Thursday, January 31, 2008

Political Bullet Points

I'm still clearly bummed out that Dennis Kucinich dropped out of the race this week [aside from his spot-on policies, great sense of humor and straight-forward demeanor, is there anyone who didn't want to see Elizabeth Kucinich on TV all the time? She makes Jackie O look like Barbra Bush. Anyway... ] and my three other favorite Dems not running at all - leaving us yet again with two plastic politicians to pick from for the nomination.

I'll try to spare you from another painfully long stream of consciousness post here with a couple fun bullet points:

Kucinich and Obama on UFO sightings

This is why Kucinich is awesome and Obama is not. Dennis jokes about moving his campaign headquarters to Roswell, while Barak can't seem to stop with the canned rhetoric for one single minute and be a real person. I might come around later, but right now I think Obama is a huge wanker with nothing to offer but good posture and public speaking ability. He's our best choice right now, but unless he recruits the best of the best for his cabinet, I see a huge disaster waiting to happen.

"He's a good Republican. I wouldn't question those credentials at all. But there are a number of pieces of legislation where his views are out of the mainstream, at least in my view, of conservative Republican thought." -Mitt Romney, speaking of John McCain during last night's Republican debate.

Romney unwittingly sealed McCain's nomination right there, by painting him as the only viable Republican candidate for anyone who isn't a Fortune 500 CEO or a radical Christian Fundamentalist. McCain should really send Mitt a fruit basket to thank him. Before Nixon and Reagan made it the party of shady dealings [both of whom should have died in prison if our justice system worked] and Bush II made it the party of Christian Jihad, Lincoln was part of this little organization that was all about equal rights, individual liberty and personal responsibility. The concept of being conservative never came into play, and certainly not the forcing of one's value systems on a society, nor the nonchalant dismissal of laws when they are deemed inconvenient. Is John McCain the only Republican who knows what it means to be a Republican? If he picks Ron Paul or Rudy as a running mate, I'd be very pleased as an American to have a tough decision to make come November. It would be the cherry on top and a nice symbolic "fuck you" to punctuate the complete failure of the neo-conservative agenda over the past eight years. I'm a die-hard liberal, but even if you disagree with his policies, you can't say anything bad about McCain's character and ability. I also love the fact that he didn't take the obvious route and become a Libertarian and is fighting the good fight to transform [restore?] the Republican party from within, pushing the neo-cons and religious kooks to the fringe, where they belong.

Maybe I am becoming less leftist in my old age [maybe I am turing this into yet another painfully long stream of consciousness post... sorry... ] but I belive in caplital L Liberty above all else. Liberty is the one word I think of when I think of America. I believe in a lot of Socialist ideas - such as free public health care being a basic human right in a modern society. I also belive that personal responsibilty and freedom go hand in hand - which are Libertarian/19th century Republican ideals. I belive in transparency and freedom of information. Absolute freedom of information is essential in modern culture. From corporations to employees and back, from governments to citizens, there can be no secrets at all for us to advance as a civilization. When everyone on earth has access to everything, there are no limits. What we do with that knowledge is the great question and the great potential.

Spidey suits for all!

From io9: Soon we'll have special gloves and shoes that allow us to climb smooth, vertical surfaces -- and even walk across ceilings. A team of researchers at UC Berkeley has created a plastic microfiber that imitates the "stickiness" of gecko feet, which are covered in tiny hairs that attach to smooth surfaces. Already, the researchers are predicting they'll be able to walk robots across the ceiling using their microfibers, and humans could be next.

The first commentor bursts the collective bubble though, by pointing out that pesky thing called practicality: "That's amazing, but is there a window that will hold a 300 pound man?"

Oh, right. You pro'lly wouldn't want to be seventy stories up and have the glass give out on you. Then again, a 300 pound man has no business in a skin-tight suit. Not that the suit has to be skin-tight... what am I saying? Of course it does! And until they develop the web launcher, it needs a really cool jet pack too. I'm already thinking about other applications, like tires made from this stuff and miles of glass highways with no speed limits.

1, 2, 3-4-5, what else can you do?

We're giddy here at Burnlab HQ because we just purchased six tickets for Absolute Body Control's first ever show in the US, mentioned here a couple weeks back.

Here's another recent live clip:

Absolute Body Control - Figures [Live at Neon-Welt, 2007]

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Almost Dead

This Saturday will be the final show of the Now We Are Dead tour at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, with very special guests Travelogue.

Below are a couple new clips from this past weekend. Enjoy!

Lowfish - Around the Neck [Live at the Empty Bottle, Chicago 1.25.08]

Solvent - Think Like Us [Live at Scrummage University, Detroit 1.24.08]

Quote of the Day

Fan question: "Will the doors go 'swoosh' when they open?"
J.J. Abrams: "Dude. Will they ever."

Director J.J. Abrams answering a question about his upcoming Star Trek movie.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why don't the good ones run?

Today's Urban Dictionary Word of the Day is Electile Dysfunction: The inability to become aroused over any of the choices for President put forth by either party during an election year.

It's no secret that most of America thinks the man we democratically elected in 2000 would be a better choice now than ever for president. Al Gore has made it very clear however, that he feels he can make a bigger difference in the private sector than in politics. Cynical as it may seem, I really can't argue with that logic.

But what about the other great leaders of our time who would make tremendously better presidents than any of the candidates we're faced with now? I'm speaking of Wesley Clark and Richard Holbrooke.

Clark and Holbrooke were the two primary figures in the only morally motivated act of war [if that is possible] the United States has engaged in in our lifetimes, and represent American ideals I would give my life to protect without hesitation. [On the far end of the spectrum, Bush II represents a dystopian vision of America I would gladly give my life to destroy if given the chance... and I'm about as interested in self-preservation as they come... a self-important pacifist, if you will. If I knew it could forever end the influence of corporate anti-culture and christian fundamentalism in government, I'd be first in line for the belt, but alas nothing is ever that simple.]

Holbrooke and Clark are real American leaders to look up to - at least in my idealistic world. We need leaders who are smarter than the smartest among us. Not lifetime politicians. Not the guy next door. People who've been in the trenches and can speak to our enemies in their own language. Valedictorians of West Point. Rhode Scholars. Ambassadors to the United Nations. Moderators of peace accords. People who know how to do things right for change.

Clark was sent to Bosnia by Secretary of Defense William Perry to serve as the military advisor to a diplomatic negotiating team headed by assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke. While the team was driving along a mountain road during the first week, the road gave way, and one of the vehicles fell over a cliff carrying passengers including Holbrooke's deputy, Robert Frasure, a deputy assistant Secretary of Defense, Joseph Kruzel, and Air Force Colonel Nelson Drew. Clark and Holbrooke attempted to crawl down the mountain, but were driven back by sniper fire. Once the fire ceased, Clark rappelled down the mountain to collect the bodies of two dead Americans left by Bosnian forces that had taken the wounded to a nearby hospital. After returning to Washington D.C. for funeral services, the negotiations continued and the team eventually reached the Dayton Agreement at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio and later signed it in Paris on December 14, 1995. [Note, Wes Clark was born in 1944 - only two years after my dad - and "rappelled down the mountain to collect the bodies of two dead Americans." The senior US military official in Yugoslavia... after a firefight on a collapsed mountain road... while GW was in Texas snorting coke, running companies into the ground and executing a record number of his state's citzens.]

Clark has said that he began to truly define his politics only after his military retirement in 2000 around the 2000 presidential election that would give George W. Bush the presidency. Clark had a conversation with Condoleezza Rice. She told him that the war in Kosovo [based solely on humanitarian reasons rather than economic or strategic interests] would have never taken place under a Bush administration, as they adhered more to realpolitik. Clark found such an administration unsettling, as he had been selected for the SACEUR position because he believed more in the interventionist policies of the Clinton administration. He said he would see it as a sign that things were "starting to go wrong" with American foreign policy if Bush was elected.

I don't quite get Obama yet, and Hilary I don't trust or like at all. I carry a tremendous amount of respect for people who will knowingly risk their personal best interests to stand up for what they believe in. I hate martyrs, but I dislike people who cater their opinions to what they think people want to hear even more. There is no such thing as universal truth, but being true to yourself is the one and only worthwhile faith-based initiative. That's the spirit America was founded on and why I'm still a die-hard Dennis Kucinich supporter. In that sense, I favor Obama because he walks the talk, and it is blatantly obvious Hilary will do, say and sacrifice anything and anyone to promote her personal ambitions. She is transparently manipulative and gives off a sense of entitlement I find utterly revolting. My biggest problem with Hilary though was her vote for the Iraq war. That really should be an instant disqualification for any candidate. All of her rhetoric about "change" doesn't change the fact that she stepped right in line when the president asked. It proves more than anything that her presidency will be more of the same old shit. If she didn't have the guts [and come on, it really wasn't that hard] to stand up to Dr. Dimwit then, why should any of us believe she'll stand up to anything? Hilary = same old Washington shit, international community continues to loathe us, etc. etc. Far left as I am on policy, I despise her character so much I'd likely break party lines and vote for McCain if she gets nominated [John McCain is a Nine Inch Nails fan by the way. True!] But then, here's the rub...

Reasonable speculation places Wesley Clark as Vice President and Richard Holbrooke as Secretary of State under a Hilary Clinton administration. This is due in large part to their close ties to the Clintons under Bill's two terms as president. There is no denying from either side of the aisle that the United States enjoyed it's most robust period of peace and economic growth under Bill than almost any other president this past century. Would a Hilary Clinton presidency be a return to the rad '90s? Who knows. If not Gore, Clark, Holbrooke or Kucinich as president, I might be able to get excited about Obama with Clark as a running mate. Right now that doesn't look like a realistic combo though, and we might have to face the reality of a Hilary Clinton presidency. If she announces Clark and Holbrooke as senior officials, I might even vote for her - not so secretly hoping she'll meet up with a falling piano sooner than later, and the nominee I thought was the best candidate in '04 takes office and fixes this clusterfuck we call the U.S. government.

Monday, January 28, 2008

OMA's Science Centre and Aquarium in Hamburg's Hafencity [now with 100% more conspiracy theory!]

Via Archinect: The Office for Metropolitan Architecture has revealed the final design for a Science Centre and Aquarium for the Hamburg Hafencity complex. The building of 23,000 m2 will comprise of a Science Centre, aquarium, theatre, offices, laboratories and commercial and retail facilities and is located at the eastern edge of Hafencity, Hamburg's ambitious harbor redevelopment.
Read on here.

Astute Archinect readers began to wonder if Rem Koolhaas may be spelling out the name of his firm - in the form of monumental buildings across the globe.

sitric.grey comments, "...that's why Rem is such a master, most of us when trying to spell our names in skyscrapers would have stupidly began with the fist letter, but the ever-avant-garde Koolhaas starts in the middle, avoiding suspicion for years!"

The proof and the pudding? [Thanks to 6nuew for the composite.]

For more on Hamburg's Hafencity project click here.

Stray puppies looking for a home

(Click on image above for more photos)
Here's a message from Andrea Cardinal, who found the pups:

"As I was about to walk in to the design charette, I saw these little guys (girls, actually) and my plans changed.

"Gabriel and I now have five pitbull puppies, so please pass the word around, we are trying to find them good homes. I am taking them to the vet tomorrow, so please pass along that we might ask for some of that vet bill to be covered. We're going to be choosy about where these little girls go. We will be keeping the runt for a while, until he is in much better health. The four others are very strong, playful, and adorable.

"If you or anyone you know is interested, these are only going to be adopted as pets, not fighting or guard dogs, and we will ask that part of their vet bills be covered."

If you are interested, Andrea's contact info is on her website.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

High Technology

High Technology - The Computer Store, Apple II TV spot

Nowadays Apple dramatically pulls a computer out of a manila envelope in their slick ads and viral campaigns. But I prefer the 8-bit scored, voice-modulated stylings of High Technology - The Computer Store.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Electro Death [tonight!]

Now We Are Dead poster 500px
Electro death: Solvent, Lowfish and Dethlab hold Detroit-style wake for Toronto's Suction label
Normally the end of something is not a happy time. But when it's treated as a source of renewal and inspiration, well, that's quite a different story. Toronto's Suction Records began releasing music in 1997 by "snow robots" called Pest(e), Skanfrom, Solvent and Lowfish. But as its artists turned to other projects on Detroit's Ersatz Audio and Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International, product on Suction waned and the label was declared officially dead at the end of last year. The good news is that on Jan. 28 Ghostly is releasing Demonstration Tape, a 10-year retrospective of Solvent's music packed into a double CD. Lowfish also has new material out, Burn the Lights Out, on New York's Satamile Records. Even better news: Solvent (aka Jason Amm) and Lowfish (Gregory de Rocher) perform live sets this Thursday with Detroit DJ duo Dethlab, who hijacked local dancefloors two years ago when they began a series of provocative anti-club nights called Sex & Sedition. At Scrummage University, 1550 Winder, 308, Detroit. 10 p.m. $8.
Read at MetroMode

There’ll be no zombies at Now We Are Dead, but it’ll still be fun. Featuring Solvent, Lowfish and DJ Team Dethlab, the event celebrates Suction Records’ final release, sharing the same name. “Suction Records is over, but we’re not sad,” Solvent says, who co-founded the label with Lowfish. “We’re both really proud of the label, so it never seemed right to just let Suction fizzle out. We’ve had the idea in mind for a few years about doing a final Suction release. Since the label started with a Lowfish/Solvent split 12, we figured we’d end it the same way.”

Prior to Suction forming in ’97, the two bounced musical ideas off each other for years. “The Internet wasn’t like it is today; finding people into interesting electronic music wasn’t easy, so we got nearly all of our feedback and advice by playing tracks for each other,” he says. Solvent promised a live show of electro-pop. “Melodies will be played on synthesizers, beats will come from drum machines and vocals will be processed with a vocoder,” Solvent says. “I don’t really like to reference robots anymore when speaking about my music, but if it’s hard to imagine anything else based on that description, think more R2D2 than Darth Vader.” It goes down January 24 at Scrummage University.

Read at Real Detroit

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This was posted by our friend Alessando of All Purpose a couple weeks ago. Fantastic.

"Exactitudes is a mesmerizing photographic study of the dress codes of specific social groups as documented by Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek over a 13 year span.

"I especially like Allah's Girls and the Moroccies (now we know where all those Cosby sweaters ended up)."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not Dead Yet

Saturday night kicked off the "Now We Are Dead" tour in Toronto - one last blast before Suction Records calls it quits.


Toybreaker and I breaking things

[All photos by Basic Sounds]

Saturday was an absolutely great time. Toronto crowds are kind of weird. We were concerned at first because so few people were dancing, but at the same time, we'd never gotten so many compliments. Bethany and I were thanked for our "rowdy set." (Because we danced and drank on stage while playing records? That's par for the course!) Anyway, once we understood the Toronto protocol, it was a total hoot. Solvent and Lowfish played possibly the best live sets I've seen from either of them. Solvent has become a great live performer who commands the stage and engages the audience - something sorely lacking in most live electronic music. You really have to see his cover of Madonna's Hung Up in person. Amazing.

We recorded part of Lowfish's set on my pocket camera. It was too dark to see much of anything in the video, but the audio is really quite good - and Gregory performed two of my very favorites tracks back-to-back. Check it out here. Wicked.

The tour kicks into full swing this Thursday night at Scrummage University in Detroit's Eastern Market. Our good friend David Blunk a.k.a. Stevie will be joining Dethlab on the turntables. We should remind you that Scrummage is a loft, and not a bar, so it's BYOB. Their sound system is way better than most clubs though - plus they have an awesome cat. It's going to be one synth-tastic Thursday night in the D.

Friday night we're all off to Chicago to play at The Empty Bottle. We'll be joined by Chicago's own Mandate for this show. The Empty Bottle is a great room, and we're really looking forward to seeing the Kill Memory Crash boys and all our friends there.

Saturday we head up to Stonefly in Milwaukee. Solvent is the only one among us who's played Milwaukee before, and he insists it's the most enthusiastic crowd anywhere for electronic music. Really looking forward to this one. If the rave kids form Wisconsin I've met at Hawtin parties over the years are any indication, this is going to be a blast. We'll definitely be getting our art on by checking out Calatrava's MAM as well.

We all have to go back to work next week. Solvent and Lowfish do a show in Hamilton Ontario on Friday the 1st of February, then we regroup again with our good friends Travelogue in Cleveland for a show at the Grog Shop on Saturday, Feb 2. I've been playing a lot of Travelogue in our sets lately. I really can't get enough.

And there's more! We're bummed the Montreal show scheduled for last Friday got bumped, but we're working on rescheduling that right now, and we will definitely be playing NYC this spring, and probably another east coast city starting with B.

If you're anywhere in the midwest, we hope to see you very soon!

Cheers from Dethlab and Suction

Same Old Madness

Ministry - Same Old Madness [1983]

I don't know how this can be possible, but I just saw this video for the first time tonight.

Stay the Same Never Change

Owen Ashworth a.k.a. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone has scored the feature length indie film Stay the Same Never Change, debuting in Kansas City on February 1st, with a gallery discussion the next day.

"Stay the Same Never Change, the first feature film by Laurel Nakadate, will premiere in Kansas City, MO on February 1. In case you missed the news, all of the music in this movie is by me, Owen Ashworth, the dude from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. Laurel & I will be presenting the film and leading a gallery discussion at Grand Arts in Kansas City on February 2. You are invited! You can download the press release here."

Also [I think we may have three or four readers in Florida, but anyway...] CFTPA will be touring Florida for the first time starting 2.16.08 in Miami. CFTPA will also be touring the UK and Ireland starting in March. Check here for details. Not to be missed.

Safety Scissors interviews Owen Ashworth and makes him do karaoke for XLR8R TV

Detroit Auto Show on Core77

Audi R8 V12 TDI
Audi R8 V12 TDI

Mazda Furai Concept
Mazda's wicked Furai Concept

Sam Valenti IV DJ'ing at Mini
SV4 DJing at Mini

I covered the Detroit Auto Show [NAIAS] last week for Core77.
Check out the gallery and all seven blog posts right here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Be afraid

This is the the future of TV advertisement seriously messing with our collectively fried brains: the ad for the new movie Jumper, wait, for Hewlitt Packard, wait Andre 3000, wait for Nike, wait, uh, Jumper again. If you watch closely, there´s actually an advertisement for Jumper inside the Hewlitt Packard ad inside the, yeah, Jumper ad. As io9 put it, be very scared.

No Wave: the book

From No Wave by Marc Masters:
By any measure, No Wave was a blip-- a blinding flash of art that barely lasted long enough to qualify as a movement, yet left scars on underground culture still evident today.

The key to how such a brief moment could create a lasting impression lies in a single word: 'No.' It could hardly be smaller, yet, like the No Wave movement itself, it is remarkably potent, a symbol of all the possibilities in rejection and resistance. Any question you can ask about No Wave-- any attempt to define or restrict it-- gets the same answer.

Read an excerpt at Pitchfork / details at Black Dog Publishing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Acoustic Rhythm Machine

Jon Sonenberg of Travelogue demonstrates the Acoustic Rhythm Machine.

+ I can never get enough of this: Reflections

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Simon Reynolds on Rave Culture + Eames Postage Stamps

Again, both articles lifted right form Beyond the Beyond, but Bruce has been on it even more than usual lately...

"20 years since acid house and Ecstasy revolutionized pop culture, here’s the expanded and updated version of Simon Reynolds’ landmark history of rave.

"Containing substantial new material covering dance music developments in the ten years since its original publication, Energy Flash is now even more definitive. Blending vivid reporting, probing research and passionate opinion in the style of his acclaimed postpunk history Rip It Up and Start Again, Reynolds guides the reader on a thrilling journey from the druggy daze of Ibiza and Madchester via London’s gritty pirate radio culture of jungle and garage to the elegantly wasted clubland of contemporary Berlin. From trance to 2step, microhouse to grime, electro to dubstep, Reynolds tracks the scenes and sounds that have kept electronic music at the vanguard of pop culture. Now more essential and authoritative than ever, Energy Flash is the classic chronicle of rave’s quest for the perfect beat and the ultimate rush...."

+ Charles and Ray Eames US postage stamps!

In recognition of their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, manufacturing and photographic arts, designers Charles and Ray Eames will be honored next summer with a pane of 16 stamps designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC. If you've ever sat in a stackable molded chair, you've experienced their creativity. Perhaps best known for their furniture, the Eameses were husband and wife as well as design partners. Their extraordinary body of creative work -- which reflected the nation's youthful and inventive outlook after World War II -- also included architecture, films and exhibits. Without abandoning tradition, Charles and Ray Eames used new materials and technology to create high-quality products that addressed everyday problems and made modern design available to the American public.

NixieTube Grandfather Clock, by BDDW

Not really new news, but I walk by the place every day and finally had to say, god that's cool! High end handcrafted furniture maker BDDW has a line of wooden and bronze clocks utilizing early neon Nixie Tubes for the numerals.

Pictures hardly do them justice, check em out next time you're in Manhatten - the store is on 5 Crosby St!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Seems everything Justice does turns out smelly rosy, even having a mix rejected by Fabric is giving them heaps of press, download free on URB

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Politics got really interesting over the weekend...

Both articles via Bruce Sterling:

New Famous Couple: Naomi Cambell + Hugo Chavez
"According to the newspaper El Universal, Naomi and Hugo have been together for two months, but have been carefully hiding their relationship.

"Allegedly, the chemistry began with Naomi’s visit to Venezuela, when the model came to give her support to Chavez, together with some other Hollywood stars.

She was delighted with his proposal to build 6 new hospitals by 2009 in Venezuela, and praised his efforts in the segments of healthcare and education."

Tony Blair: President of Europe?
"Tony Blair launched his campaign to become the first fully-fledged President of the European Union yesterday by describing the notion of left- and right-wing politics as redundant.

"With France preparing to oversee the appointment process, Blair set out his vision of modern European democracy at a meeting of the French governing conservative party by also claiming that EU countries could achieve far more by working together than acting in isolation.

'Europe is not a question of left or right, but a question of the future or the past, of strength or weakness,' said the former British Prime Minister, speaking in French...."

Wowzers. As of last week, Venezuela was practically the fourth member of the axis of evil, and most people thought Blair was going to quietly live out his days in shame from his involvement in the Iraq debacle. What a weekend will do to shift the political landscape. Pass the popcorn, please.


Jan. 18, 2008
Vinology, 110 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor

COLOR ++ FORM is a new semi-regular residency featuring experimental electronic music and video in an Ann Arbor wine cellar. The night is a collaboration between Jeff Owens, the label manager at Ghostly International/Spectral Sound and co-founder of the weekly dance-lounge party Bloom, and Paris '68, a sonic art collective based in Detroit and Pittsburgh. The event will feature special guest artists mixing live music and videos, and DJ sets.

On Jan. 18, COLOR ++ FORM welcomes Chris McNamara, a member of Thinkbox, a loose collective of sound and video artists based in the U.S. and Canada. The group performed at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2003 and at Mutek in Montreal in 2004. McNamara's sight and sound installations were part of the Shrinking Cities exhibit in Berlin and Detroit. In 2007, he delivered a lecture at Cranbrook and performed with Paris '68 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) as part of that same exhibition. McNamara, who teaches at the University of Michigan's Screen Arts and Cultures Department, has directed a new film that will screen at the Rotterdam Film Festival later this winter.

The first version of COLOR ++ FORM is Jan. 18 in the wine cellar at Vinology, 110 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. The music and video program starts at 9 p.m. The event is free. There is a full cash bar at Vinology and food is also available.

Since this is my first post here on Burnlab, I thought I would direct readers to my websites, and Paris '68 for more information.

The Orphanage

I just saw The Orphanage (El Orfanato) and all I can say is "Wow!". Presented by Guillermo Del Toro and Directed by Barcelona native J.A. Bayona, this psychological thriller is a superb modern ghost story full of twists and surprises and is intelligent from start to finish.

As one might expect from any film associated with Del Toro, the cinematography is astounding. The film is wonderful to look at and is a visual marvel of atmosphere and tension. Bayona was clearly inspired by Del Toro's earlier film about a haunted orphanage, "The Devil's Backbone" and directly references Stephen Spielberg's "Poltergeist" but brings enough originality and style to make The Orphanage feel like nothing I've seen before.

It's showing in limited release, so take time to see it if it's playing near you.


Lifted from Voltage:
"Terminus is a brilliant and creepy short film about brutalist urban design run amok. The inhabitants of an unknown city in the 1970s are menaced by walking pieces of sculpture, architecture, and street furniture:

All the period details are just right: from the locations, to the grainy film look, to the abstract electronic soundtrack (drawing on the same retro synthesizer stylings -- commonly featured in '70s educational films and TV shows -- that Boards of Canada have been referencing in their work for years)."

Stunningly beautiful, horrifyingly bleak, and innocently charming...
This is almost exactly how I remember the '70s.
And the unmistakable scent of old glass tube style Magic Markers, of course.

Friday, January 11, 2008

79 Versions of Popcorn


edit: one more, for Kevin. :)

Absolute Body Control to play first US shows

27 years since their debut single Is There an Exit?, Belgian synth icons Absolute Body Control will play their first pair of live shows on US soil.

ABC released the superb retrospective Lost/Found in 2005, followed by regular performances around Europe. They will be playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Friday, April 4th with Wolf Eyes, and at M/R/X in Los Angeles on Saturday April 5th. Both shows brought to you by the excellent Weird Records. Also see the website of founding member Dirk Ivens for tons of goodies about ABC, The Klinik, Dive and more.

Is There an Exit? live [2007]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

808 NYC Bus Tour: Genius!

Burnlab's good friend Mr. Fred Giannelli will be "manning the decks" - as they say - on a charter bus headed from Boston to Brooklyn, with NYC's best techno party in its sights: Bunker. This will all be taking place on Friday, Jaunuary 18th.

From the Boston Phoenix:
According to promoter/techno travel agent Odabachian, the advantages of the 808 package go beyond removing some of the hassle of getting to and from Brooklyn. The trip is an extension of the party — and, he argues, a full bus all but ensures a good show. “There’s safety in numbers. People are guaranteed a rager considering they and their closest friends will pack the bus and the Bunker.”

The show itself, however, is the main draw: veteran Boston producer Fred Giannelli of Psychic TV and Plus8 fame, plus Smartypants and Eric Gray, both up-and-coming artists who’ve recently relocated from Boston to New York. The line-up is inspired by the first Zero G release of 2008, Stuff, a cracking 12-inch compilation with tracks by Giannelli (as the Kooky Scientologist), Smartypants, and Odabachian himself.

“The bus ride should be a good laugh,” Giannelli says via e-mail. And he should know, given his extensive experience touring with Genesis P-Orridge and Psychic TV. “It will be a far cry from the crazy bus tours I did of the US, UK, and Europe with Psychic TV between ’88 and ’90. Those bus rides lasted three and a half months! I do have amazing photos of those journeys, which I will get around to releasing one of these days.”

I once tried to convince John Tenney - then owner of Neo Tokyo - to buy a vintage Greyound at a City of Detroit garage sale, and take the Japanese-dystopia-themed coffee shop on the road. "All aboard! Who knows where we're going, but you'll be plenty wired when we get there..." That notion was inspired by an old Letterman schtick in which Dave would send random members of the audience off on a bus to exotic locations... like Florida.

I'm really glad someone in our circle of influence has finally taken this idea to its literal end.

For full information, check

We expect our friend Ari, a.k.a. DJ Volvox to be on that bus and provide a full report!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

DETH From Above Volume 3: A Pattern of Violence

The third installment of our Dethlab mix trilogy

H.R. Geiger's Isle of the Dead

DETH From Above Volume 3: A Pattern of Violence
[MP4 format, 74.2 MB]

01. Mathew Leutwyler - Jovencitas
02. Das Glow - Cathedrale
03. Daniel Wilhelm - Alster Dream
04. Markus Lange - Ruhestorung Plattenbau (Oxia Remix)
05. Alex D'Elia - Biancaluna
06. Namito + Martin Eyerer - Quipa (Etienne De Crecy Remix)
07. Savas Pascalidis - Boccaccio Life
08. Dibaba - In Your Face is the Place
09. Cirez D - Tigerstyle
10. Lutzenkirchen - A View To the Sea
11. Fergie - Up & Over
12. Gui Boratto - Tipologia (Lucy Remix)
13. The Shock - Manhattan (Einmusik Remix)
14. Stephan Bodzin, Swoop - Superlicious
15. Kardinal, Lowkey - Zombie's Night
16. Etienne De Crecy - Funk

(Top 10 of 2007 still in the works, about 5 of these are representative of that forthcoming list.)

It starts off nice, but fear not, it'll hit you in the face with a brick soon enough. This is a slight deviation a bit from the other two which were primarily of Mr. Burnlab's curating. A little more dark ambient and French electro-house this time.

Listen to the two previous installments here.


io9 is a new science fiction blog from the Gawker Media empire (the good folks who provide those of us too ADD to read traditional magazines with sites such as Gizmodo, Jalopnik, and of course Gawker.)

"io9 is addicted to science fiction because it's the storytelling branch of prophesy. We'll be writing obsessively about scifi in every format: books, movies, TV, Web, comics, games, art, music, and fashion.

The problem is that science fiction doesn't always seek out the strange new worlds it purports to be cruising for. That's why we're plagued by franchises like Star Trek and Superman that return, again and again, to the historical times in which they were born. Superman is still basically an old-fashioned, small-town white boy in an age more suited to postcolonial urban hero-mutants; and Star Trek is a prisoner of the Cold War, rehashing old conflicts and stereotypes.

io9 is from an uncharted region in futurist culture. Our idea of science fiction includes things like Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica TV series, the architecture of Frank Gehry, and the writing of Michael Chabon. These creators don't cater to fanboys with trivia obsessions, and neither does io9.

It's not that we don't love a bit of the retro futurism you see in old Trek. Some of our favorite images and ideas about tomorrow come from decades, or even millennia, ago. But when it comes to contemporary ideas, we're looking for ways to leave the old Earth ways behind and get out of the Gernsback continuum. Futurist culture should be speculative, not derivative."


I was first tipped off to io9 last week, when BLDGBLOG's Geoff Manaugh started writing for them. One of the things I love about Geoff's writing is how he'll start reporting on something in the world - like an elevator testing tower for example - and go off on a fantastic "what if?" tangent - like what a great set said tower would make for a Batman movie. Even if just fragments of ideas, he paints vivid pictures of possibilities that stir the imagination. If he can do that with architecture, imagine where he'll go on topics such as cloning and experimental psychology. Actually, just read...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Jeans Team

From JeansTeam.DE: "Jeans Team start in 1995 as a duo constisting of Franz Schütte and Reimo Herford. They found the legendary GALERIE BERLINTOKYO in Berlin Mitte and play their first official shows. For these shows Reimo and Franz performed to a preproduced video, they act as the companion volume. The 45 minute video ‘Baby' (1996) is Jeans Team’s first release.

1997 Gunter Kreis and Henning Watkinson complete the band and the virtual company is needless. Now Jeans Team become a quartet of flesh and blood. The eponymous luminous advertising is dismantled from a street corner in Berlin Wedding and becomes the illumination for Jeans Team live shows."

I have to admit that I'd never heard of Jeans Team until recently, but the quartet seem to be an institution in their native Berlin, and Adult. can't stop raving about them. I'm kicking myself for sleeping on this. They make wonderful indie-pop and infectious elektro-disko seem effortless.

Oh Bauer music video [2005]

Jeans Team is currently on tour in North America: stopping in New York Thursday, Montreal Friday, Toronto Saturday, Detroit next Tuesday, Chicago Thursday and back to New York next Friday. Check their MySpace page for details in your town.

The Detroit show is at Scrummage University in Eastern Market - the very same venue as the Solvent/Lowfish show on the 24th... and Bethany and I are DJing... and it's my birthday! So you should definitely come out on a school night and have some fun with us. Scrummage is a very cool loft space (and BYOB - which is an important detail to note.)

Tuesday, January 15
Jeans Team [Berlin] live + DJs Dethlab [Detroit]
Scrummage University
1551 Winder St. #308, Detroit, MI. 48027
9PM | $7

Rude 66

Of all the tracks that didn't make it on to A History of Violence, the one I'm still kicking myself over is Rude 66's new single The 1000 Year Storm. Unfortunately there just wasn't room, but we'll be playing the heck out it at the upcoming shows.

I bought my copy from Beatport, but will probably get the vinyl as well - if just for the etched illustration on the B-side by Godspill. The new LP, Sadistic Tendencies is due out in March on Créme.

Couldn't find a live clip of new song, but this will certainly do:

Monday, January 07, 2008

Walter's Best of 2007

The best-of lists are still coming in. Today's list comes from journalist, observer, participant and documenter of it all Walter Wasacz.

Walter by Walter
Walter Wasacz

1. Untrue - Burial (Hyperdub). Pseudonymous South London bedroom producer, who refuses to be photographed and claims only five people outside his family know his real identity, transcends dubstep, UK garage, jungle, ambient and soul to create the deepest, loveliest 50 minutes of the year. Stunning.

2. The Coldest Season – Deepchord Presents: Echospace (Modern Love). Port Huron’s Rod Modell and Chicago’s Stephen Hitchell rise out of the ether to produce exactly what techno needed: a drifting, grooving, hissing masterwork made by using only vintage analog equipment and paranormal signals captured from the Blue Water Bridge. We think.

3. Steingarten and Steingarten Remixes - Pole (~scape). Stefan Betke is Pole, the Berlin engineer/producer who juggles dub (and dubstep), hip hop, _ techno and 1970s krautrock with the greatest of ease on these two separate full-length releases. Check the remixes for Detroiter Mike Huckaby’s pounding version of “Düsseldorf.” Hell yeah, that’s what we’re talkin’ about.

4. Dedications - Klimek (Anticipate). It was a good year for Anticipate, a classy New York City-based label that soared to the front of the pack with a series of releases, none better than the one containing nine slow-motion soundscapes by this Polish-born, Berlin-dwelling artist who began calling himself the “ambient pimp” (we’re loving that) after he performed at 2006’s Movement Festival.

5. Soundboy Punishments – Various (Skull Disco). This two-disc comp features the super-hot Shackleton, whose “Blood on My Hands” was remixed by Ricardo Villalobos into an 18-minute monster that wedded dubstep and minimal with a poetic reminiscence of 9/11 told from the POV of a suicide bomber. Chilling.

6. Asa Breed – Matthew Dear (Ghostly International). A record that brought dusty Texas chainsaw rock and Detroit techno together at last. Dear poured out his heart and soul with guitars, vocals and electronics then took it out on the road and did it all live.

7. Fabric 36 – Ricardo Villalobos (Fabric). A mix CD that boldly goes where few others have gone before: all the tracks that Villalobos the DJ selects belong to Villalobos the producer, who just happens to be making the most densely-layered and hypnotic tracks in any genre at the moment.

8. Underwater Dancehall – Pinch (Tectonic). Another crew to watch from Bristol, England, a key dubstep outpost where mysterious artists like 2562, DQ1 and Cyrus lurk in the shadows. Label boss Rob Ellis (aka Pinch) trumped them all with this long player that connects the dots between the city’s multi-racial Wild Bunch/Massive Attack scene of the ’80s, ’90s and now.

9. This Bliss – Pantha du Prince (Dial). From Hamburg’s consistently sweet Dial, a label founded by Carsten Jost and Peter Kersten (aka Lawrence, who dropped the gorgeous “Spark” EP for Ghostly in 2004), a record that alternates between long, grooving space jams and wintry ambient interludes.

10. I Put a Record On – Gudrun Gut (Monika Enterprise). She’s played with Einstüerzende Neubauten, formed the German post-punk band Malaria! in the early 1980s and has made music with partner Thomas Fehlmann (The Orb). Now it’s Gudrun Gut’s turn to show her versatility as a solo artist, and does she ever, by dedicating this quirky and elegant audio collage to her beloved Berlin.

DETH From Above Volume 2: A History of Violence

The second installment of our Dethlab mix trilogy

Isle of the Dead 2

DETH From Above Volume 2: A History of Violence
[MP4 format, 91.3 MB]

01. Christopher Kah - Search and Destroy
02. Front Line Assembly - Digital Tension Dimentia
03. Franz & Shape feat. Kill Memory Crash - Eyes Like Knives (Kill Memory Crash remix)
04. Kill Memory Crash - The O (Kill Memory Crash remix)
05. JTC - Take 'em Off
06. Coil - The Snow
07. Front 242 - Quite Unusual
08. Volksmusik - Secret Girl
09. Nomenklatuer - Hell of a Woman
10. Franz & Shape feat. Kill Memory Crash - Forgotten Days (MOTOR remix)
11. Sister Machine Gun - Wired
12. Pop Will Eat Itself - Wise Up Sucker
13. The Presets - Down Down Down (Digitalism remix)
14. Ascii.Disko - Hey
15. Dirty Princess - Dios (T.Raumschmiere remix)
16. Proxy - Decoy
17. Harlem - Cat Scratch
18. Neo Filigrante - A Fact of Tragedy (Kiko remix)
19. The Why - Wild Boys

See here for part one: DETH From Above Volume 1: An Introduction to Violence

Bethany and I have both been sick all weekend, so rather than spreading the rave plague, we decided to stay in and sort through music. A History of Violence leans heavy on the EBM/hard-electro side of things, with a dash of acid and a sprinkling of formative favorites for context, among some of the best new music I've come across this year. Bethany is currently working on A Pattern of Violence, which will follow shortly and lean heavier toward dark and dirty electro-house. For the heads out there, I didn't touch the pitch of any of the tracks, let alone levels. As with the previous one, we did drop everything into Garage Band just to even out the track volumes and to pace where the end of one track slams into the beginning of the next with Dorkwave precision™.

Why Ed Banger and the like matter

file under: More late night ramblings on cold medicine.

I haven't been able to quite articulate it conscisely until recently, but the reason I've slowly developed such a deep resentement toward minimalism over the years is more clear: minimal neutered my techno.

What was once a great source of inspiration and energy became predictable and flacid. The prosaic sounds of faucets dripping replaced the exciting sounds of metal klanging upon metal. Minimalism caused me to lose faith in techno as a whole at times.

Two years ago, Ed Banger Records handed techno its balls back.

Obviously not just Ed Banger, but a surge of resistance from all around the world (centered in France of course, where all music is awesome) against institutionalized boringness and the ketamine genration.

I feel much better now being able to put a finger on it, and knowing that there is an army already waging the war on boring. The future of electronic music is at stake. Life is complex and chaotic, and that is why it is so very rich and beautiful. Those who reject complexity are the enemies of art and of life. Those who engage it will lead and flourish.

Techno is still a very vibrant genre. I hope to prove that just a little bit with the content of my next post.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

W.K. Interact Defaced Again

From Marius's Flickr page: "30 foot billboard mural commissioned by Agnes B. It was defaced by another street artist right after the show opened, apparently as a result of a long-standing beef."

Although all street art is technically vandalism, when it's well done and/or thought provoking - as is the case with W.K. Interact, Banksy and hundreds more of the like - it can add to the vibrancy and quality of life of an area.

The above act requires no talent or imagination. Only arrogance.

All art is not equal, and unfortunate for the few who are doing outstanding work, the majority of street art has been reduced to a pissing match between individuals with such complexes about small pee-pees, that they have to scrawl their name on every surface around and deface the work of others. If they weren't so busy "keeping it real," they'd be driving Corvettes or monster trucks.

Why is WK Interact's work perceived as "better"? Because it is better. He has something interesting to say and says it with imagination and talent. Real talent always trumps "paying your dues," or whatever other street cred BS people will try to feed you. Not that he hasn't worked hard - that's one of my main points of contention here. It's the taggers who trow up their name as big and often as they can, no matter how sloppy and thoughtless the execution, who ruin the legitimacy of street art. They are vandals. WK and those like him are trying to make some [albeit often illegal] art, and put a great deal of thought and effort into it. There is a very clear distinction.

Previously on Burnlab: WK hit by Splasher

Friday, January 04, 2008

Catherine Hammerton

The Royal College of Art is clearly the place to be. A disproportionate amount of the best design work I've seen around has been from recent RCA grads or students. Catherine Hammerton is no exception. Her "printed and embroidered [and cut and burned and stained] textiles for the fabulous" are... fabulous.

Images via the always fabulous Design*Sponge + interview at MoCo Loco.


I recently stumbled across lifeiscarbon©, a Scandinavian design/art/fashion/music web-zine. Good stuff.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

On Traversing Vast Landscapes

The videos of Anton Corbijn came up in conversation this morning - particularly his trademark shots which seem more like still photographs, often with a solitary figure moving across the frame. Below are three fine examples, for three of the finest songs there be.

Atmosphere [1988]

Headhunter [1988]

Enjoy The Silence [1990]

On vices: France may have lost some culture...

But the US gained a small bit back!

Absinthe is Legal. Earlier this year, a lone Washington, D.C., lawyer took on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in an attempt to lift the ban. After some legal wrangling, the agency agreed - with some limits.

Thujone concentration is limited to 10ppm, but that fortunately includes most of the vintage absinthe formulations - including the 50% higher alcohol content than whiskey. Yowch!

Somewhat related to the perevious post

Will health erode culture in France?

Under a sweeping decree that took effect Wednesday, smoking has been banned in every commercial corner of “entertainment and conviviality” - from the toniest Parisian nightclub to the humblest village cafe.

No matter that cigarette is a French word. Or that the great icons of French creativity - Colette to Cocteau, Camus to Coco Chanel - all smoked. Or that Paris boasts a Museum of Smoking. Or, in fact, that Paris has named a street after Jean Nicot, the 16th-century French diplomat who took tobacco leaves imported from America to Catherine de Medici to treat her migraines. (Nicotine was named after him.)

The decree coincides with a broad Europe-wide nonsmoking movement that began four years ago when Ireland banned smoking in public places. But here, there are fierce pockets of resistance. Opponents say the ban signals the erosion of French liberté. They say it is undemocratic because it was not passed through Parliament but imposed by government decree.

For Mr. René Le Pape, the ban signals the demise of a part of French culture. “It means the destruction of village life,” he said. “What will happen to the ritual of arriving at the cafe in the morning to read the morning paper over a coffee and a cigarette?”

At Le Musée du Fumeur (The Museum of Smoking), there is concern that the French may not be able to think as well without their cigarettes. “All our great writers seem to have been smokers,” said Michka Seeliger-Chatelein, one of the curators.

Read on... [New York Times]

R.I.P. Suction at Beatportal

Toronto, Ontario based electro melody makers Lowfish and Solvent are celebrating the passing of their co-owned record label, Suction Records, with a tour and a release entitled ‘Now We Are Dead.’
Read on...

[Thanks Liz!]

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Creeping with Cody

Abandoned power plant in New Orleans - click here for big.

Cody Cobb a.k.a. Vectorsnob is a Seattle-based designer and photographer who takes some of the best urban exploring (or "creeping" as he prefers) photos we've seen. Check them out here.