Friday, September 29, 2006

It may seem strange to follow yesterday's bleat of anger with anything else, but my outrage has left the realm of the verbal today. Call your fucking elected representatives and remind them that their first duty is to protect this noble experiment of democracy from its enemies. In a world where George W has executive power that George III did not have, I believe that we can safely say that his brand of creeping tyranny is an enemy of democracy.

That said, I want to talk about a song I like.

I downloaded Akron/Family, the s/t album of a freak folk band with some good press, a month or two ago from emusic, and thought the album ok but not even close to the greatness of Animal Collective or Devendra Banhart. Anyway, I was listening to my ipod in bed last night and one of their songs just blew me away. I thought it was the Red House Painters at first, but then it got seriously weird and transcendentally beautiful in a way that Mark Kozelek doesn't have in him. The song, "Italy," which is 8 minutes long, is built on a slow, sweet melody, and starts over minimal electric guitar accompaniment. Then the band comes in all alt-country with a slide guitar, quiet drums, and slightly faster tempo. The band stops and there's a brief moment where it sounds like someone is fiddling with a microphone. Back to the slower-tempo melody with electric guitar, this time with creaky sounds in the background, as if it was recorded in a shack about to be blown down by a storm. Full band back, with a Band-esque choral response to his melody, then full stop. A capella line. Then the melody (one lyric repeated: "When is time going to change?"/full choral response: "I'm ready!") with cymbals crashing, distorted guitar, almost half-speed tempo, all kinds of bizarre noises in the background, including the chimey percussion one would normally associate with Pharoah Sanders, building into moogy analog keyboard noise, a trumpet, waves of distortion, and it all sounds just incredibly profound, as if a creek just turned into a raging flood.

Download it here, if you dare.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The historian George Santayana's great gift to the soundbite-inclined was "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Let's be clear on the concept here: by stripping people of their inalienable rights as human beings and explicitly ignoring world standards on torture, the Bush Administration has set the United States on an unprecedented course of tyranny. This is far more severe than the policies of containment and casual genocide of Native Americans or concentration camps for Japanese-Americans or rape and pillage in the Phillippines, because those were all of limited official sanction. The Republicans (along with a few cowardly, embarrassing Democrats undeserving of the name) have removed the checks and balances that once kept the executive branch from stripping the rights of freedom from anyone at any time for any cause.

Don't expect the US equivalent of secret police or brownshirts at your door today or tomorrow. That'll take another 8 years or so of growing public complacency, because tyranny works slowly, like boiling a frog alive degree by degree. But you need to believe that this trend leads inexorably to government-sanctioned thugs kicking in your door - or the door of someone you know - in the middle of the night. No one in history has used unchecked power wisely. No one.

Someone should send a plaque of congratulations to the tiny, ragtag, stone-age-mentality group of men who made this happen (and I'm not talking about the Presidential Cabinet or the DLC). Although the number of terrorists in the world wouldn't even add up to the number of daily commuters on the Chicago public transit system (and back in 2001, they wouldn't have even added up to the number of commuters in Cleveland), as it turns out, our values are so fragile that it only took a handful of them to shatter the most important of them.

In terms of Orwell's 1984, it's 1978 right now. What are you going to do about it?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Well worth the read: The Wire and the Art of the Credit Sequence.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wow. Richard and Linda Thompson playing "A Heart Needs A Home" sometime between 1972 and 1974.

Here's a noisy & dark video from Parks & Wildlife's Sept. 9 show at the Carousel Lounge in Austin. The song is titled "My Only One," and I wrote the basic melody ten or eleven years ago, before I started dating Mrs. Obscurity. I've never been able to write another part for the song that had the immediacy as this basic melody, so this one is basically about dynamics. Using my Boomerang phrase sampler, I record the break by playing the melody forward and backwards at the same time and layering it so often that it builds up to a My Bloody Valentine-like wall of noise. At least that's the idea. Amber plays a beautiful trumpet part on this song, too, pulling some wonderful Miles Davis-over-the-skronk moments out of thin air, and K.C.'s woozy keyboard parts bring the psychedelia home. For me, that is; I wouldn't presume to say what brings psychedelia home for you.

Friday, September 15, 2006

At long last, do we have no decency? Why the fuck haven't we impeached this joker already?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One more season guaranteed! Fuck yeah!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Saturday's show went well. Follow That Bird were even better in the Carousel's more intimate setting than at Trophy's. The Dialtones are somewhat hard to describe (electro-folk? ambient Childe ballads?), but were wonderful. We had a good time during our set, too.

Last weekend I read David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas while traveling, and I highly recommend it. It's a series of matryoshka first-person narratives, leaping (sometimes mid-sentence) from a 19th-century Pacific sea-voyage to a preening young composer caught up in family intrigue in 1930s Belgium to a 1970s Silkwood-style journalist to an aging foppish British publisher in roughly current times to an enslaved clone awakening to consciousness in a horrible corpocracy in the near future (shades of Never Let Me Go) to a tribal Hawaiian at the end of civilization hundreds of years from now, then back again through all the narratives. Somehow it manages to integrate all the stories, despite the widely disparate styles and scopes, and while I was a bit bored and confused at first, the narrative caught me completely before the first temporal shift.

Last night Mrs. Obscurity and I watched the first episode of S4 of The Wire (thanks, Scott!) , and this one's going to be a motherfucker. There was so much to love about the episode. The show got the mix between spending time with familiar characters and introducing new characters just right. My favorite things about the older characters: Carcetti going bugfuck crazy in a hellish situation of his own devising (and I got the biggest laugh of the episode out of his deputy campaign manager explaining why he wasn't going to vote for Carcetti), Herc missing Carver (and it's clever to have him working for Mayor Royce), Carver's interactions with Bodie, McNulty turning Daniels AND Bunk down, Daniels filling Bunny's shoes, the comparison of the Homeland Security briefing at the Western with the teacher training day, how Prez's introduction to his classroom mirrored his first visit to the Major Crimes Unit, that Snoop more or less used the nail gun appropriately, Kima and Lester's complete duping of their new Lt., Syndor's role as the new Prez, and shit, I could go on and on.

Wire-heads don't often enough emphasize how funny the show is. Hey, folks, it's hilarious.

Emlyn Lewis, I'm calling you out in particular: go rent the dvds, now. You can thank me later.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Verbatim from Slate:

Caesarian sections may nearly triple the chance of infant death among low-risk U.S. women, according to a huge study. The death rate is 0.062 percent for vaginal births and 0.177 percent for C-sections.

Speculated reasons: 1) Labor produces hormones that improve babies' lungs. 2) Labor squeezes dangerous fluid from their lungs. 3) C-sections may cause cuts and infections. 4) C-sections delay breastfeeding.

Skeptical reactions: 1) The rest of the world would kill for a neonatal mortality rate under 0.2 percent. 2) The reason C-sections correlate with more deaths is that the riskiest women get C-sections.

Authors' replies: 1) We restricted the study to low-risk women. 2) C-sections correlate with more deaths from multiple causes even after we adjusted the samples for medical factors and socioeconomic status. 3) C-sections are up nearly 50 percent in a decade; maybe we should stop this train. A second, much smaller study suggests that the risk of maternal death is also three times higher in C-sections. (For Human Nature's previous update on births to women over 50, click here.)

My photo
Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

About This Blog

From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP