Archive for June, 2011

Independent Music

June 21, 2011

Tim Maia, the great Brazilian soul singer, was an huge personality. Impulsive, indulgent, independent, his bio is filled with all manner of amusing insanity. As a teenager drawn to American R&B, he conned a local priest into buying him an airline ticket to the States and lied his way past immigration officials in order to form a vocal group in New York… only to be arrested & deported for stealing a car in Florida. Later, when he was wealthy & famous and getting injured fighting a hawk (in his underwear, in his apartment) and test-firing a machine gun (in his underwear, in his apartment) he got deeper into drugs and tried to “‘open the minds’ of the uptight employees at his record label, Philips, with a sheet of acid brought back from a trip to London.” He “approached each and every Philips employee, beginning with the accounting department, which needed more immediate ‘salvation’…”

Several years later, on a bonkers mescaline trip, Tim came across a book on a friend’s coffee table, Universe in Disenchantment, became entranced, and fell deep into the cult of Rational Energy. He now saw his musical career as a vehicle to proselytize on behalf of “Rational Immunization”. During this “rational” phase, Tim produced a series of albums, including the slammin’ double-album, Racional Vol. 1 and Racional Vol. 2, which is where I first heard his music. (The music for these albums was actually recorded before his conversion—he simply erased all the vocal tracks and wrote new lyrics.) Before band practice, Tim demanded that his band members read at least 30 pages of Universe in Disenchantment. He was so convinced of the book’s universal power that he sent a version (in Portuguese) to James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, and John Lennon. John Lennon responded with a photograph of himself completely naked + a note: “Dear freak, I don’t understand Portuguese. What about LISTEN to this photo? John Lennon”.

One of mine fav tracks on Racional Vol. 1 is called “Guiné Bissau, Moçambique E Angola”. I presume it’s about the solidarity & brotherhood between the former Portuguese colonies, but I’m not sure. (I mean, if I spoke Portuguese I wouldn’t be blogging right now… or on the internet ever again.) A few days ago I happily came across another geography jam, “Rodésia”, released in 1976, several years before their independence. (Though a British possession, Rhodesia was influenced by the independence movement in nearby Mozambique and much of the Rhodesian opposition eventually was based in Mozambique.) Now I’m just waiting to find a cut about Timor Leste! Anyhow, thought I’d upload both the post-colonial jams.

Guiné Bissau, Moçambique E Angola” (1975)

Rodésia” (1976)

 

The above quotes are from Allen Thayer’s article, “Soul Searching”, in Wax Poetics No. 36

 

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Nope Unintended

June 21, 2011

There’s an nu film in the theaters by J.J. Abrams & Steven Spielberg called Super 8. I haven’t an idea what it’s about, but it’s title brought to mind a line from a David Foster Wallace essay where he suspects that “the founders of the Super 8 motel chain must surely have been ignorant of the meaning of suppurate.”

[sup•pu•rate : to form or discharge pus]

Music’s Not for Everyone

June 15, 2011

Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth

June 11, 2011

 

The Meaningless Nothing of Empty Everything

June 9, 2011

From the July issue of Harper’s, an excerpt of an excerpt, but that’s what blogs are for, amirite? This is well-trod territory (as usual), but I’ve been thinking about “work” a lot lately (LOL). Apparently the author teaches philosophy at University of Toronto…maybe I should contact him, see if he can get me a job.

And now I’ll do’t

June 7, 2011

The initial statement released by the president of Yemen after a June 3 explosion struck the presidential palace mosque was oblique—almost Delphic: “If you are well, I am well”, which led most observers to conclude that President Saleh’s injuries were more serious than his aides indicated. Initial reports were that a mortar rocket had cleared the palace perimeter and somehow crashed down on the mosque where Saleh was attending Friday prayers. News comes today that Saleh (who is undergoing surgery in Riyadh) is in grave condition and that officials now believe the explosion came from a bomb planted in the mosque, perhaps in the minbar.

The source of the explosion, which killed several guards and the imam of the mosque and injured a dozen government officials and Saleh allies, has also been mysterious. It was initially believed to have come from a mortar or rocket attack from outside the compound.

But as the investigation continued, opinion has shifted to the possibility of at least one or more explosive devices having been planted, including in the minbar, or pulpit, a Western official said. Many of those injured were struck by shards of wood, including the president.

The explosive material also apparently contained some kind of agent that spurred flames, a Western diplomat said. Mr. Saleh was said to be bowing at the time of the explosion. “He was very close, and that is why he was burned,” said the Western official.

I now invite scholars of Yemeni politics and scholars of Hamlet (III, iii) to discuss the wisdom and implications of (not) assassinating a head of state while he is composed in prayer.