Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday, Oct. 13 Matthew Dear's Big Hands Band perform live at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with 800beloved and the Javelins.

This will be Matt's only live show in Michigan on the tour, and the first time 800 have played live since the Lager House show with Star (featuring Scott Cortez of Loveliescrushing - the best shoegaze band since My Bloody Valentine) and Dethlab exactly one year ago. Lynch and Co.'s debult LP is finally in the last stages of post-production. It's totally worth the wait - the latest mixes sound amazing. (There's talk of a field trip down to Cedar Point before it closes for the season to shoot some 800beloved music videos. Let me know if you would like to tag along. We're also in need of a reliable 8MM film camera. Please hit me up on teh e-mail:

Watch for brand new visuals on Matt's tour, created by my partners and I at o2. Mastermind Erick Carlson developed a custom software system which responds in real time to the live music. It was a major team effort compiling imagery and video content, resulting in what promises to be groundbreaking media support for a groundbreaking live act. Huge thanks to Ghostly partner Missing Pieces for the excellnet video content.

Presale discount tickets for next Saturday are availiable directly from Ghostly.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Things that are good:

1) Sleeping in this morning.
I've been working and traveling so much, I can't remember the last time I did that. I think my body is finally caught up from jet-lag... for now.

2) Ronin
Best new sushi place in the Detroit area since Olso. Not a surprise, as Kaku Usui is the head sushi chef. The interior is great, the food is among the best I've tasted, and they have fresh wasabi rhizome. I'm totally spoiled now and can't eat the green paste stuff anymore.

3) Frank Oz's new movie Death at a Funeral.
Who would have though that the voice of Cookie Monster and Bert could create such a delightful British comedy about death, drugs and gay dwarves? Going to see this with a funeral director didn't hurt, and the opening titles are also quite excellent.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lots of Solvent news to report. First off, check out his brand new website, including illustrations I did for the new retrospective "Demonstration Tape (1997-2007)". The two disc collection is published by Ghostly International and will be limited at first to one thousand copies available only at Solvent live shows and through the Ghostly and Suction stores starting in October.

"Demonstration Tape" was sequenced by Solvent and features all the hits, along with long-since out of print early work, rare and unreleased material, and two brand new songs. "In Light" has already become a sensation since being uploaded to Solvent's MySpace just a couple days ago. Listen to it here.

Solvent will be on the road a lot over the next few months, touring with VNV Nation in the northwest and Scandinavia, with Freezepop on the "Monsters of Electro-Pop" tour, and a handful of solo shows from Seattle to Istanbul to Hamburg to Malta.

Lowfish - Solvent's partner in Suction Records - is one very busy Canadian as well. Lowfish headlined the Sensory Effects Showcase at the 07 Decibel Festival in Seattle this past Saturday [photo above by Bethany Shorb] and his brand new album "Burn The Lights Out" should be out on Satamile any day now. Listen to the first single, "The Controlling Hand", on Lowfish's MySpace page.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My final column for MetroMode has been posted: Creative Means for Desperate Times

For my fifth and final post here, I want to address a concept which has not been discussed nearly as much as it should: a borough system for Metropolitan Detroit. What does that mean exactly? Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties would be incorporated into one mega-city of five million residents with each former county being a borough - much like New York did in 1898 and Toronto did as recently as 1954. This is not a new concept, but it has never been seriously considered, primarily because of the social-economical-political-racial rift between the more economically powerful suburbs and the core City of Detroit. This rift was not created by, but is perpetuated to this day by small-minded folk jockeying for power in both places...
Read on.

My fourth MetroMode entry is here: A conversation with Jamie Latendresse

I haven't stirred much controversy since the first post of the series. I hope to fix that situation with my fifth and final column tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marc Houle has the best sense of humor in electronic music.

He's the kind of guy you sit in the corner of a party with and dryly make fun of people all evening, trying to maintain a straight face. (He is Canadian after all.) The right balance of sharp wit and sugar makes the for best satire. Add an infectious hook, some great synth sounds, and you have an instant classic.

I lost track of how many times Speedy J played Houle's new single "Techno Vocals" this Saturday at Decibel in Seattle, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head for weeks now. As hooky as the single is, the B-side "On It" is the real stand out.

It's well documented that Marc has more than a passing interest in 80's electro, New Wave and retro computer games and these influences are somehow more apparent on Minus 50 than on his earlier solo releases or as part of Run, Stop, Restore. "On It" in particular will turn a few heads, making, as it does, a detour into previously unexplored territory. Revolving around a heavily filtered melodic bass riff, Houle punctuates the dry, upfront groove with a choice selection of rough, old school samples before dropping into a series of moody bass variations that give the track its distinctive flavour.

My third MetroMode post is here: "Why Detroit?"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Scott Hansesn a.k.a. ISO50 has re-designed his website.
Check out all the design goodness.

There are two things I can never get enough of: synths run through tube amps and a top layer of parchment set on "multiply".

From Bruce Sterling's Flickr page:
Network for the "Wrong object" phenotype


File under Things Jaron Rothkop Would Appreciate.

My second guest column is now on MetroMode: "Do It Yourself!"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My first of five guest blogger columns for MetroMode is posted here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NY Invades Detroit
Friday, September 21st 2007
Fi-nite Gallery
1370 Plum St, Detroit
12-5AM, $10 before 2

Insideout (Clink, NY)
Plexus (M_nus, NY)

Another story about security and authority.

[via BFW Local 734]

Photos from the Kill Memory Crash, Perspects and Travelogue show this past Saturday:

more here

Amazing performances all around!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Two things we love: infographics and spaceships.
Behold this starship comparison chart.

Just in case freedom of speech (or lack there of) hasn't riled up everyone enough today, forget about your (alleged) freedom as creative people/scientists/DIY'ers to fly with your art and/or work.

I think I'm officially off my moving to LA or New York trip, it needs to be much further.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Democracy in action?

We know what Nick Cave would say.

Look at the smile on the fat pink one's face while he's twisting the poor kid's arm behind his back while he's on the floor getting tazered... for asking a question. These rent-a-cops appear to be getting off on some sick power trip. As I've said before, it's ludicrous that the arts are always the first to get their funding cut. It should be the police. Watch for more on that thought later in the week.

Pitchfork Gives Music 6.8

[via DataWhat?]

Monday, September 17, 2007

Project Parallel

If you're in L.A. this weekend, please join us at the Ghetto Gloss gallery for music, art, and drinks to celebrate the release of Project Parallel's latest record and the works some of L.A.'s most talented artists. Project Parallel is a transcontinental collaborative project between a Boston based architect/musician and a Los Angeles based composer who create music about miscommunication in an era of mass communication.

Keeping with the theme of distress in the modern world, the work on display will include Andrew Siegel's strange and provoking illustrations for Focus Media's music/design project, Noise Tank (lovesyou). Other featured artists include the fine art of Mark Mothersbaugh, Blake Hazard, Shasha Shumyatsky, and more.

The Ghetto Gloss gallery is located at:
2380 Glandale Bldv.
Silverlake, C.A. 90039
(Google Map)

Saturday September 22nd
7pm - Midnight

Speaking of typography and movies (see MD's previous post about Kubrick's obsession with Futura), here's a flickr set of beautiful film endings. Via swissmiss.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A taste of Travelogue live:

They go on a little after 10PM tomorrow at the Stick, so get there early!

Tomorrow night!

9/15 poster 360px

Record Release party for Perspects' Peopleskills Remix EP: featuring The Hacker, Franz & Shape, Kill Memory Crash and Goudron.

All new live electronic sets from Detroit electro pioneer Perspects and Ghostly International bad boys Kill Memory Crash (debuting a live drummer!) Also featuring the synth-pop bliss of Cleveland's Travelogue, DJs Dethlab and multimedia by Detronik.

Saturday, September 15th 2007
The Magic Stick
4120 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI
9:00 PM, 18+, $10

We just decided a couple hours ago that we're going to the Decibel Festival in Seattle next weekend. We've never been and are really looking forward to it.

Next Friday night is Motor, Kill Memory Crash, Guns'n'Bombs and Derek Plaslaiko, and Saturday is Lowfish and even more Plaslaiko. Should be a blast under that Washington sky. Plenty of reports here of course.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cyberoptix is now on Refinery 29, the daddy of all independent fashion communities, represented by All Purpose, one of the finest men's stores in the world.

Also see the brand new Filius FW 07/08 Collection, the brand new Cyberoptix Tie Lab FW 07/08 Collection and the always excellent All Purpose Blog.

OFFICE + '80s porn: brilliantly cheesy and safe for work. Scott's explanation of "Oh My" is essential reading - and even more amusing than the video.


The autumn issue of URB Magazine is now on news stands. Inside is a piece Bethany did about urban exploring with Motor at the Packard Plant on Detroit's east side earlier this summer.

Unfortunately it was reduced from a longer photo essay/fashion spread to a one-pager, but we're still happy to see it in print. Click here to see all the photos from the adventure.

If you missed the lads' North American tour this summer or just can't get enough, Motor is headed back to US soil to perform at Smart Bar in Chicago next Thursday, at the Decibel Festival in Seattle next Friday, and Rx Gallery in San Fran on Saturday, Sept. 22nd.

All photos by Bethany Shorb

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today's fortune cookie

Imagination and creativity are the most important things humankind offers to the world.

The enemies of imagination and creativity are:
1) fear
2) time
3) money

There are more, but these are the three big offenders which hinder the progress of culture. (2 and 3 are both fabricated concepts and are often related to 1.) Avoid them entirely or manipulate them to further creative endeavours, but never let them drive your decisions.

West Grand is grand.
Our good friends Brendan and Amber are featured in this week's Motor City Cribs in the Metro Times - by Doug Coombe.

The third floor of their fabulous turn of the century home was previously the setting for Thanksgiving dinner in the The Big Hunt.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Invest in Whimsy."

That's a notion I can get behind.

The third annual Deitch Art Parade took place this past Saturday in SoHo. NY Times review here and tagged Flickr photos here.


Speaking of magazines, it looks like Bethany and I will be in the next issue of Prophecy, a gorgeous biannual arts and culture publication.

Prophecy #11 will feature artists in Detroit, Berlin and Beirut (a most fitting trio!) More details on this later, and watch for it on finer newsstands this autumn.

I'm honored to be a guest writer for Metromode Magazine. Starting next Thursday, I will be contributing an editorial column via blog every day for one week about issues related to Detroit. You can expect topics such as urban exploring, the music scene, art and design, food, and all things related to the unique cultural environment of Detroit. (Yes, much of the same topics here, but expanded upon.) The entries will be linked daily from here at The Lab.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It was almost two months ago I said we were going to start a food feature here. Better late than never, yes? Here's the first entry:

Oral Fixation: Bastard Muffaletta
We recently got cable at home for the first time in years. We pretty much only watch television for a few minutes before going to sleep or on a lazy hung-over Sunday afternoon, like yesterday. Inevitably the channel always lands on the Food Network. This past Sunday on Throwdown, Bobby Flay bastardized the traditional muffaletta sandwich in a way that inspired us enough to get our lazy butts out of bed to go to the grocery store and do the same.

Typically made on a large Sicilian round loaf with fairly standard cold cuts and cheeses, the main feature of muffaletta is a marinated olive spread. Flay broke one of the cardinal rules by making a mayo-based olive spread. We decided to take it one step further by using a French Aoli.

We headed up to Holiday Market in Royal Oak, MI - partly because it's only five minutes from Burnlab HQ and partly because it's a rare grocery that carries both a wide selection of choice gourmet items and basics under one roof. I do romanticize about my days in South Brooklyn, buying pork at Esposito's, olives, spices and specialty items at Sahadi's and coffee and French pastries from Shakespeare's Sister. We're blessed with plenty of superb gourmet shops close to Ferndale and the excellent Eastern Market fifteen minutes down I-75. But when you want a pound of ruby red trout right off the boat, a jar of wasabi mayo, an exotic Belgian beer, plus some dog food, paper towels and Vernors, there is no other one stop shopping.

$76 later (with the intention of making one sandwich, mind you) we're ready to go. For the meats we have an exquisite Capicola, a genuine Geona salami and a very dry Boar's Head salami. For cheese we use an Artisan Machengo complimented with another softer, less salty Spanish cheese I can't remember the name of unfortunately. We prepared the Avalon Italian round by cutting it in half and spreading Danish butter and pesto on it before popping it in the oven to warm up.

Now comes the spread. Again, this is where Bobby Flay offended the taste testers in New Orleans, but there is nothing we love more than fucking up comfort zones. Starting with a generous mixture of Mediterranean olives, we added roasted red peppers, chopped garlic, balsamic marinated capers and the Aoli - which is made of oil, eggs, mustard, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and lemon juice. This was blended to a near paste and spread out on the hot, crispy bread (now soaked with butter and pesto) and topped with thin sliced red onions and fresh tomatoes generously donated by our neighbors (another big no-no for traditional muffaletta.)

I'm not sure if it counts as muffaletta, but it sure was tasty! The only thing we'd do differently is leave the sauce a bit more chunky. The heavy grocery bill included a pretty awesome bottle of Italian wine, and it turns out this one sandwich will be feeding two of us for about three days. We also have a big bowl of special Burnlab sauce left over. (We are so bad with judging portions when hungry.) Unfortunately we can't provide an exact recipie, because thing like "cups" and "teaspoons" and things like that are too much like math, and math sucks. We're going to try it over some squid ink pasta later in the week, but if anyone local wants some you are seriously more than welcome.

Bon appetit!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Jules de Balincourt
Force-fed on TV and an all-American mind-junk diet, Jules de Balincourt's paintings are crafted with democratic gusto. Painted on board, De Balincourt's faux-naif style paintings are underscored with grainy DIY texture. His folk-art cum genius approach to painting offers a free-for-all licence for his witty and apocalyptic social commentary.

An Anatomy of Consumption
A critical look at the recent sale of Damien Hirst's jeweled skull for one hundred million dollars. Great read.

The Fundamentals of Sonic Art and Sound Design

I haven't had time to read the whole article yet, but there is a photo of Luigi Russolo, so it must be good.

Shaking like milk.

Robert was so darn CUTE in 1982!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I totally agree with Chris that Walls is one of the best records of the year ever. Not only should you buy it and NOT highjack it, you should buy directly from Shitkataplut so all of the money goes right to the artists who made it.

let us direct you once again to our favorite blog,

Haven't checked in on Suzanne in a few weeks, and look who's featured!

Hot-ish on the heals of Matthew Dear comes another powerhouse of an electronica/singer-songwriter blend from apparat. In a new discovery you can listen to the full album "Walls" on Boomkat. You can listen to lots of full albums if the releases have a FLAC version. One could even consider using an audio program (like Audio Hiijack) to record them. I didn´t just say that either.

Core77's Hack 2 School Guide offers some great and witty advice for design students.

They did miss two of the most important pieces of advice though:

1. Don't comapre your work to that of your fellow students or even your teachers. The vacuum which is any school is misleading and will cease to exist in four years. The people who get published in magazines that you look up to are your real competition. Think bigger and hold yourself to a higher standard.

2. Design is life and love. If you don't eat, breahte, sleep, fuck, drink, sweat design 24/7... please find a different profession. Design is not a job, it's a way of living.

For the sheet stealer in your life.

iPod Touch
Wi-Fi internets, wireless downloads, multi-touch interface, Flash memory... and no crappy AT&T service.
Can Apple get any more awesome?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This has been defunct a lot longer than Dorkwave, but damn, L0C810N was a pretty cool project if I do say so.

I really need to do more of this kind of work.

As you know, Dorkwave went into suspended animation some time back, but we do get [at least part of] the gang back together every once in a while for just the right occasion. Such an occasion is upon us, as our dear comrade Jon Ozias shuffles off to brighter horizons. Dorkwave will be hosting a Dally in the Alley afterparty in honor of Jonnie's departure at Twingo's on Cass Ave. in Detroit this Saturday night starting at 11:00 PM. This is Jon's last blast in Detroit, and we hope to see you all there.

Jonnie O, Mark Lazar, Mike Servito, Ms. Toybreaker, Jen Rhode and myself will be serving up a combination of classics and brand-spanking-new tracks for you in classic Dorkwave style. Have some killer French wine and dance your asses off.

After Twingo's, we highly suggest you all head on over to Fi-Nite Gallery, where our good friends CPM present Burnlab's very own SV4, playing yacht-rock with Todd Osborn and Danner. (Yes, I said "yacht-rock.") Also on the bill is a special disco set form Ghostly's Tadd Mullinix with Vacuum, E Spleece and John Johr. Details on the brilliant fiasco called Love on the Rocks can be found here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Horrors are opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain at Brixton Academy this Friday.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Dark Matter

9/15 poster 360px

Toybreaker and I are doing our most ambitious production yet on Saturday, Spetmebr 15th. It will be the record release party for Perspects' Peopleskills Remix EP featuring rewroks by The Hacker, Franz & Shape, Kill Memory Crash and Goudron. Perspects will be playing a brand new live set, as well as Ghostly bad boys Kill Memory Crash, who will be playing live for the first time since DEMF '06 and debuting an all new live show featuring a third member on live drums for the very first time.

We had originally booked the hottest thing out of Italy since Lamborghini to play as well: Franz & Shape, but unfortunately Francesco and Chris have postponed their North American tour due to lack of interest from promoters in other cities. We were told by their agent that Burnlab/Dethlab is "the most reliable and serious promoter from USA they've ever experienced with."

In the mean time, we've been busy as hell trying to fill the third spot for the 15th of September. We talked to a lot friends such as Solvent and Magas - landing on Cleveland's masters of analogue synth-pop Travelogue. Travelogue came by the highest endoresment of Solvent, and if you know Solvent, he's one of the most discerning people you'll ever meet. By that we mean if he likes something, it's awesome. Travelogue should fit the bill nicely, and the programming for the night will start with gorgeous indie-electro-pop and morph into rip-your-head-off-industrial in a way that makes total sense. It's a blessing in disguise that things didn't work out exactly as planned and we have Travelogue opening. We're super excited to see them live.

See their most recent music videos here:

Also, remember that Detronik is doing a full-blown multimedia installation for this show: multiple projectors, closed circuit cameras, stacks of TVs... Micho of Detronik designed and installed all of the multimedia at Motor back in the day, was one of my partners in the art installation group L0C810N, and before that was founder of the performance art group Inter Animi, who did elaborate media productions at Industry and the State Theater in the early-mid 1990s. Expect total sensory overload.

Majesty Crush's Greatest Hits LP I Love You In Other Cities has just been released on Full Effect Records. For those not familiar, Majesty Crush was Detroit's premiere shoegaze band, easily on par with many of their contemporaries from the UK in the early 1990s.

Majesty Crush drummer Odell Nails The Third (pictured above with me at some absurd hour of the morning at a party recently) is - when not being a music industry lawyer - currently Cocteau Twins mastermind Robin Guthrie's drummer... which must feel like a mind-blowing 20 year odessey of shoegaze awesomeness. Hobey Echlin is a respected music writer, David Stroughter continues to make music and Mike Segal is one of my design colleagues at Ghostly International and creator of Boy Cat Bird.

Congrats to Odell, David, Hobey and Michael for getting the recognition they deserve.
Buy the record!