“Please visit my blog, I think you would enjoy some of it”… When I got this modest little email invitation to visit Cake and Polka Parade recently, the last thing I expected was the wondrous assortment of brain-curdling weirdness that I found…
In a scroll through the most recent entries, I was confronted with live recordings by legendary SF angry-painting-come-to-life-punk collective, Caroliner Rainbow; a psychiatric patient’s rantings about Lionel Ritchie’s dick; trombone, tuba ‘n’ drum mutilations of the Stooges; a Herschell Gordon Lewis kiddie movie (!?); a field recording of Belize crackheads; and some sober and respectable selections from naturalist Douglas Quin’s album of Antarctic wildlife sounds.
The pieces de resistance, however, were a pair of the most bizarre online movies that I have seen in ages. First up is Kana Hakkliha, an Estonian commercial for some kind of processed poultry product which plays like the fevered nightmare of a highly troubled vegan. It consists of intercut shots of a chicken, minced meat being extruded from a grinder, the preparation of a deep-fried culinary atrocity, and big coiffed 80’s models snarfing away at the end of the food chain. Underscoring these images is a creepy soundtrack on which increasingly echo-laden and frantic vocals intone the name of the product…
But even that seems mild and innocuous when compared with the Japanese vomit fetish game show... A doe-eyed teenage girl consumes noodles then proceeds to regurgitate them over the head of another teenage girl, occasionally glancing coyly at the camera in search of affirmation. All the while, an adult female compere in see-through lingerie prowls around in the background occasionally delivering snippets of commentary. (Extremely NSFW. You have been warned.)
All this in only two months... (And he even throws in some of his own fucked-up juvenilia... GET ME A VIBRATOR FROM THE CLOSET!) Greg Jacobsen, we salute you!
Today was designated as Free Mojtaba and Arash Day, and although its almost over, I wanted to add my voice to this worthy cause. Mojtaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi are Iranian bloggers who were recently arrested for speaking out against the arrest of fellow bloggers and cyberjournalists in Iran, and the Committee To Free Bloggers is asking everyone to make a post to raise awareness of their plight. For more information about their situation, and that of bloggers gaoled in other countries for similar attempts to exercise freedom of speech,visit the Committee To Protect Bloggers website.
Although I’m fairly late in posting, I just wanted to throw up a small tribute to the Great Man who passed away on Sunday. It’s the opening track from a compilation of his favourite songs called Where We’re You When The Fun Stopped, which was released in 1999 by Rough Trade. It’s called Thunder Road, and it’s the title track from a 1958 film, penned by and starring Robert Mitchum, which follows the story of a Kentucky moonshiner who battles US Treasury and big city mobs in a fight to keep his small-time family hooch business going. It has been called something of a “cult film”, but for people in the Appalachian region (which includes Kentucky, where Hunter S Thompson was born) this was a mainstream blockbuster; the equivalent of “Gone With The Wind wrapped with Citizen Kane”… Goodbye and mahalo, Hunter S Thompson.
If the human mind can conceive it, and human hands can build it, some boffin somewhere will find a way to wire it up with sensors and turn into a MIDI-triggerin’ musical interface. This won’t last forever though... Eventually, we will reach a point where every household appliance and piece of home furnishing is wired for sound art. By then, however, the brainiacs will probably have moved on, and have airborne clouds of buzzing nano-speakers to play with. And one can only imagine the sort of Pandora’s Box that that will open up…
But, I digress... Of all the innovative musical interfaces that are currently being thunk up (and if you want to keep abreast of them, then Near Near Future is the place for you) the Tone Ladder strikes me as particularly inspired. (And I’m obviously not alone in this, as it was recently nominated for the 2004 Europrix Multimedia Top Talent Award.) In a nutshell, it’s a set of step-ladders with sensor-laden rungs that can be used to trigger music and/or video loops, so performances of this wondrous device end up looking like carefully-executed games of solo vertical Twister... And, if you ask me, that’s a vast improvement on watching the tablecore brigade sit at their laptops and click mouses, doodle on Wacom tablets, or wave their hands over motion detectors. The most recent outing for the Tone Ladder was at a showcase evening for the Berlin chapter of Dorkbot, a global online and meat-meet community devoted to home-brew electronic art/device tinkering and computer-based audiovisual boffinery…
Which segues nicely into making mention of People Doing Strange Things With Electricity Too, a free online album of works by Seattle dorkboticians that was released on Comfort Stand back in late January. The collection is good snapshot of the sorts of amateur experimental electronica that are coming out of that city. My personal picks from the 25 tracks on offer are Ninnie’s dusty skipping-vinyl country drift track, Pretty Polly; Chenard Walcker’s Electricity (mainly because it has samples of the Captain Beefheart song of the same name); and Marcus Alessi Bittencourt’s Brazilian capoeira inspired collage… But that’s just me… Transmission over.
And a final note for the evening… Australia recently joined the rest of the civilized world with the launch of our very own iCommons licences. I spoke to one of the local Creative Commons project heads, Brian Fitzgerald, about this last week and the interview (which provides a very generalist summary of CC licences, along with tips for Australian songwriters and contact details for more information) is being broadcast tomorrow morning.
If you’re a local content producer and you’re unfamiliar with Creative Commons then I advise you to tune in.
(FOOTNOTE: My apologies for the fairly late posting of this. If you want a copy of the interview, drop me a line via the email address on the sidebar.)
Wednesday was apparently the 63rd birthday of nuclear sabre-rattler, sometime film producer, and old-style Stalinist dictator, Kim Jong Il, so (for whatever reason) Anthony has decided to “commemorate” this event on the show tomorrow. Naturally, I will be providing the music for this “commemoration” and I can think of nothing better than this piece of cheesy DPRK-export synth-pop by the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble called Reunification Rainbow. It comes from a site called Pyongyang Metro, which includes a collection of patriotic songs played on Pyongyang subway trains.
Or, alternatively, we could drag out an old Friday Brekkie fave, Fucking USA. It’s the soundtrack to an anti-American propaganda video that was first featured on the site of that notable North Korean pop-propaganda bower bird, Rob Pongi. (Currently, that link is slightly NSFW) Originally, the video had subtitles (which obviously didn’t translate well to radio) so we overdubbed English versions of its incendiary lyrics. Download and enjoy (or face the consequences).
From the spring of 2002 onwards, Portland belly dancer Marisa Young has been web-casting a weekly show of thrift-store-sourced vintage belly dancing music called Radio Bastet. And now, as a complement to her regular net-radio outings, she is posting a monthly downloadable album on her site. This month’s offering (it’s the second in the series) is a 1972 instructional record called How To Belly Dance For Fun! Health! Profit! The course is conducted by Jodette, whose belly dancing teaching career stretches back to the early 1960’s, and is divided into nine lessons which start off with The Entrance, then cover all the major body part movements (hips, belly, bust, etc) before concluding with The Traditional Belly Dance Yell.
It all sounds like good educational fun and, if you tune into Friday Brekkie over the next couple of months, we’ll be playing a lesson a week (starting either this week or next). Can you think of a better way of starting the day?
Last weekend, I was in Melbourne visiting old friends I haven’t seen in yonks, and making my obligatory pilgrimage to one of the best record stores on this island continent, Synaesthesia Records. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to seriously splurge, but I did pick up this intriguing piece of previously overlooked (except in some psych-geek quarters) album of early 70’s Israeli psychedelic rock.
Up until the late 60’s, domestic Israeli rock was virtually nonexistent; stymied by requirements that popular music was only valid if it “strengthen[ed] the nation’s spirit”. These strictures broke down as the decade ended. In 1969, the first Israeli rock album was recorded and, a year after this, Danny Ben-Israel – who had previously produced Hebrew versions of “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music” – recorded “3 ¼ Bullshit”, a collection of psych-rock driven tracks that occasionally devolved into a chaotic mess of noisy electronics, scratchy acid guitars, and chiming xylophones.
In the context of Israeli music at the time, it was a pretty radical departure from what had gone before. To give you a taste of it, here’s the first (and most chaotic) track, A Different Song. The album can be bought online from Mio Records.
As dub is a genre that effectively reduces a lot of its sonic elements to heavily manipulated sound effects, then marrying it up with the burbling beeps and decaying explosion sounds on old 8-bit game/PC sound chips makes a lot of sense. And that’s what Jahtari have done to great effect on this selection of old-school style cuts that can be downloaded from their website. (My picks: Roots Matrix and Argument) (via the null device)