “Offshore“

Lush “Stray” Groove Mix

Dance 2 Trance “Hello San Francisco“

Utah Saints “Trance Atlantic Flight“

Spooky “Little Bullet (part one)“

Jam & Spoon “Stella” The Lost Bet Mix

Orbital “Lush 3 – 4 Warrior Drift“

Feedback “I’m for Real (1)“

The Shamen “Rausch”

Yeah, it’s pro­gres­sive house and trance. Disturbing from me, isn’t it? I mean, holy crap, it’s fuck­ing “Offshore”. Well, y’know, it’s a decent tune and mixes so well into that Lush remix…yeah, a Lush remix by the Drum Club. Stick around for the end: the Feedback track is LFO in dis­guise, and the Shamen track is from their out-​​there album, Hempton Manor, and is pretty ban­gin’. So, yeah, fuck­ing trance music was good back in the early ‘90s.

Download these beats


best of 2009 music

March first is a good day to post this, right? I mean, the rush to get these out is gone, so now mine will appear more important for lack of competition.

So, remember how I did it last year? The tiering system, as opposed to rankings? Yeah, that's how I've been rating everything since then. Hard and fast rankings are for the inflexible and narrow-minded.
The movers

The xx The xx
Telefon Tel Aviv Immolate Yourself
DJ Sprinkles Midtown 120 Blues
The Lullaby League Dormio Animus
Monolake Silence
Intrusion The Seduction of Silence

Yep, these are the best. Not only are they really good, but they're really moving. That may come as a surprise in the case of Monolake. It's a good Monolake album, on par with Interstate, for sure, but moving? Perhaps an odd claim, but I find this album really affecting. The same goes for the Intrusion album. Not only am I completely comfortable calling that one of the best (dub or otherwise) techno albums of all time, it's so evocative.

DJ Sprinkles is Terre Thaemlitz's moniker for house-influenced material, as opposed to his usual glitched ambience. Amazing how one guy (er) could do two such diverse genres so well. Midtown 120 Blues is one of the three best house albums I've ever heard. Granted I'm not a house head, so my tastes are a bit off, but this is a classic. It's really warm and organic, uplifting yet moody, and just sloppy enough. Oh, you can dance to it, of course. Now that you know about Terre, I bet the Lullaby League is the obscurest thing here. I don't know much about them either. I stumbled across this album, and it transfixed me. It's also warm, organic, and kinda sloppy, but it's a slightly glitchy ambient album with some great spoken word on top. It does wonderful things: when you're trying to fall asleep and listening to it, it keeps you in the space between asleep and awake. Really cool.

Many know the story of the Telefon Tel Aviv album at this point: two guys, one of them kills himself the week before this album is released. I don't bite on those kinds of stories; the music stands alone to me. In the end, I am selfishly moved by his death, because this is the first Telefon Tel Aviv album that blew me away...and now I don't get another. Shitty. So go buy this one. It's shoegazey-IDM-synthpop. Odd combo, I know, but I love it.

And then...the xx. Forced to choose, I think I have to go with this album as my favourite of last year (with very close competition from Intrusion). It's pretty much perfect. A lot has already been said about it, so I'll try and not repeat any of it. It's amazing. Go buy it. (Crap, that's already been said.) The most astonishing thing about this album is its restraint. To make an album so subtle and relaxed is not completely astonishing, but it is for four 20-year-olds. That's the age when rocking is important. Subtlety is for the old who can't handle the noise. Let this be the first sign of a new era in barely-there music.

Weird-looking, but secretly the most interesting people at the party

The Twilight Sad Forget the Night Ahead
Shackleton 3 EPs
Piano Magic Ovations
Bvdub White Clouds Drift on and on

Kind of an odd assortment here, but they make sense together: they're all very good, but there's a little hook to each one that might drive some people away. If you can get over the hump, though, you'll be rewarded. (The bumps? Twilight Sad: "Haven't I heard this before?" Shackleton: "This is a little repetitive." Piano Magic: "This is kinda wannabe late-period Dead Can Dance." Bvdub: "Wait, it's over and I forgot to pay attention.")
Precocious vinyl

Burial / Four Tet split 12"
Others in Conversation "Two Instrumentals"
Data & Cell "Doors of Perception"
Indigo/Synkro "Runes/My Own World"

Putting out two tracks on a piece of vinyl usually precludes you from getting on year-end best-release lists. Not for me. Qualitatively, these records are 100% awesome.
Returns to form

Gus Gus 24/7
Tortoise Beacons of Ancestorship

Tortoise and Gus Gus are each coming off two albums or so of so-so material. Ah, they're back! These albums hold their own against their best.
Doing what they do, and doing it well

Fluxion Constant Limber
Alva Noto
Xerrox vol. 2
jj jj n2
Lawrence Until Then, Goodbye

Much like finding your way back from a period of pointlessness, there's something to be said for knowing how to do what you do, and then doing it very well. (Junior shout-out to Fluxion, who decided to make a track with a vocalist, and made my jaw drop. It was so unexpected and not terribly original, but the fact that it happened and was successful is something.)
Artist of the year

Fever Ray

Oh yeah, yes, YES. Karin Dreijer Andersson, welcome to the pantheon, Micah's Pantheon of Sorta-Crazy, Intensely Creative, Inspirational Women. You already know Kate Bush and Bjrk, of course.

This album is stunning. The singles are stunning. The remixes are stunning. The graphic design and videos are stunning. The live show (going from the live album) was stunning. What can't this woman do? I was surprised at how mellow, dark, and personal this album is. The Knife are dark, and sorta personal, but rarely mellow. She turned it around for the album. The moment that gets me the most is in the album's centerpiece, "Keep the Streets Empty for Me". The last line, repeated, is "uncover our heads and reveal our souls". Definitely heavy coming from a woman known for wearing strange and complex masks for public appearances.
Remixes of the year

Florence & the Machine "You've Got the Love" xx Remix
Hell "The DJ" Radio Slave Remix

Hey, it's the xx again. These damn sneaky kids, in addition to producing their own album, are apparently capable enough to turn out an amazing remix of a song, not in their style, and twist it around to their style. [shakes fist]

I'll keep shaking my fist at Matt Edwards, Mr Radio Slave, doing what he does so well: showing you that when you think you've had enough, sticking with it a little longer is better than enough. Great track for him to work his magic on, too. This DJ Hell album missed the above shortlist by only a little bit (ironically, it's too long), but this track is great. It's good on the album, better as a remix. All of this is prelude to my saying that I'm astonished I ever loved a track with Diddy (yes, Sean Combs) ranting about DJs who only play edits and should be playing the extended versions instead.

(If I hadn't already given the praise to Fever Ray, we'd see the Rex the Dog remixes of "Triangle Walks" and the Scuba remixes of "Seven" here.)
Great producer choice

Fuck Buttons Tarot Sport

Their previous album I loved when I first heard it, but it fell down the list pretty quickly. Why? Too narrowly focused, no soul. What can fix that? Getting Andrew Weatherall to produce, of course! A turnaround and a great piece of work. Cheers, gents.
Ask me when summer comes

King Midas Sound Waiting for You

I think I like this...but as a soft-yet-thick reggae album (or a dubstep-with-vocals album), I'm not going to know until summer. Just the way it is. Can't fully grok this kind of music until it's warm out and I'm living on Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum.
It's ambient music

Leyland Kirby Sadly, the Future is No Longer What It Was

It's four hours of distressed recordings of worn-out 78s. Oh, it's ambient in the traditional Eno definition: aural wallpaper. Wallpaper can be oppressive and really affect your subconscious, though...

Sven Weisemann Xine

The "Xine Zero" 12" is great. A pretty tight little combination of electronic rhythms, strings, and piano. It's quite original. So why is the album so painfully dull? Not enough electronics. Only a couple tracks really bring it all together nicely. Without the beats, it just sounds like sketches for a snippets of a soundtrack. A shame, as I was really looking forward to hearing this kind of sound...
Oh wait, what's this?

Field Rotation Licht und Schatten

Hey, here it is, subtle electronics with strings and piano. Sven has more of a minimal-housey flavour to his work, Field Rotation sounds more like Move D: sorta housey, sorta ambient techno. Damn good. Excellent work by this obscure producer. Now, make haste over to his webpage for two free remix EPs.

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