me 11/08

2009 was a pretty straightforward year

...according to, anyway.

my top 20 artists for the year:

  1. depeche mode

  2. pet shop boys

  3. brian eno

  4. coil

  5. the cure

  6. new order

  7. peter gabriel

  8. einstrzende neubauten

  9. the orb

  10. b! machine

  11. muslimgauze

  12. the church

  13. current 93

  14. and one

  15. front 242

  16. de/vision

  17. the the

  18. project pitchfork

  19. david sylvian

  20. covenant

part of me is a little let down that it isn't "weirder", but that's really a foolish thing to complain about. in retrospect, i guess i had a pretty crummy year, so no shock i went with "comfort" music.

two relatedlys:

  • yeah, there'll be a best of 2009 list. probably the end of next week.

  • i'm launching a new website for music reviews. no, really, i am, around about the same time. still no idea what to do to replace the podcast.

if this seems like a blog post that somebody would put up if they were posting more often, i.e. you expect there to have been more serious, realistic content before this, especially in light of the year changing and holidays and all that crap, well, you're right. there is a bunch of content in the space between this and my last post. no, you can't see it. it isn't written, it probably will never be written, and, really, there's nothing melodramatic about that. consider this my apologia to myself for beating myself up over not posting more often. just because i'm not "posting to my blog" doesn't mean i'm not recording events and generating content. it just doesn't transcribe to this format.


i can't escape from you

i miss the podcast. i miss sharing music i like with my friends. le sigh. so...

a little comp i prepared, in memory of autumn. last day of november, last day that really is "autumn" as it's emotionally defined. maybe you live someplace warm and sunny and you didn't really get an autumn: this should help put a cloudy chill in the air.

"Violina: the Last Embrace" Lisa Gerrard The Mirror Pool 1995
"Your Helping Isn't Helping" The Boats Words Are Something Else 2009
"Atemlos" Zwischenfall Gestern und Heute 1983
"Warten" ExKurs Fakten sind Terror 1981
"Are You Alone?" Skanfrom Are You Alone? 2009
"How Difficult It Is" Zerkalo Stoi Storoni Zerkala 2009
"Where's Your Child?" Bam Bam Where's Your Child? 1988
"Untitled 08" Television Set & Others in Conversation November Session 2009
"I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart" A Place to Bury Strangers Exploding Head 2009
"Pleasure and Pain" The Chameleons Radio 1 Evening Show Sessions 1983
"Severance" Ride Waves: Peel Sessions 1990-94 1991
"Witch Hunt" The Church Priest = Aura 1992
"Two Hands" Nudge As Good As Gone 2009
"The Dawn" DJ Krush Kakusei 1999
"Sometime Later" Alpha Come From Heaven 1997
"The Host of Seraphim" Dead Can Dance The Serpent's Egg 1988

(zip file)

if you use iTunes, import the .xml playlist file. if you use some other player, there's an .m3u file.

update: thanks to morgan of commenting-below-fame, here is an updated m3u file if the included one doesn't work.


song of the day "life's an optical illusion, like other optical illusions"

damn. i miss doing the podcast. i also miss writing here regularly. that hasn't really happened since i left NYC. i don't doubt for one minute that the energy of the city made me more alive and more energetic. go ahead, go back to 2004, 2005 entries. the quality and quantity of emblogenation there is far greater than this (though i won't listen to any bitching or disgust or mockery as to the what i wrote about back then). have i achieved minimalism? doubtful: realised last night that while i love minimalism and consider myself a minimalist, at this point, it's just a goal.

damn. here's a great chameleons song, with some great lines and ideas, in a sorta-endearingly low-budget video and mimed performance.


the chameleons "monkeyland"

I shake my head and shiver
They smile
And then stab my back as they shake my hand
Send out an SOS plea
Come quickly
I'm marooned in monkeyland.
Is there anyone there
Who understands me
Anyone at all

I'm idly staring at the sky
Did anybody hear me sigh
A million stars are a moving sight
To all you out there
Reading this tonight
It's just a trick of the light

I have to know what is real
And what is illusion
Tell me how does it feel
Beyond this confusion
Is there anyone there

Do I dismiss this with a sigh
Suppose I must from time to time
And let the answers pass me by
To questions set to bend the mind
Is my creator a God or a man
Does someone somewhere
Care or understand
It's just a trick of the light

I have to know what is real
And what is illusion
Tell me how does it feel
Beyond this confusion
Is there anyone there

Life's an optical illusion
Like other optical illusions
If there's anyone there

Originally published at this is.



well, maybe you've been wondering what has happened to my podcast. i talked a lot about having some exciting stuff planned for my 100th episode (and around then), but that was in july. months have passed, and nothing. well, all of the exciting stuff i wanted to do, i couldn't get anything more than lukewarm responses from the folks i wanted to have as guests, so i guess i've scrapped it. the whole thing.

i don't want to come across as all emo, but i've only recently heard from three people that they listen regularly, and i guess i just don't feel motivated to do it if it's the digital equivalent of a tree falling in a forest. my increasingly-irregular schedule must have clued you in (if you actually paid attention, that is to say), so i suppose one can tell i'm just not feeling it.

in a way, a shame, as i've certainly found a lot of music i enjoy listening to lately, and i wish i had people around to talk to about it, to share it. that's the point, there: i wish i had people around. doing the podcast must have given me the idea that i would be creating a conversation with my friends (and maybe make some new ones) about music i enjoy and they might enjoy as well. that didn't really happen. no reason why it couldn't, but i'll look elsewhere for that. try a new method, maybe, something different. i still want the connection, but it's not happening like this. i'll have to come up with something else.

anyways, i finished with 99 episodes, so some would say it is incomplete. i can see that. maybe it ends now, incomplete, as a reminder of _______. maybe i finish it later, somehow, appropriately. we'll see.

Originally published at this is.

  • Current Music
    shackleton "trembling leaf"

why i like the suburbs

maybe this is how i am undeniably american.

i see the suburbs as a very evocative place. maybe it's because i grew up there, and had all my most influencing (?) experiences in suburban icons, but they're really quite mysterious. david lynch would agree, no doubt. brian eno, too, probably.

the suburbs at night are amazing. after midnight, on a weeknight? they're so dark and lonely. there are these little pockets of light and warmth a streetlight here, a porch light there. houses sit, full of restful people, sharing a little coziness from the dark and cool night.

the real beautiful areas are the edges of the suburbs, where they start to go rural. there you have fewer streetlights and homes, and more open space. those open spaces often fill with a little mist at night. at night, the land gets to be what it misses being. deer, owls, and other creatures of the night move around. this also includes the lone policeman, sitting in his car at a stoplight, guarding against the scourge of the suburban night, teenagers.

the shopping plazas are quiet and bathed in the glow of their mercury bulbs. all that they can do is wait peacefully. they get to sleep, too. the empty parking lots radiate warmth left over from day, like giant sleeping beasts.

of course there are suburban hells: light pollution has ruined the night skies for four generations of americans and counting, the days are full of miserable traffic and wastes of water, and they are far too insular & self-absorbed. at night, though, the suburbs are a surreal elsewhere, where mystery is heightened and things seem just askance of reality.

Originally published at this is.

  • Current Music
    solar quest "flying spirals"
me 11/08

back to irregularly scheduled deprogramming

hey Blog.

so i've got a wackload of pictures from my august travels. (for me, a wackload is a about 2 dozen.) first i gotta sort 'em and tweak 'em, so i'll just leave you with a teaser.

this is the view i had for a few weeks at my grandparents' on lake michigan:


can't argue with that, can ya?

so, to tide you over until those pics come...Song of the Past Two Weeks:
It's nice here with a view of the trees
Eating with a spoon?
They don't give you knives?
'spect you watch those trees
Blowing in the breeze
We want to see you lead a normal life

Originally published at this is.

  • Current Music
    depeche mode "better days" basteroid dance is gone vocal mix

home's front door

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Mackinac Bridge from Fort Mackinac (a/k/a looking north to the UP): do you like how I stuck the flag in there, like it's a chee(r/s)y postcard?"]Mackinac Bridge[/caption]


living up to their name

surprising local concert action tonight: gang gang dance played at the bug jar (aka the hipster bar). $10, hellza yes, i'm there. shout-out to the prof who said "hey, you'll never guess who's coming to the bug jar?"

so, crap, what a good show. i haven't seen a band with such good sense of rhythmic interplay since TNT-era tortoise. of course you had to dance. you had to. unless your hip felt weird from falling asleep on the couch (speaking from experience), in which case you stood there and tried to do a one-legged swaying gyration. you could tell this was a band from the same scene as !!!both are the same kind of chaotic-mishmash-party.

i think they played for about 90 minutes, but there were only about 7 or 8 "songs". there were only about four breaks in music, including the encore. (also wonderful to see a band come out and do an encore because the crowd wanted them to, not as a foregone conclusion.) i recognised about 5 or 6 tracks, but they expand and alter them so much live. much more chaotic and glorious. almost seems like getting into them via the live set would be a letdown. the albums are just more restrained and composed, i suppose.

as i write this, i'm wondering why i don't love this band more. the music is perfectly geared towards me:

  • 20% peter gabriel's birdy soundtrack

  • 20% my bloody valentine

  • 15% afropop

  • 10% cocteau twins

  • 10% can

  • 10% dub

  • 5% tangerine dream

  • 5% ninety-era 808 state

  • 5% bail funk

i'll have to make it up to myself.

Originally published at this is.

  • Current Music
    gang gang dance "afoot"