Sunday, December 31, 2006

Burnlab's picks for NYE in NYC:

The Mother of All Parties, featuring Michael T, Justine D and the usual gang + Dethlab's good friend Xris Flam of Byte and Smack, JDH, Mike Simonetti, Lauren Flax and more awesomeness at Rebel (formerly Albion/Batcave.)

Also tonight, RE:UP Magazine & New Release present Ursula 1000, the Machine Punk crew and much, much more at Asterisk in Bushwhik. Oh, and we're told free beer until 8 in the morning.

See you at the above and a very happy 2007!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Three Mile Island Park by the late Disney theme park designer Art Riley.

[via Justin Jorgensen, author of Obscene Interiors]

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I realize the Chris Walken/otter reference may have been slightly esoteric for some.
Below is the context.
Everything should make perfect sense now.

"I don't buy the tomatoes with the stems on them. They don't degrade. They go down the sink and into the water. Then they get lodged in the throats of little otters."
- Christopher Walken

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

For all our New York friends, Bethany and I will be home for our monthly visit in a couple days. Other than a belated Shorb family Christmas and spoiling Mark's cat Otto, we have no plans at all... which is kinda nice. I know you're reading this, so hit me up at!

I'm too old to make party on a Tuesday in the middle of auto show season and 100 other projects on three hours sleep from holiday festivities... but UNTITLED TONIGHT!

Dear, Elliott, Servito, Mudge, Troxler, Crosson
The Shleter, Detroit
10pm | 18+ |$5

Sweet Smelling Surfaces is a net label created by digital artist Tampopo and his bad lieutenant Supakaji. All SSS content is released under a Creative Commons License (which means you can download it and enjoy it for free, so long as you don't sell it or mess with it.) The Figuration Of Trans EP is SSS's newest release, from the over-sexed bad boy of Italian acid-electro Adriano Canzian.

Evil Christmas Carols Volume 1 and Volume 2: your favorite carols played in minor key.

Only one week old, Gibby's Daily Video Blog is shaping up to be one of the greatest treasures on the whole internet. Each post is a carefully selected treat with thoughtful writing that whisks every thirty-ish music lover back to those special moments of discovery.

Bless you, Gibby.

Dorkwave NYE 2006

*whew - flyer hot outta photoshop. click for big version.

The Dorkwave tradition continues this New Years Eve at the Northern Lights Lounge. On top of the usual chaos, there's going to be a free special buffet for those who get there early. So get there early.

It's also my psudo-going away party as I'm moving from Detroit probably forever to San Francisco the very next day. What better note to leave on then me ruining my finest clothes while embarrassing myself with drunkin boisterous belligerence with my closest friends.

I'm going to miss all of you and this city, and I hope to see everyone come out of the woodwork for one last horrah.

Northern Lights Lounge
660 W Baltimore St
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 873-1739

Matt Harding was a developer for Pandemic Studios Australia when a family-oriented game he was working on was scrapped he made the remark that the studio should work on a title that involved "blowing up everything and killing everyone"--needless to say the title was green lighted and it became Destroy All Humans!

Matt left the company and decided to travel the world which he documented with this YouTube.

Extremely inspired! Cheery stuff for the holiday.

If you hadn't noticed, I've been making an effort in recent months to write posts of more editorial substance - in addition to the usual one-liners, personal banter and interesting links. I'm not sure if something triggered nostalgia for my days as editor and publisher of my high school newspaper, or if it's a little voice saying "you're going to be 35 in a couple weeks - get serious!" Either way, I hope the longer, more opinionated posts lean more toward the interesting than the tedious for you.

I've also scaled back on using this blog as a "what's happening" list. I've become less interested in the ephemeral nature of nightlife since the end of summer, and have decided to leave most event postings in the more able and tuned-in hands of Burnlab's thirty other contributors. [Servito, Jon, Liz, Lynnel, etc., this means you!]

On the subject of nightlife, It saddens me to write that Oslo [the one in Detroit] has closed. It may re-open in 2007, but all events scheduled through 2006 [including Dethlab's ninth installment of Sex & Sedition] have been cancelled. Oslo was the very best venue in Detroit for electronic music, bar none. It is a great loss to the community, and I hope dearly they can sort everything out. Meanwhile, Bethany and I have shifted focus from DJ'ing to remixing and recording original material. Santa brought me a beautiful Fender bass guitar for Christmas, which I'm going to need to learn how to play. The last guitar I touched was a six string Les Paul at the age of sixteen, but math dictates this is going to be 33% easier to figure out. Right?...

In other Dethlab news, our next scheduled event in Detroit is Machines That Feel II on April 14th. More details as it fleshes out.

Best wishes and happy holidays from everyone at Burnlab.

Monday, December 25, 2006

When I first moved to New York in 1999 Giulianification was well underway, but the meatpacking district remained lower Manhattan's last bastion of seediness. The Chelsea Market was thriving and bistros were moving in, but it was still commonplace to see junkies and unusually tall prostitutes among the forklifts and animal blood seeping from under steel garage doors. The district has gentrified at break-neck speed over the past seven years, and seems to have tripled in pace since the start of High Line redevelopment. Now home to high design showrooms, countless French restaurants, and [unfortunately] the most grotesque nightlife scene this side of West Hollywood, the old Gansevoort Market area is now only recognizable by the rusty elevated freight line currently being transformed into a 21st century public promenade.

Gentrification is always a mixed bag. It can destroy the character which made a neighborhood intriguing to start with, but it can also bring unexpected benefits and opportunities. This week, Nicolai Ouroussoff ponders both.

We New Yorkers have a morbid fascination with pinpointing the death of a neighborhood scene. You wonder, for example, exactly when the seeds were planted for SoHo's grim destiny as an open-air mall. Was it 1971, when Leo Castelli opened his downtown gallery? The advent of Dean & Deluca's overpriced cheeses? Victoria's Secret underwear displays?

But the artists who bemoaned SoHo's gradual reinvention as a tourist mecca in the 1980s would have been dumbstruck by the pace of gentrification wrought by the High Line, an abandoned stretch of elevated railway tracks that will be transformed into a garden walkway from the meatpacking district to Chelsea.

Even before local activists picked the project's design team, Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, two years ago, developers had begun circling the site like vultures. Today, the High Line risks being devoured by a string of developments, including a dozen or more luxury towers, a new branch of the Whitney Museum of American Art and a Standard Hotel. Already the area is a mix of the fashionable and the tacky, with tourists tottering from boutiques to nightclubs across its cobblestone streets, even as they recoil from the occasional whiff of raw meat.

Not all of these are run-of-the-mill development projects: they include potential designs by renowned talents including Renzo Piano and the Polshek Partnership. And even more promising, a few younger, relatively unknown talents like Neil Denari and Work Architecture are getting the opportunity to design major projects.

But the frenzied activity surrounding the High Line shows how radically the development climate in Manhattan has accelerated. No longer content to allow gentrification to proceed at its own tentative pace, developers now view even the humblest civic undertaking as a potential gold mine. City planners who once had to coax developers to build in rundown neighborhoods are groping for strategies to keep them at bay. Pretty much everyone who has walked the length of the weed-choked High Line agrees that its magic arises largely from its isolation. Carving its way through the urban fabric two to three stories above ground, it is framed mostly by the backs of buildings and billboards, with occasional views opening out to the Hudson or across Manhattan.

read more [NY Times]

James Brown is dead. :(


More on Herr Lang

WWD reports Hemlut Lang is displeased with a New York Times article last month which suggested he was guilty of "corporate insubordination," resisting attempts to add "lucrative accessories and luxury pieces" to his collection and that "unwavering dedication to his creative vision and his distinctive, if uncomfortably masochistic, bondage references will ultimately be recorded as the cause of his failure."

Personally, I think those are very admirable traits and part of why Lang is so awesome as a person and as a designer.

Michael and Nicole Colovos of Habitual will be taking over design at Helmut Lang [the brand] rather than Alexandre Plokhov, as rumored. The Colovos' work is nice and the lines are clean I suppose... hell, let's not beat around the bush: it is boring and comfortable - which undermines everything the brand stood for. What made Helmut Lang [the clothes] so incredible were the subversive and witty details, unexpected material choices and those "distinctive, if uncomfortably masochistic, bondage references." It was a singular, unrelenting creative vision which revolutionized both men's and women's wear in the late 1980s, created a small but extremely dedicated cult of fans, and influenced a whole generation of designers. It was never meant for everyone, but it was absolutely perfect for what it was. If parent company Theory thinks they can offer slouchy, more "accessible" [as Theory's Andrew Rosen puts it] products for a wider customer base, then they have already lost all the brand equity they spent tens of millions of dollars on before the first store even opens.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Next year we're doing ALL our holiday shopping at Necromance in Los Angeles. (Where have you been all my life?)

One of my biggest heroes in the fashion world, Alexandre Plokhov of Cloak has decided to close up shop. The end of Cloak is undoubtedly a great loss to men's fashion, but it may not be that bad after all. A few months ago we posted rumors that Theory, which earlier in the year acquired the rights to the Helmut Lang brand, has been courting Plokhov to head up design at the [formerly] eponymous label. The closing of Cloak could be a sign that things are moving ahead for a re-tooled Helmut Lang, and I couldn't think of anyone better [besides Lang himself] to be at the helm.

Related: fill in your own caption. [I don't need to be captain obvious here...]

link [via Style Forum]

Holiday cheer from Ghostly: download Snow Ogre by PostPrior.

Go Snow Ogre go!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Saying Yes to Mess

It is a truism of American life that we're too darn messy, or we think we are, and we feel really bad about it... this is why sales of home-organizing products, like accordion files and labelmakers and plastic tubs, keep going up and up... but contrarian voices can be heard in the wilderness. An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat "office landscapes") and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It's a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.

"It's chasing an illusion to think that any organization - be it a family unit or a corporation - can be completely rid of disorder on any consistent basis," said Jerrold Pollak, a neuropsychologist at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, N.H., whose work involves helping people tolerate the inherent disorder in their lives. "And if it could, should it be? Total organization is a futile attempt to deny and control the unpredictability of life."

In the semiotics of mess, desks may be the richest texts. Messy-desk research borrows from cognitive ergonomics, a field of study dealing with how a work environment supports productivity. Consider that desks, our work landscapes, are stand-ins for our brains, and so the piles we array on them are "cognitive artifacts," or data cues, of our thoughts as we work.

To a professional organizer brandishing colored files and stackable trays, cluttered horizontal surfaces are a horror; to cognitive psychologists like Jay Brand' who works in the Ideation Group of Haworth Inc., the huge office furniture company, their peaks and valleys glow with intellectual intent and showcase a mind whirring away: sorting, linking, producing. (By extension, a clean desk can be seen as a dormant area, an indication that no thought or work is being undertaken.)

-New York Times

[via Archinect]

A nice shot of Bryan Black rocking his Cyberoptix tie + more great photos from the Nitzer Ebb/Fixmer/MOTOR show in Cologne last month here from Black Cat Net.

Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds.

With its tears depleted, crying must be like dry-heaving sorrow for the little feathered ones. Ohmygawth!

[via Toybreaker]

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Despite rumors on the internets, Galapagos Art Space is not closing. (See comment 9 in the link by director Robert Elmes.)

By the way, Galapagos has one of the most awesome mission statements ever:

The most basic function of the arts is to be relevant in the advancement of society.

Galapagos does not accept government grants or public funding of any kind. We believe that if the work we present is strong, communicative, and effective, we will survive.

If we don't produce strong, communicative and effective work then we won't survive - we're not feeding the hungry: we make art. If we can't be grown-up about that and stand up on our own, then we don't think we'd have anything interesting to tell you anyway.

This is New York City. One of the greatest cultural cities to have ever risen; perhaps the greatest. We're not sitting around dreaming of the grant we applied for.

We have our whole lives to live and that is terribly important.

Culture should reflect that clearly.

Related on a personal note: This seems like ages ago due to the extreme ups and downs of the past four years, but it also seems more familiar than it has in a long time. Back in '02 some good friends and colleagues came to see me speak in New York. Through some combination of fate, determination and dumb luck, we now get to make art together every day, which is pretty awesome.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Defiant Architect's Gentler Side

Thomas Mayne may be losing his edge, but only literally - not figuratively. The recently unveiled design for a new tower at La Defense is influenced by "the sensuousness of Paris," and has been likened to a slip draped over a body. "It becomes metabolic, the skin. It moves," Mayne says. Like Mayne's other recent large scale work, the Phare Tower's powerful sense of motion makes its unexpectedly soft forms anything but "blobby".

Resented and admired for a brazen, punk-rock approach to both design and practice, Mayne has always thrived on being the feisty underdog challenging authority and establishment. With a handful of high profile projects and the prestigiouss Pritzker Prize (the architectural equivalent to the Nobel) under his belt, he finds himself in a strange place - a position of authority. He seems to be adjusting well however, and the Phare Tower is proof that not only is he still fighting the good fight, but a 300 meter high, one billion dollar affirmation of everything he has been fighting for.

NY Times slideshow + info and images at ArcSpace

The 10 most dangerous toys of all time [via Core77]

Also see: Lifestyles of the Rich and Fascist

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Burnlab top 10s follow-up a.k.a. why Owen Ashworth is so awesome

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone swept my lists this year with ease and humble grace. Etiquette managed to set itself apart from much more polished releases by fellow favorites Perspects, Circlesquare, The Horrors and The Knife in a way that is intangible and difficult to describe. Ashworth's deceptively simple narratives have an ability to cut right to your heart - I would go as far as to call him the Leonard Cohen of Generation X - and he's just only getting his feet wet. The low-fi arrangements and stories of hipster melodrama could easily be dismissed if they were ironic, but CFTPA's music is absolutely honest, raw and as painful as it is beautiful. Young Shields tore my heart out presented a bevy of personal flaws and insecurities on a platter (thanks,) wrapped in an epic equal only to M83's Teen Angst, but 100X more sincere, and Scattered Pearls is as catchy and smart as anything The Postal Service has ever produced, but again drenched in a purity that puts it on an entirely different level. I was a little skeptical about CFTPA expanding beyond the battery powered keyboards for which the project was named after, but the fleshed-out arrangements on Etiquette only add to the power of the music. Ashworth may be the first of our generation deserving residence alongside Williams, Cave, Waits and Cohen in that fabled tower.

Somebody give Bernard his pants backs.

And the gift of music keeps giving: Gibby's Daily Video Blog

Twelve Seven Days of Dorkwave
Exclusive holiday mixes from Dorkwave just for you.
Collect them all for a limited time only!

Extra special cheers to Rob for managing and to Sneak for hosting.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dear Google,
All I want for Christmas is a search function for YouTube that doesn't suck.

Please Let It Be Whale Vomit...

Dorothy Ferreira of Montauk, New York recently received an intriguing gift from her 82-year-old sister in Waterloo, Iowa: a greenish, waxy blob discovered on the beach in Long Island some 50 years ago. No one has been able to positively identify the object, but it is suspected to be ambergris - an almost mythical substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. Most commonly used in perfumes, ambergris is also considered an aphrodisiac and is used in homeopathic medicines. It has been mentioned in literature and film from Moby Dick and Don Quixote to Hannibal and an episode of Futurama. Most recently, it was a central element of Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9.

If Ms. Ferreira's object is indeed petrified whale vomit, it may be worth around $18,000. Even so, ambergris is illegal to buy or sell in the United States due to endangered species legislation, and there are only a handful of specialists in the world qualified to identify it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

R.I.P. Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records founder and music visionary.

Despite currently being on a rave hiatus, this is amusing: Ravezooka

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I don't know how much press this got on the other side of the atlantic but Belgium's national news pulled off the biggest dupe since War of the Worlds. Belgium is having very serious problems between their French and Flemish-speaking populations and the fake news flash was meant to bring attention to the very real possibiltiy of a split in the country.

I had a feeling I was going to leave out something really important and obvious on my 2006 Top 10s, and sure enough...

Apologies to our Scottish friends, but Belle and Sebastian have been bumped from the list to make room for I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. Shame on me for forgetting one of the most amazing records of the year.

To repent for the oversight, links to two of the best music videos of the year: According to Plan and the beautiful wrist slasher The Owl.

Also, file under "where are they now?"/"I'm a complete dumbass for not knowing this", I only recently learned that ILYBICD are produced by Ministry's Paul Barker. (No wonder that bass line on According to Plan sounds familiar - it has Lard all over it.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas is time for free MP3s. Download Christmas Reindeer from The Knife.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Official Space Weather Advisory: Geomagnetic Storm in Progress

A geomagnetic storm began on December 14 at 1416 UTC (9:16 A.M. EST). A solar flare on 13 December at 0240 UTC (12 December, 9:40 P.M. EST) from NOAA Region 930 produced strong radio blackouts (R3) and an associated moderate (S2) solar radiation storm. A large Earth-directed coronal mass ejection was also observed with this event, producing today's geomagnetic storming. Strong to severe (G3 - G4) geomagnetic storming is expected to last through 15 December.

Aside from potentially nasty things like knocking out power grids and communication systems, the storm should provide spectaular northern lights.


Christmas cheer from Circlesquare [free MP3 for a limited time]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A few weeks ago, clean cut Paris based duo The Penelope[s]' debut LP became the latest addition to the Citizen Records catalog. The Arrogance of Simplicity proudly displays its roots in early 80's new-wave and post-punk [the uber-hooky In a Storm and Sisters of Mercy influenced Skygazing,] while demonstrating the pair's great skill in creating dreamy pop songs [Demian, which sounds a bit like Stereolab remixed by label boss Vitalic] as well as the electro stormers [Teenage Dust] Citizen is best known for. It is at times surprisingly bright and accessible fare from the label which introduced the world to John Lord Fonda, but certainly no less satisfying.

Related: In a Storm video + cover of Alice

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ghostly International and Cyberoptix have teamed up to present the it gift of the season: limited edition hand-screened Ghostly ties in three fabulous flavors available only at Cyberoptix Tie Lab and Buy Ghostly.

If that's not dandy enough for you, (Pas/Cal take note!) Cyberoptix has brand new silk ascots exclusively from the Cyberoptix store and Los Angeles purveyors of awesomeness All Purpose. (Check the All Purpose Blog for lots of awesome.)

Related: Filius Design + Refinery29 article

Speaking of Pas/Cal, RUN out and buy their new EP Dear Sir, featuring Little Red Radio, which earned a top five spot on Burnlab's favorite singles of 2006 and is one of the tightest pop songs I have ever laid ears on. Be it at the deft hands of Mr. Richard Panic or the creepy claws of The Horrors' Spider Webb, the electric organ is hands down instrument of the year.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

From the NY Times Magazine Year In Ideas:

Ambient Addition is the thesis project of MIT Media Lab research assistant Noah Vawter. It is a Walkman which, rather than isolating the user from the outside world, processes the sound of the environment into music... almost like having Matthew Herbert in your pocket. As a result, users become more engaged and aware of their surroundings, "tend to play with objects around them, sing to themselves, and wander toward tempting sound sources." Watch a demonstration clip at Noah's website.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Best of 2006

The year is coming to a close, which means... list time!

I've procrastinated Christmas shopping by getting a jump on the obligatory top tens. Barring anything truly brilliant comes out in the next two weeks, below is the music which moved me most over the past twelve months. As always, all Burnlab editors are encouraged to share their own lists right here.
Happy holidays.

edit: updated with links

Top 10 Albums and EPs 2006
1.) Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Etiquette - Tomlab
2.) Perspects - Peopleskills - Interdimensional Transmissions
3.) Circlesquare - Fight Sounds - Output Recordings
4.) The Horrors - The Horrors EP - Loog
5.) Mahogany - Connectivity! - Darla
6.) The Nice Device - Let the Nightlife Down - self released
7.) various - Idol Tryouts Two - Ghostly International
8.) Motor - Klunk - Mute
9.) The Knife - Silent Shout - Mute
10.) I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear Is On Our Side - Secretly Canadian
honorable mention) The Gothic Archies - The Tragic Treasury - Nonesuch

Top 10 Pop Singles 2006
1.) Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Young Shields - Tomlab
2.) The Horrors - Count In Fives - Loog
3.) Circlesquare - Fight Sounds Pt. 1 - Output Recordings
4.) 800beloved - Kiss Me Crooked - self released
5.) Pas/Cal - Little Red Radio - Le Grand Magistery
6.) Mahogany - Supervitesse - Darla
7.) Grinderman - No Pussy Blues - Mute
8.) The Nice Device - Say So Always - self released
9.) Devotchka - The Last Beat of My Heart - Ace Fu
10.) Final Fantasy - The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead (Many Ives Version) - Tomlab
honorable mention) Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Scattered Pearls - Tomlab

Top 10 Electronic Singles 2006
1.) Kill Memory Crash - Press+Burn - Ghostly International
2.) E-Snacks - Small Favors - unreleased
3.) Perspects - Autobody - Interdimensional Transmissions
4.) Justice - Waters of Nazareth - Ed Banger
5.) The Knife - We Share Our Mothers Health - Mute
6.) Tim Hecker - Chimeras - Kranky
7.) Motor - Black Powder - Mute
8.) Vitalic and Linda Lamb - Bells - Citizen
9.) Audion - Mouth to Mouth - Spectral Sound
10.) Passion Boys - Passion Boys Are Firemans - unreleased
honorable mention) Perspects - The Wake - Interdimensional Transmissions

DataWhat? is recycling their links, but it's okay because we're recycling their recycling... for the holidays: Scared of Santa

Related: Krampus

[Thanks Toybreaker!]

If you're down in Miami Beach for Art Basel, make sure to check out the opening of Arnold Steiner's solo exhibition SUBMECHA tonight at 7th Circuit Studios, just north of the Miami Design District.

Really big flyer with all the infos:

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back in 2000 (the year Burnlab went online,) Gibby Miller introduced Make Out Club, the first online social networking site for "like-minded nerds, loners, indierockers, record collectors, emo kids, video gamers, hardcore kids, and artists through friendship, music, and sometimes even love. Created from a bedroom in Boston by an art school student who worked at a coffee shop, MOC is a labor of love created by and made for the online underground."

The original hipster network (and precursor to Friendster and MySpace) is set to launch an all new design in a few short weeks. Check MOC and for updates.

I'm predicting MOC2 eclipses MySpace in '07.

Take the dense atmospheres of one Christopher Bissonnettee, add a liberal portion of Loveliescrushing, take a walk through a New Orleans cemetery in the rain with Loveless on your Walkman and you may get a glimpse at the lush black cloud of sound called Belong. If you are anywhere near a bottle of whiskey and a pack of rusty razor blades, steer the hell clear! This is absolutely gorgeous, but Jesus...

[thanks Lynchy!]

Related: Drop D (Belong's Turk Dietrich and Telefon Tel Aviv's Josh Eustis)

One for the Christmas list?

CBC reports Montrealer Warren Hill purchased an in-studio acetate of The Velvet Underground and Nico on the street in New York four years ago for seventyfive cents. The one of a kind cutting was recorded in April 1966 at New York's Scepter Studios and features different versions of songs which later appeared on the commercial release in 1967. The item, called "arguably the rarest and most important rock'n'roll and pop-art artifact in the world" is on auction at eBay. Bidding ends tonight and is currently fetching $155,301.

[thanks Chris Bissonnette!]

Related: "taste the whip..." + live clip + Devotchka cover

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This was somehow inevitable: an 8-bit cover of In the Air Tonight.
[Thanks Maxx!]

Speaking of 8-bit, this past Saturday night we received a call from a cowboy around 9:30 PM...
Mark: "Dudes, you have to get down here! I'm raving!"
Bethany: "What?"
Mark: "I'm at a rave. Get down to Nassau Street right away!"

Not having any idea what we're getting into, we cab it down to the financial district and walk into what can only be described as a cross between a Tokyo video arcade and a breakcore party. Covox is jumping around on stage in front of a massive Versa TILE wall, crunching frantic electro-pop out of a Game Boy and distortion pedals. Girls in chunky glasses and boys with scruffy faces bob along with the sort of pure glee you only see at a They Might Be Giants show. It is the Blip Festival - four days of music, multimedia, film and workshops dedicated to 8-bit culture. If we had done any research before heading off to NY we would have known this, but it was so much better to walk in unprepared. Minutes later we run into Devan Simunovich of C-TRL Labs, who is doing live video during Nullsleep's set later in the night. Despite still being tired from staying out way past our bed time the night before, it was a very happy accident to be there and great to see such an ambitious project come off so successfully.

Related: C-TRL Labs featured on Apple Pro

Is the Cool Hunting Gift Guide a tad too cool? Leave it to our good friends at Core77 to dork up the gift guide world with their witty list of 77 Design Gifts Under $77.

The new ICA Boston officially opens to the public this Sunday, December 10. Some of the first interior photos can be found at Archinect and Flickr.

MOTOR has posted a video montage from this past summer's tour. If you look really carefully, Bryan Black is sporting a Cyberoptix tie during King of USA.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fight Club/Dennis The Menace Mash Ups

(I seriously need to read DataWhat? more often.)

We had the pleasure of watching the recent Leonard Cohen documentary/concert film I'm Your Man, featuring the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave and Rufus Wainwright. The film provides very personal insights to Cohen's creative process and extraordinary life. Read an interview with the director Lian Lunson here. A video clip about writing process here and Cave performing Suzanne below:

A few of my favorite things:

Friday night we dined at the Lever House restaurant. Designed in 2003 by Marc Newson and situated in the beautifully restored International Style skyscraper of the same name, it lived up to and exceeded all expectations for both atmosphere and gastronomic interest. We skipped over standard autumn menu favorites like rack of lamb in favor of grilled skate and venison loin - both of which were exquisite. Highest recommendations if you're looking for something special, and arriving early helps ensure a choice booth with a commanding view of the interior. Damien Hirst's towering anatomical bronze Virgin Mother in the courtyard is worth the trip in itself.

The other foodie/design highlight of this past weekend was literally stumbling across Xing. Designed by Dillier+Scofidio protoges Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, the Hell's Kitchen restaurant does contemporary asian cuisine at its very finest. The black truffle and galangal encrusted black cod and perfectly done sea scallops with XO fried rice and spicy avocado puree were heavan, and I will never do creme brulee without ginger now.

Given your firey words I thought youd appreciate this pic Mike... (By the way, this isnt Photoshop or an example of minimal getting so big it has its own chain stores, its actually a supermarket chain in Germany)

In response to Michael's tirade on old Phil Sherburn and minimalism, I too was moved by the Pitchfork article, having spent much time emotionally tormenting myself over nostalgia of the Detroit techno me that once was and the LA me of today. I whole-heartedly agreed with the notion of feeling removed from the 'scene' and therefore losing any sort of connection to the music, to the point of almost questioning my core convictions. How come everyone else seems to be enjoying techno just fine while I am not?

As a sort of penance, I drove immediately to Ameoba Records and purchased my first compact disc in well over a year. It was Fizheuer Zieheuer, the 37 minute Villalobos epic annointed 'Techno Record of the Year' in the article and I proceeded to spend the next half hour driving around downtown Los Angeles (which can feel suprisingly like downtown Detroit) listening to the track. And the verdict? It's fantastic, it's inventive, it's catchy, and it's about 12 minutes too long. I've enjoyed it several more times and am please that's there is still some minimal techno out there that can tickle my fancy.

That said - it's no where near as good as the new LCD Soundsystem album, which leaves me breathless each of the probably 20 times I've listened to it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We are alas back from NYC (kicking and screaming) to cold, cold Michigan. The stars have been excessively cruel and schizophrenic of late, but I'm happy to report that this past Friday's Guggenheim show was a tremendous success. Sadly Telefon Tel Aviv was grounded in Chicago by winter storms, but luckily our good friend Ryan Elliott was in NYC and filled in like a total pro at the last minute. Despite severe nervousness at the start of the night, I think Friday was the very best set Bethany and I have ever played as Dethlab. Comically fucking up mixes has been a trademark since the days of proto-dorkwave, but there was none of that on Friday. OMG, we actually mixed!?! It is ambitious trying to throw together punk, goth, rock, techno, industrial, garage, pop and electro in a blender - an self-defeatingly difficult style at times - but we gladly bring it on ourselves because we can't stand one sound for more than couple minutes. It was flattering to receive compliments form the East Coast Goth Royalty for playing the Cranes and ADULT., as well as the fist pumping to the likes of Tiefschwarz and Justice. It was also great to slip in Ghostly favorites from Sami Koivikko and Kill Memory Crash our Austrian friends Collapsing New People, Office side project E-Snacks and Bethany's recent track MIR, to very enthusiastic response.

I can't go on enough what an honor it was play at the Gugg, and how much fun we had. There was a lot of dancing... even some outside the DJ booth! ;) Huge THANK YOU to Flavorpill and everyone involved in organizing the event. If there is anything at all I'd like to say is that dance music should always be as fun as what you listen to at home, dancing in your living room in your underwear, completely sober.

edit: There is a fine line between being passionate about your opinions and being a jerk. I seriously need to work on that.