Saturday, October 29, 2005

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS CELEBRITY SPOTTING 2!!!

Last night I was walking to Dinosaur BBQ (which we should talk about later) with a bunch of dudes. At 116th and Riverside, we saw some bright lights and a gathering of people. When we got closer, we realized it was a movie-set.

"Yo man, what kind of movies are they making here?" I asked a security guard type guy.

"Some Indian movie."

We went up by the camera to see what they were filming and guess who I see? Abishek Bachan, son of most-famous-actor-in-da-world Amitabh Bachan, and Rani Mukherjee. I realize these are not household names in America but these two are SUPERSTARZZZ on the Sub-Continent. Even if you don't know them by name maybe you'll remember that Bollywood mp3 I posted a few weeks ago. It was from the film "Bunty Aur Babli" which stars, you guessed it, ABISHEK BACHAN and RANI MUKHERJEE!




IMDB tells me the movie must be Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (can anyone translate that?) and Amitabh is in it too!


Unfortunately, after last night's BOLLYWOOD DREAMZ, I woke up to news of bombings in Delhi. Let's all hope for peace and positivity this Halloween/Diwali/Id al-Fitr.

On a lighter note, I found the video (which is really just a scene from the film) for aforementioned Bollywood song "Kajra Re" online.

This clip features Amitabh and Abishek Bachan. The main female performer is Aishwarya Rai, L'Oreal model and, some say, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN DA WORLD.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

shocktober!

NOTE: I started this post yesterday so there are some BACK2DAFUTURE moments. It might be helpful to draw some sort of diagram to keep it all straight.



Man, this homepage has really gone to shit! Some of you probably even thought I was dead! LESS-THAN-LIKELY...

Today is the THURSDAY before Halloween which means that in a few hours most American universities will be crawling with GHOULS, GOBLINS and SEXY NURSES!

I don't have a costume yet. For the past two years, I've been a RABBIT in a PINK SHIRT. I think I left my rabbit ears at home...

(I ENDED UP BEING A CRICKET PLAYER/SEBASTIAN FROM BRIDESHEAD REVISITED. ONE GIRL AT THE PARTY SAW ME AND WAS LIKE 'Y'ALL STRAIGHT OUTTA BRIDESHEAD REVISITED', SO I GUESS I DID A DECENT JOB...)



Halloween's not the only holiday this week. Did you know that Ramadan's been poppin' off since October 4th? Don't worry. It's not over yet. You've got until November 3rd to celebrate.

Don't go trick-or-treating at Muslim households until AFTER SUNSET! Would you want some little punk-ass in a Spiderman mask waving a bag of candy in your face when you hadn't eaten all day??

If you're too old and sophisticated for AMERICAN CANDY, you can say "FUCK HALLOWEEN" (to yourself or out loud) and wait ONE DAY later for DIWALI and chow down on some burfee.



That's right, the Hindu festival of lights is Nov. 1st this year, one day after Halloween.

In celebration of DIWALI, let's talk/think about the DIWALI riddim.

Diwali is the name of the annual Hindu festival of lights, observed through the rituals of lighting small oil lamps and candles and displays of fireworks, each symbolizing a renewal of life and spirit at the start of the Hindu New Year. Diwali is also the name of one of the most popular Dancehall Reggae rhythms of all time and in musical terms it too represents a new beginning.

You may not know this riddim by name but if you've ever listened to the radio or been to a Dirty Projectors concert you've heard it.

The first big US hit (or at least the first one I heard) to use the DIWALI RIDDIM was Lumidee's "Never Leave You". There was a remix with Busta Rhymes and Fabolous. You remember it right? It was real minimalist with those slightly off-key "uh ohhh"s.


LUMIDEE

Then that same rhythm (riddim) started popping up everywhere; Sean Paul's "Get Busy", that Wayne Wonder song with the awesome keyboard part, etc.

Hearing this rhythm all over the place made it seem very MYSTERIOUS to me. Who made it? Was the Lumidee song the original?

These questions are very easily answered in rock music:

- "Jump" is a Van Halen song. It is on "1984".
-Van Halen is/was a band composed of these four dudes.
- Van Halen covered "Pretty Woman". The original was by Roy Orbison.
-BAM! You're done.



I think this is the reason electronic music/dancehall/rap has always mystified me. There are all sorts of different versions of songs (remixes, extended 12" versions, dub versions, the same beat with a different rapper). It takes some serious detective work to really get to the bottom of the CREATION ladder in rap. Because of the dominance of the ALBUM in ROCKNROLL, there are DEFINITIVE versions of songs. If you wanna go seek out the demo's and alternate takes YOU CAN, but you're not gonna hear those tracks on the radio. Rap also has ALBUMS and thus ALBUM VERSIONS, but there is way more FLUIDITY in regard to issues of AUTHENTICITY, ORIGINALITY and DEFINITIVE-NESS.

Say you hear a RAP/DANCEHALL song on Hot 97:

-The on-air DJ may be manipulating it.
-The version you're hearing could be a remix or some sort of throw-away Jay-Z freestyle on top of the original beat.
-The dude who "produced" the song may not have MADE the beat.
-The dude who MADE the beat may not have COMPOSED all of its elements.

Have you ever checked out the credits of a rap song? There are usually four or five names there and you won't recognize MOST OF THEM. Quick: what's Snoop Dogg's real name? Dr. Dre's? OK, kind of going on a tangent, but do you see what I'm saying? There is more mystery in this music. Maybe it's just because I'm an outsider to these scenes...

EITHER WAY, I LIKE THE MYSTERY.




Anyway, the Lumidee song was NOT the first song to use the DIWALI RIDDIM. In fact, the DIWALI RIDDIM does not originate in ANY ONE SONG. It was birthed as a riddim. It was created by Steven "Lenky" Marsden, a Jamaican producer. In Jamaica, a dude like Lenky doesn't just make the beat and go looking for one rapper/singer to COMPLETE the SONG. The beat/riddim has a life of its own.




...because the rhythm sounded unlike anything coming out of Jamaica at that time, Lenky couldn't get any artists to "voice" on it. "Voicing", as related to Jamaican music, is the process of adding an artist's vocal tracks to a prerecorded rhythm; upcoming producers must persuade leading reggae deejays (the Jamaican equivalent of rappers) and singers to voice on their rhythm tracks. "Basically, the Jamaican artists didn't understand it so they weren't willing to voice on it" Lenky continues. "At the time it sounded so different, they wondered what I was doing. I got frustrated so I started voicing little (lesser known) artists like Zumjay and Assassin and I gave it to radio people to play. Then the big names heard it and decided to voice on it."

Greensleeves Records is the big boss when it comes to RIDDIM COMPILATIONS. I think Greensleeves may even own the rights to the Diwali Riddim. Lenky definitely has some sort of formal connection to the label. A lot of the rhythms are credited to specific production companies though. Here's a question: Do these compilations merely reflect the popularity of a certain riddim or do these compilations introduce the riddim and make it popular? I assume both statements are somewhat true...




These albums are compilations of different dancehall stars chanting/rapping/singing over a certain beat. DIWALI was #27 in the Greensleeves Rhythm Album Series. There are currently 76 titles. You'll probably recognize some of them. SIREN uses that weird synth sound from KILL BILL. BOLLYWOOD also known as THE INDIAN uses the same Lata Mangeshkar sample as that Truth Hurts song, "Contagious".

Where do we go from here? Maybe you already knew all this stuff, but if you're like me and find the non-rock world daunting, beautiful and mysterious you might enjoy ISHKUR'S GUIDE TO ELECTRONIC MUSIC.

So, in case you don't remember the DIWALI riddim here are TWO of Beenie Man's takes on it. Both are from the Greensleeves comp.
I don't find either of these to be particularly great. I would say go download Wayne Wonder or Lumidee, but still it's interesting to see how differently Beenie Man interpreted the track on different occasions.

Beenie Man - That's Right

Beenie Man - War is Over

NOW, why is a Jamaican dancehall track named after a Hindu holiday? Go "DECOLONIZE YR MIND" to find out.

MORE VIBE SCIENCE TO COME. LOTS OF REVELATIONS TO REPORT in FUTURE:
-W.B. YEATS was a VIBE-OLOGIST
-ANDREW WK is a VIBE-BUDDHIST with KEROUAC-IAN tendencies.
- THE LIFE AQUATIC 2-DISC CRITERION COLLECTION SET is SUPER CHEAP on EBAY.



Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Late-BREAKING News



Bad news! I broke my left elbow this weekend. Examine this PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENT [an excerpt from an e-mail I wrote to Wes Man] to learn more:

"i broke my arm on saturday night. andrei and i were riding back from brooklyn. we were on the west side bike path and my gears kept slipping. my foot got caught in something and i flipped over. i hit my head (was wearing helmet) and all four limbs. i went to the hospital the next morning and they said my left elbow was fractured but not too badly. i probably won't need a cast. right now it's in a sling. i have to go see an orthapedist next week. it doesn't hurt too bad but sometimes it spazzes out and tightens and that kills."

Anyway, typing isn't as fun as it used to be, but there are still so many important VIBES to explore...

At a party this weekend I was talking to Carrie "rock the" Babcock, an ambiguously ethnic college student whose ancestors CAME OVER ON DA MAYFLOWER. We were talking about her dark features and how when she visited Morocco she was told she looked like a genuine Fez-Lady.



This conversation piqued my interest for a variety of reasons. First of all, did you know that Spain and Morocco share a border??? I was reading an article about Moroccans sneaking over the border into Spain last week and thought to myself, "WTF!?!?? I knew the Strait of Gibraltar was narrow but..."

Turns out Spain still holds some small territories on Morroco's Northern Coast. My mind was further blown when I learned that Spain doesn't even own the European side of the Strait of Gibraltar. THE UK DOES!



BTW, I hope they make this. Then we could roadtrip from France to Senegal quick-fast.

Earlier this month I also realized that Singapore is actually a City-State/Island with a population of only 3 Million. I'm not sure what I used to think it was but this still surprised me.

I used to love geography when I was a kid. What happened?




ANYWAY...

my conversation with Carrie made me think of something Bono said when he interviewed Bob Dylan in 1984:

Bono: There's another group called De Dannan. The name De Dannan has something to do with with the lost tribes of Dan. You heard of the disappearing tribe of Dan? They say they came from Ireland.

Dylan: Yeah, I've heard that, I've heard that.

Bono: I'm not a musicologist or expert in this area, but it would appear that this is true. Also, you know they say the Irish musical scale has no roots in Europe whatsoever, rather it comes from Africa and India. The Cartesian people, the Egyptian people, what gave them supremacy in the Middle East was the sail they developed. I forget what they call it, I forget the name of the sail, but this sail allowed them to become successful sea farers and traders and they dominated as a result of their reading, and that same sail which was used on those boats, is used on the West of Ireland.

Dylan: Is that right?

Bono: Bob Quinn made a film called Atlanteans in which this theory was elaborated. He suggests that the book of Kells, which is a manuscript, part of it has it's roots in Coptic script, not in Europe. It's not a European thing at all - it's linked from Africa, Spain, Brittany and Ireland, because that was a sea route. I'm not an expert. I shouldn't be talking about it really. But it's of interest when you think of it.

Dylan: Sure it is.

First of all, isn't it funny how Bono overtalks Dylan even though Dylan is the subject of the interview?

Second of all, Irish/Asian vibes!

I've always felt a strong affinity with the Irish. I vividly remember going to see "The Secret of Roan Inish" at the Angelika when I was 10. My family went with the Connolly-Sheehans who probably also had an impact on my predisposition towards the Irish. Once Noreen Connolly, the mom of the clan who has curly red hair, baked some Irish Easter Bread which was the best thing I'd ever tasted. Also, when their family came back from a trip to Ireland, Matt Sheehan gave me a very beautiful and mysterious letter opener inscribed with my name in Celtic or something.



I also remember finishing Leon Uris' Trinity in the Hoboken Train Station. The novel ends with some really deep and sentimental line about the sad history of the Irish. Right as I closed the book, an Irish dude came up to me and was like "Great book, huh?" Dude read my mind!

MUSIC TIME:

I can't verify Bono's claims about the Irish musical scale, but I have been struck by the Irish-ness of a record I bought at a yard sale in Montclair called "FOLK MUSIC OF AFGHANISTAN: Vol. 2". I have to limit my comparison to two mp3's, but maybe I'll post more in the future:

If you close your eyes when you click on these links, you can guess which recording is Irish and which is Afghan. Maybe it will be obvious, but still, aren't they more similar than you expected?

MP3 #1

MP3#2

I don't want to get into amateur genetics/ethnograpy here so let's not push this Irish/Afghanistan connection too far. However, I would like to note that Afghanistan occupies a certain place in the Western mind which complements the notion of Ireland's "Asian-ness".

In Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King", a pair of English jokers try to take over an Afghan tribe. One of them says:

"These men aren't niggers; they're English! Look at their eyes--look at their mouths. Look at the way they stand up. They sit on chairs in their own houses. They're the Lost Tribes, or something like it, and they've grown to be English."

Certainly, much has been made of the whiteness of Afghans. For example, the National Geographic cover featuring the "haunted eyes of an Afghan refugee's fears" has just been picked as the 1oth best magazine cover of the last 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors.




People have always been obsessed with this cover. Sure her eyes seem haunted but I think a major component of the fascination is the "That's what Afghans look like???"-factor.

Does any of this Lost Tribes stuff mean anything? Who knows? Maybe the musical connection has more to do with the ARABIC SINGING DIASPORA. Check the MELISMATIC STYLEZ on the Irish MP3.



I saw this in an exhibit at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford this summer. A bunch of British intellectual heavyweights were asked to make a chalkboard diagram explaining a concept of their choice. This was Brian Eno's.

SO MUCH INFORMATION TO PROCESS. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF IT ALL?


Friday, October 14, 2005

cornflakes without the milk!


PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREI PADLOWSKI

SO RAINY RIGHT NOW and I don't have proper foul weather gear. I've got my dad's old Barbour jacket, but the sleeves are kind of short and the shoulders droop. Maybe I'd be more into this weather if I imagined I was in FOGGY OL' LONDON TOWN or, better yet, OUT ON THE WILD AND WINDY MOORS (HEATHCLIFF, IT'S ME...).



BRITISH/RAIN/GREY VIBES-

I think these vibes are very special to many people especially young American men of a certain style. Rather than elaborate on my perception of this broad and beautiful vibe, I'll VIBE-OUT impressionistically. If this starts to sound like a 14 year-old girl's CRUSH LIST instead of a SUBTLE EXPLORATION OF MIND-FEELINGS, then you have NEXT-LEVEL POWERS and should E-MAIL me: chadkroeger1@aol.com

I. Clothes

A. Barbour - expensive but handsome, originally made for British Country Gentlemen.

John Barbour was born and raised on a farm in Galloway, south west Scotland, second son of a family whose links through Scottish history can be traced back to the 14th century.
No one could know better than he what was needed to protect a person from the extremes of weather that he faced tending sheep in the bleak landscape of his home country.



Last weekend, before the rain started, I was walking around with Monica. We ended up on the Upper East Side right by the Barbour store. I looked in there while she went to a girlier store (Betsey Johnson?). Then we went to the Whitney and saw some avant-garde shorts by Robert Beavers. They totally had that mystical rainy-day feel. Bottom line, last Friday predicted this Friday and its RAIN/GRAY CULTURE.



B. Wellingtons - Should I drop $439 on a pair of Hunter Crown Waterproofed Leather Wellingtons? Do fine things produce fine feelings or would this send me to DIAMOND HELL?






I like these Argyll Full Knee Farming Boots better anyway. These are $80. I bet you can get a good pair of rubber boots at an Army and Navy store for way cheaper. Do I even want such boots? Rubber boots like these, although with colorful stripes and designs, are mostly worn by ladies in NYC. VIBEZ CONFUSED...

Still, picture me with blunderbuss and loyal dog tramping through Central Park in Wellingtons on a rainy day and you will forget all about Sarah Jessica Parker...

C. IRISH SWEATERS - I actually have one of these but the sleeves are way too baggy. I wear it anyway.


FUN FACT YOU MIGHT ALREADY KNOW: Every Irish family knit a different pattern into their sweaters so that they could identify the bodies of drowned fishermen.

Am I conflating Eire and Angleterre? I think so, but these things happen...

II. Derek Jarman's Jubilee

-This movie is mostly URBAN, but still fits in with my BRITISH/GREY/RAIN vibe. It may never actually rain in Jubilee.
- Jubilee is WEIRD and ARTY. Queen Elizabeth asks a wizard to show her a vision of the future and he shows her this crazy, punk, Communist, post-apocalyptic-looking London filled with violence.



LISTEN TO SOME AWESOME MUSIC FROM THE SOUNDTRACK:

Brian Eno - Dover Beach

This song is really great for a rainy day. This MP3 has some nice record fuzz too. Totally ambient and weird.

Suzi Pinns - Jerusalem

This is a sort of glam/punk version of the unofficial British national anthem "Jerusalem". The lyrics are from a William Blake poem which references the myth of Jesus' coming to England in his childhood.

III. CHARIOTS OF FIRE (the name comes from Blake's Jerusalem!)
-Remember those dudes running on the beach with that kind of faded early 80's film stock...



There's an eerie verion of Jerusalem on the Chariots of Fire soundtrack too. I almost put that up but instead decided to go with Vangelis' HAUNTING theme music.

You already know this song. It might be on a Pure Moods compilation. It's been used in many SPORTS SATIRES. Try to disengage your perception of this song from THOSE vibes and RE-CALIBRATE your mind to the BRITISH/RAINY VIBE of your dreams. See what happens. Nothing? That's OK. Maybe next time.

Vangelis - Titles (from Chariots of Fire)


I can recognize how CHEESY this song may sound. When I was a freshman I lived next door to some TRACK RUNNERS who would play this song in the morning before their warm-ups. At first I found it CHEESY too, but later I was JONESIN' for it. FEEL THE POWER, THE GRANDEUR.

Next time you're running ask yourself:
FOR WHOM AM I RUNNING???????????????????

I'd recommend seeing the movie. It contains VIBE-WISDOM that you may be unaware of.

CONCLUSION:

THERE ARE many places to go from here:

- The BBC's version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
-modern architecture
-Boards of Canada
-70's eco-thrillers
-late 90's Radiohead/global anxiety/airports/bleak technological future
-Kate Bush (already mentioned)
-New Jersey
-Brideshead Revisited (BBC mini-series and soundtrack)

Do you feel my vibes? I realize that this has been my most personal post yet and from an outside perspective may lack cohesion, analysis, explanation, etc.

I THINK I SHOULD GO OUTSIDE AND EXPERIENCE THE VIBE FIRST-HAND, OTHERWISE I'LL REALLY END UP IN DIAMOND HELL.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

CRITICAL BEATDOWN

I was chilling with my buddy Andrei this weekend listening to Billy Joel's "Moving Out (Anthony's Song)". Andrei noted that BJ sounds really angry on that song as well as on many other songs like "Pressure", "Big Shot", "My Life", "Still Rock and Roll to Me", etc.



Andrei's RIGHT! It's pretty easy to write-off the Piano Man as a PUSSY, but a major component of his VIBE is his PUNK(ish) ANGER. In fact, BJ is basically the Long Island Elvis Costello. He is/was AN ANGRY YOUNG MAN.

BJ's ANGER was not confined to the narrative voice of his songs. CHECK this passage from a BJ biography:

Although he had become a genuine star, critics had not looked kindly to Joel's music, and the pianist became a vocal opponent of rock criticism in the late '70s; he was known to have denounced Village Voice pundit Robert Christgau on-stage and then, as a form of protest, had torn up Christgau's reviews.

Some might argue that BJ's Christgau-directed rage is VERY LAME. Shouldn't BJ have thicker skin? WELL...



Let's look at Christgau's homepage so we can judge this situation like WISE KING SOLOMON (this may be impossible).

-Right off the bat we see Christgau proclaiming himself "The Dean of American Rock Critics." Whether or not he made up this description, he is putting it centerstage on his KIND-OF-BOOTLEG homepage.

I'm sensing some EGO.

Is it even cool to be the DEAN of CRITICISM? Wouldn't you rather be the Headmaster of an Elite SWISS BOARDING SCHOOL? I digress...

-Christgau's homepage has a huge database of his reviews. We can view BJ's ENTIRE CAREER through the eyes of THE DEAN.
HERE ARE SOME KEY QUOTATIONS:



-Piano Man [Columbia, 1973] - "Here he poses as the Irving Berlin of narcissistic alienation, puffing up and condescending to the fantasies of fans who spend their lives by the stereo feeling sensitive."
GRADE: C


A rock critic dissing fans who live vicariously through MUSIC and/or are SENSITIVE???? CHRISTGAU probably spent his whole life by the stereo feeling sensitive.



-Turnstiles [Columbia, 1976] - " As Joel's craft improves--I can recall four of these songs merely by glancing at titles--he becomes more obnoxious..."

Grade: C+

This review oozes BAD VIBES. What is the reader to think?

"Ah, the supreme and holy DEAN of AMERICAN ROCK CRITICS can recall four of Joel's songs by MERELY glancing at the titles. Surely Joel is getting better. It's a shame he's SO OBNOXIOUS."




Speaking of OBNOXIOUS:
-52nd Street [Columbia, 1978]- "Billy makes as if he really wants people to believe the words. Yuck."

GRADE: B-

Yuck?????? GIVE ME A BREAK....

THEN, in 1985, OUT OF NOWHERE:



-Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 and 2 (1973-1985) [Columbia, 1985] - "I give up--it would be as perverse to resist his razzle-dazzle as to pretend Led Zep doesn't knock your socks off. Songpoetry, rock and roll, the showtunes to come--such categories just get in his way."

GRADE: A-

WTF??? So Christgau finally came around after dissing BJ for years. He couldn't listen to any of BJ's albums without looking down on him, but with the GREATEST HITS it started to make sense. CHRISTGAU is a 1ST-CLASS POSEUR.

"I just like the GREATEST HITS"????

Compare this to Christgau's review of the Stones' 1971 Greatest Hits album, HOT ROCKS:

Hot Rocks 1964-1971 [London, 1971]
If you don't like the Stones, this might serve as a sampler--the only dubious cut is the live "Midnight Rambler." But if you don't like the Stones, why are you reading this book? Look, here's how it works. Except for Satanic Majesties, which isn't represented here, all of their '60s studio albums are musts. Couldn't even tell you where to start. Now!, maybe. Or Let It Bleed. Aftermath? Beggars Banquet? B-

Here Christgau is giving an album which he himself admits is FULL OF GREAT SONGS a B- because ONLY A DUMBASS would listen to SUCH a SUPREME and AWESOME band's GREATEST HITS. You should already be loving the Stones or else you don't know ANYTHING about ROCK 'N ROLL.

Christgau had to work backwards to appreciate Joel...



BOTTOM LINE(s):

- I'm inclined to side with Joel on this one. Christgau is a CLASSIC TYPE-A HATER.

- GRADING ALBUMS like HOMEWORK is LAME.

- I was watching Wall Street the other day. There's a scene where Charlie Sheen's working-class Dad chides him for working as a broker. "You're just feeding off of other people. You're not actually making anything."

Are critics the I-BANKERS of ART?



- HERE'S THE BIG QUESTION:

Is there any point in NEGATIVE CRITICISM?

I can see the point in POSITIVE CRITICISM. There is just TOO MUCH art out there. It is HELPFUL to hear about COOL, NEW art from someone you trust. It encourages you to CHECK IT OUT. Presumably, after checking it out, you will DECIDE FOR YOURSELF if you like it.

NEGATIVE CRITICISM will only PREVENT you from checking it out and THUS deciding for yourself.

OF COURSE, I'm basically just talking about NEGATIVE ROCK CRITICISM right now. If you need to criticize the government or your lover's handjob-techniques, GO FOR IT. That criticism could very well have a POSITIVE effect.

Yesterday, Pitchfork gave the new Kate Bush single two stars. I haven't heard the single yet, but as a KATE BUSH FAN, I want to. How does this NEGATIVE review do anything but CLOUD MY JUDGMENT? You can say it's my fault for letting it cloud my judgment. MAYBE YOU'RE RIGHT.

HOWEVER, the question still remains: HOW DOES PITCHFORK'S NEGATIVE REVIEW OF KATE BUSH BENEFIT ANYONE?

I don't think this question is easy to answer. We should all meditate on it....

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Vacation Music




We'll pick up on our Billy Joel meta-biography soon, for now I want to post an mp3.

NOTE: I have limited INTERNET space so everytime I post something new old stuff must come down. Since you are all my friends please feel free to e-mail me, come by my DORM ROOM, use TRADITIONAL MAIL aka SNAIL MAIL or stop me on the street to get an mp3 that you wished you had D/L'd. I also have a phone and access to a FAX MACHINE. ALSO, my favorite restaurant is Taco Bell at 125th and Broadway. I'm there at least once every two weeks so....

THIS IS THE MP3, IT'S A BIG ONE:

Bunty aur Babli - Kajra Re


This was my favorite AUGUST 2005 INDIA RADIO HIT SONG. You ever go on vacation and you keep hearing some song on the radio? Once I heard a story about a girl who went to the Dominican Republic and heard so much BACHATA on the radio that she STOPPED LIKING BACHATA.

One cool thing about India is that their own FILM and MUSIC industries are DOMINANT and SUPREME. That is to say that unlike visiting Europe or Japan or Australia (aka the 1st World, I'm not saying there is a connection, maybe there is? we'll talk about it later) where the song you hear the MOST on the radio could POSSIBLY be "BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS" by Green Day, in India (and I imagine many other parts of the world) you will experience almost total MEDIA IMMERSION (could result in "culture shock").

For example, MTV INDIA plays almost NOTHING but Bollywood videos. MTV Japan probably has a 60/40 split between homegrown and imported music (EDITOR'S NOTE: I JUST MADE UP THAT STATISTIC. COULD BE WILDLY INACCURATE. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF YOU KNOW BETTER). MTV Europe is probably going to be 70-80% the same as MTV America. MTV IDAHO is going to be 100% the same as MTV NEW JERSEY.



See where I'm going with this? This summer I had some convo's with people from Connecticut and Georgia. We came to realize that the Classic Rock radio stations we had grown up listening to had VERY DIFFERENT PLAYLISTS.
On New York's Classic Q 104.3, we would hear a lot of BILLY JOEL. He is a HOMETOWN HERO. Not only were the BJ MEGA-HITS woven into the FABRIC OF MY LIFE, but also the FAN FAVORITES like "The Entertainer" and "Captain Jack".




Meanwhile, people growing up in Georgia would hear a lot more SOUTHERN ROCK. Now, we certainly had some Skynyrd on the Classic Q, but I am VERY UNFAMILIAR with the catalogues of ZZ Top, .38 Special, Charlie Daniels, etc.

MTV, the RADIO of OUR GENERATION, shows NO INTRA-USA REGIONAL VARIATION. PLUS, radio itself is being HOMOGENIZED by CLEAR CHANNEL, but you already knew that...

OK, back to the MP3. It's from a tape so the quality is NOT GREAT. Tapes are still pretty big in India and a brand-new, shrink-wrapped tape is going to run you about US $1. It comes from a film called "Bunty Aur Babli". The song title "Kajra Re" means "Your Charcoal'd Eyes". Indian Women use a type of Charcoal called KAJOL around their eyes to make them look DARK and SEXY.



I really love the descending melody in the chorus. It first comes around 1:40. This song is 8 minutes long, but you barely notice it. That's how it goes in Bollywood.; long movies, long songs.
I also like the song's percussion. Those fast tabla fills GLADDEN MY HEART. Even the cheeziest, wussiest 80's Bollywood song is still going to have some deep, hardcore tabla-playing. RHYTHM REIGNS SUPREME.

I have not seen "Bunty aur Babli" but I definitely want to. It stars Amitabh Bachan, Bollywood's #1 ACTOR.

THIS DUDE IS ALL OVER THE PLACE IN INDIA. In addition, to churning out 4-5 films a year, he endorses EVERYTHING. You could easily watch 3 of his commercials in a row, ALL FOR DIFFERENT PRODUCTS.



PLUS, Amitabh hosts the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" called "Kaun Banega Crorepati?". Guess what the top prize is?

2,000,000 Rupees or about $450,000. If we adjust for PURCHASING POWER PARITY, an Indian winning on "Kaun Banega Crorepati?" might be getting a sweeter deal than an American winning on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" I DON'T KNOW...

When Amitabh is locking in someone's answer he says "Computer-ji, lock in the answer!"



CONCLUSIONS:
-Bachata is one of the most popular musics in NYC. Amitabh Bachan is one of the most popular actors in the world. LET US CELEBRATE IT/HIM!

-I'd be interested to know how you like the song.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

THE GREATEST MIRACLE OF ALL

DID EVERYBODY GO REVIEW BILLY JOEL'S "THE LONGEST TIME"?

CHRIST, that song is good. I find the changes (and the lyrics) leading into the chorus to be especially moving; "What else could I do?/ I'm so inspired by you." Honestly, I should be singing those words to BJ, not him to me.

I was vibing so hard on this song that I felt connected to the Ur-Vibe. Some people call this cosmic consciousness. Can you imagine feeling so great about a song that so many people find lame? THIS must be how NOISE DUDEZ feel about 20-minute raucous, feedback jamz. I've been FASCINATED and EXCITED by noise music but it's never given me a heartwarming endorphin rush like POP MUZIK. However, I am CONFIDENT that it has had EXACTLY this effect on other people. Therein lies the Ur-Vibe, also known as the Uber-Vibe, the Over-Vibe, etc...

This Ur-Vibe doesn't mean that WE ARE ALL ONE. Our differences are clear. Like two drops of water in the ocean, we are seperate, but we are also both PARTS of the SAME thing: HUMANITY.

Woah, speaking of humanity, my friend Wes Man just sent me a pic of some sweet T-Shirts he's been making. I guess positivity isn't dead after all!



Isn't that awesome? It's based on a dream he had about an ASTRONAUT SLAMDUNKING. Travelling, indeed! E-mail Wes about getting your own shirt at: sirmiles [at] gmail.com
I'm sure he'll make you a shirt for dirt cheap...



OK, back to Billy Joel:

When I tapped in to the Ur-Vibe, I was compelled to GOOGLE "billy joel longest time best song ever." In the process, I started to understand the Internet more than ever before.

Quite a few of the hits came from NON-BILLY JOEL message boards:

ON THE LACROSSE FORUMS, the Internet's Finest Lacrosse Community, someone started a thread "What song are you addicted to right now?":

One user, the mysterious NRVLC, names "The Longest Time".

Other users express dismay/confusion at their own tastes:

LaXDaVe: "Mike jones is a huge fag who says his name over and over again like he cant remember it, but yet I still listen to his stuff...whats up with that?"

Sycamorelax concurs: "Back Then- Mike Jones... I listen to Mike Jones even tho hes gay."

mclax: "the piano man-billy joel.. i listen to it like crazy idk why"
EDITOR'S NOTE: idk means I DON'T KNOW for all you narcs

Over on the GovTeen forums (I'm not sure what GovTeens are but I'm pretty sure they are some kind of teens):

"Greatest song ever?"

sugardawg45328: "I have tons of favorites, but since I can only nominate one... I'm trying to decide between For the Longest Time by Billy Joel (though the best version is the one Rockapella sings) or Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day. Hmm...

I think I'll have to go with Good Riddance because I like the guitar part a lot too."

searhorse gives "The Longest Time" a shout-out on the OFFICIAL BRUCE WILLIS FORUM.

WOAH, people really love Message Boards. These online communities have transcended their petty topics to become BONAFIDE FAMILIES.

More interesting: Why do lacrosse players think Mike Jones is gay?

LOOKS LIKE THE BILLY JOEL ANALYSIS IS GONNA HAVE TO BE A MULTI-PARTER.

Let's finish today with some biographical information on BJ:

-Billy Joel is from Levittown, Long Island, New York, a planned suburban community built between 1947-1951 by Joseph Levitt.



I think this quote sums up Levittown and, to some extent, Modern America:

"After the Cape Cod style was built out, Levitt began construction on the California Ranch style..."
- from WIKIPEDIA

FINAL THOUGHT:

In "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song), Billy Joel sings "Cadillac-ac-ac-ac-ac..." Does this predict Animal Collective and their rhythmic syllable experiments? Is A/C a synthesis of BJ and PW?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

BAD VIBES IN VICELAND

DO YOU EVER GET THE FEELING THAT YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY HATERS?



I think VICE MAGAZINE is often funny AND insightful. The latest issue, however, moves past ironic criticism to STRAIGHT-UP BRATTY HATERISM.

IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE TO CRITICIZE VICE MAGAZINE?
-If you call Vice racist, they will make themselves out to be SATIRISTS or perhaps POST-RACISTS.
-If you call Vice mean, they will call you a fag.
- If you call out a specific article, Vice will claim that as a collection of writing by different authors it has no responsibility for the opinions expressed therein.
-If I call VICE haterz right now, they can say that I'm missing the joke.

Maybe I am missing the joke. That cover looks pretty funny. Let's take a look at the introduction to the newest issue:


A LITTLE “F.Y.I.” TO OUR READERS
Vice isn’t American or Canadian or British or Black or White or Right or Left. With hundreds of employees all over the world, we’re a hodgepodge of a mishmash of a melting pot. The one thing that unites us is the same thing that unites our entire generation: a seething hatred of the generation that came before us. We hate the Baby Boomers. Your parents and our parents ruined everything and this whole issue is all about why.

Vice never never quite defines "Baby Boomers". Are they anyone born between 1945 and 1960? Are they Old Hippies? Are they liberals? Are they conservatives? NO ONE KNOWS! Vice goes after "Baby Boomers" however they can. THEY ARE HATERS FOR THE SAKE OF HATERISM! To me, this is worse than smoking weed and going to uneffective protests....

Here's a question from their interview with Steve Gillon, author of the book "Boomer Nation":

What about this war? It feels like they’re just trying to relive their parents’ past. “Mom and Dad had a war—we want one too!” The boomer generation is nothing but spoiled babies that never had any hardship.

WTF!! Don't baby boomers hate war?? They had the VIETNAM WAR anyway. I went to the Anti-War protest three years ago and it was FILLED with BABY BOOMERS. I guess they're talking about people like George Bush who by virtue of birth are baby boomers. This issue conflates Bush with old Hippies! VICE HATES BOTH OF THEM.

Maybe Vice is just reveling in RETARDISM here. Should I HATE them for that? NO, but it is unclear whether this issue is meant to be taken seriously. MAYBE ITS NEITHER TOTALLY SERIOUS OR TOTALLY RETARDED, IT'S INTENDED TO SPARK A DIALOGUE. Well, here is a dialogue!

THIS QUOTATION IS FROM "THE VICE GUIDE TO KILLING YOUR PARENTS":
THE NEW YORK TIMES
This “family paper” is just a bunch of sheltered, rich assholes living in the middle of nowhere and telling other sheltered, rich assholes what’s probably going on in the city.

WHERE DO THEY THINK NY TIMES FAT CATS LIVE? The really rich ones live in New York City. NYC is the capital of BABY BOOMERS! The statement above is probably just as applicable to Vice as it is to the NY TIMES. So what's REALLY going on in New York City? According to Vice it has been Andrew WK-mania, Electroclash and pictures of drunk white girls in their underwear at Terry Richardson's house. LET ME CHECK IN WITH THE PEOPLE OF THE STREETS TO MAKE SURE THAT'S WHAT'S REALLY GOING DOWN.

Say what you will about the Op-Ed section but the NY TIMES reports the mothafuckin' news. They even know what's going on in music! They've probably written about Cam'Ron and Dipset as much as Vice has. Vice is basically just the JUNIOR edition of the NY ELITIST/ART WORLD grown-ups division. WHO ARE THEY TRYING TO HATE ON?

SO, why did Vice write that? Is it to be funny? Just to piss people off? Be kind of ironic but still kind of mean it? I don't think they really want us to kill our parents. They just want to point out some problems with their generation. In doing so, they point out their own problem: SUPREME HATERISM. If there is in advantage in being a SUPREME HATER as opposed to being a deliverer of logical and pointed criticism, PLEASE TELL ME.

I could go on, but you should probably just read the issue for yourself. Here's one last thought:

There's an article in this issue called "ALL YOUR HEROES ARE DYING (THANK GOD)", in which Vice talks about the hypocrisies of John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Susan Sontag, etc. THIS SEEMS VERY 20 YEARS AGO TO ME!

Here's what they have to say about Jack Kerouac:

More like Jackass Kerouac. Ten times more fag than either Ginsberg or Burroughs and only one-tenth the writer. His unbearably effusive “masterpiece” On the Road is the literary equivalent of the liquor-induced internal hemorrhage that cut him down at age 47

I'm no HUGE Kerouac fan, but he was a SMART dude. In fact, he knew Vice Magazine-types would be dissing him in the future. Read this quote from a letter he wrote his literary agent in 1965 about his ambivalence to publish a new novel:

...my "discouragement" stemmed from the fact that there seems to be a new distaste in the culture since 1960 for works of realistic sentimentality...a trend towards the Ian Fleming type of sadistic facetiousness and "sickjoke" grisliness about human affairs, a grotesque hatred for the humble and the suffering heart, an admiration for the mechanistic smoothy killer of sincerity...

GODDAMN, THAT IS PRESCIENT!!! I find it funny that he choose Ian Fleming, writer of James Bond novels, to typify this attitude, but STILL! Kerouac describes Vice Magazine to a T, 30 years in advance.

VICE MAGAZINE has built its empire by glorifying drugs and i-don't-give-a-fuck culture, but in this issue THEY dis the Baby Boomers for being drugged-out hippies and idealists. Is this fair or helpful?

Ironic or not, I'm starting to be distressed by Vice's CONSTANT HATERISM. AFTER ALL, HATERS ARE NOT CREATORS! Give me Paul Winter over a snide asshole ANY DAY!


MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS CELEBRITY SIGHTING!

In my "NOW IT GETS SERIOUS" post from a couple of weeks ago, I referenced a record by Paul Winter called "Common Ground" that I'd been digging. I found it at the end of the Summer. I was first drawn to it by its dope cover featuring a Wolf, a Whale, an Eagle and a SWIRLY RAINBOW.


The music was pretty sweet too! Paul Winter is a jazz saxophonist who has been incorporating ANIMAL SOUNDS and WORLD MUSIC into his work for years. This album is from 1978. A lot of the tracks involve an instrument "dueting" with an animal; an African Fish Eagle goes up against Paul McCandless' unstoppable bebop oboe, Paul Winter duets with Ida, a Timber Wolf. I WAS VERY STRUCK BY THIS RECORD. It was an amalgamation of a lot things I'd been thinking about lately: conservation biology, New Age, smooth-ish Jazz, WORLD...

I was thanking my lucky stars when I found ANOTHER Paul Winter record at the Salvation Army a few weeks later. "Callings" has a cover very similar to "Common Ground". It is a DOUBLE-ALBUM from 1980 and features a CRAZY 20-page booklet. There's this giant map of North America (labeled with the Native American name "Turtle Island") that shows this mythical system of Animal communication; the Narwhal Messenger in Nova Scotia tells the Humpback Whale by the Arctic Circle who tells the Baby Seal in Alaska, etc.



This past Sunday, I was riding my bike down Amsterdam Avenue and I saw a crazy procession in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. There were tons of people in white robes plus a camel and some donkeys. I stopped to survey the scene and was about to leave when I started hearing some music. At first I could only hear some Brazilian percussion, but then as the musicians filed out of the Church I started hearing some smooth and beautiful SOPRANO SAXOPHONE LICKS!

The band walked down the steps and into the Church Gardens next door. A huge crowd was following them. I locked my bike up and went to get a closer look.
"Who's the dude playing sax?" I asked a reveler.
"Paul Winter", they replied!

UNBELIEVABLE!! The band played for a few more minutes. Paul Winter had two Parakeets on his shoulders. After they finished playing, I went up to Paul Winter and told him how I'd just gotten into his music. He was a VERY positive guy.
I told him that there is a band called Wolf Eyes (he has a song called "Wolf Eyes"). He said he'd check them out. He told me he'd be back at St. John's for a Winter Solstice concert in Decemeber. GOTTA GO TO THAT!

Here's an excerpt from his song Wolf Eyes:

Paul Winter - Wolf Eyes {excerpt}

It opens with a genuine Timber Wolf howling. Paul Winter responds with some Soprano Sax wailing. The writing credits say (Timber Wolf, Winter). The whole song is about 6 minutes long.

This is from the record sleeve:

This is dedicated to Jethro (1967-1973), the first wolf I came to know...

Here's another side of Paul Winter. This is a beautiful take on a Guinean folk song.

Paul Winter - Midnight (Minuit)

Both songs are from "Common Ground".

PARTING THOUGHTS:

1. That quote about Jethro reminds me of Timothy Treadwell from "Grizzly Man". Paul Winter, however, clearly has his shit together.

2. Animal Collective should be friends with Paul Winter. He was blending ANIMALZ, Brazilian music and hippie-ness since before they were born.

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION:
Is a New Age-jazz dude uncool because he SINCERELY believes in connecting with nature while a "PSYCH-FOLK" band going "MEOWWWWW" is cool because we assume they are IRONICALLY DETACHED? I don't know! You have to answer that for yourself.