Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why I <3 Pacific Rim

A List Of The Reasons As To Why I <3 Pacific Rim, Which Is A Movie

That I <3 A Lot

(because sometimes a thing is so awesome you just have to spend a lot of words and time just talking about how awesome it is)

***but yo if you haven’t seen the movie for the love of god don’t read this as it pretty much lists like every single thing that happens in the movie***

And here is the list:

cause “don’t get cocky”

cause this fight yo

cause so many match cuts oh the glorious match cuts

cause Charlie Day is just the best scientist

cause it’s about resistance

cause not only is there is a guy named Hercules Hansen...

 ...but there is a guy named Hercules Hansen who actually looks like he should be named Hercules Hansen

cause the Dads oh god the Dads

cause fortune favors the brave, dude

cause the Tokyo Kaiju attack is exactly what a real tokyo Kaiju attack would look like and that alone would have been enough to etch the movie in my brain forever

cause the alley shot in Tokyo (you know the shot)

cause the shot, of lil Mako hiding behind a dumpster in an alley from a battle of two Giant Fucking Things, backs up its already significant aesthetic power with even more significant emotional heft and in a world of shooting for “trailer moments” that just does not happen enough

cause that little girl fuckin killed it!

cause every single element of a fictional world centered around one of the most basic conflicts imaginable is still somehow startlingly original

cause as the dudes on the escalator out behind me said, “they don’t don’t overexplain anything”

cause they don’t because they don’t have to, they just make it work

cause in every aspect of the movie, they just make it work

cause the whole movie is people just making it work

cause more thought went into just the color palette of this movie than probably 90% of the things that have ever been done by anyone

cause it’s not a sequel or reboot or adaptation for once

cause it’s the least grey-blue tinted blockbuster/action movie I have seen in like… a long time

cause every shot of the fucking Jaegers makes me feel like it’s the first shot of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park

cause FOR MY FAMILY!!!


cause when that happened a sentence went through my head and it was: “this is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen”

cause there are no “plot twists”

cause you can take a kid to see it without tearing their faith in humanity to shreds and/or traumatizing them

cause I wish it had been PG instead of PG-13 so more kids could have seen it

cause Stacker Pentecost, Hannibal Chau, Raleigh and Yancy Becket, Mako Mori, and Chuck and Hercules Hansen are the actual names of characters in an 190 million dollar movie

cause there’s a lil bulldog! how could there not be a lil bulldog

cause all it took to get over the “hero’s refusal” was for Idris Elba ask him whether he’d rather face the end of the world inside a Jaeger

cause the Kaiju are the fuckin dinosaurs!!!

cause the Kaiju are totally Saiyans too think about it though!!!!

cause this dude...


cause “numbers are as close was we get to the handwriting of god” “…what?”

cause Charlie Day built a machine out of junk and connected with a Kaiju’s brain

cause it is not about the “dark side” of anything

cause the main American guy and the douchey Australian guy look so laughably fucking similar to the point where at the first screening I thought the Australian guy had won the fistfight and there is no way this wasn’t on purpose

cause alllll the steadicam

cause scientist buddy high five!

cause canceling the apocalypse and then actually stopping a specifically designed apocalypse clock


cause the conveniently placed toilet

cause the Russian giant robot and giant robot pilot team...

...are the most Russian fucking giant robot and giant robot pilot team anyone could possibly have ever imagined

cause distinct fighting styles!

cause reusing the same weapons and getting to know/feel them instead of just breaking out new throwaway gadgets

cause of striking the most happy medium between respecting the gravity of PTSD and making a giant action movie for everyone that at least I personally could imagine

cause holy shit those cockpits

cause I once got lectured over the internet by some dickhead about how the word "awesome" has lost its original meaning of instilling godlike rapture or whatever not just "cool" or something as it's usually used today or something I dunno I stopped reading but WELL GUESS WHAT DUDE THIS MOVIE IS THAT TOO AND THE AMOUNT OF AWE IS FAR MORE THAN JUST SOME

cause the 3d actually worked

cause Ron Perlman plays a Hong Kong-based one-eyed black market Kaiju body parts dealer who wears gold plated shoes and is named after his favorite historical figure and his second favorite Szechuan restaurant in Brooklyn because of course he does

cause despite the absolutely ridiculous scale of everything in the movie, I’m pretty sure said shoes are still the largest thing in the entire movie

cause the set of the Alaskan wall could probably sustain like 10 movies entirely on its own, and it was only in the movie for like five minutes

cause I'm pretty sure there is an entire movie to be told about this guy:

--and HE was only in the movie for like five SECONDS

cause the attention to detail in this movie actually makes me worry about Guillermo Del Toro’s mental health a little

cause there’s a hologram interface in a movie that doesn’t look like every other hologram interface in a movie

cause everything every giant robot and giant monster did made you feel like you were experiencing everything every giant robot and giant monster did for real

cause dialogue that would be cheesy if used to drive character can incite cheers and laughter and fist pumps when driven by character, and this is a movie about people who drive things


cause I really don’t need to tell you awesome Idris Elba is as the ultimate resistanceleader/general/dad/greatestJaegerpilotever-man

cause right before he dies, Mako says “I love you sensei” in unsubtitled Japanese

cause the accents are all over the place

cause seriously though, the 3d not only worked but had the coolest fucking particle effects ever and usually those are the most annoying thing

cause “you and I both know the Kaiju has a second, smaller brain it needs to control its whole body, like  dinosaur"

cause future Hong Kong

cause the opening shot of the tear actually tears you into another world

cause the everything from the largest, beaten-to-hell Jaeger to the smallest street sign in Hong Kong is there to show you that the world of this movie isn’t just exist in a future, but that it also has a past

cause I will ingest any piece of media about the Russian team in any format you give me. seriously. I will take a fuckin flipbook if I have to

cause the movie opens with definition of “kaiju” and “jaeger” and they are exactly what you want them to be

cause said opening is in 2d in green font on a black computer screen

cause the douchey australian guy only doesn’t win the Hong Kong battle because of the EMP, so he might actually still be a better pilot than the main dude, but he never even brings it up and sacrifices himself for him anyway

cause it is an analog movie in a (literal) digital world

cause Mako Mori is an intelligent, courageous, powerful Asian woman who speaks English in a strong, non-European accent and is not for one moment mocked, victimized, objectified, or punished by the movie for any of these qualities

cause in addition in to meeting this very low (yet still rarely met by Hollywood) bar Mako Mori FUCKING ROCKS

cause humans have been fighting monsters and gods and giants and giants in stories for as long as we’ve told them, and it turns out we're still just as good at it as ever

cause there is exactly zero cynicism in this movie

cause simplicity is underrated

cause the dedication

cause you can always find me in the drift

cause a ton of rappers are about to start talking about how their rims are so large, they call them pacific

cause this movie is going to make thousands of kids either explode, go and become the next Guillermo Del Toro, or both (and in that order)

cause the sounnnnnnd

cause the score will not leave my head and that’s cool because I do not want it to

cause when I started writing this it was going to be an actual article but then I started listing all the things I wanted to include and now here we are 1350 words later

cause that same has happened every time I’ve tried to have a conversation about it

cause I expected to be hyped as fuck after, but instead I just felt… at peace?

cause a movie about giant fucking robots fighting giant fucking monsters made me thrilled, terrified, crack up, fist pump, applaud, turned me back into a little kid, and then made me feel at peace

cause we live in a world where hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on a move about giant robots fighting giant monsters and it was worth every penny

cause of how many equally <3-worthy things I have probably forgotten to write down even now

cause I am about to watch a whole lot of Kaiju movies now

cause the idea that we should work together is so seemingly simple and obvious and cliche, and yet when you look at the world you see that maybe it’s not, and that maybe it’s actually the most important thing you could ever think

and cause maybe there is no better way to think that thought than like this:

err, like this:




--ah fuck it was just gonna be a picture of a giant robot killing a giant monster with a sword in orbit but if you really want to see that done actual justice just go see the movie on largest, most three dimensional screen possible. I will probably be there too.



Monday, February 25, 2013

c00L j4zZ

So there's this:

Now, there a lot of ways one could respond directly to this article, but before I do, I'm going to let 3 people who are much more qualified than me get the obligatory part out of the way:

1: This dude on Twitter:

2: This penguin

And 3: Miles "the coolest fucking motherfucker on the planet" Davis:

One of my favorite things to whine about is: why more people don't listen jazz? (waahhhh) Especially modern jazz. And while I still think the main cause really just boils down to a simple lack of exposure, one of the more nefarious obstacles the 21st century jazz faces (besides the fact that holy shit they playing jazz innnn theee fuuuuutuuuuuuure!!!!!) is that jazz just isn't considered very "cool" anymore, which is why otherwise adventurously-minded listeners don't seek it out like they used to. In fact, in some circles/cesspoolsoftheinternet it's even considered "lame".

It sucks that what's maybe most open-minded form of music gets stuck with the kind of "elitist" rep it does (not that that's totally undeserved, but still), and it sucks even more that such a historically important and uniquely African American art form gets the amount of shit that it does from people who probably have no idea what they're talking about, and, not to mention, jazz musicians actually fucking invented cool in the first place. (literally)

But the point here is not to bring up the coolness of the jazz peeps chief-coolness-compendiumators like Pitchfork already acknowledge the existence of (albeit solely in the form of of reissues of albums that were recorded during segregation)(...not that we dont' still have that!). Rather, we are here to celebrate the living, flesh eating zombie that is modern jazz, and how the people playing it are some of the coolest musicians out there.

Of course the idea of "cool" itself is a pretty problematic one, and the search for it (or "it") has led both society and advertisers down some pretty bad roads, most of which end up at Michael Bay movies. Not to sound all gushy here, but "cool" at the expense of authenticity--which yes yes is an equally problematic term I know but its a real thing goddammit it just is and I know you know it too--is bad. So "cool" here isn't about the surface sheen of 90's style "'tude" and "radicalness," but rather about jazz musicians who radiate such 'tude and radicalness, such coolness, because those things are an authentic part of their musical and/or bad selves. They don't look cool in some contrived marketing way, they are cool. Thus, as that link defined Prez's version above: "calmly audacious".

So, contrary to popular belief, coolness isn't about not giving a fuck, it's about giving so many more fucks than anyone else that you exist outside of the normal-people's fucks-giving spectrum. While the surface qualities of cool (sunglasses, ass-kicking, scoffing in the direction of The Man), are just that, surface qualities, said qualities, when they emerge from a place of authenticity, can often prompt into existence a unique type of fan response that extends the allocation fuck-giving types into an unstoppably cool juggernaut community... thing.

So, here some cool people who are playing what I would call jazz music right now:

Soil & "PIMP" Sessions

There was a more suave and black & white pic I was also considering but, like, c'mon.

Okay, maybe not that calm. The strangely punctuated group Soil & "PIMP" Sessions was my introduction which I think is sometimes called "Japanese Club Jazz". Well, I certainly hope it's called that, because that means that there are some bomb ass clubs out there in Japan that I would really love to go to because this is on some hardcore shit.

Listen to the frenzied barrage of jazz that is Memai and tell me that wasn't recorded by playing directly into a particle accelerator and smashing those notes together, Iron Man 2 style. The soloists straight murder it up, with the sax  in particular compressing the unhinged, distorted skronkitude of some fiery free jazz-shit into like a minute of oddly melodic might.

They call it "Death Jazz", which, let's be honest, doesn't really make any sense (I guess the aggressiveness?). But any band with someone credited as "agitator" and "spirit" who basically just wears sunglasses and shouts a lot through a megaphone can write themselves into my book under whatever the fuck kind of label they want.

There is a unique way in which Japan distills, reflects, and distorts American culture to its own ends, through it's own sensibilities. It's more than I have room to really go into, but I think in essence, the extremes in Japanese culture stand out more than they do in ours, if that makes sense.  For--to use a maybe overused--example, tragicomically chaste pop stars, but also used panty vending machines. So when, my friend pejoratively labeled Soil & "PIMP" Sessions "cartoon jazz," I think he was actually bringing a pretty apt description to the language-party that is music-nerd conversation. Cartoons, after all, are manic, goofy, and hilarious. You know, like Cowboy Bebop. Or--



In the era of YouTube views, soundcloud plays, Facebook likes, and Hypemachine, err, hypes..(?) using a metric notion of "actual sales" to determine "popularity" is, uh, confusing. And besides, I'm not going to like bust out the Billboard Charts cause A. Who cares and B. that might threaten the truth of my ass-pulled-out-of assumption that, at least in certain cool kid circles, Thundercat might be the most popular jazz cat around (pun soooooo intended). 

Earthlings first heard Stephen Bruner's blazing, spidery baselines darting through Flying Lotus' astral planes like an Arwing in all-range mode, and his neither-thunderous-nor-catlike falsetto musing over "MmmHmm", but its the post-millenial journey through George Duke-harmonies meets a million crazy bass tracks coming at you at once that is "The Golden Age of Apocalypse" that cements Thundercat as a truly badaas mofo.

Look, instruments maybe aren't as cool as they once were--ok not that bass was *ever*
cool, but still. When so much of the "people should play instruments" rhetoric comes down to either rockist fetishization of pointless displays of technical virtuousity or rockist fetishization of, well, playing instruments really badly, and so much of the "good music" these days comes from people who need naught but a computer or sampler... well, there's room for both ok, and can't we just get along? (JK <3 YNGWIE)

But that said, hearing/seeing someone just cut loose and play their instrument like no has ever played it before is an irreplaceable artistic experience, a principle Thundercat embodies the shit out of. You have not heard a bassist not only rock that many bass chords but harmonize them, all multitracked-like, to his own singing into an organic rhythmic and harmonic structure generally managed by only the saddest of Robert Johnsons.

And not only can he rock those rarely used bass harmonies literally better than any bass harmonies I've ever heard (since I have never heard any other one but still), but dudes singing chops take the heavy George Duke inspiration and bring us some beautifully lucid Daylight-bringing results.

Oh, that and his fucking Saiyan armor.

Rafiq Bhatia


Despite the absence, from what I can find, of the dreaded j-word on his very sexy website, Bhatia's hyperreal, holographic soundscapes are firmly anchored in the jazz dimension. To pick up the live vs computer tangent above, I would say that this guitarist is, right now, putting live, improvised music and electronic post-production together in a mood-lit bedroom, cranking some D'Angelo, and giving them plenty of time to make some sophisticated sound babies more effectively than pretty much anyone. Dude is at the forefront, exploring ways to utilize the suitably Bjorkian sound manipulation power of Bjork collaborator/engineer Valgeir SigurĂ°sson and producer Alexander Overington in ways that enhance the fierce musical narrative of his songs rather than be all distract-y and cheesy and stuff.

Or, as he puts it, to do:

"what would we do if we knew this improvised moment existed and we had as much time as we wanted to fortify it with whatever sounds we wanted, regardless of if we know its possible or not."

A good point of comparison might be, like, the way Stanley Kubrick would push his actors into giving these wildly unexpected performances coming from places they didn't even know was there, and then enhance them even further through the mechanisms of his unique visual language via sets, composition, etc. in order to explore the narrative space in a way no one ever had before. So here, the players are the actors, and the studio all the camera stuff.

With all this shit about modernistness and electronics and [insert description of the music involving the word "angular" here], you might be getting the impression that the product is more concerned with being "advanced" than being soulful. Which is the opposite of the case! Just check out the--this word is usually used weirdly but I think it's the best choice here--cinematic cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" that closes its namesaked album Yes It Will here. Just like how any artist's technical facility is valuable only in its ability to better express the music's feeling, Bhatia's

technological facility serves to explore the song's soul.

Plus, since the FlyLo connection seems to be everywhere these days, there's a mean cover of "Pickled!" on his equally great Strata EP, so, like, space and stuff.

And finally:


Oh god Kagero please don't kill me with your coolness!

Another Japanese crew, Kagero were actually first bandthat came to mind when thinking of the cool jazz bands because they may in fact be the coolest band. Just, well--


Cause between their propensity for shooting ridiculously color-tinted videos with equally insane handheld camera moves--

--and their certified badass bassist and keyboardist--

--I would say that, contrary to popular belief, Jazz is, has been, and will in all likelihood continue to be, in the words a crowd of people responding to Andre 3000, what's cooler than bein cool:

Ice. Cold.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Who the FUCK is Flying Lotus? A WAY MORE SCATHING THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE expose by Hamtaro S. Thompson

Quoth the captain: "HahAhHAHaaha"
...but what's really going on behind those awesome shades?

You'll remember not a few months ago that when a certain mysterious half-Captain, half-Murphy burst onto the scene, an intrepid young reporter set out to uncover just who really was behind the animated mask behind these animated records. Unfortunately, my so-called "trusted sources" turned out to be what they call, in the parlance of modern journalism, mistrue.
And now, the cat is out of the bag: Captain Murphy is none other than the man himself, Flying Lotus.

...and, like, what's really going on behind that smile?

To say the least: HOLY FUCKING SHIT HOW CAN ONE PERSON BE SO GOOD AT EVERYTHING. It's like if in the 70's Martin Scorcese had come out one day and been like "Yup, I am actually Robert De Niro too"; if Snoop was also Dre; Kurosawa was Mifune; Kobe and The Zen Master, one and the same; or the singer from Blur was actually also every member of Gorillaz, or some insane shit like that. So to you, Flaptain Murphtus, I say, well played, good sir--or should I say "good Captain"--well played indeed.

But while the mainstream media is content to just regurgitate press releases and/or twitpics and call it a day, this reporter continues to be a fucking journalist, and, so-called "facts" be damned, intends to do his fucking job. Because while it's now just common knowledge Captain Murphy is Flying Lotus, the real question still remains:


Just who is this so-called "Flying Lotus," anyway? Sure, we know his name is Stephen Ellison... and what he looks like... and where he's from... and what he's been doing/is doing most of the time, but something tells me that we aren't getting the full story. Because no normal human could possibly be this good at both rapping and production! It's unprecedented! Which, to the trained journalistic eye, can only mean there is something more to the story than any old plebefolk could see--and plebefolks, I am not exaggerating when I say that what I've uncovered, well... this one could go all the way to the top.

So without further ado, here are some potential secret/true identities of Stephen Ellison aka "Flying Lotus" aka "Captain Murphy" aka "Flaptain Murphtus" aka... well, you'll see, after what they call the jump:

Monday, November 5, 2012

sunday jamz 10/4 (cause roman numerals are hard)

new york/new jersey not in the middle of a dry spell...

Allanah Myles - Black Velvet

Sorry for lack of posts lately--there was a hurricane which... got the internet... wet? Anyway, here is one of those songs you might have heard a lot on the radio (and/or in the background of your sultry yet emotional dream sequences) but don't actually know who it's by. Well, the answer, it turns out, is Canadians: written by Canadians David Tyson and Christopher Ward, and performed by Canadian Allanah Myles, who could very be off captaining the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars' karaoke team right now. But actually, her Canadian-ness is not incidental to the song--that kind of cross-border line-straddling permeates both the music and everything around it. Beyond the obvious bit of it being a Canadian eulogy of that American icon Elvis (which, ok, is not really that weird at all--even before the internet trampled all over the idea of the regional music scene, it's not like Canada was fucking Atlantis or something), the whole thing is very firmly a product of that strange, liminal time in which no one was quite sure as to whether it was the 80's or 90's yet.

Like, the production has that vaguely southern, pop country throwback twang that would come to erupt all over our faces like so like so much accidentally ingested floam*--but also those lovably ridiculous FM synth pads that it took ten years to realize don't actually sound like whatever the fuck instrument they were trying to imitate, a bassline that much forum wrangling has determined to be a synth, and that quintessentially 80's distorted guitar chorus--along with all those awesome (or, depending on your perspective, wanky) little guitar fills, which you would never, ever hear in a pop song today. 

And at the same time, the video literally alternates between that classic 80's "leathery hairsprayed, band-on-stage bein' all fun and attractive and weirdly leaning all over each other" video trope, and that soon-to-be-established-as-classic 90's "girl in jeans just sort of hanging around steadicam shots of some house or cottage and like singing or something I dunno"** video trope. And while it might be reading way too into it to point out that the video begins with a shot of a record player in a video made just on the cusp of the CD/digital age, I am going to point it out anyway. 

'cause, just watching them play, there's a kid of husky, alt vibe you get from watching them play the song that just feels kind of 90's. Maybe it's just coming from the attitude of anyone willing to combine all this contemporary, synthy, country-but-also-looks-like-hair-metal? shit with quasi-religious lyrics about mid-century Americana that may or may not be told from the perspective of old people--which was of course the very attitude that made possible the oncoming and surprisingly diverse alt-rock boom, or whatever you want to call it. Or maybe it's just that there's a rock band with a female member in it, the relative upswing in of which being other best part of said boom, because for the love of god is rock too mired in dudeness. I dunno. Whatever they got, their steaming badassedness either perfectly blends with or even transcends their cheesy production trappings in a way this actual, though fairly popular in its own right country cover never could.

*pop country fans, I kid! also, do you guys think Taylor Swift is like a pop country sell out? is there some sort of standard of pop country authenticity with which to hold artists to? if for some reason you are reading this, I am honestly just curious

**and if you think I'm somehow cherry-picking or exaggerating well then brace yourself and click here

Sunday, October 28, 2012

sunday jamz vii

I already wrote a lot today so, uh, jam

□□□ (Kuchiroro) - 00:00:00 short ver.

I'm not really sure what's going on here but what I am sure of is that it is awesome.

an open letter to the music industry (on transparency)

Dear The Music Industry,

Hi. How's it going? I know you get a bad rap, but I want to start off by saying, thanks for all the music! We all know you are far from perfect, and some parts of you--ok probably a lot--have strayed into full-on evil territory way more than any of us would have liked. But overall, I know that you have dedicated your lives to discovering and fostering and bringing us new and exciting music, and though I've never met you in person, I can only assume that anyone who would do that must be pretty cool. Which is why I would like to help you. So, inspired by a post by Lower Dens frontwoman Jana Hunter on the economics of the music industry that has been making the internet-rounds lately, here are a few thoughts that I think might help us all out.

don't let everyone think you're this guy

Since Spotify finally opened its, uh, doors(?) here in the US, I have seen many people jump ship from both piracy and purchasing to instead legally streaming all their music, and since it's all legal and stuff, it must be better for the artists, right? Well, Lower Dens frontwoman Jana Hunter has come correct with an in-depth examination on how the advent of streaming services (and the internet) has effected musicians' ability to actually make a living off their music, and it's not super pretty. I.e. the Spotify cut is tiny.

But that's not really what I want to talk about. Because while Hunter covers a lot of ground on the economics of music, there was one thing that I found particularly interesting. When adressing the common perception that "Record companies rob artists of profit more so than streaming," she replies that:
A common independent deal is the 50/50 deal, wherein a label pays for everything up front, and then recoups (takes back via profits) their costs, after you which you and your label split the remaining profits. If your record costs $40k, and your record makes $100k, you get $30k. If Spotify paid you for an equivalent amount of plays on their paid subscription service, you’d get $1250.
Which is, like, good to know! Really! 50/50? Sounds like a pretty good deal for everyone involved. Were people less able to pull the "but all the moneys just go to the labels brahhhhh" argument, maybe they'd actually pay for more music. Or at least be less fucking self-righteous about it. But here's the thing:

How the hell is anyone supposed to know this?

The gist of Hunter's message is that with technology constantly reshaping the landscape of music industry, we, the listeners have to act as a self-regulating force that guides said shaping into something that is mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Which is absolutely true. But the fact is, the actual economics of the music industry have been basically hidden from us, the fans/consumers, for its entire history. Of course most people don't understand the the economic implications of what they're doing--because how could we beyond very general statements about the industry as a whole, which, who knows what that means? "Sales declining? Thats probably just like, manufactured pop stars can't sell 20 million generic albums anymore, right? Not the music real heads listen to right?"

"only sellouts ever made money anyway, man!"

In a followup post, Hunter sums up her message to listeners as follows:
A lot of people responded to 10/25 post and others with an almost confessional breakdown of their personal habits. “I spend x hours on spotify, go to x shows a month, and spend x amount on records,” and then drew various conclusions about their contributions to music. I hope that that sort of thing helps to put in perspective something about your relationship to music, and I’d really only respond to it by saying that if you don’t consider the flip-side, the musicians’ income, then you’re not seeing the end of that equation, and not getting a real picture.
And again, I say this is absolutely true. But again, maybe part of the reason no once considers the "flip-side, the musicians' income" is because that information is for the most part unavailable to us. I don't say this to attack Hunter or anything--on the contrary, her post goes into great detail on exactly this, which is exactly what I'm saying.

fans not privy to economic data

But the music industry, indie or otherwise, needs to do far, far better than a few stray tumblr posts by artists on how much money they make from selling music in different formats. Shit like this (warning, pretty violent 'cause it's the Boondocks) doesn't work, and actually exacerbates consumer resentment instead of building the listener-artist/label connection we need. Instead of vague platitudes or attacks, give us real data! People aren't stupid--I mean, this is the generation that's basically figured out how to topple the entire media industry. They can handle percentages.

Listeners need to give far more consideration to the needs of the artists whose works they take part it. But understanding is a two-way street, and  it is the musicians' and labels' responsibility to trust the people they depend on for livelihood enough to actually provide them with information on how their industry actually works. And don't just release it, publicize it! If someone is deciding on whether to buy or stream or download an album, maybe they could know exactly where that money goes, or how much it cost to make, or how badly the artist probably needs it to keep going. I dunno exactly, these are all just random ideas. But we need to try them, and many more, and we need to figure out a better level of economic transparency than the current standard of "none". Because it is only with a real understanding of the dynamics of their relationship with the music that consumers can begin to cooperate with artists in reshaping those dynamics into something that will better serve us all.

and hopefully we'll never have to worry about product placement


Monday, October 22, 2012

mathy mondays vii

don't even try to clap along, it's mathy mondays!

Henry Threadgill - Little Pocket Sized Demons

The world of weird big band music is sadly under-explored. Were you to venture in with your land roving satellite, you would find that something about having to keep that many weird players in some form of coherent sound all while playing weird compositions in weird ways creates a particular tapestry of of interplay that can only ever arise under weird these weird big band conditions.

Henry Threadgill is a living master of this. From the unsettling harmonies to the unsettling melody to the unsettlingly mingled acoustic and electric textures is formed something that simultaneously grooves, swings, skronks, and rocks out. When guitarists Brandon Ross and Masujaa come in for solos, they straight up shred, weird 80's style and yet it sounds totally natural. Along with his own mad sax skills, the Threadgill shows that ultimate bandleader accomplishment: making all this shit work together while still retaining the band's overall guiding/compositional voice. What more can you ask for?