Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mythology of a Meme

Eames Demetrios was kind enough to share with us the true history of the Eamespunk meme, untold until now...

On the Circumstances of the Recovery of the Meme

First off, Michael, everyone knows steampunk started with the IBM Puppet Shows and the case of the plural green moustache.

But if you must know the full circumstances of the Eamespunk Meme, I will share them exclusively with you. I am, unfortuantely, writing from a rock where large scavenging, but still gaunt, birds peck at me and my companions constantly:

Though it was only a month and a half ago, it seems like 6 weeks. After midnight of Eames Foundation member appreciation day, guided only by the light of our first-day-of-issue Eames stamps and a bit less by our solar do-nothing flashlights, Neville, Bruce and I walked the prescribed path indicated by Charles' rebus treasure map (and echoed precisely in the numerical structure of the Gifted Eye and Powers of Ten). Our only company was off-shore, the night surfers riding their tables. Somewhere in the wet sand below Pacific Palisades, as the grunion ran, using our steam powered digging implements, we went down exactly 10 meters (and here the steam powered devices really did come in handy--holding back both Brendan Fraser and the collapsing walls of the tunnel) and found an aluminized molded plywood time capsule that had been left by the Eames Office five decades before. At first, after we opened the wire mesh door, we saw nothing, then we slowly picked out a small hydromedusan. For a moment we three shared Nevile's iScheutz and listened to Bach, then we looked closer, and just inside the translucent bell we found it, so delicate, but not exactly fragile--a single meme.

Lifting it gently to the surface we all swore by the molded plastic in our veins not to reveal this meme until the next mid-century but looking in his dull, mad naugahyde eyes, I knew Bruce would never last (and Neville too, but it was not in him to break first). Neville calls Bruce's comment a "throwaway line," but it was nothing of the sort. It was cold and calculating: a dark, dark gauntlet thrown down to taunt Neville into unleashing his Eamespunk manifesto on a world impossibly unready.

I for one will never forgive myself for my part, I was too young--as they were-- to have been playing in that sand. Now that we have been strapped in our chairs to this bare rock, the three of us now know how Prometheus felt. One of us in his Eames Lounge Chair, the other in his La Chaise and I in my Chaise Lounge as the Giacommetti vultures peck out our two baroque livers. For me, at least, the pain stops briefly when my arms fall to my side. For them, there is no relief. The fates should have been kinder to them--I should have known better, but how could they have known?

related: Discover Kymaerica opens today at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


I'm in Montecito, CA [home of Jonathan Winters] this week for work, so apologies for the lack of blog news.

I did forget to post about our excellent finds at the world's second largest garage sale in Royal Oak, MI last week: Ms. Toybreaker scored a beautiful taxidermized mountain goat head named Fred and a very nice equestrian helmet [which will go well with our fencing mask over the mantle as another reminder of things we should learn how to do,] and I landed the 101 year old Hamilton railroad grade pocket watch below. [The second part I'm presuming, but it sounds good.]

1907 Hamilton front

I also just learned the HTML for block quotes this week [yeah... shush,] which we'll be putting to use very soon to replace my haphazard use of italics and quotes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scherer Gonzalez

Scherer Gonzalez

Looking for that perfect evening gown to wear to the Apocalypse Ball? Look no further than Scherer Gonzalez's current collection.

[via Coilhouse]

David Lynch - Six Figures Getting Sick (Six Times)

David Lynch's first film, from 1966

[via yet another new favorite blog, Uncertain Times]

Monday, July 28, 2008

Eamespunk follow-up: Better Living Through Plywood

The internets are fun.
It was only a matter of time before this meme snowballed into a manifesto. In this particular case: less than a week.

Melbourne-based designer Daniel Neville picked up the original meme and ran with it in his post Eamespunk'd. Today, Neville expanded on the idea with his Eamespunk Manifesto.

"Who needs brass goggles and mirror shades when you can have wall size projector screens in bucky domes? Overturn the individualist agenda and share in media together! Collective humanist action will unify us while we are amazed at still slides of interesting details! We will return the suburban home to the great importance it once had. The focus on the family as a unit will return, and we will design for them and their needs. And they will have a multitude of things to sit in. And they will be vastly more comfortable than temper-foam or leather upholstery. Soft curved humanist wood, with modern curves will form to your body. Enjoy the comfort! Post War enthusiasm will return my friends. Pavilions and fairs demonstrating the latest in plastics and molded plywood will bring amazement back into your hearts. Who needs cyberspace or the great aether when we will have the house of cards. Interchangeable modules of information, slotting different electric modules of knowledge together. The great consensual hallucination will be made from card and be in your hands".


Granted, I threw a little gasoline on the fire last week because 1) I thought Nakamura's article made him sound exactly like the worst pretentious stick-in-the-mud stereotype of "serious designers" that makes me embarrassed to be a "serious designer", 2) I thought Bruce's retort was perfectly concise and snarky in tone and right on point in substance, and 3) mostly because it's a great story on so many levels - one being the potential for a well placed tongue-in-cheek comment to warrant a manifesto [from half way around the world at that] within a week! I'm not going to spoil the fun for everyone by picking apart how much the response to this simple meme says about design culture, the ephemeral but very real impact blogs have on society, the details of how memes morph into trends morph into movements morph into subcultures, etc. You're all smart and you know all that. Let's just all sit back and enjoy the next big thing: Eamespunk!

[We're still eagerly awaiting our dear friend Eames Demetrios to chime in on this topic with what I fully expect to be a most humorous reply, but he's quite fairly otherwise occupied.]

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Mythology of the Future

[This one is dedicated to Mr. Valenti, Mr. Black, Ms. Toybreaker and Mr. Killing]

J. G. Ballard on the South Bank Show - part 2 of 3, discussing surrealism, sensationalism, ecological apocalypse, mindscapes, "The Atrocity Exhibition" and "Crash"
Also: part 1 | part 3

addendum: Man, this one is even better...

a 1971 film by Harley Cokliss, starring J.G. Ballard & Gabrielle Drake
More info about this film here.

Crash has been forefront in the collective discourse all week around here and we re-watched the Cronenberg adaptation over the weekend as sort of a homework project. More related links to come.

"Why America is fucked... graphically."

Designer Aaron Draplin explains.

[thanks Christopher Bissonnette!]

Halber Mensch

Requisite Blixa post...

from a 1986 Einstürzende Neubauten documentary directed by Sōgo Ishii

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Squeaky Queen

We have a particular fascination around here with "power couples": romantic partners who carry equal weight as great artists, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Adult., Matmos, Diller+Scofidio, Gilbert and George, Kozyndan, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, etc. One such couple we've mentioned this week is Jon Sonnenberg and Mandi Spayd of the band Travelogue. Many readers may not know that Mandi is also a designer, artist and maker of the coolest bath products you've ever seen. [Yeah, I said bath products.]

Dethany and I are huge fans of Squeaky Queen's Rescue skin balm. Mandi a.k.a. Squeaky Queen also makes some gothtastic soaps, such as Jurassic Amber, Sanguis (blood) and my personal favorite Prep Wash, with an embedded plastic syringe - " which makes a great squirt gun in the bathtub once the soap is gone."

Mandi, like Phoenix and Ms. Toybreaker, has a particular fascination with rabbits. She makes some of the most wonderfully demented plush creatures. Check out her recent Labbit remix from the exhibition Down The Bunny Hole.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dream Anatomy

dream anatomy

Drawn mainly from the collections of the National Library of Medicine, Dream Anatomy shows off the anatomical imagination in some of its most astonishing incarnations, from 1500 to the present.

This is a "virtual" goldmine of historical anatomical drawings and a priceless educational resource.
Drool over the hig res image gallery.

[via Darkened Forest, which is another new favorite blog around here.]

Also see: Islamic Medical Manuscripts and Historical Anatomies on the Web

Ghosts of Techno

A brand new mini-doc about Ghostly International. Check it out here.

Eames Demetrios at Edinburgh Fringe Fest

a Kymaerica plaque located in what is now known as Cleveland

Your Geographer-at-Large will be debuting his one man show Discover Kymaerica at the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival on July 31st.

Journey into a parallel universe that you never knew existed - even beneath your very feet... meet creatures without metabolism, a samurai Columbus, lichen poetry, gwomes... 'Alternative world, sci-fi, and utopian professorship; a road-trip/acid-trip aesthetic' (LA Downtown News).

Performance schedule here and much, much more at the Kymaerica Blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Travelogue Analogue

Jon Sonnenberg has recently released Acoustic Selections, an album consisting of acoustic arrangements of fifteen songs from his electronic-oriented projects Travelogue, House of Wires, and Pivot Clowj. This is far more than a "best of" or "unplugged" album. Playing more than 27 instruments himself - many hand-built, Sonnenberg's intricate melodies take on a whole new life. The familiar vintage synths give way for strings and odd percussives which have a music box quality at times.

Mr. Toad says, "It’s an odd little album, this. Part Baroque pop, part twee indie, part experimental, slightly orchestral pop music... when the harmonies kick in, when the melodies click, when it all makes sense, then this as good a record as I’ve heard in ages. It can be all the Summery pop that every Swedish band in the world seems to wish it might be."

Acoustic Selections is now available through Amazon, iTunes and Old Man Records.

Sonnenberg demonstrating the Daxophone

Travelogue - Reflections [2006]*

*[If you think this is steampunk bliss, you should see Jon and Mandi's house!]

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura

[We still have that ever-growing stack of music to write about, but we're letting another Romantic Air Recordings artist jump the queue because we've literally been waiting for this one since before Barack Obama was even running for the Senate.]

Detroit's brainy and baroque pop maestros, Pas/Cal released their debut full length LP I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura this week on Le Grand Magistery. The official release is even tighter, catchier, more live sounding, more technically ridiculous, more playful, delirious and gobsmackingly fun and smart than the rough version I previewed late last autumn.

Talk about delivering "the whole package." This album may be up there with Pulp's Different Class as an iconic work of sugar coated subversion. [If you have even a vague idea of what Different Class means to me, you know that's quite more than a compliment.]

A few quotes on the making of the record from the previous Richard Panic interview on Burnlab:

Doyle: Some of my favorite things about reading the band's blog are the very technical and quirky narratives about the recording process. One favorite is the story about the Ace-Tone organ, and the trick of turning it off while holding down a key to get just the right sound. LIstening to the album, it's evident that every sound is carefully considered and has a story behind it. What are some of the more unusual techniques and/or happy accidents that occurred during the process?

Panic: Yes, that is also one of my favorite aspects of this record. The techniques employed on this record were far from normal. The piano was abused, punched, and smashed to get sounds out of it. Old Frankenstein, hand built, guitar amps, pianos trying to be guitars, guitars that want to be organs and more microphones than the state of the union address. One story off the top of my head is the studios Rhodes piano. Several keys had missing tines. As a result, I always had to reconsider my arraignments. This would always pose a challenge and end up creating melodies and harmonies I would have never came up with if not for the obstacles of the randomly missing notes. Also see the answer to the Cherry question below.

Doyle: In an interview once, Casimer talked about the contrast of PAS/CAL's upbeat, "sunny" music and often dark, morose lyrics - in the tradition of The Smiths and Blur. I'm quite drawn to and appreciate this kind of deception. It gives people who listen a little deeper something to appreciate - like they're in a secret club. Is this strictly an aesthetic choice, or a very deliberate one?

Panic: Before I joined this band, I was impressed by the lyrics. Obviously the Smiths were an influence but for me personally Morrissey is something of a religion. It was Smiths lyrics that enlightened and informed me in so many ways. So such a comparison coming from me is really saying something. Caz's writing was the closest anybody I had ever met came to being as inspired as Moz. His lyrical content and stories are different but the essence is there. I love the wit, sarcasm, and slightly skewed perspectives. I read somewhere once that the typical Morrissey fan is a self loathing egomaniac. I think that is true of Pas/Cal and yes it is quite deliberate.

+ a little bonus bit of trivia/controversey(?) I just stumbled across:
Sean McCabe's cover art for Pas/Cal's last EP, Dear Sir appears to be a wink to a most unlikely source of inspiration. But you never know... and that's all part of the depth of wit which keeps listeners happily on their toes.

Dethlab tonight in Detroit

Get your mid-week devil's disco fix tonight with Dethlab, David Blunk II and Tony Chromie.

Wednesday, 7.23.08
The Old Miami
3930 Cass Ave., Detroit
10PM | $3 | 21+


Eamespunk motorcycle

You heard it from Bruce Sterling first: Design Observer Hates Steampunk

(((Man, this is priceless. The backlash has begun! Oh wait a sec -- steampunk is "back" by definition, so maybe this pained screed is better described as a "frontlash.")))

(((Maybe Randy Nakamura would like "steampunk" better if it was called "Eamespunk" and involved making computers out of bent plywood.)))

Link: Design Observer.
"In its essence Steampunk seems suburban in its attitude: nostalgic for an imagined, non-existent past, politically quietist, and culturally insular hidden behind cul-de-sacs of carefully styled anachronisms that let in no chaos or ferment. The larger, more impossible questions are missing. How would the Victorian imagination conceive and execute a functioning computer? The answer must be more interesting than adding wood veneers to your laptop or turning a mouse into a contraption of gears that looks more like a medieval torture device.

"We are being taken for rubes...."

I think Nakamura got up on the wrong side of the bed.
Full entry over at Core77.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Doing it Right: Mapping the Ecotone

Lifted from Pruned: The Great Climate Change Park

Mapping the Ecotone is Ashley Kelly and Rikako Wakabayashi's winning entry in the design competition Envisioning Gateway.

Gateway National Recreation Area is made up of four units in Metropolitan New York, including the shifting islands and salt marshes of Jamaica Bay - a massive tidal estuary off the southern end of Brooklyn and Queens. I have a perverse fascination with the Google Maps mash-up Flood Maps. Jamaica Bay is among the most vulnerable parts of New York City to changes in sea level [made brutally apparent by Flood Maps] and one of the city's most unique ecosystems. This "saline to brackish, eutrophic estuary" [quoted from Wikipedia, but doesn't it sound like a They Might Be Giants song?] naturally sees average tidal fluctuations of 5 ft.

Kelly and Wakabayashi's park design doesn't simply accommodate for changes in sea level, it embraces them. The architectural interventions work with rather than against the forces of nature.

Pruned's Alexander Trevi says:
There is an important lesson here for coastal cities threatened by sea level rise and even cities such as New Orleans. The prevailing paradigm is to separate urban settlements from the waters, to fortify against attacks from the elements. But it's a catastrophic mistake to think that one can contain something as eternally mutable as the landscape. You cannot freeze the outline of the shores or the riverbanks forever in time and place.

What Kelly and Wakabayashi are saying, then, is open up the city to the waters. Give it a zone of transition - an ecotone -
[or ecological interstitial space] where both land and water can be occupied simultaneously.

In the abstract, replace rigid ideals of form and structure, classical notions of stability and clarity, and the modernist fetish for monumentality with an orthodoxy of responsiveness, flexibility and adaptibility.

Aesthetics and Ethics, China Edition

[We've touched on this before, but since we're talking about it, let's look at opposing views form Herzog & de Meuron and Daniel Libeskind.]

H&dM beijing national stadium
Herzog & de Meuron - National Stadium, Beijing

Architects of the Tate Modern and Beijing Olympic Stadium said in March, we can help change in China.

“It's very cheap and easy for architects and artists and film-makers to pull out or to make this kind of criticism,” Herzog says. “Everybody knows what happens in China. All work conditions in China are not what you'd desire. But you wear a pullover made in China. It's easy to criticize, being far away. I'm tempted almost to say the opposite...How great it was to work in China and how much I believe that doing the stadium [and] the process of opening will change radically, transform, the society. Engagement is the best way of moving in the right direction."

Libeskind jewish museum berlin
Studio Libeskind - Jewish Museum, Berlin

Libeskind on the other hand flatly refuses to work in China.

“I won’t work for totalitarian regimes… I think architects should take a more ethical stance.”

His comments follow Prince Charles’s announcement last month that he will not attend the Beijing Olympics because of Chinese policy towards Tibet, and Steven Spielberg’s resignation this week as artistic adviser to the games.

It also comes only weeks after BD revealed that Zaha Hadid has designed a centre to honour a dictator in Azerbaijan, opening a wider ethical debate on working in countries with poor human rights records.

Libeskind was criticized by dutch architect Erick van Egeraat, who called it a a publicity stunt.

“I think its pretty easy and general to suddenly point the finger at one country,” Van Egeraat told BD.

“I could say the same thing about Russia, or France, or anywhere. To try and ideologise architecture is totally wrong. You completely overestimate its power. Architecture can be used to promote an ideology - you need to be aware of that - but it doesn’t make the architect or the stone and brick bad."

Is it more arrogant for westerners to dismiss a whole country, or to use design to promote their own ideologies?

I think Architecture For Humanity founder Cameron Sinclair nails it with a different spin in his post titled What is your ethical footprint?

I happened to stumble upon a debate on whether architects should work in China. It was sparked by Daniel Libeskind in Ireland last week and is now being called a "stunt". I am amazed that the leading voices of the profession are eager to pass judgment on the ethics of working in an entire country. What if you are building a health center or rural school in a country with questionable leadership? Is Libeskind therefore suggesting all Chinese architects are unethical? Where is the dividing line here and what right do we have to make one?

Everyone involved in this squabble are completely missing the boat. The real ethical dilemma our profession faces is closer to home – the way in which we build our buildings. It is not our just our environmental footprint but our entire ethical footprint that truly matters.

In Dubai and Doha, where many high profile designers are taking huge commissions, many developments are supporting and encouraging unfair and unsafe construction labor practices that are about as close to indentured servitude as you can get. Last year I visited the labor camps and was stunned to find 8-10 to a room and no access to clean drinking water. Many of the men I met had come from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China – most had been away from there families for years and knew the dangers of working on site. In the UAE alone there are 2.7 Million migrant workers, making up 95% of the country’s workforce. Even a recent report by Human Rights Watch released in 2006 barely caused a response from the industry.

Why is this a big deal? A few years ago I attended a talk on violence in the Middle East. One of the speakers, Queen Noor, spoke about the fact that the insurgency and hatred toward the west was being compounded by the 70 million+ disenfranchised youth that are either unemployed or working in low paying jobs, such as the construction industry. It made me think about those sky-piercing structures under construction and whether the poor labor conditions that we are a profession are willing to overlook may come back to haunt us.

However I am still to hear the current design leaders take a stand for those workers who are building these grand structures. Are those commissions are too seductive for any of them to take a stand?

Next time they take one of these gigs perhaps they can require ethical labor practices to be included in the contract.

Sa Sevol - The Sea of Showers

We have a stack of great new muisc backed up in the queue to write about. This one gets top priority not only because it's fantastically beautiful, but because I've shamefully been sleeping on it for six months now.

The songs comprising The Sea Of Showers were recorded over the course of two years in various countries around the world, each inspired by a specific tree in its homeland; the towering plants leading the author to paens of love, hate, balance & injustice. Sa Sevol & his/her friends all took their muddled & tenuous emotions to the recording studio to carve a journal of their confused daily observations. In all, roughly forty songs were assembled in an attempt to make sense of the overall message laying somewhere amidst the rubble & scattered debris painted across the sky. From this body of work, eleven were picked with the clearest indicator of an answer &, therefore, a meaningful & concise solution.

This collection of songs is now offered to you, free of charge, to accompany you through your dreams, both waking & sleeping, to the forest beyond the forest.

Romantic Air Recordings
an interview

Saturday, July 19, 2008

China: it's complicated

China has been on the collective mind a lot this week. In addition to the obvious Olympic games and flurry of landmark architecture springing up, this is in small part inspired by the stunning photos featured in the Boston Globe [see previous post] and much more importantly to the slow-to-come realization that The United States of America is [seriously... no, seriously] no longer the sole economic and political superpower - no matter what happens in November. As much of a bummer that is for most on this side of the Pacific, my cynical side would like to point out that neoconservative policies have gone unchecked for years and fail-boated hard in their primary objective. Not that things would be any different in regard to China's climb to the top if Bill Bradley or Al Gore had become president in 2000 mind you. They didn't tout the preservation of global supremacy as an agenda though. [Actually, neither did Bush during the campaign - but you'd have to be an idiot to not see it coming. Pre-9/11, I think Bush just assumed, like Clinton did, that US supremacy was a "given". Epic Fail.]

Many of us over here in the US vividly remember watching Tiananmen Square unravel on television and reading about dissidents jailed on vague charges for indeterminate periods in questionable court hearings. We've written here on B'lab in very recent weeks about crackdowns on protesters not only in Tibet, but on US soil by the Chinese government.

China's human rights record is not good. However, I heard an interview on NPR this week that made me think about things from a different perspective. [Believe me I tried to find the link, but you try searching NPR for articles about China...] The interviewee said something close to: "That's all true, but consider this: since the reforms started, China has taken literally hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and created an all new middle class." That is certainly a different way to frame human rights, and an impressive one. I think maybe that in the US we have an outdated view of the average Chinese citizen as an oppressed proletariat. That image is far from reality.

I haven't visited China and can't even begin to write authoritatively about it, but I get the impression that the current state is somewhere between Russia's semi-wild-west free market and Singapore's über-calculated capitalist utopia. Having worked in Singapore for a couple of years, I can say that it's an interesting but inappropriate model for China. China is, if nothing else, huge. The Singapore business model is perfect for Singapore: a simultaneously culturally rich and gentrified post-colonial 35 mile wide city-state with less-than-friendly neighbors who wants nothing more [for the moment] than to compete with Japan as Asia's most savvy nation. The thing that holds Singapore back though is what got it where it is: everything [I mean everything] is calculated. There is nothing random or organic about it. William Gibson coined the term "Disneyland with the death penalty" in an article for WIRED back in 1993. I don't think that article is totally fair - there are plenty weird and wonderful things about Singapore to be found if you have the right guides - but it does nail a few points right on the head.

China is just too big and too diverse for such a singular vision, and I think the current leadership has realized this to some extent. China's downfall is its attempt at centralized leadership and a singular voice. Gosh, that's been the downfall of every Communist government on the planet. China's rise to power on the global markets have been due in large part to encouraging entrepreneurialism and individual ideas.

What we're seeing right now is an adolescent superpower, potentially much stronger than the US or USSR ever were. I think China has some very important decisions to make in the very near future about how it deals with western ideals about ethics - in particular how it deals with intellectual property, cultures such as Tibet and individual liberties. Maybe it doesn't have any obligation whatsoever to answer to arrogant western ethics, but I think there are universal ethics it must abide to. This is China's year to set an example and be a world leader. What they do with that opportunity is up to them.

[I'd love get Tenzin's view on this topic. For those readers who never got a formal introduction: in addition to being a B'lab senior editor, Tenzin is a New York based film maker and university instructor and a Tibetan refugee.]

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Pictures of Anti-Terrorism Exercises in China

Chinese police parade
Okay, these riot get-ups are pretty bad-ass. Look for something like this from Gaultier by fall.

Firemen cut barriers
This is firemen practicing cutting barriers, but it looks like some sort of industrial performance art I would have been involved with in the early '90s...

Tons more pictures at the Boston Globe
[via Gizmodo]

Alice Cooper on The Soupy Sales Show 1979

[If you've ever wondered why Gen-X'ers from Detroit are the way they are, this is what we grew up watching.]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

OMG, there's a constructive discussion about music in the comments. Click here and scroll down.

Codine Live Tonight

Blank Artists eFlyer 7-17

Blank Artists presents Codine live, with Drew Pompa and Gabe Real on the roof deck of Exodus.

Erik Cronin has been quietly producing under the name Codine since 2000. Influenced heavily by the Detroit electro sounds of Aux 88, Dopplereffekt and the rigid, angular industrial rhythms of Nitzer Ebb, Cronin's main objective with the Codine project is to synthesize the two similar sonic worlds into a tapestry that is uniquely his own.

Thursday, 7.17.08
523 Monroe | Greektown | Detroit
10PM | 18 + | $5

Moog Tattoo

More here [via MatrixSynth]

Aussies call it like it is: America is screwed

This is a whole lot of no fun, but eye opening:
Nirvana out of American reach [lifted from Mr. Sterling]

The energy, financial and political woes that grip the US signal a decisive shift in world power, mocking the liberal delusion that Barack Obama or John McCain can return American prestige and power to its pre-Bush year 2000 nirvana. There is no such nirvana.

There is instead a new reality: the greatest transfer of income in human history, away from energy importers such as the US to energy exporters; the rise of a new breed of wealthy autocracies that cripple US hopes of dominating the global system; and demands on the US to make fresh compromises in a world where power is rapidly being diversified.

Far from the Obama-McCain contest being America's saviour, it has another dimension entirely: evidence of the generic failure of the US political system. The US struggles but seems unable to confront the world that exists. It slips into pessimism while fooling itself another irresistible revival is just around the corner. But the structural trends offer a different conclusion.

Despite cyclical fluctuations, world oil and energy prices will stay high, driven by long-run changes in supply and demand. This provokes a global wealth redistribution without precedent to oil exporters, mainly in the Middle East and Russia, that marches in tandem with China's export-driven current account surplus. It is an extensive transfer of economic power away from the US to nations that are not mainly democracies, a dynamic that is the subject of agonising review in seminars and debates in the US...

[It was pointed out to me that Detroit has been in a post-apocalyptic state for years. I suppose the consolation there is that we're better prepared. Heck, the impending macro collapse could open up whole new industries! Systemwide Ecological and Fiscal Disaster Consulting has a nice ring to it.]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Month In Techno

I haven't written a counterpoint to one of Philip Sherburne's This Month In Techno columns for Pitchfork in a long, long time for a couple of reasons: 1) we come from different philosophical perspectives on electronic music and it's as pointless to argue as politics is, and 2) I realized I was sounding like an asshole and you were all probably getting really tired of it.

I've never even met the guy and would probably like him a lot as a person, but I give his columns a hard time for one reason: he is the singular voice of electronic dance music for the most read indie music site on the internets. With that comes a lot of responsibility. [I certainly don't write so frankly and opinionated for Core77, Archinect and ComputerLuv as I do here. That's what blogs are for.] I think it's actually Pitchfork's fault for only having one electronic music columnist, but as it is, I think his perspective is narrow to the point of misrepresenting the genre. I know people are smarter than this, but if the broader Pitchfork readership thinks the state of techno is as described in his column, no wonder most people react to techno the way they do.

Today's This Month In Techno column hit some pretty interesting points. I disagreed with most of the first part, but was very intrigued and inspired by the second part.

The column starts with an ongoing theme of what a slump the scene and industry is in, which I have to take great exception to. I say this every year, but wow, what an amazing year this has been so far for electronic music! Granted not "techno", acts like Perspects, M83, Telefon Tel Aviv, Knifehandchop and The Reflecting Skin have put out some absolute dancefloor killers this year. Even within the constraints of "proper techno", Terence Fixmer's Avalanche and Kiko's Slave Of My Mind are monstrously strong tracks that bust all preconceptions about the artists and pave two very different and innovative paths for the genre.

The column talks a lot about cynicism and complacency and how minimal has become a lightning rod for criticism. My take is that complacent music gets back exactly what it puts out, and left unchallenged, it only gets more complacent. Blaming critics is lame. Minimal deserves everything it gets for being myopic and complacent. As Sherburne points out, the endless party has to end eventually, and you have to be accountable for making something of value when the drugs finally wear off.

The second part of the article really intrigued me. Philip asked 100 artists to write a personal manifesto. A couple dozen got back and some of them were whiney, but most were rather thoughtful. Maybe we're not so different after all: Sherburne said, "What I appreciate most is the way that all their answers underscore the ethical dimension of aesthetics."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What The Helmut?

[Sorry - couldn't resist the headline.]

Over the past year or so we've been developing a lot non-traditional media for live music events at the studio, most recently for Mos Def at Carnegie Hall - utilizing the latest generation of an interactive system first developed for Matthew Dear's Big Hands Band. [Full disclosure: I don't know anything about soldering sensors or writing code. I just come up with random ideas, draw some pictures and make graphics on occasion. The hero work is done by my colleagues like Erick, Andrew, Alex and Mike.]

I've been paying extra special attention to innovative new ways electronic artists have been integrating technology and visual media in their live shows of late: from the mind-blowingly simple and perfectly executed Etienne De Crecy visuals, to The Cube, to the latest from International DJ Gigolos founder Helmut Geier a.k.a. DJ Hell. [It's far more interesting to see what inventive solutions are developed for medium-sized acts than bands who can throw millions at a live show and rent every LED on the planet for a stadium tour.]

Hell's new show includes an oversized three dimensional cast of his face - lowered from the ceiling and precisely mapped with media by Lichtfront. It's bizarre and narcissistic of course, but it's totally Hell's sense of humor and perfect in that sense. Way too often people fail to have a sense of humor about themselves and it spoils the fun for everyone. This is genius in it's ridiculousness and ridiculous in its genius.

photos by Becky Yee and Lauren Devain

Dr. Lagerfeld

A handsome young Karl Lagerfeld acting as a romance advisor in an Andy Warhol film from 1970.


In other Kaiser Karl news,Lagerfeld to design Chanel homes on Dubai's "Fashion Island". [You know how I feel about Dubai, but I'm perversely curious about this.]

[previously on B'lab]

what the...?

segway riot
Anti-terrorist drill in Shangdong... because, you know, nothing says "intimidating" like a Segway.

[via Super Colossal]

edit: Hey, Kenny- I think this deserves to be a DetroitLuv Picture Of The Day.
Just sayin'...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Is Breakcore the new Stemapunk?

I could have never seen this one coming, but after the recent interview with Knifehandchop and now Otto Von Schirach's top 10 posted on Beatport... is mainstream DJ culture suddenly fascinated with breakcore?

Steampunk was first made popular by Cyberpunk authors William Gibson and our friend Mr. Sterling with the publication of "The Difference Engine" back in 1992, yet only saw a widespread cultural breakthrough this last year. Has breakcore been similarly so far ahead of the curve that it's current attention is almost amusing to its founders? [Rather, do they care at all?]

At this point, many mainstays like Gridlock and God And His Bitches [Ms. Toybreaker's previous band] have turned in their urgent beats for dirgey, post-black metal sounds more akin to Sun O))) and the uncomfortable calm after The Rapture [the Biblical story, not the dance-rock band,] when the blood of the unpure mixes with urine, semen and maggots in filthy pools formed on city streets and boils down into hell.

Obviously not all breakcore has gone drone, but the point is that the genre has been thriving and evolving just fine on its own for more than ten years - in very large part thanks to Detroit's own Low Res Records. Breakcore was primarily created in direct response to the banality of post-rave club culture of the 90s, and like punk's response to rock in the '70s, is defined more by attitude than style.

One of Burnlab and Dethlab's all time favorite artists is Bombardier, who does it like no one else. Betrayl is one of the most complex and precise weapons in our arsenal in the gihad againt lite, boring and drippy music.

Listen to Knifehandchop's "Fabric" here
[According to Billy, this is the "the most straight house dance thing I had ever written." That's awesome, because it sure sounds like he's ripping the intestines out of ravers and feeding on them. He may or may not get invited to Fabric any time soon, but he's always welcome here in Detroit.]


Otto Von Schirach - Laptops and Martinis [2005]

Shlian for you

Matt Shlian misfold2008

Artist, designer, teacher, researcher, paper engineer and aesthetic juggernaut Matt Shlian has a brand new web store with an assortment of flip-books, paper sculptures and original illustrations for just about every budget [considering these are hand made art objects - from the hands of the next Chuck Hoberman...]

Plus, "all proceeds go toward producing more art."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

AVATAR: Plectic Architecture

AVATAR [Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research Laboratory] is a cross unit research group at the Bartlett School of Architecture formed in 2004.

AVATAR - Christian Kerrigan
Christian Kerrigan

Areas of study include subjects such as Sensitive Machines, Cybernetic Geographies, Memory, Narrative and Anamorphosis.

Some quotes from Director Neil Spiller:

Philosophically and artistically, AVATAR is convinced that the new technologies prompt a re-evaluation of Surrealist spatial protocols and tactics. Also it believes that Alfred Jarry's proto- surrealist poetic pseudo science of 'Pataphysics and its idea of the 'Clinamen"- the swerve (chance) has great import on what we do. The choreography of digitally enabled chance allows us to create architecture of blossoming possibility where events are fleeting, exceptional and particular.

The most important paradigm shift sustained by the new media and technology with its consequent ubiquity is that of the liberation of the user from the stylistic and spatial dictates of aesthetic fascists like architects, politicians and planners. As this Century progresses this tyranny will become less and less legislated. The ability of users to configure spaces that are mnemonic, high and low coded, personal and transmittable is swiftly accelerating. Music appreciation, for example, has become a evolving virtual terrain, music collections can be invisible, remixed, shared, distributed around rooms as invisible but aural graffiti, play listed to infinite satisfaction. Geo tags can be left all around the world to offer insight, polemic, warning and delight. We can make the traces of our lives readable as a new social archaeology...

[Man, I can not get enough of stuff like this. Love it!]

Firstly it is important to stress that "Post-Digital Architecture" is not an architecture without any digital component. Indeed it an architecture that very much is a synthesis between the virtual, the actual, the biological, the cyborgian, the augmented and the mixed. It is impossible, anymore, to talk of Digital Architecture as a binary opposition to normal real world architecture. Cyberspace has insidiously insinuated itself into our existence, at every scale and at every turn.

Murray Gell-Mann defines "Plectics" as the "...the study of simplicity and complexity. It includes the various attempts to define complexity; the study of roles of simplicity and complexity and of classical and quantum information in the history of the universe, the physics of information; the study of non-linear dynamics, including chaos theory, strange attractors, and self-similarity in complex non-adaptive systems in physical science; and the study of complex adaptive systems, including prebiotic chemical evolution, biological evolution, the behaviour of individual organisms, the functioning of ecosystems, the operation of mammalian immune systems, learning and thinking, the evolution of human languages, the rise and fall of human cultures, the behaviour of markets, and the operation of computers that are designed or programmed to evolve strategies - say, for playing chess, or solving problems."

AVATAR - Michael Wihart
Cybernetic Circus by Michael Wihart

[Could you imagine how much more awesome things would be if everyone thought this hard about why and how they do what they do?]

More from Professor Spiller:

...No two designers are the same, no two designs the same, no two sites are the same and no two observers or users are the same (and all change over time and have varying durations). These facts have led me to view the world as exceptional, as particular, as a series of cybernetic personal and conversational mnemonic events. My design work within this blooming tapestry should do nothing more than exploit this systematic paradigm and create poetic moments in its interstitial spaces.

[This line of thinking isn't limited to architecture - it applies to all creative fields and is not just philosophical, but both urgently in the now and timelessly fundamental.]

So post-digital design must attempt to be immune to sophist arguments of style and good taste. It should rejoice in the particular and the "I" who and whatever is the "I" (We must remember that objects can now become "I" to a growing extent.)

[Nice simultaneous reference to Rand and Asimov there.]

Above all post digital design is relativistic, glocal, ascalar and constructed from a genius loci that does not just include anthropomorphic site conditions but also includes deep ecological pathways, mnemonics, pychogeography and narrative.


Arguably a little heavy-handed on the Greek and Roman references, but I think Spiller nails it here. It's essentially a Gestalt tuned for the 21st century. Click the first link for the full text. There is a list of AVATAR terms there, which reminds me of Lebbeus Woods' Anarchitecture Glossary - the first time I've really understood the correlation between cybernetics and architecture, and a big part of why I got involved with experience design early on.

I've also had a half-written essay about Cyberpunk architecture sitting on the backburner for years - for an eventual book about Form:uLA Dimension Laboratories. After reading the AVATAR manifesto, I may just have to dust that off rethink it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The pigs, they are flying


"International superstar DJ" Sasha is remixing four of my favorite songs: Telefon Tel Aviv's You Are the Worst Thing in the World, M83's Couleurs, Apparat's Arcadia and Ladytron's goth club standard Destroy Everything You Touch.

Ugh. If anyone knows Sasha's IP address let me know so that I can block him from reading Burnlab and maybe slow him down from getting his Cheetos covered paws all over the music we love.

[To give the guy credit, he's showing some darn good taste with this project, and at least I've never seen him strike a pose like like this douchebag. Sasha's just a whore with a keen sense for trends. Maybe the cover art will be Steampunk influneced... though that was so 2007.]

Get Vapid Tomorrow!

People in the DC/NoVA area tomorrow night come out for a night of dance
music for thinking people. We will be dj'ing upstairs at the Rock and Roll Hotel
with no cover charge.

Codine: Blue Room

Blue Room is the upcoming sophomore release from Codine on the excellent Blank Artists label and second one I've had the pleasure of designing for him.

Blue Room 5

The inverted iceberg is from a photo Erik [Codine] took in Argentina last year and the diagram is a Smith chart. Below are a couple of runner-up designs.

Blue Room 1

Blue Room 2

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Etienne De Crecy live visuals


On paper this is pretty simple: scaffolding, scrim and front projection... but the concept and execution is just brilliant.

[big thanks to Bryan Black!]

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Going Back to Scarborough: Knifehandchop on Beatportal

Aside form Liz's thoughtful posts, most of the articles on Beatportal make me want to puke. (How many entries about Ibiza or Sasha and Dickweed's tour can we stomach? Christ...) Anyway, it was a great pleasure to stumble across this interview with Toronto's master of Bastard Pop tonight.

It's a good read.


Knifehandchop performing his remix of Thou Shalt Always Kill live

Waits '08

I think the only person I'd be totally happy with as president is Tom Waits. Seriously.

excerpt from The Black Rider
I had the opportunity to see The Black Rider at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and it's still very much my favorite theatre production ever. [Robert Wilson, Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs... how could you possibly go wrong?]

Tom Waits - God's Away on Business [2002]

Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes with Iggy Pop

Tom Waits - What's He Building In There? [1999]

Cibelle - Green Grass [cover of a Waits song, 2007]

Waits on religion
"God's a lil' short guy... y'know... started in the mail room and worked his way up... invested well."

press conference for the Glitter and Doom tour

Tom Waits - Innocent When You Dream [1987]

Blood, Looms & Blooms

Bristol is back in a big way this year with the return of Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack and now Leila, who's strange and wonderful new LP Blood, Looms & Blooms was released today on Warp.

From The Guardian:
It's been eight years since Leila Arab, Iranian-born producer and erstwhile member of Björk's touring band, released her second album, a gap caused in part by the loss of both parents. Judging from the texture of Blood, Looms and Blooms, she has been watching a lot of movies. Carplos's tense, layered synths evoke a John Carpenter soundtrack; Lush Dolphins bathes in the indigo magic of an underwater fairytale; and Mettle, with its bubbling undercurrents and wounded roars of guitar, sounds like a vast horror-movie beast rumbling through a sewer. This has an enthralling, dream-like quality of its own, so it's no surprise to encounter two of Britain's drowsiest singers, Terry Hall and Martina Topley Bird, crossing paths like sleepwalkers on the closing Why Should I? The listener emerges unsettled and intrigued.

From Cyclic Defrost Magazine:
Leila’s Blood, Looms and Blooms is like an invocation to the senses – a hand that reaches out from the complex, gnarled roots adorning the album cover to pull you into the realms of playful imagination. Leila Arab’s debut for Warp, her first release in over seven years, excites in its lushness and challenges in its diversity. A measured, perfectly crafted progression from fantasy-like beginnings through to a deeper, darker midsection is Leila’s key achievement, managing to tie in a range of guest vocalists seamlessly across a range of styles...

Leila’s sound is so incredibly full – which is in part due to the exquisite production. Every nook and cranny of the aural space is filled to bursting with intense detail. It is there with the faint sound of a piano reverberating through an expansive hall on ‘Young Ones’, a yearning that lingers long after it is enveloped by a rowdy applause. Again it rears its head on ‘Mollie’ as tweaks and twinges whirl their way to an exquisite climax. Finally, the delicate duet by Martina Topley Bird and Terry Hall on ‘Why Should I’ brings Blood, Looms and Blooms to a close, and with it, an intense desire to revisit Leila’s fantasy world all over again.

[The big, buzzy opener Mollie, churning single Deflect and feedback-laden psychedelic cover of Norwegian Wood are my personal favorites here.]

Harmonie Interieure

Harmonie Interieure is a couple of designers [make that: designing couple] working from their home workshop in France, making wonderful things for your home. Half of Harmonie Interieure is our friend Fabien Barral who also runs the fantastic blog Graphic ExchanGE.

Their latest product is this series of limited edition posters.

Check them out in detail on Flickr.

Monday, July 07, 2008

[Sorry... one more. I'm also employing an idea from BLDGBLOG by not including a title for quick thoughts of this nature. We'll see how that works out.]

Evolution of the Bush Doctrine from Frontline's excellent The War Behind Closed Doors, first aired in 2003.

This will hopefully all be history soon, but we can't get out of a situation without understanding how we got into it. If you haven't had a chance to watch this program, it's one of the most captivating experiences you can have in front of a television.

Richard Perle makes for an extremely well educated and well spoken Sith Lord. Neoconservatism is a very legitimate political philosophy and a refreshingly intellectual change from the social conservatism of the rotting corpse formerly known as Jesse Helms. Neoconservatism's main flaw was that it, well... it's totally flawed to the core, and we've had six - arguably twenty-eight years to test it - at imeasurable expense in terms of human life, the integrity of our nation, and the future stability of the world.

Proposal for a National Integrity Strategy

[Sorry for two political posts in a row. I promise we'll talk about food next.]

In an act of uncharacteristic transparency, the Bush administration published The National Security Strategy of the United States of America in 2002 ( you can read it here if you like.) Generally referred to as the Bush Doctrine, the document is a revision of an internal defense department white paper dubbed the Wolfowitz Doctrine, written in 1992 by then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz.

It is essentially the roadmap for neocon foreign policy, making the case for unilateralism and pre-emptive intervention to maintain the United States' position as the sole political and economic superpower. Wolfowitz's initial draft states, "The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

There is little question that not only have these policies deteriorated our political standing around the world, but have also failed on the economic front, and perhaps most dangerously on the social and cultural front. The negative opinion of America which has developed over the past six years is due primarily to these policies. The results aren't benign. The aggressive posture outlined in the National Security Strategy is almost certainly responsible for breeding anti-American sentiment and increasing the threat of terrorism.

With this three pronged policy failure resulting in significant loss of political clout, an economy in free-fall, and a less safe world, I would like to suggest that Senator Obama write a National Integrity Strategy. Call it the Obama Doctrine.

Barack is at his best when he's writing or giving monumental speeches on big picture topics. There is no bigger picture topic than how we will behave and present ourselves as a nation during the next administration. Restoring integrity will require specific policies and immediate changes in how we act at home and abroad. We need to do as we say, be ethical and cooperative world citizens, and set an example for others to aspire to. This needs to be at the forefront of discussion and guide all other decisions. [We do have a pretty good document like that already, but it's been generally ignored in recent years.] Small policy changes won't fix anything. That will only send the message that it's business as usual and it really doesn't matter who's in the White House. I'd like to believe that's not true. This is an opportunity for Senator Obama to do what he does best and once and for all define Change™.

New and Not Improved

It's not just amatuer indie-left whack-job pundits like myself and professional indie-left whack-job pundits like Arianna Huffington... the New York Times is none too happy with Obama's recent rightward sauntering and controversy avoidance - politicking which has left a whole lot of independents and liberals with a not so fresh feeling.

The Times editorial is peppered with words like, "distressed" and "perplexing," pointing to shifts on topics such as public funding for religious-based organizations, the death penalty and gun control. [These aren't even Liberal 101 topics - these are entrance exam "yes" or "no" questions.]

They sum it up pretty tightly here: "We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games." [And yet here we are.]

I'd be thrilled to have the Barack Obama of as little as a month ago be president. I don't know who this current guy is though. I think he's gone through some high level deprogramming or something. He refused to give a fist bump to a little kid recently! What the hell is that about?* If he wants to keep those 18 million new voters, he would be well advised to snap out of this Clintonian behavior right quick.

No question that the New York Times, Huffington Post and this blogger all want him to be president. I think we all want him to be a better candidate though, and that's not going to happen if everyone refrains from honest criticism and smiles politely because we're afraid of made-up words like "electibility." We huddle around him like some human shield deflecting controversy, while the Untouchable Cloud Of Vagueness™ expands and expands like a thick, soupy greenhouse gas, eventually choking out even Hope™.

I'm a pretty lousy source for political advice: I've supported losing candidates every presidential primary going all the way back to 1988, including Kucinich, Wes Clark, Bill Bradley and Jesse Jackson, but I do know that trying to please all the people all the time is a perennial recipe for failure. Obama just needs to be himself... or at least the himself we thought he was: "the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games."

* [edit: that was misreported. Thanks to Brian and Anonymous in the comments for the quick correction.]

Thursday, July 03, 2008

design quote of the day

"Serif is the new sheriff."

- Alex Alexanian [about 90 seconds ago]

Gaultier's steampunky droogs

I was about to write about the Spring 2009 collections being shown in Paris this week, but got totally distracted by Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall '08 menswear...

Gaultier Fall '08 b
Gaultier Fall '08 a

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cibelle and Devendra Banhart

This is just wonderful...

London, London - Cibelle feat. Devendra Banhart [2006]

Via Mr. Sterling, who says " it even *possible* to get any more fey than this duo? They're setting world records for feyness here. That's actually a rather tough anthemic song from the grimmest days of Brazilian Tropicalia exile under their military regime, but these two are twirling pastel parasols and deep in their own little snowglobe world."

Food for Design


As the name implies, Food for Design is about where food and design meet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


First round of stills from a real time 3D app in progress:

The application is developed in Max+Jitter, with plans to eventually release the app as a public/open source project, once the kinks are a little more worked out. Further information can be found on the c-trl site here, or stay tuned to the flicker photostream!

Political Rant

Senator Obama distancing himself from General Clark's comments regarding John McCain's lack of leadership skills yet again put a bad taste in my mouth.  I still think Obama is the most exciting candidate in a generation [important qualifier here:] to make it through the contorted primary process, but I'm growing exhausted of him running from every little hint of controversy. 

All I want him to do is stop with the rhetoric and pandering for one minute and take a solid position on something... on anything more tangible than "hope."  There was no reason for him to reject Clark's comments, other than appearing "above it all."  Myself and a whole lot of other people work in marketing.  Obama and his campaign staff are masters at it and should be applauded for their exceptional work, but you don't have to be in marketing to see how transparent this "good cop" schtick is.  It's not fooling anyone.  I know this is going to get taken out of context and I'll have hell to pay for it, but the National Socialist German Workers’ Party won over the public with two things: creating a state of fear [which the Bush administration has taken right out Göring's handbook and relied heavily on] and seductively good design [why do you secretly think thier unifoms look so good?  Hugo Boss designed them, and there was absolutely nothing undeliberate about it.]  There is nothing evil about good design, but Obama's campaign has such a tight and uniform aesthetic that I feel like I'm looking at propaganda from another era sometimes and it seriously creeps me out.

Sunday was not the first time Wes has made this point about McCain.  There was a lengthy interview with him three weeks ago on this very subject.  Military leadership is McCain's main strength in the general public's eye, but in reality it isn't really that strong.  [To be fair, it's more of a strength than, say, economics... a subject General Clark has a master's degree in and taught at Westpoint - where he graduated valedictorian.] 

Now that General Clark is Obama's primary military adviser, one might think that the campaign would be aware of what he's been saying all over the press for months.  I'm disconcerted that only now, after he's made the same statements on national television, Senator Obama feels the need to "reject" those statements.  Have some bloody integrity and stand behind the people on your front lines, especially when they're just telling it like it is, and more than likely were encouraged by the campaign to do so.

I have no intention of casting doubt on the good senator.  On the contrary, I want very much to see him in the White House.  This is how I feel though, and I hope sooner than later he can show some balls.  I  want to believe he has them, but I don't like the idea that there is some secret pact with all us educated types that he'll be himself ["wink-wink, nudge-nudge"] after the election.  That's almost worse than the wishy-washy dork with his polo shirt tucked into his jeans we're seeing now.  I want him to say what he means and mean what he says and leave no ambiguity.  I know that's asking the impossible of a politician, but that is the kind of change I can believe in.

Back to McCain:  I really respected this guy during the 2000 elections for trying to restore the integrity and core values of his party.  It was sad to see the likes of Carl Rove tear him down and put him through the meat grinder.  [If there's anything learned from Reagan, it's that ethics should never impede your objectives - especially when it comes to power and money - and it's okay to pretend to be morally superior to get the church vote.  Every single day I think about how The Gipper should have died naked and weeping on a cold prison floor for the damage he did to the mentality of American culture.]  It's even more sad to see McCain now pander to the very extremists who corrupted the party of Lincoln. [I know that's compliated too, but it's for another post.]  McCain has either lost his mind, getting some terrible advice, or has just given up all of his ideals out of total desperation.  I'm guessing a combination of all three. He sounds like a totally different person than he did eight years ago.

The other day I was talking to a decorated Vietnam vet who said, "McCain doesn't know war.  This sounds terrible, but he experienced Vietnam from inside a box.  He has no idea what war is like.  If he did, he wouldn't have the views he has."  [My dad has gotten really feisty since retiring, and I love it!]

Perspects RMXD


The long awaited Perspects RMXD EP is now widely available on vinyl and through most digital record shops - including my personal fave, Bleep.

Every track is a post-apocalyptic synth gem, lovingly crafted by a collection of our favorite artists, but the Franz & Shape mix is a dancefloor monster of unprecedented magnitude and a much needed kick in the teeth.

Autobody - Hacker Rmx
Frequent Perspects collaborator the Hacker (who could forget Flesh & Bone?) steers the song into a finely stylized dance floor gem.
Remixed by the Hacker in Grenoble

Autobody - Franz & Shape Rmx
All the drama and surreal details you would expect from Italian cinema, with the fierceness of Claudio Simonetti and the over the top audacity of Tinto Brass or Fellini, delivered with more style than a Countach.
Remixed by Franz & Shape at Antenna Studio, Forli'

Dried Funeral Siegfried - Kill Memory Crash Rmx
Chicago's Kill Memory Crash blow way past the original Severed Heads reference into a thunderously vicious Moroder kills Nitzer Ebb in a Viennese back alley sort of way.
Kill Memory Crash appears courtesy of Ghostly International.

Memer - Goudron Rmx
IT's resident juvenile delinquent (Detroit's own Goudron) takes an ambient piece from Peopleskills and transforms it by doing what Goudron does best: rock.
Goudron appears courtesy of St. Francis Orphan Home For Boys, Detroit.