Archive for the ‘Fave Trax’ Category

I Believe It

September 24, 2014

I Believe

I BelieveBDP


Sounds Like a Tin Can Up Here

May 14, 2014

Missing Foundation

April 6, 2014



 Missing Foundation – Demise

From a blog post that Sam McPheeters wrote about them:

Anyone living in the bottom quarter of Manhattan in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s is probably familiar with an eerie bit of graffiti that, for a few years, seemed to earmark every building on the lower east side. This Pynchonesque insignia – an inverted martini over a three pronged tally – often accompanied equally cryptic slogans: “Your House Is Mine”, “1988 = 1933”, “The Party’s Over”. In both design and placement, the logo seemed less like the cartoony tags of graffiti gangs than the cryptic markings utilities crews leave each other. These markings meant something.

Having moved to New York in mid 1987, it took me an embarrassing six months to learn that the symbol actually was an upside down cocktail glass, its author the industrial band Missing Foundation. MF claimed the logo as a tool of uglification (“property devaluation”), in a campaign to halt the high downtown rents creeping out towards both rivers. It’s unknown if the tagging ever hindered a single real estate deal; would a true or even prospective New Yorker balk at a spot of spray paint? But as guerilla marketing, it was magic ,the kind emulated by thousands of corporate “street teams” in the years since. For two or three years, Missing Foundation was the scariest band in the city. Their early shows occurred in vacant lots, powered by generators and abandoned, Viet Cong style, at the first whiff of police. In January 1988 the band trashed CBGB, setting fire to its stage and destroying some or most of its sound system. Actual damage, in dollar amounts, has been lost to rumor. As dealers of confusion, Missing Foundation were hard to beat.

Long Tall Sally

February 9, 2014

Little Richard

This blooming search engine

January 29, 2014

A Moon among flowers.

Search results for “Pictures of Lily


Check Please

January 11, 2014


Un Canadien Errant

December 27, 2013


I&S Full Size cropWHAMINALS

For the mayor mr rob ford

November 3, 2013


Bado Kidogo

October 4, 2013


Archimedes Badkar & Afro 70

Swedish prog band made an album with Afro 70.

“Bado Kidogo” translates as “Not Yet.”

Abba might be “glam rock”, but they weren’t.

August 11, 2013





The Picture I Took of Smokey Robinson Tonight, Big and Small

June 22, 2013




Lou Reed – Families

March 24, 2013

Cave Art These Days

March 12, 2013

Do you remember a while back we were riffing on the dystopian fantasy world, Warhammer 40,000, which, rather than being set a paltry fifty or one-hundred years from now like timid/typical sci-fi, is set forty-thousand years into the future?!

A comical, almost unfathomable span. Except: whenever I think about Warhammer 40K I think also about Cave of Forgotten Dreams, the incredible Herzog film exploring the art of Chauvet Cave—the oldest paintings ever discovered—which date from… more than 30,000 years ago. That is: We, now, are roughly equidistant in time from the artists of Chauvet Cave as we are from Warhammer Chaos Space Marines. (And, to these early human draughtsmen, surely we would be as freakishly post-human sci-fi as any 40K space marine—oh, if you’ll kindly excuse me while I update the RSS feed on my handheld device for an anonymous Yemeni blog about unmanned drone warfare… hmm, while I wait for that page to load (must be a slow signal from the telecom satellite—go figure) I’ll just read this week’s news about how the FDA approved 3D-printed synthetic skull replacements; the new worldwide network for robots to communicate and give each other advice; and how a rat brain in North Carolina remotely controlled the bodily functions of a rat body in Brazil via the internet.) (The thing, then, about Warhammer 40,000 is that we are Warhammer 40,000.)

One of Herzog’s basic contentions is that the wonder of the Chauvet Cave art rests not only in its extreme antiquity, but also its expressive quality—that is, the drawings are not only artifact, but art. The powerful, realistic drawings transcend the centuries and convey something essential of prehistoric experience.

A kaleidoscope of big cats, sketched 32,000 years ago

A kaleidoscope of big cats, sketched 32,000 years ago. The eyes…


The motion of a ferocious horn.

The ferocious motion of a ferocious horn.


The most iconic image from Chauvet Cave: the Wall of Horses. Among the noble team, note the smallest horse panting to keep up.

The most iconic image from Chauvet Cave: the Wall of Horses. Among the noble team, note the smallest horse panting to keep up.

Herzog argues that the drawings of Chauvet Cave announce the dawn of human culture.

I was happily reminded on the bus today of T.S. Eliot taking a similar line. In discussing the artist’s relation to her cumulative cultural heritage, Eliot draws the long line back to cave art. The cumulative cultural “mind” is a mind which changes, but “this change is a development which abandons nothing en route, which does not superannuate either Shakespeare, or Homer, or the rock drawings of the Magdelenian draughtsmen.”

At the time when Eliot wrote this (1917) it’s true that primitivism was en vogue, and appreciating Magdelenian cave art fit this aesthetic program. But Eliot isn’t praising Pure Premodern Man, pristine before all the muck of centuries piled upon him. He’s rapping about Premodern Man and all the subsequent stuff piled atop. For Eliot, the artist is situated in a long procession of cultural moments, and to become a mature artist

…involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year (LoL); and the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order.

(It’s not a coincidence, I think, that this was written at the crest of WWI, when Europe was imploding. One senses an anxiety to gather and footnote all the achievements of culture, against the tide of oblivion.)

So, as the Mind of Europe crawls onward through the centuries it accretes new experiences, builds upon the past, and develops new tools for expression, but, crucially, Eliot contends, it does not improve. “This development, refinement perhaps, complication certainly, is not, from the point of view of the artist, any improvement.” Reflecting upon the past, the artist “must be quite aware of the obvious fact that art never improves, but that the material of art is never quite the same.”

This is what Herzog is up to in the cave, right? He would not argue that Chauvet has been surpassed, certainly not by his own art. And, in a broad sense, he too is trying to capture, to corral, to hold still, the wondrous experiences of being human—in a meta sense (art about art) as is his wont—but not unlike the original cave artists. Yes, the “material of art is never quite the same”—in the Chauvet Cave Herzog ‘draws’ with 3D cameras, and his cave images are displayed to others on distant glowing screens, but he is up to the same game. (By echoing the “dreams” of his forebears, he shares in them). And I think he’d welcome this comparison/compliment, and roll with this last quote from Eliot:

One of the facts that might come to light in this process [of criticism] is our tendency to insist, when we praise a poet, upon those aspects of his work in which he least resembles anyone else. In these aspects or parts of his work we pretend to find what is individual, what is the peculiar essence of the man. We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet’s difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors; we endeavour to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed. Whereas if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously.



p.s. BUT. To get back to our Warhammer space homies…. Eliot & Herzog contend a certain universalism of human experience—that mature art in any period rings roughly the same bell. But as we increasingly become psychic cyborgs of our former selves old art might become impossible—or merely a quaint hobby. No more “human experience”! Do we not have a renewed existential anxiety—like Eliot at the crest of the Great War—of a new Great Divide & an old world irrevocably crumbling? Gather ye rosebud paintings while ye may, for tomorrow we’ll be disembodied algorithms stalking the holographic horizon hunting/gathering network information packets. [Oops, Nevermind: I just received communication from Dunru, a Paleolithic shaman and art critic: “You think we didn’t have disembodied avatars? After Barnak, King of the Valley, perished from the earth his spirit was transferred to an obsidian stone, which was consulted for major clan decisions and conferred powers of fertility.” I stand corrected! Humans, always forever weird.]

p.p.s. Here’s a shout-out track for the Warhammer Space Marines: “Space Cowboy” by Sly & The Family Stone (perhaps obsidian?). Got some nice funk yodeling in there! Also, if you gulp the new JT album, The Mad Dog 20/20 Experience, I think Timbaland has been feeling the Sly Stone lately. Check in particular the outro on “Strawberry Bubblegum”.

p.p.p.s. To soundtrack the gaping span from Chauvet to Warhammer it’s probably best that we turn to sci-fi honky-tonk. From the compilation Nashville Sputnik, Brad Wolfe “Changing Times” and Joel Mathis “Time Machine“.

Mr. Misr

January 10, 2013

For those who dig the ‘Egypt’ tag on this brog, you may be interested to read doomspirals’ article in the new issue of MERIP. (For those without a subscription, a PDF of the article is here.) The article discusses police violence during the revolution in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba (beloved locale & former doomspirals HQ). The article tells the story of a young man killed by the police and follows his family’s pursuit of justice within the wider context of security sector reform since the revolution. The unfinished business of ‘Police Reform’ & ‘Transitional Justice’ are not exactly Hot Topix in the media but, I believe, they are the measure by which we may rightly call the Egyptian Revolution a revolution.

Since the article was written there have been two developments that update the story:


ABBA: A’s and B’s

December 29, 2012

As and Bs

ABBA: A’s and B’s

Mita Stoycheva – Avliga Pee

December 29, 2012


Mita Stoycheva – Avliga Pee

ABBA – Ring Ring

December 15, 2012


Ring Ring (original, 1973)

Ring Ring (U.S. Remix, 1974)

Rags and Feathers

November 9, 2012

The two of us lazing in the park

with silence sweeping the green,

as a summer day fizzles out

in the static, darkening leaves.

I love how the last line pivots on the two meanings of static: the hissing of summer lawns, and stilling of autumn trees.

Speaking of albums that Tanky spun for us in Canadian nights, here is a diamond in the mine: Nina Simone’s gorgeous version of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”. An incredible arrangement. Her reworking of the phrasing honors the original and yet makes it new (a higher honor to the original).

Nina Simone “Suzanne” (1969). (Cohen’s original was released in 1967.)

(Also glinting in the same mine: Aretha Franklin “Suzanne” (1973). An outtake from the sessions for Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky).)


The above poem: “The Nightingale” by Ben Wilkinson

Are we ever meant to read “the nightingale” as the-night-in-gale? The sweet soft spontaneous song of night—but within it the stormy dark? Love & despair in one tangle. Or despair lurking where love lives. Wilkinson’s poem touches this turn; as the summer “fizzles out” he wistfully recalls: “Once, love came easily enough”—and the weight of that ‘once’ is the rub (does it mean ‘once’ as in before or ‘once’ as in one time only?). The poet’s prayer is that it means ‘before, and also again’. And asks his beloved to fend off the clouds & shadows and hear again the clarity. RIGHT! Push back against the gale—TGIF yallz.

Slicin’ Up Eyeballs

November 4, 2012

Was feeling Rocky on PBS tonight.



Speaking of slicing up eyeballs, when D.Bowie owned a spooky goatee he used to cover “Debaser” in concert. (Also on the Pixies front: this is absolutely ruthless.)

Human Debacle, contd.

October 18, 2012

Last month, as the world burned in reaction to “The Innocence of Muslims” nonsense, the most interesting response came from activists in Syria. In Kafranbel, where government warplanes had recently reduced to rubble the city’s most revered mosque, residents wondered why there was outsized fury at an asinine youtube video. Oh, such furious displays of piety in the Arab world!—at some internet bullshit!—& yet where among these bold defenders of religion was equal outrage at an Arab tyrant IRL exploding houses of worship?

Keen Kats in Kafranbel highlighting the hypocrisy of anti-youtube protests.

I thought of this protest poster yesterday when I read the devastating news that the 12th century Umayyad Mosque in the Old City of Aleppo had been trashed during skirmishes.

The Grand Umayyad Mosque, October 15. Last week, 500 shops in the adjacent old bazaar—in continual operation since the Middle Ages—were destroyed by fire.

Apparently, government forces had been using the mosque compound as a hideout & military depot for months. In the same article I read the stunning extent to which Syrian cultural heritage has been “collateral damage” of that terrible war.

Five of Syria’s six World Heritage sites have been damaged in the fighting, according to UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural agency. Looters have broken into one of the world’s best-preserved Crusader castles, Crac des Chevaliers, and ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have been damaged.

So depressing.

Kontinue Reading…