Here’s a video of Harold Budd and Laraaji making luxurious music within Jameos Del Agua, a series of lava caves on the Canary Islands. This happened in 1989 at something called the Lanzarote Music Festival. Unfortunately, they aren’t seen making music together, which would have been something. The two take turns at their own songs. At the time, this type of gentle music, often ruthlessly categorized as “new age,” required an overlay of ocean waves and other nature scenes when presented on video. I’m glad that we’ve gotten over that visual temptation, for the most part, when it comes to ambient music.
Cory Doctorow‘s encouragement to blog (and treat one’s blog as a commonplace book) inspires. This is one of those articles I’ll turn to whenever I’m down in the dumps and debating the point of all this blogging. It’s also motivated me to post a lot more on this MEMORA8ILIA page, to treat it as a referencable scrapbook of the things I encounter. Here’s Cory:
Like those family trip-logs, a web-log serves as more than an aide-memoire, a record that can be consulted at a later date. The very act of recording your actions and impressions is itself powerfully mnemonic, fixing the moment more durably in your memory so that it’s easier to recall in future, even if you never consult your notes. […]
These repeated acts of public description adds each idea to a supersaturated, subconscious solution of fragmentary elements that have the potential to become something bigger. Every now and again, a few of these fragments will stick to each other and nucleate, crystallizing a substantial, synthetic analysis out of all of those bits and pieces I’ve salted into that solution of potential sources of inspiration.
That’s how blogging is complementary to other forms of more serious work: when you’ve done enough of it, you can get entire essays, speeches, stories, novels, spontaneously appearing in a state of near-completeness, ready to be written.
Intimidation is a masterclass in tautness. Though a mere 65 minutes in length, the film never feels rushed nor does it lack Hitchcockian plot developments or compelling characters. In addition, its gritty potboiler noir exterior — enjoyable on its own merit — contains pointed subtext on social mobility and status roles. The cinematography is imaginative with stark black and white contrasts and the performances are solid (especially the always great Kô Nishimura). The bank heist scene is particularly well-executed and is as tense as any others I’ve seen.
I’m working my way, in order, through The Criterion Channel’s Japanese Noir selection and Intimidation is one of my favorites so far. My only gripe: though already a short film, I’d like it 20 seconds shorter. In my opinion, the very last thing that happens dulls a potentially devious finish.
The Last Angel of History starts by introducing a musical trio of cosmic influencers — George Clinton, Sun Ra, and Lee Perry — as an extension of Robert Johnson, who received the “black technology” of the blues in exchange for his soul. Or does this legend refer to a sort of visitation? We then move forward (or backward, as these interviews date from 1995) to techno and breakbeat jungle as recent applications of this technology. Science fiction is posited as an accurate reflection of the African diaspora, and we hear from the likes of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany. This all serves as an Afrofuturism manifesto, aided in tone by the enigmatic pronouncements of a “data thief” and director John Akomfrah’s mind-melting edits and shadowy stagings of the interview segments. A fascinating artifact with lingering contemporary significance.
Slates was a crucial turning point because it defies working class stereotypes, specifically in relation to art. The Fall’s lyrics aren’t restricted to the usual kitchen sink realism in the vein of ‘That’s Entertainment’ by The Jam. Rather than having a “woe is me” perspective on life, Smith liberates himself using working class intellectualism to reclaim art as a thing for the people, not academics. This teaches us a vital life-lesson: you don’t need to be privileged to be cultured. You can be into Ezra Pound and Philip K. Dick but also get shit-faced and neck a couple of double dippers on match-day afternoon. He created work that matches the smart intensity of his literary influences, but it’s still firmly grounded in Prestwich.
Big Science is being reissued at a very timely moment: America is reinventing itself again. It’s a self-rescue mission, and just in time: democracy, we have been led to believe, has been snatched from the jaws of autocracy, maybe. A New Deal, leading to a fairer distribution of wealth and an ultimately liveable planet, is on the way, possibly. Racism dating back centuries is being addressed, hopefully. Let’s hope these helicopters don’t crash.
via Dangerous Minds:
New Age Steppers was more of a long term project helmed by producer Adrian Sherwood and Ari Up of the Slits, than it was a proper band, with a revolving door cast of musical notables that included the Pop Group’s Bruce Smith, Public Image Ltd’s Keith Levene, a young Nena Cherry, Sounds editor Vivien Goldman, Steve Beresford, Slit Viv Albertine, Raincoats violinist Vicky Aspinall, Rip, Rig + Panic’s John Waddington, and vocalist Bim Sherman. The foundation of the New Age Steppers sound was provided by Eskimo Fox, Style Scott, Crucial Tony and George Oban, musicians who’d worked with Aswad, Burning Spear, Prince Far I and Gregory Isaacs and extensively with Sherwood.
The reality is that we are all addicted to convenience — and streaming platforms make it damn convenient for us to not think about the artists and how they manage to survive. As streaming becomes more pervasive, the sad reality is that every track, every artist, every album is reduced to just data, served up by the algorithm. It only continues to devalue our emotional relationship with the creators.