Giants in the Earth....
I finally get a chance to write about whatever I want in my column instead of just putting in more record reviews. It wasn't until recently, while watching TV that everything about my subject matter came together. Here are some of the elements: David Bowie, Xena, giants, technology, seeking truth and ancient history. And also music. David Bowie performs Little Wonder on Saturday Night Live from two years back. In his 50's, Bowie continues to stretch stylistic boundaries, staying youthful and inventive with a smile on his face. Xena walking through the bones of giants and meeting up with her old friend Goliath. During the show a Subway commercial has a man trying to get his sandwich back from a giant. The man throws a stone from a sling at the giant to get his sub back. My life at this moment, finally on any track to a better life. I'm living in an apartment with my girlfriend of many years and getting paid a little better with a promotion at work. All the while filling my head with ideas about how the world was and how mythology shaped the lives of cultures in the distant past. These books of speculative history make me wonder how the world was in the past. More than likely not at all what we consider the world to be like back then. What if myths of gods and man are actually misinterpreted tales of man combating natural phenomena like earthquakes and tidal waves or even bombardment of asteroids or the realigning of the planet's axis? Who is to tell us the truth when those who convey information are constantly deceiving themselves and others into believing the easy and palatable. Find your own truth, choose the paths in life that seem the right ones for you. I got this digital cable service from TCI Cable that offers 20 or so music stations including "Classic Rock" and "80's Hits" for the nostalgia seekers but also has "Acid Jazz" (and trip-hop) as well as my favorite station "Trends." Trends has electronic tunes mixed together all day long. One night I listened to a techno mix, another had a turntablist show and this morning I heard some dancefloor filling rave music along with some more ambient and mainstream artists like Fatboy Slim and Moby. I almost didn't want to get up and leave the room in case another cool tune came on. And what's even better about music on cable is no commercials or talking! How does all the stuff I'm rambling about connect? Everything is connected by humanity, by creation, by the minds of people having good times, inventing new and exciting forms of expression and living their dreams. I'm happy enough knowing that there are others out there who continue to not take no for an answer, not listen to those who sit on their hands and think that the best years are behind them or society is running down. I believe that by trusting in myself I can find the courage to trust others and move on in my life. I just hope you can all find the necessary strength to understand that if you don't take action first, then you have no one else to blame for not trying. Faith in yourselves, faith in others and faith in humanity can stop all of the blatant capitalism, consumerism and destruction rampant in the world today. This is our only home and if we ruin it we are to blame. We are the caretakers of this planet, we don't own it. I saw a person wearing a shirt that said something to the effect that people forget that they aren't the only animals on this planet. I could go on but I'm sure you can figure things out for yourselves. You are intelligent people, you just need to believe what is in your hearts and not what other people with their own troubles and hang-ups want you to hear. Think big but stay humble and hug someone today, even if it's yourself. Now go read some record reviews.
It's time to party like there's no tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, because the end of the century is near and there is very little time to spare. While responsible people like you or me are trying to make a living or at least trying to make some money there are those who are making music like there is no tomorrow, or sometimes no yesterday either. Records, I've got records...
Keith York of Intelligent Records in Dan Diego sent me a load of vinyl, I had quite a time sifting through it all but it was all quality music. For more about Intelligent Records drop them a line at: email@example.com. Also look for Mod Magazine in the local San Diego record shops soon where you can find more reviews of records than any other magazine in California, it's written by Keith and it's free!
*Utopian's Resonant Evil is Dark Drum & Bass yet is kept lightweight with the help of some funky bass programming and progressive drums halfway through along with some intelligent keyboard work making you want to hear this track more than once. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more on Utopian. Blue Wave by T.H.C. offers up more D&B with a faster tempo and an ominous synth line which breaks in the middle for lush strings that fold back into the drums to conclude the track. The Wad Squad are a fun group whose sound consists of funky rhythms and rolling pianos that is a soundtrack to some softcore porn dance-party in outer space. Talk at the Wad Squad at http://home.connectnet.com/lotus for more on the funky side of electronic music. Look for Mod Magazine in the local San Diego record shops soon where you can find more reviews of records than any other magazine in California, and it's free!
Fear Of Pop with William Shatner: IN LOVE EP, on Giant Step Records Attica Blues and Thievery Corporation mix up some sublime electronic sounds nominally based on a song with William Shatner rambling over it all gets remixed/reworked and overhauled into some headnoddingly good music. Stuttering drums, almost cheesy keyboards, soft vocal "in looooves," all add up to fun in the sun soft-rocking good times and when the tracks let Shatner have his space you just have to laugh at the maudlin schmaltz of it all. Type up www.giantstp.com to find out how to get Fear Of Pop. New or recent on CD:
*Spy: Music To Mauzner By, on Lava/Atlantic Records Spy is one guy and his crazy ideas about how rock and roll can mix with hip-hop and electronic dance beats and still sound good. His vocals and lyrics are flippant and endearing, the guitars are sloppy and usually mixed up front. 31 Seconds uses the same guitar sound as Propellerheads, with a sing-along chorus, and filtered drums, Won't You Come Down has subdued vocals and a catchy chorus with a soulful bassline, Leave Me Alone rips off a familiar cello(?) riff and contains chimes, flute stabs and drum loop and is an instant pop hit, especially with those 80's keyboards. If everyone is creating music from the same pool of previously performed chords, riffs and arrangements then it's true in the case of Spy that how you put those un-original sounds together is what makes you original. I don't know what the title means but be sure to give Music To Mauzner By a listen when next at your local cool record store and give Spy a spin.
*Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited: The Fluid Soundbox on Mai Tai/Doctor Dream Records The SSSU are Ernest Maeschi and Karen Diblitz, two of Switerland's most well known movie and television composers who produce surf rock and spy soundtrack tunes with an ear to the spacey, groovy side of the rock and roll spectrum and I dig them. No vocals, plenty of organs and echoing guitars make up the group's sound and it's sure to please the lounge crowd and surfers of the world alike. Contact www.doctordream.com for more info on Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited.
*Snooze: Man In The Shadows, on The Medicine Label Snooze is a producer/composer of singular mind, everything he makes has the sound of a noir film, as if Humphrey Bogart himself were in the room when Snooze created his music, smoking a trademark cigarette and wearing a fedora and trenchcoat. Snooze usually keeps the tempo of his tunes at a pace only slightly faster than your heartbeat but adds a drum & bass beat to the US Version of Your Consciousness Goes Bip which later appears in a more down tempo Bip (Lover's Mix) which goes into your ears like butta. Tribute To Horace features Horace Andy's delectable and heartbroken vocals set to forlorn strings and distant drums, Nancy Danino appears again on Down For Mine whose liquid vocals are set against swells of strings, flute, and a beatless piano that accompanies her to the end. I could gush on about this excellent record but you'll have to hear it for yourself. Snooze's Man In The Shadows will take you on a voyage through cinematic atmospheres and is a thrilling listening experience. Look up Medicine's website at: www.crammed.be/ssr for more information on Snooze and other Crammed/SSR artists.
*Pi: Music From The Motion Picture, on Thrive/Sire Records By the time you read this magazine, the movie Pi will already be out on video. All the better for people to be able to see such a group of ideas put to celluloid. Filmed in black and white, Pi is about a man who believes that mathematics rules nature and he plans to use his intelligence to learn to control the wold around him. There's also Jewish men chasing him because of mathematical equations buried in The Kabbalah, and other less savory sorts who wish to use or kill the main character. The score by Clint Mansell is interspersed throughout, often drum & bass derived and paranoiac in nature. Orbital, Autechre, Aphex Twin and other greats of the electronic genre appear to lend their able tunes to the service of a story that rings of science fact more so than fiction. Which is fitting because the artists on this soundtrack are making the music of the future and of our inner worlds as we speak. Be sure to see Pi when it's available on video and enjoy the incredible music now.
*Jim Donovan: Indigo, on Mercury Records The drummer for Rusted Root has put together this CD as an instrument to aid you in meditation, relaxation or to have on in the background while at non-dangerous activity. The CD contains repetitive loops of a guitar line, breath sounds, drums and a voice saying OM, all of which repeats for an hour. The idea of these sounds layered over and around each other is to place your consciousness in a state of relaxation akin to the sleep state yet has enough going on to keep you awake. The OM vocalization has been proven to vibrate centers of your body called chakras that lead to centering your mind and enabling the performer to create a bio-feedback. This will let you relax your limbs, relieve stress and sharpen your mental abilities. See if the music of Indigo will help you become a better person by vocalizing OM and listening to the sounds of Jim Donovan as he leads you to a meditative state of bliss.
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