Saturday, June 30, 2007

We're off to Toronto for the weekend for some dim sum, beer and electro dark matter. Motor and Boys Noize are playing at Guvernment Sunday. If you're in the "world within a city," see you there!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

When television was awesome.

[thanks Chris Bissonnette]

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dark Matter?

Musical genres are a double edged sword. They can unfairly squeeze an artist into a box which does not fit, but they also allow us to communicate about music without long, tedious explanations. I think most of the time the latter outweighs the former, despite the hazards of generalization.

I've struggled for years to define a particular type of music I enjoy and believe in enough to make its exposure a personal mission. The first attempt was "Dorkwave" (originally a cheeky play on "Darkwave,") which proved to be too broad-stroked and was later refined to "The New Black," for which I even wrote a bio-cum-manifesto about, that shares many themes with and was perhaps better articulated by ADULT. with Uneasy Listening Music.

I think one of the reasons the music I'm most drawn to has not been slapped with a label yet is because it is more about themes than sounds. One can say, "this is electro, and this is minimal, and this is French house, and this is noise-pop, and this is Hungarian folk, etc." But there are plenty of acts that don't fit any of the existing categories on MySpace, who may have very different sounds, but do share a common thematic thread. These bands are responding to the current sociopolitical climate (whether they know it or not) and are making what is the first real 21st century music. They may reference the past, but the results are truly new and of this time. They are often wary, if not jaded by the effect Lollapalooza had on indie music in the early '90s, the excess of club culture in the mid-late '90s, and the lightning fast fickleness of the internet era that saw both electroclash and dance-rock burn out before they even had a chance at adolescence.

So, "Dark Matter." Ms. Toybreaker and I were talking to Ian Clark a.k.a. Perspects last weekend, and I asked, "If Perspects, Kill Memory Crash and Franz & Shape were in a genre, what would you call it? Is it 'nouveau cold wave' or 'neo-electro-industrial-body-punk-rave-blah-blah-etc'?" ...because those three acts do share this theme I'm talking about, but it's difficult to describe without said tedious explanation. I even threw four entirely different genres into one short paragraph trying to describe the show in September for the Magic Stick listing. Ian knew exactly what I meant, but couldn't come up with an answer. Just then, as we were watching Alan Alda's Scientific American Frontiers, the camera closed in on a sign that read "Dark Matter." We looked around at each other, and that was it. It's not "neo" anything, it isn't suffixed by "wave," and I think perfectly describes the music we're talking about.

So there you go. Thank Alan Alda. And if you want to know what I think Dark Matter sounds like, scroll down this page to May 22 and download the Introduction to Violence mix.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gareth Pugh's work was featured at the Victoria & Albert Museum last week as part of the Next Fashion in Motion program.

The 25 year old designer reportedly will next show his work at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

Also see this excellent archive of Pugh's runway shows.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mark your calendars now.
This is "Dark Matter."

Dethlab, Relish, Interdimensional Transmissions and Ghostly International present...

Franz & Shape [Relish Recordings, Italy] live

Perspects [Interdimensional Transmissions, Detroit] live

Kill Memory Crash [Ghostly International, Chicago] live

Dethlab [Dorkwave/Toybreaker, Detroit] DJs

Detronik [Inter Animi/Replicant, Detroit] multimedia

Three headliners.
First North American tour for Franz & Shape.
Record release party for the new Perspects remix EP.
Brand new live set from Kill Memory Crash, and first live show since DEMF '06.

Italy's Franz & Shape bring their brand of gasoline-guzzling disco to North America, performing with Detroit electro legend Perspects and Chicago's reigning industrial gods Kill Memory Crash [Ghostly International.] The Franz & Shape/Perpsects collaboration "Tightropes" has been hailed as the electropunk anthem of the year. This is also the record release party for the new Perpsects remix EP on Interdimensional Transmissions, and the first time Kill has performed live since DEMF '06. DJ support form Dethlab [Dorkwave/Toybreaker] and multimedia installation by Detronik.

Saturday, September 15th
The Magic Stick
4120-4140 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI
doors @ 9PM | $10 | 18+

Amusing blog post about Inlieuof:

Can you still be a one hit wonder if only a few hundred people worldwide have ever heard your music? Well, if Detroit's inlieuof were to have had one hit, it would have been Galaxies. The spacey, post punk, shoegaze guitars and some of the best goddam lyrics this side of rock n roll have chewed away at my brain for the past two years. So if you're into that shit, beware, Galaxies may become lodged in your frontal lobe, never to escape.

Unfortunately the members of inlieuof disbanded over a year ago. Songwriter Stephen [?] Lynch continues to push out the post punk tunes as 800beloved, but with darker overtones and more monotone vocals. For some reason his new stuff reminds me of Morrissey. I hate Morrissey.

I vividly remember the first time I played a 96K demo of Galaxies at Dorkwave. (And, obvs, I love Morrissey and think 800beloved is the best band in Detroit... though I don't think 800 sounds anything like Morrissey.)

The original author might like to know that 800beloved's debut LP is nearly complete (including a new version of Galaxies,) and we're very flattered to be told that a track inspired by Ms. Toybreaker and I will be appearing on a compilation form the excellent Moodgadget Records this fall.

Wowzers, the new Apparat album is amazing.

Remember everything I said about Asa Breed and forgetting everything you know about Matthew Dear and electronic pop music in general? Pretty much the same applies here. I never really got into Apparat before because I'm not a big fan of glitch, but this is a lush, beautiful hour of masterfully painted landscapes. One of those rare records that forces you to sit back and just listen. Buy directly from Shitkatapult.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Luigi Russolo Part 1: The Art of Noises

I've been doing a lot of research on Futurist painter and composer Luigi Russolo lately, and will present some blog-friendly tidbits here in two parts.

Luigi Russolo Part 1: The Art of Noises

Russolo's work, and his "The Art of Noises" manifesto in particular, is credited with laying the foundations for much of modern music, electronic especially. The futurists were as much (if not more) of a political movement than an artistic movement, who glorified velocity, technology and violence. It was as important to the Futurists to destroy the past as it was to create the new. It was Russolo's belief that noise was the sound of music for the new century.

"Let us cross a great modern capital with our ears more alert than our eyes and we will get enjoyment from distinguishing the eddying of water, air and gas in metal pipes, the grumbling noises that breathe and pulse with indisputable animility, the palpitation of waves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of the tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags. We enjoy creating mental orchestrations of crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and shuffle of crowds, the variety of din from the stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning mills, printing works, electric power stations and underground railways."

The picture above is of Russolo and his assistant Ugo Piatti with their "Intonarumori" in 1913. These acoustic generators were constructed to create specific sounds inspired by the modern world, and were played together as a sort of noise symphony. Russolo and Marinetti first performed the Intonorumori in 1914. Marinetti later described the experience of demonstrating the noise intoners to the public as like "showing the first steam engine to a herd of cows."

Listen to a clip from Awakening of a City, from the excellent article Art and Synesthesia.

The reaction - not surprisingly - was one of controversy. Russolo's theories and creations impressed many of the great thinkers of the time, and influenced later innovators such as John Cage and Einsturzende Neubauten, who paid homage to Russolo's machines in the music video for "Blume".

Sir Peter

Archigram co-founder Peter Cook was has been knighted by the Queen for services to architecture. Cook joins a small group of practicing architects who hold the honor, including Norman Foster and Richard Rogers.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Excellent review of Justice's debut album on Pitchfork today.

Justice takes this history of the French rave era and blows it out by embracing 21st-century stadium-rock production. They squeeze everything into a mid-range frequency band so loud that the riffs on tracks like "Let There Be Light" and "Stress" practically cock-slap you in the face... The drums on "Let There Be Light" and their big breakthrough single "Waters of Nazareth" are the rat-a-tat rhythms of electro scraping like Freddie Krueger's fingertips along the slimy walls of some basement dungeon... engorged electronic riffs, dizzying astringent strings, vocal samples torqued to all hell, and nasty metallic drums. It's astoundingly unsubtle stuff and bracing as fuck, a decade's worth of French electronic music stripped down like a Peugeot parked overnight in a bad neighborhood.

I fell head over heels for the Waters of Nazareth EP on first listen, but thought, "Nobody else is ever going to like this. It's abrasive and distorted, and all the uppity purists will call the epic arrangements 'cheesy.'" I was pretty much right on the last two, but couldn't have been more wrong on the first observation. Apparently there were more than a few people thinking this mashing of French house, rock'n'roll attitude and nasty over-driven industrial noise was the perfect antidote to the painfully dull clicks and bloops that have far overstayed their welcome on the world's dance-floors.

Three cheers for Justice. Is this brand of dark, heavy electro-disco finally going to have the cleansing effect on minimal house that electropunk did on deep house back at the turn of the millennium? (And can it avoid the pitfalls of electroclash?)
God, I hope so.

Great article on Steampunk design in the current issue of Wired

pictured above: The ElectriClerk

Andrew Leman's fully functional computer is inspired by the retro-futuristic machinery in Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

"Despite the ridiculous amount of abuse I subjected it to," Leman says, "and despite the fact that all its components are now exposed to the air, the 1988 Macintosh SE which forms the heart of this piece still works just fine." The typewriter is a 1923 Underwood, and that's a working Fresnel lens that can be pulled down over the screen, something early Macs really could have used.

There's even a nice mention of Steampunk Magazine.

[thanks SV4]

Overheard In New York, a few choice selections:

[on the 6 train]
Man in Jews for Jesus t-shirt sits while well-dressed young man across from him unbuttons shirt, takes out black marker, and writes 'Buddhist 4 Mohammed' on his undershirt, standing and aggressively staring down Jew for Jesus.
Buddhist guy: Give me zee money, Lebowski! I fucks you up! We want zee money, Lebowski! Give us zee money or we fucks you up! [Steps to the left, and in a different German accent] Ya, give us zee money, Lebowski. My girlfriend cut off her toe 'cause she thought we would get zee money. Iss not fair.
Jew for Jesus: [Silent, calm.]
Buddhist guy calmly sits back down and buttons his shirt, turning to small Hispanic boy next to him: And that's where babies come from.

[G train Hoyt/Schermerhorn station]
Blond Tourist Bimbo: I've never even heard of the G Train.
Blond Local Bimbo: Yeah, it's a ghetto train.
Blond Tourist Bimbo: Where does it go?
Blond Local Bimbo: Nowhere.
Black eight-year-old boy: Except my home, bitch.

[F train]
The subway doors open. A hobo enters, holding a bottle of windex in one hand and a tube of toothpaste in the other.
Hobo: Which is the better time to read Dostyevsky? Winter?
He sprays the windex.
Hobo: Or Spring?
He squeezes toothpaste out of the tube.
Japanese girl: Spring!
Hobo: You are correct.

[Crema Restaurante, 17th & 6th]
Mother with little girl: Excuse me. My daughter wants to know if you're a pirate.
Woman wearing bandana: No. I'm just a lesbian.

[Union Square]
Mother: Don't you ever do that again! [slaps child hard]
Child, calmly: Well, are you happy with yourself?

[Midtown office]
Coworker #1: So what've you been up to?
Coworker #2: The usual. Just whacked off.
Coworker #1: Dude, you're on speakerphone.

and I think this one might be Mark...
[East Village]
Girl: Why are you wearing cowboy boots?
Guy walking other way: I just got off work.
Girl, to friend: Did that guy just call me a whore?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More on subtractive art - and also discovered while perusing Marius' Basel photos: Lenny is a student at HyperWerk who draws with a laser.

"Just light and wood and vectors," as he puts it.
"The machine hypnotized me. I guess I'll never print on paper again..."

Many more images here.

Brian Dettmer

Dettmer's work involves the alteration of existing media - including older books, maps, record albums, cassette tapes, video tapes, and sound recordings - to transform the physical form and/or internal information to create new works of visual fine art. Dettmer explains: "When an object's intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises."

Books are also turned sort of skeletal as Dettmer has moved through medical guides, and other titles like Modern Medical Counselor and Textbook of Pathology, page by page, scalpel in hand, picking images and phrases and slicing away excess around them for several pages beyond. The words and pictures that remain overlap when the book is closed, forming brilliant slabs of 3-D collage.

"The first book piece I did was titled Alternate Route to Knowledge," Dettmer says of his history in book carving. "[This was] in 2001. I had stacked up a series of books randomly and carved a large hole into the top book and through all the books below... The concept behind the sculpture was a way of gaining knowledge through a more tactile, physical or nonconventional approach."

The altered books challenge not only the solidity of a book; by interrupting the linear structure to bring out hidden depths, they also create a new image for the body of medical knowledge. Three of the most dramatic are displayed on a stainless-steel gurney. Seeing books so beautifully mutilated is an upsetting and elevating experience.
-Time Out Chicago

More images at the Haydee Rovirosa Gallery and Marius' Flickr page.

Detroit's Josh Dahlberg is featured today on XLR8R Downloads.

"Taking classic techno and adorning it with heavy-metal textures and Kraftwerkian vocals, this breakthrough artist is well on the way to making an impact on dance music."

Download So Electro for free!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Goudron live at CAID this past Saturday
+ a great live clip from Montreal a couple years ago here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Last minute reminder:

This is pretty much what to expect tomorrow night at CAID.

...only in a much more intimate room.
...with another 10,000 watts or so of sound.
...and Goudron!!

See you there, lovelies.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Woo-hoo! The Vosges Bacon Bars arrived at the studio today.

As promised, they taste like chocolate pancakes with a side of bacon. Not quite as "bacony" as I had expected, but delicious nonetheless - and there is a faint but distinct meaty finish which has you poking around your molars with the tip of your toungue for a while afterwards (more out of habbit than actual bacon bits hiding out there.) As I'm conditioned to 70%+ cacao dark chocolate, the milk chocolate is a little too sicky sweet for my palette, but it still gets a solid 4 out of 5.

Virtual Lower East Side

Vice magazine's bizarre Second Life/MySpace/corporate integration experiment vLES (for Virtual Lower East Side, 'natch) has gone live, so feel free to set your hipster avatar loose on Ludlow Street. The introductory video starts off with a bang, with some exterior shots of Katz's Deli and a dude sitting in Max Fish who says, "This neighborhood is basically a mecca for every music loving suburban kid growing up in the country."

[via Curbed]

I'd be interested in seeing vLES '99, when Pianos was a funky (yeah I said it) place to see experimental theater and the streets weren't yet totally crowded with douchebags... or vLES '81, where you could just walk into a random building and see DNA or Tuxedomoon performing and Deborah Harry would appear as a fairy godmother in an alley.

That sounded curmudgeonly and confused.
More coffee, please...

The truth is, vLES seems very cool and well executed, and is potentially a bigger time sucker than MySpace.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix featuring Justice: Killer.
Listen at the link above or download an archive here.

[Thanks Jimmer!]

MOTOR in Real Detroit Weekly (scroll to Electrophile)

"Prepare yourself for grinding gear electronics as Motor takes over C.A.I.D. this Saturday. Motor, Bryan Black and Mr. No, is gnarz - a hybrid of techno and punk at its finest. Is it punk or techno? Who cares, it's awesome!"
-Jean Johnson

Speaking of gnarz, the prince of Gnarzania himself (yes, Gnarzania is a real place with a real prince,) Marco Haas has resurrected his post-hardcore/pre-T.Raumschmiere project SHRUBBN!! Look for a new release later this year on Haas' Shitkatapult label.

MOTOR and Haas have collaborated many times since the inclusion of Din 10 on the 2004 Shitkatapult compilation Special Musick For Special People, including Krank Im Hirn (a post-industrial cover or Insane in the Brain,) two remixes for T.Raumschmiere's 2005 hit single Sick Like Me and a remix for Haas' most recent hardcore punk band The Crack Whore Society.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blixa Bargeld is performing with FM3 this Thursday at SONAR.

Rede Speech and Buddha Machine are easily two of the most innovative sound projects in recent years. It'll be fascinating to see what these artists do together. (Send reports, please!)

Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos,
by Michael Bierut

On the unintended consequences of technology:
"It sounds to me like Anthony Jr. may have stumbled onto existentialism."
"Fucking internet."

Monday, June 11, 2007


Not content with typical merch, Cyberoptix Tie Lab has created a limited edition Dethlab cravat, which will be available exclusively at this Saturday's Motor|Goudron|Dethlab show (for a mere twenty bucks!)

Speaking of Cyberoptix, the Medic tie graced the front page of stylish men's webzine Uncrate today.

And speaking of Goudron, we should have a few copies of the brand new Stiletto EP this Saturday night at CAID, with sleeves hand screened by Ron Zakrin himself.

Inside Domino Sugar.

Sweet. [More sets at the link.]

Belgium does three of my favorite things better than just about anyone: chocolate, beer and dark electro.

One of the newest and most impressive purveyors of the last item is Destination Records, owned by 24 year old Dany Rodriguez. In just two years, Destination has released an impressive string of records from artists such as Neon Electronics, The Hacker, Franz & Shape, David Carretta, Plastique de Rev and Alek Stark. Solid.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

This wouldn't get us to drink Bud Light, but it's stilll pretty f*****g awesome.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

New Horrors video, She's a New Thing: gorgeously ghoulish Ralph Steadman meets Tim Burton style animation directed by Corin Hardy. Word is the video was shot in only one hour, but the animation took two weeks of 20 hour days + seven long days of editing.

Cyberoptix Tie Lab featured in Make Magazine's Father's Day Gift Guide and Style.Italia, including the most awesome endorsement yet... the Babelfish translation is priceless:

"One Decadent necktie Symbol of by now decadent the male elegance and feticcio, the necktie distinguishes the man, like decolette the woman. As well as while I adore sfoggiar it like a civetta vain, but aime little, us one is evoluti, on a such one I ornament from fair of the vanity. Only Dior Homme had had the courage to dare and today, to how much it seems, we are liete of giving to the welcome to one its new adept person. The artist Bethany Shorb who is last, from the photography to the music reinvention, the fashion grafic designe, has decided to put its creativity to service of the necktie, being created a totally new and irriverente object. Strizzando the eye to the past, creates with materials and grafismi vintage, pieces feticcio from the attractive prices (approximately 40dollari). I have chosen the necktie, inspired to the icona, Antoinette Maria. Null more he is appropriated for like me, that "he has lost the head" for the necktie. Decadent kisses to all!"

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Brand new video for Unhuman, the title track from Motor's new LP.
Imagine Anthony Rother, T. Raumschmiere and Philip K. Dick hanging out at the speedway.

Also see:
Bleep #1
Black Powder
Stuka Stunt (hilariously brilliant)
Stuka Stunt live clip

Holy pig! My favorite chocolate bars now with applewood smoked bacon:
Vosges presents Mo's Bacon Bar

"Crisp, buttery, compulsively irresistible bacon and milk chocolate combination has long been a favorite of mine. I started playing with this combination at the tender age of six while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of fried bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. Just a bite of the bacon was too salty and yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate syrup. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point, for on that plate something magical happened: the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it... chocolate."
- Katrina Markoff, Vosges founder

A week from Saturday, Dethlab proudly presents:


MOTOR [live]
GOUDRON [live]
DETRONIK [multimedia]

Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit
5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit MI
Saturday, June 16 | 10:00 PM | $10

"People have this tame image of live electronic music and we go out there and smash things up and spit in your face," states Bryan Black. For the man who used to programme Prince's keyboards as an in house technician at Paisley Park Studios in the 90s [and founding member of H3LLB3NT, Haloblack and XLover] knowingly confirms, "we make more noise than a guitar can make and that's what we enjoy doing." Whilst electronic live acts have merged further into the anonymity of the DJ booth over recent years, MOTOR guzzle petrol, bellow toxic fumes and roar from the stage as all three band members wrestle with vocal duties and (alter) egos over their instruments. Forging live gig energy into the sonic envelope of a club environment has enabled MOTOR to play live 'gig' tours with Nitzer Ebb across America and Europe as well as landmark club venues such as Frankfurt's Cocoon and Paris's Rex and festivals throughout Europe like Pukkelpop and Lowlands. - Mute
Motor's new LP Unhuman out now.

Goudron is a modern craftsman of synthesis, structure and song. His music seems choreographed to a film, breaking down, starting up, fluctuating and adhering to rules that make his music sound like no other. His unique 'sound' comes in part from the fact that he modifies a lot of his gear himself; it also comes in part from the fact that he knows his machines inside and out. Watching him live, he masterfully manipulates analog synths without schematics - an amazing skill to those that truly know vintage analog gear. - Ersatz Audio

Detroit musician and visual artist Ron Zakrin [a.k.a. Goudron] shows that he is truly the King of the synth riffs, with music that is wholly synthetic, yet with all the energy of pure Detroit rock... From the music to the art on the sleeves it is all hand made. Ron is like Buckminster Fuller trapped inside the body of a character from SE Hinton's Over the Edge. Raw power. - I.T.

Goudron's new EP Stiletto out now.

Friday, June 01, 2007


How awesome is this? (Goes great with this.)

Both via the afore-mentioned NOTCOUTURE.

Man of Steel
The Richard Serra retrospective, opening Sunday, arrives at the Museum of Modern Art virtually a foregone matter, in the way that Picasso and Matisse shows arrived in the old days. It's a landmark, by a titan of sculpture, one of the last great modernists in an age of minor talents, mad money and so much meaningless art. At 67 Mr. Serra is still nudging the language of abstraction, constructing ever more awesome mazes of looming Cor-Ten steel.

Richard Serra Sculpture: 40 Years opens this Sunday and runs through Sept. 10 at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, Manhattan.

Chris Ware animated on This American Life.

Also see Lost Buildings.

[Thanks Chris Bissonnette]