I’ve got a few quickies for you and then some music news.
First, I’ve officially entered the clicky keyboard club. Mechanical keyboards have tempted me for years, and this Kickstarter campaign finally inspired me to take the plunge. My Keychron K8 arrived today, and this post is pretty much the first thing I’ve typed on it. I’m doing a lot of writing and thought a more physical keyboard — with clicks and noise! — would help inspire and lead me frequently into ‘the zone.’ It’s too early to say. I’ve heard some people can’t get used to these keyboards, and it is larger in height than I’m used to. I’m using a palm rest, which helps, but it’s still going to take effort to get acclimated. But so far, so good — the feel is impressively tactile, and I love the keys’ noise. The fancy backlighting makes typing feel special, too. I’ll report back once I get some serious use out of this thing.
Here’s a fun piece about John Cage’s expertise with edible mushrooms. Well — he was an expert most of the time as there’s that dinner where he unintentionally poisoned his guests. If you know about Cage but didn’t know about his mushroom obsession, then you’ll find this paragraph fascinating:
In one particularly famous episode, in February 1959, Cage appeared on the Italian television program Lascia o Raddoppio (Double or Nothing) and won five million lire (something like eight thousand dollars) by being able to name 24 white-spored agarics — edible mushrooms — that were mentioned in the Studies of American Fungi field guide. Cage listed them in alphabetical order and then bought a Volkswagen bus for his partner, choreographer Merce Cunningham, and a piano for his home in Stony Point.
There’s a new two-volume book — John Cage: A Mycological Foray — that details Cage’s mad mushroom skills though his writing and essays by others. It looks lovely.
Speaking of lovely-looking books, Craig Mod — who might be responsible for my favorite email newsletter — has self-published a book based on his incredible Eater article, I Walked 600 Miles Across Japan for Pizza Toast. I know the title of that article is baffling but, seriously, give it a read if you haven’t. This new book is titled Kissa by Kissa, and it expands on the article with lots of new graphics, photographs, and text. It’s obviously a labor of love and looks fantastic. Even more fantastic, Craig coded his Kickstarter-style platform to raise money and sell it from (he jokingly calls it ‘Craigstarter’). It’s open-source and downloadable from Github. Labels and recording artists take note — you could use this to do a PledgeMusic (ugh) style fundraiser for your next album right from your site. (Update: I see the book sold out. Congratulations to Craig! I imagine it will be online in some form in the future, like his ‘digital book’ Ise-ji: Walk With Me.)
Brian Eno. Laurie Anderson. Nitin Sawhney. Simon McBurney. These four brains got together (on Zoom) and had a conversation about listening. It’s terrific. And Eno’s lockdown beard is impressive.
My bit of music news is about Gemini Revolution. The brothers Dedric and Delaney — from the cool Kansas City combo Monta At Odds — lead this project. We call Gemini Revolution their ‘alternate timeline band.’ I’ve just released their rad new album Supernova Remnant on the 8D Industries label. Earlier today, I described this album to a friend as “kosmiche-styled space jams, ambient builders, and textured dream-droppers.” I won’t back down from that description. Have a listen in the player below, and if it strikes your fancy — it should! — then please head down to Bandcamp where the album is downloadable at the special price of ‘name your price.’