Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I See No Changes...?

Democratic Nomination fever is seriously off the frame; both thrilling and slightly confounding. I actually wish I was in Texas right now enjoying it all first hand. While the debate last night was generally more of the same, Obama being asked about Louis Farrakhan was some seriously racist shit (certainly a white male candidate would never get asked about an endorsement from a noted white racist). Hillary could of stepped up and pointed that out in her response but instead decided to go along with such offensive logic and affirm the general premise by intensifying the attack.

I have a great deal of conflicted feelings about this election. While I have had lengthy 'discussions' with HFTD about his enthusiasm for Obama, I do feel he is the best candidate and desperately want him to be elected. And I really love what LauraG wrote Here. Still I think the hype around him is somewhat unfounded. I guess I feel that sadly in a 2-Party-first past the post-system, any candidate, no matter how much worthy community organizing and civil rights work they have done, will inherently be too compromised by the institution and political machinery by the time they are actually elected. In other words the differences between the two parties as a whole outweigh the differences between any individual party candidates.

Or as is so often noted on The Wire "This game is rigged"

"And although it seems heaven sent
We ain't ready to see a Black President
It ain't a secret, don't conceal the fact
The penitentiary's packed, and its filled with blacks."
>2Pac Changes (1998)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spring's Person Pitch

A few days ago I broke my promise of never downloading a record for free that has been released within the last year. It is a shame I broke such an ethical commitment given that the record in question is worth far more than any shop would charge for it. While a lot of digital ink has already been spilled over El Guincho's (aka Pablo Diaz Reixa) Alegranza record (Discoteca Océano, 2007) I simply can't resist writing about it here and urging evryone to seek it out immediately.

Fittingly, the last new record I downloaded for free was
Alegranza's closest sonic and qualitative parallel, Panda Bear's Person Pitch, which I think we can all agree was the record of the year in 2007. El Guincho and Panda Bear's share a joyful use of samples, rich yet ghostly Brian Wilson inspired harmonies, tranced out euphoria, and generally inhabit the same hallucinatory forest.

My first perceptual response when listening to
Person Pitch was the feeling of being tenderly wrapped in a warm and thick sonic blanket. Hence why initially quite awestruck by its harmonies and textures, I have given it a great deal much more play in the winter months. But as I start looking to Spring, Alegranza is an absolutely perfect accompaniment. The entire record is like laying in the hot sun, particularly that moment when your skin is warm in a lovely way right before it gets too hot. Everything is immediately sensual and alive while inside you feel calm and content. El Guincho has achieved the exceptional paradox of being ecstatically maximalist yet deeply atmospheric.

I can't help likening it to the best qualities of Michel Gondry, so endearing in its dreamy inventiveness that it overwhelms one's critical defenses and inhibitions. Imagine a dream wherein the very structure of the city comes alive to create a bombastic percussive soundscape, in the vein of Tropicalia, Calypso, Krautrock, African Psychedelia, and Ricardo Villalobos. Just when your enraptured and realize what a great dream you are having everyone you know starts uncontrollably dancing in the street, chanting rousing harmonies in Spanish. 40 minutes pass in dream time, and you immediately want to hear it again.

Well, if you are still reading this, go buy it or peep
Eat My Art Out for a copy.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Found. Lost. Wah-Wah.

I had a wonderful morning spent eating oatmeal, drinking coffee, listening to the first record of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, and reading the Found Poetry of Bern Porter care of UbuWeb. A Poet, Writer, Publisher, and Scientist, Porter was born on Valentines Day, 1911 in Aroostook County, Maine-
He actually worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II, but after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he was immensely distraught and became an outspoken pacifist. His 'Concrete' or 'Found' Poetry took the shape of books. Scandinavian Summer is a particularly charming one from 1961- "Scandinavian Summer is deceptively artless. If one is looking for hidden messages in this book, there are both none and an infinite number of them."Aphasia, 1961 - Aphasia is defined as "The inability to understand or create speech, writing, or language." "Porter subtitled his book, "A psycho-visual satire on printed communication." While assembling it, he and his wife Margaret were living in Ashland, Maine (also in Aroostook County), where he tried to make his living as a public schoolteacher, only to fail almost as soon as he began because, as he remembered, "In the teaching world I thought I could be different, but I was soon regarded as strange."
For whatever reason, If Not For You never sounded so good.