Friday, August 31, 2007

The thing about making lists is you almost always manage to forget things which are really obvious. I was reminded yesterday that in Wednesday's post I overlooked two favorites: Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick... not to mention David Cronenberg, The Brothers Quay, and probably my all time faves Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. Shame.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is currently working on a film adaptation of Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi, set for a 2009 release. (Unfortunately no trailer yet.) Since the childhood friends who defined contemporary French film with Delicatessen and City of Lost Children split, Jeunet has directed several films, including Amelie (The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain) - one of the most clever and decidedly Parisian films of alll time. Caro's first solo effort is Dante 01, a sci-fi epic to be realeased later this year or early '08. Some info can be found here.

Dante 01 is about a prison ship, which is interesting because I think Fight Club director David Fincher's Alien III (about a prison ship) was the best styled and most under-rated of the series (James Cameron's Aliens was the most popular but by far the worst... but I digress...) and Alien: Resurrection was directed by former partner Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The fourth Alien film was at times flat out horrible and at times brilliant, which I have to blame on the script. The scene in which Ripley's genetic clone confronts her origin in the laboratory is some of the best acting and directing ever put to celluloid - and the birth scene being one of the absolute worst. There's only so much you can do with the plot you're handed.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Sony Rolly.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sorry for no updates since Thursday. Bethany and I got back from Boston early Monday morning and have been swamped since. Huge thanks to Volvox for taking such good care of us and just for being awesome, thanks to Reagan of Chemlab for the hospitality and lovely place to lay our heads, and thanks to Fred for coming down from witchty town (I swear I didn't mean to make that rhyme) and chewing the fat about everything from Throbbing Gristle to the perils of Massachusetts mass transit.

I'm afraid I've been too busy making the arts to be on the internets digging up interesting links for you all. We will rectify the situation very soon. Promise.


If I had to list my top ten favorite bands, it would be Duran Duran and The Cars. 3-10 I'd have to think about. Those are the only two I would name without a second thought.

And Solvent.
OK, there's three.

And X.
And Vitalic.
And Nick Cave.
And Skinny Puppy.
See, now I'm thinking too much.

Movies... that's easy: Blade Runner.
Nothing else even comes close.

Except for The Pillow Book.
And 8-1/2 Women.
And Brazil. Definitely Brazil.
And Michael Radford's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
And Beetlejuice.
And Heathers. Definitely Heathers.
And Mirrormask.
And Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
And Time Bandits.
And The Professional.

What I'd really like to see is Peter Greenaway adapting Calvino's Invisible Cities starring Winona Ryder as Marco Polo and Rutger Hauer as Ghengis Kahn, designed by Dave McKean and Terry Gilliam, and executive produced by Ridley Scott and Tim Burton. That's a movie that would cost 300 million dollars to make and nobody but me would see... but I'd see it like fifty times. Maybe my casting is way off. Perhaps Johnny Depp as Marco Polo and Shatner as Kahn. (That would be ironic, no?) That could be the role of his life... bigger than Kirk even! Could you imagine William Shatner waxing poetic in a Venetian garden decked out as a Mongolian war lord under Greenaway's direction? Who do I give my ten bucks to?! Oh, even better yet... Gary Oldman as Ghengis Kahn. (I was about to say Travolta, but... Oldman = Kahn.) Picture that. I know you're going to rail me for this, but Leo DiCaprio as Marco Polo.

More randon thoughts later perhaps.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"It's Futura Extra Bold," explains Tony. "It was Stanley's favourite typeface. It's sans serif. He liked Helvetica and Univers, too. Clean and elegant."

"Is this the kind of thing you and Kubrick used to discuss?" I ask.

"God, yes," says Tony. "Sometimes late into the night."

Tony goes to his bookshelf and brings down a number of volumes full of examples of typefaces, the kind of volumes he and Kubrick used to study, and he shows them to me. "I did once get him to admit the beauty of Bembo," he adds, "a serif."...

The above is from a 2004 interview with Stanley Kubrick's associate Tony Frewin in The Guardian. The whole article is a fantastic view into Kubrick's secretive life and creative process.

Kubrick's favor for Paul Renner's Futura is now a well discussed matter among designers. In-fact, while I was researching the entry you're reading right now, I came across this post from Coudal uploaded just a few minutes ago.

Futura was used extensively in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and played a key role in the visual language of the film (along with the iconic ultra-modern sets and those perfectly narrow suits that must make Dior envious.) It was used in the posters, the titles, and throughout the information graphics and signage in the scenes. Futura was used again in the titles for 1999's Eyes Wide Shut, though it isn't known if the titles were completed before Kubrick's death, or afterwards as an homage to 2001.

Robert Walker of Murketing and The New York Times Magazine fame, sits down with our very own Sam Valenti and writes an in-depth Q & A on Ghostly International.

Mr. Walker has been a great supporter of independent brands large and small and probes the business of art, culture, music and probably most importantly, The International Review of Wine Packaging Aesthetics, which of course, is the only proper way to select wine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Flying the friendly skies:

I'm going to be in San Fran giving a presentation today, but just a quick in-and-out unfortunately.

Reminder: Dethlab guest DJs at Black Magic in Boston this Saturday. If you're in the area, we'd love for you to come on by. Haven't been to Beantown since we opened for Chemlab two years ago, and I think we're going to get along swimmingly with this gang of troublemakers leading the charge for dark+fun on the east coast.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not sure if there are any Angelinos by way of Detroit out there, but if so this film sponsored by the tiny Echo Park Film Center looks to be interesting:

In 2005, the city of Detroit was engaged in a series of efforts to improve its image for the nationwide attention brought to the city by the hosting of the 2006 Super Bowl. Part of these efforts consisted of demolishing long-vacant building determined by the city to be eyesores. As the city dismantles itself, clues to its past resurface. FILMMAKER BRENT COUGHENOUR IN ATTENDANCE!

I believe this was documented on Burnlab back at the time, but I was unable to find the post.

Global Green tours the first home at the Holy Cross Project today, a zero energy affordable housing development in the Holy Cross Neighborhood of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward. workshop/apd won a design competition chaired by Brad Pitt from over 125 entries. Dozens of green products and systems will also be showcased at today's event.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pitchfork has infiltrated the robot pyramid and bring us a view from inside the vessel Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo use to make tens of thousands of people all jump in unison and gyrate their hips in some grand, cosmic harmony.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bethany and I have been invited to play at Black Magic in Boston next weeek. We're quite excited, as the crew there seems to really get it... crazy like The Bang! and Les Infants Terribles, but all dark ass music like Adult., The Hacker, Motor, etc. I think we'll get along just fine.

If you're in the Northeast, please come on by!

Saturday, August 25th
Black Magic at Great Scott
DJs Volvox and Justincredible with special guests Dethlab and EFX
1222 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston MA
$5 advance, $8 door | 9PM-2AM | 21+

Flyer by Toybreaker: front big | back big

Monday, August 13, 2007

iTunes 7.3.2(6) has been locking up infrequently but at the most inopportune moments with the beach ball of death. Has anyone else had this problem with the most recent upgrade? Since I DJ with iTunes (yes,) it's potentially a lot more than an inconvenience. Maybe it works better with Intel Macs than G4s? Would have been nice to know, because this sucks.

New Release of the Week

Codine's first release for Blank Artists comes out on Beatport Tuesday, with other resellers to follow. Recent Events "exemplifies Codine's lust for both Industrial and Detroit Techno. From front to back, the songs collected on "Recent Events" explode with the raw emotion that can only be procured in Detroit."

Granted, the cover art was done here at the Lab and Dethlab is working on a remix of "Mirror," but it's an honor to be involved with totally outstanding work - from one of the best people we know, no less.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Solvent has been commissioned by Roland to create a series of patches and a demo song for their flagship synthesizer, the V-Synth. You can dowload the patches (if you have a V-Synth) and listen to an exclusive new song HERE. The site in in Japanese, so hit the blue button for the patches and the green button for the song.

Also check out Solvent's newly updated tour dates - including the northwest, Scandinavia and Malta at SolventSpace.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Release of the Week

The latest release from Vitalic's Citizen Records (and currently exclusive to Beatport) is from the Parisian duo Remote. Building on last year's Get A Real Job EP for Black Strobe co-founder Ivan Smagghe's Kill The DJ imprint, their new single Sinister Boogie is a tour de force of electro sleaze and rich production quality. The vocals remind me a lot of our own Mr. Ambivalent's instant classic R U OK recently released on Minus + the pace and filth of Arnaud Rebotini's remix of Water Lilly's Invisible Ink... for the record, two of the best tracks of the year. Sinister Boogie's infectious bass line and ever-changing layers of sound are undeniable. My only complaint is that it teases but never builds to the fist-pumping fever pitch we've come to expect from Citizen releases. I would probably have to pitch it way up to fit in Dethlab set, but could definitely see Ryan Elliott dropping this at 4AM and blowing heads off.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Designer Gas Masks

Remember when we posted about Flood Maps a couple months back? More Google Map mashups are popping up all the time. We like Rotten Neighbor, which Curbed LA calls "an excellent way to find parties", and Walk Score, which calculates the walkability of a neighborhood. My personal favorite though is Global Incident Map.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bethany and I are having a BBQ/house-warming party this Saturday, August 11 around 7PM. Contact me for directions. Feel free to bring a beverage of your choice, and (if you're one of those) a non-meat product to grill.

Matt Shlian is an Ann Arbor-based paper engineer, architect, teacher and sculptor. If you missed his breathtaking drawings and folding structures at the '06 Cranbrook Degree Show - or want to see more, check out all the work at his website.

I've been exclusively a PowerBook guy since '00, but the all new iMac is a right sexy argument for getting a desktop.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For those who haven't heard, Ms. Toybreaker and I [with a lot of help from Jon Ozias] have moved Burnlab HQ. We're still in the fair hamlet of Ferndale, MI, but the new digs are much bigger and nicer. Aside from niceties such as a huge porch and a proper studio space, the 1920's bungalow is laid out perfectly for our favorite thing... BBQs! We hope to have a patio christening very soon.

May All Your Bizarro Taxidermy Dreams Come True...

One of my favorite blogs in the world, Wurzeltod presents an extensive Taxidermy, Cryptozoology & Animal Curiosa Uberpost. Much of this work we've seen before, but never curated together in one place.

Click the link above for details, or view a slideshow here.

I prefer to fry up toast in a skillet with some Danish butter, but Olivier Gregoire's Hot Paper Toaster is a pretty darn sexy way to cook bread.

[via Cool Hunting]


Way to go Kreisler. One of America's largest automakers, after being dumped by Daimler, has hired one of the most inept and biggest tools in the business world as their new CEO. Great. I'm sure Nardelli will get along swimmingly with Design VP Trevor Creed, who can be all but fully credited with recent gems such as the Chrysler Sebring and Jeep Compass.

Who pays these people?

Monday, August 06, 2007

An Underappreciated Classic Revisited

I was a huge fan of Jake Fairley's LP Touch Not The Cat upon its release in 2004. It was like the cherry on the top of the post-electroclash/dirty-techno era: a time when Alter Ego, Black Strobe and T. Raumschmiere were shifting paradigms and destroying dancefloors in the process. For some reason however, Touch Not The Cat received neither the credit or enthusiasm it deserved. Initially I thought it may have been a few months late for Gnarzmania (the first brief window when the mainstream techno community truly embraced heavy distortion and punk rock ethics.) With the current resurgence of this aesthetic, I've been revisiting Touch Not The Cat a lot lately, and find that Fairley wasn't late on the Gnarz bus, but was in-fact way ahead of his time.

Not to diminish what Alter Ego and the like were doing, but in retrospect, Fairley was taking things to a new level that few could appreciate at the time. Three years later, I have a totally new appreciation for this album. If it came out right now, it would be the biggest thing to hit club culture since Audion's Mouth to Mouth and Motor's Black Powder - both breakthrough hits for the nasty, rusted underbelly of spaceship techno.

Aside from the masterful use of distortion, tube amps and ear-worm hooks, Fairley didn't build a long player around a couple of club hits. He built a real album with real stories. Every serious musician wants to do that, but to pull it off so successfully, and make every single track so infectious is pure genius. In a time of flux and over-saturation like now, when audiences are looking for more, Touch Not The Cat delivers like almost nothing else on the market. Shamefully, it is neither on or Beatport, but you can buy it from iTunes here.

Makeshift submarine found in East River

Police held artist, Philip "Duke" Riley, and two other men, both from Rhode Island, for questioning. But there was no indication the trio meant any harm with the replica of the 1776 "Turtle submarine."

One of the Rhode Island men claimed he was descendant of David Bushnell, the inventor of the original one-man vessel that inspired the replica, police said.

The makeshift sub "is the creative craft of three adventuresome individuals," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement. "It does not pose any terrorist threat. ... We can best summarize today's incident as marine mischief."


Actually, the craft was in the Buttermilk Channel, a stone's throw from my old house.

Related: Duke Riley's website + more about The Turtle.

While passing along a lyric from Kanye West - "y´all gonna end up apologin" - i inadvertantly came up with the perfect term to describe made-up words in rap songs: "Blinglish"...not bad i think, i could definitely see Sally Jesse using it gleefully.

Damn, i just looked it up on and there are already 5 definitions for much for originality on my part, and here i thought was my chance to help lay a brick (pun intended) in the foundation of our temple to crap culture.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I finally did it.
I have a Facebook account now.
Thanks to my one and only friend Bryan... f*cker.

Actually, I was getting incredibly bored with MySpace. I'm not terribly impressed with Facebook either, but hey - it's a whole new distraction, and us ADD kids just love new shiny distractions. I guess you can look me up on Facebook now... that's how these web 2.0 things work, right? I really think that Friendster has the best interface of all networking sites by far, but who still uses Friendster? That was so 2003. I do feel bad for Friendster, because they ripped off Make Out Club way before anyone else did...

I want my web 3.0 with cheese, please.