Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Count Bass D and Clutchy Hopkins

July 23, 2009

Count Bass D


Nashville raised rapper Dwight Spitz’s super cool and jazzy (if the name didn’t tip you off) tunes. Having worked with guys like MF Doom (hear him on the MM…Food song Potholderz) I don’t know why he’s not better known, but I’ll  gladly take the early discovery credit while I can.

Clutchy Hopkins

ur244_72__63996Orgasmic instrumental grooves. Clutchy Hopkins has this whole shroud of enigma around him, which works well because the music is so ethereal that having anything solid and human to connect it to might threaten to ruin the magic. Like Boards of Canada, who almost never tour, and who didn’t even reveal that they were brothers until about 10 years into their famed career in ambient electronica.

By the way I’m stealing these links. That’s probably not ok, but while my readership is still in the finger counting arena, I’m willing to risk it. So enjoy.


Juana Molina!

July 16, 2009

I’ve got a few big entries in the works, but until they’re done, here’s some music by a beautiful Argentinean singer, Juana Molina. Her music is like a big warm South American hug. Her looped, acoustic, one woman masterpieces are pretty much all I listen to these days.

Anyone who hears a loud elevator and feels the urge to sing has my instant affections! I once had a similar reaction to the harmonic whir of refrigerators in an airport Sbarros, but there were too many people around for me to act on it. Damn inhibitions.

Another good profile, and how I first heard about her, is on this Radiolab episode. Radiolab is a radio show that deserves it’s own entry on a future date, but for now here’s the link. Worthwhile to check out if only for Jad’s remix of Un Dia at the end.

Some of her albums:

Son (my favorite)


Un día


June 29, 2009

“Every act of perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination”

-Gerald M. Edelman in the book I’m reading, “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain” by Oliver Sacks.

I’m awed time and time again by this idea that the experience of being is so fundamentally subjective. Our senses are not isolated apparatuses, passively transcribing reality as it exists and into our conscious grasps. As the input is filtered in from our eyes and ears and fingertips, it necessarily goes through the brain, and the brain manipulates: prioritizing, rationalizing – and not always with the consent of our own conscious minds.

“Musicophilia,” in which Sacks profiles case studies of eccentric auditory disorders, is a reminder of how absurdly intertwined every sound we hear is to our mischievous brains.

Many people, for example, seem to have “musical hallucinations.” A musical hallucination is when you hear a song in your head like it’s actually playing in the external world. They are often found in otherwise sane people concurrent with hearing loss, as the brain’s way of making up for the lost sensory input by creating its own soundtrack. I’m only about halfway through, but its crazy the way these frequencies can interact with the brain. Some people hallucinate songs in foreign languages they don’t know. Some people have lost the ability to attach emotion to music at all, or to perceive differences in pitch or rhythm. Others attach too much, so that a certain melody can send them into a seizure.

Sacks also refers to “musical imagery,” or, the way a song sounds when you play it back in your head. There is striking variance in how people hear music in their mind’s ear with some hearing full vivid symphonies in perfect tune and timing, others piecing together only vague wisps of melody.

I like to think my own musical imagery remains fairly faithful to the original. If instrumentation gets too dense or intricate, my mind does have the tendency of thinning aspects of the real song, but my memory of vocal tone always remains eerily crisp (which is strange considering my weak lyrical memory). Sometimes I’ll also create my own cerebral itunes visualizer, with swirls of pulsating colors and patterns. But that’s just imagination, not like the involuntary visualizations of those lucky bastards with synesthesia.

It’s easy to forget just how little we can really know about the experience of life for any other individual. Sometimes you’ll get a shared moment of appreciation, like when that perfect song comes on in the car and everyone just shuts up and gets lost in it. It feels like there’s this connection, this understanding that transcends all our differences. But really it’s a fraud. Maybe we’re all getting lost in it, but we’re wandering in different directions, and down different paths, in ways that we can never fully comprehend.

But I guess that’s what makes life so interesting. And I do believe that there are enough overlaps in experience that we don’t have to feel completely alone in this mess.

You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather

June 5, 2009

I’m going to take advantage of my blogging high to counter my reflective mega entry with a cultural mini entry.

Outside of the underground hip hop club, (which I like to pretend I’m a member of) many are completely ignorant of the sheer beauty and sonic awesomeness of the band Outkast. They’re popular, but don’t get the respect that their innovation deserves. Take the song and album Aquemini for example:

Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die
Horoscopes often lie
Nothing is for sure, nothing is for certain, nothing lasts forever
But until they close the curtain
it’s him & I Aquemini

It's him and I, Aquemini

I could go on about Outkast forever – the sweet and aching verses from “Art of Storytellin’ Part 1” and “A Life In The Day Of Benjamin André,” the dark, spacey loops and spastic beats of songs like “Red Velvet,” and then and all those smooooth smoooth songs that just make you wanna get down, like “Spread” and  “Spottieottiedopaliscious.”

They’re not afraid to sing, to use real instruments, to rap about death, love, regret, politics, or anything that is part of their lives

Seriously, if you don’t listen to Outkast, you are missing something in your life. Believe me.

Also: Is it a problem that my header picture bears a distinct resemblance to crack?