Friday, August 31

Joy Division - Transmission (1978)


Wikipedia - "'Transmission' is a song by English post-punk band Joy Division. Originally recorded in 1978 for the band's aborted self-titled album, it was later re-recorded the following year at a faster tempo and released by record label Factory as the band's debut single. 'Transmission" was released on 7" vinyl in October 1979 by record label Factory. ... Greil Marcus has a chapter on this song in his book The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs. According to Marcus, ' 'Transmission' is not an argument. It's a dramatization of the realization that the act of listening to the radio is a suicidal gesture. It will kill your mind. It will rob your soul.' Marcus also quotes the band's bassist Peter Hook about the importance of this song: 'We were doing a soundcheck at the Mayflower, in May, and we played 'Transmission': people had been moving around, and they all stopped to listen. I realized that was our first great song.' ..."
Wikipedia
Guardian - Ian Curtis: ‘His lyrics were so dark’
YouTube: Transmission, Novelty

2009 August: Factory: Manchester From Joy Division To Happy Mondays, 2010 November: Love Will Tear Us Apart, 2012 May: Unknown Pleasures, 2016 December: John Peel Session (1979), 2017 July: Closer (1980), 2018 January: She's Lost Control (1979), 2018 March: Unknown Pleasures

On the Trail of a Lover Boy in the Age of Enlightenment


Exhibition tableau, 18th-century Paris, “A Morning Toilette.” More than 250 paintings, furnishings and objects evoke a Pan-European social scene in which life took on the aspects of theater.
"His parents were actors, his grandfather made shoes; he did not seem born for great things. Giacomo Casanova, though, had assets that outshone the lack of money and title: boldness, wit, a gift for languages, and charm enough to slide into a seat at a cardinal’s dinner table or a countess’s bed. In his native Venice, in glittering Paris, and then across the continent, he reinvented himself as he went, playing the roles of author, courtier, entrepreneur, spy. The actors’ son trod the boards of a different stage, one that stretched from London to Constantinople. The voracious Venetian hovers like a governing spirit over the art of the 18th century in 'Casanova’s Europe,' a vivacious and often ingenious exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts here. Now his name is a bare synonym for sexual prowess, or worse — Casanova went to bed with his own daughter, and several of his romances fell well short of the contemporary bar of affirmative consent. ..."
NY Times
MFA: Casanova’s Europe - Art, Pleasure, and Power in the 18th Century (Video)

“Bacino di San Marco, Venice” (around 1738), Canaletto’s painting of boatmen plying the lagoon between San Marco and San Giorgio Maggiore.

Trump’s Top Targets in the Russia Probe Are Experts in Organized Crime


"Bruce Ohr. Lisa Page. Andrew Weissmann. Andrew McCabe. President Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked these FBI and Justice Department officials as dishonest 'Democrats' engaged in a partisan 'witch hunt' led by the special counsel determined to tie his campaign to Russia. But Trump’s attacks have also served to highlight another thread among these officials and others who have investigated his campaign: their extensive experience in probing money laundering and organized crime, particularly as they pertain to Russia. As Trump praised and defended Russian President Vladimir Putin along the campaign trail, financial analysts and money-laundering experts questioned whether the real-estate mogul had any financial incentives—including business ties or outstanding debt—to seek better relations with Moscow. Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed in May 2017 to investigate a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, assembled a team with revealing expertise in fraud, racketeering, money laundering, and other financial crimes. ..."
The Atlantic

Thursday, August 30

Found in a Junk Shop: Secrets of an Undiscovered Visionary Artist


"His story is one shrouded in mystery, almost lost forever, intertwined with secret societies, hidden codes, otherworldly theories and seemingly impossible inventions before his time. Unseen for decades and salvaged by a junk dealer in the 1960s from a trash heap outside a house in Texas, his entire body of work would later go on to marvel the intellectual world. But during his lifetime, Charles Dellschau had only been known as the grouchy local butcher. In 1969, used furniture dealer Fred Washington bought 12 large discarded notebooks from a garbage collector, where they found a new home in his warehouse under a pile of dusty carpets. In 1969, art history student, Mary Jane Victor, was scouring through his bazaar of castaways when she came upon the mysterious works of a certain Charles Dellschau. Inside the scrapbooks she discovered a remarkable collection of strange watercolours and collage pieces. More than 2,500 intricate drawings of flying machines alongside cryptic newspaper clippings filled the pages, crudely sewn together with shoelaces and thread. ..."
MessyNessyChic

Arundhati Roy: Brilliant, troubled and troubling


Unsilenced: Arundhati Roy has repeatedly spoken out against the Indian government’s policies. She is also sharply critical of capitalism and refuses to deify Mahatma Gandhi.
"In the 1780s, the Dutch East India Company moved the eastern border of the Cape to the Fish River. Under European law, this act tacitly affirmed the trekboers’ claim to the land, which would plunge them and successive colonial administrations into wars for 100 years against the rightful owners, the amaXhosa and Khoikhoi clans. It was early during that decade that a building in Cape Town, now known as the Cape Heritage Hotel, was built. By whom? ... After a 20-year hiatus, Roy released her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, last year and is on her first book tour of South Africa. Two cities, one week — then she’ll be gone. Holding a dark earthen teacup in her palms, she admits to being no expert on South African history and the country’s present social realities. But, she adds, she’s not a complete stranger to them either. Her self-admitted, modest knowledge about the country raises some questions. Did her publisher, Penguin Random House, know about the silenced, preferably unheard, histories of the hotel when it was chosen as the place where Roy, of all people, would hold court with pre-selected, pre-vetted journalists? ..."
Mail & Guardian
amazon: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

2008 May: Arundhati Roy, 2010 April: "Walking With The Comrades", 2015 November: Politics by Other Means, 2018 July: What is the Morally Appropriate Language in Which to Think and Write?

Wednesday, August 29

We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage


"... Sally figured the boy fell from the window in 1944 or so, because she was moving to the 'big girls' dormitory that day. Girls usually moved when they were 6, though residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont, did not always have a clear sense of their age — birthdays, like siblings and even names, being one of the many human attributes that were stripped from them when they passed through its doors. She recounted his fall in a deposition on Nov. 6, 1996, as part of a remarkable group of lawsuits that 28 former residents brought against the nuns, the diocese, and the social agency that oversaw the orphanage. I watched the deposition — all 19 hours of grainy, scratchy videotape — more than two decades later. By that time sexual abuse scandals had ripped through the Catholic Church, shattering the silence that had for so long protected its secrets. It was easier for accusers in general to come forward, and easier for people to believe their stories, even if the stories sounded too awful to be true. Even if they had happened decades ago, when the accusers were only children. Even if the people they were accusing were pillars of the community. ..."
BuzzFeedNews (Audio)
YouTube: We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage

How Islam Created Europe


Charles Auguste Steuben's painting of the Battle of the Poitiers in 732. The Frankish leader Charles Martel's victory over Muslim invaders is seen as a decisive moment in European history.
"Europe was essentially defined by Islam. And Islam is redefining it now. For centuries in early and middle antiquity, Europe meant the world surrounding the Mediterranean, or Mare Nostrum ('Our Sea'), as the Romans famously called it. It included North Africa. Indeed, early in the fifth century A.D., when Saint Augustine lived in what is today Algeria, North Africa was as much a center of Christianity as Italy or Greece. But the swift advance of Islam across North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries virtually extinguished Christianity there, thus severing the Mediterranean region into two civilizational halves, with the 'Middle Sea' a hard border between them rather than a unifying force. Since then, as the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset observed, 'all European history has been a great emigration toward the North.' ..."
The Atlantic
W - Battle of Tours
YouTube: 732 BATTLE OF POITIERS

The Saracen Army outside Paris - Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Tuesday, August 28

The Vanishing Idealism of Burning Man


"The Tangled Bank" (2009), by Rod Garrett and Larry Harvey.
"Last summer, 69,493 people went out into the desert to build a city. They brought with them supplies not only for erecting a temporary infrastructure (tents and RVs, roads, signage, bathrooms), but also for printing newspapers, issuing vehicle licenses, making art, throwing parties, burning a giant sculpture of a man, and eating and staying hydrated for nine days in a place where coffee and ice are two of the only items for sale, and the nearest convenience store is about 22 miles away, in a depopulated former mining town. Between August 27 and September 4, those tens of thousands of people took part in the annual ritual of creating and maintaining Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man. ..."
New Republic
amazon: This Is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground
W - Burning Man
Burning Man

Laba Sosseh & Super Star de Dakar - Sessions Extraordinaires Vol. 1/2/3


"... Laba Badara Sosseh, the renowned vocalist of Senegalese and Gambian salsa. A griot, Sosseh was born in Bathurst, British Gambia (now Banjul, the Gambia) on 12 March 1943. His family relocated to Dakar because of his father's work at the airport, and Sosseh engaged Dakar's musical scene, which was at the time strongly tilted towards son, rumba and other Cuban rhythms. As a founding member of Dakar's Star Band, he shared the limelight during the late 1960s with several future members of Orchestra Baobab. He also performed with Issa Cissokho's Vedette band. In 1972, Sosseh cast his lot with a splinter group, Superstar de Dakar, that was based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The band went through several incarnations, including the Super International Band de Dakar featuring singer Pape Fall, and Liwanza. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
amazon: Sessions extraordinaires, Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 (Audio)
YouTube: Laba Sosseh / Super Star de Dakar - El loco, La sitiera, Guantanamera, Recordando a noro morales, Maria Elena

Monday, August 27

Indochine - Régis Wargnier (1992)


Wikipedia - "Indochine (French pronunciation: ​[ɛ̃dɔʃin]) is a 1992 French film set in colonial French Indochina during the 1930s to 1950s. It is the story of Éliane Devries, a French plantation owner, and of her adopted Vietnamese daughter, Camille, with the rising Vietnamese nationalist movement set as a backdrop. The screenplay was written by novelist Érik Orsenna, scriptwriters Louis Gardel, Catherine Cohen, and Régis Wargnier, who also directed the film. The film stars Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Pérez, Linh Dan Pham, Jean Yanne and Dominique Blanc. ... In 1930, marked by growing anticolonial unrest, Éliane Devries (Catherine Deneuve), a single woman born to French parents in colonial Indochina, runs her and her widowed father's (Henri Marteau) large rubber plantation with many indentured laborers, whom she casually refers to as her coolies, and divides her days between her homes at the plantation and outside Saigon. After her best friends from the Nguyễn Dynasty die in a plane crash, she adopts their five-year-old daughter Camille (Ba Hoang, as child). ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: Deneuve As Symbol Of Colonial Epoch
Excerpts from David Nicholls' comments on INDOCHINE
LA Times: 'Indochine' an Intimate, Spectacle
amazon
YouTube: Indochine - Trailer

Red Garland Quintet - All Mornin’ Long (1957)


"... Some groups have existed only in the recording studio but have produced music of lasting value. This quintet, under pianist Red Garland's leadership, actually did play some gigs around New York in the fall of 1957, but even if it hadn't, the rapport in the studio would still have been powerful. Beginning with the association of Garland and sax master John Coltrane in the Miles Davis Quintet and continuing with Arthur Taylor's trio connection with Garland, and trumpeter Donald Byrd's having worked with all of them in one form or another, there was enough of a common spirit in the musical attitudes of all the participants. The title blues spans an entire side; the overleaf is shared by Gershwin's 'They Can't Take That Away from Me' and Dameron's 'Our Delight.' ..."
Acoustic Sounds
W - All Mornin' Long
LondonJazzCollector (Audio)
amazon
YouTube: All Mornin Long 37:12

2015 March: Attica Blues (1972), 2016 June: Archie Shepp - The Magic of Ju-Ju (1967), 2011 November: John Coltrane Quartet, Live at Jazz Casual, 1963, 2012 March: John Coltrane 1960 - 1965, 2012 September: "Naima" (1959), 2012 October: Blue Train (1957), 2013 April: The World According to John Coltrane, 2013 November: A Love Supreme (1965), 2014 July: New Photos of John Coltrane Rediscovered 50 Years After They Were Shot, 2014 November: Coltrane’s Free Jazz Wasn’t Just “A Lot of Noise”, 2015 February: Lush Life (1958), 2015 May: An Animated John Coltrane Explains His True Reason for Being: “I Want to Be a Force for Real Good”, 2015 July: Afro Blue Impressions (2013), 2015 September: Impressions of Coltrane, 2015 December: Giant Steps (1960), 2016 January: Crescent (1964), 2016 April: The Church of Saint John Coltrane, 2016 July: Soultrane (1958), 2016 December: Dakar (1957), 2017 July: The John Coltrane Record That Made Modern Music, 2017 October: Live at the Village Vanguard (1962), 2017 December: Interview: Archie Shepp on John Coltrane, the Blues and More, 2018 March: Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago (1959), 2018 June: Lost John Coltrane Recording From 1963 Will Be Released at Last, 2018 July: Stream Online the Complete “Lost” John Coltrane Album, Both Directions at Once

Sunday, August 26

Paul Manafort Is Going to Jail. But in Ukraine, He Has Left Ghosts in His Wake.


"On the morning of February 24, 2014, hundreds of Ukrainians streamed through the doors of the famed presidential palace of Mezhyhirya. The billion-dollar residence, finished in wood, as if to mimic a rustic cottage, was propped up by incongruous white columns; the crowd that flowed between them was witnessing, for the first time, the uses state coffers had been put to under the corrupt guidance of their ousted president. Viktor Yanukovych had fled overnight, vanishing into the depths of Russia, and his guards had deserted their posts. They had watched over the estate, its garages filled with luxury cars, a scale-model Spanish galleon bobbing in the manmade pond, on which Yanukovych had hosted guests for luxurious dinners, with sturgeon caviar served in golden dishes and libations from cellars stocked with priceless brandies; Now the place was left open for a crowd of ordinary citizens, whose average wage was less than $200 a month. The crowd was awed, but relatively tame. There was no looting, just selfies in the five guesthouses, with the peacocks and pet ostriches and Burmese fowl, on the vast grounds a Washington Post reporter said reminded him 'of Marie Antoinette’s idealized peasant village at Versailles.' ..."
Voice
The Atlantic: The Plot Against America (March 2018 - Audio)

Small Box, Big Sound - State Azure


"In the expanding realm of live synthesizer performance videos, even the more informed among us sometimes can’t see the ensemble forest for the module trees. Despite the assembly of knobs and cables in this video, uploaded by State Azure, the activity is limited to just two pieces of equipment packed into a tidy little box in the foreground, two little modules designed for the manipulation of sound. The slight twists and adjustments on State Azure’s part align in various ways with interstellar spaciousness, wind chime chill, and dusty static, though by no means are all the correlations self-evident. ... This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at YouTube. More at stateazure.bandcamp.com. State Azure is based in Southampton, U.K."
disquiet (Video)

Saturday, August 25

The New Socialists


"Throughout most of American history, the idea of socialism has been a hopeless, often vaguely defined dream. So distant were its prospects at midcentury that the best definition Irving Howe and Lewis Coser, editors of the socialist periodical Dissent, could come up with in 1954 was this: 'Socialism is the name of our desire.' That may be changing. Public support for socialism is growing. Self-identified socialists like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are making inroads into the Democratic Party, which the political analyst Kevin Phillips once called the 'second-most enthusiastic capitalist party' in the world. Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country, is skyrocketing, especially among young people. What explains this irruption? And what do we mean, in 2018, when we talk about 'socialism'? ..."
NY Times

2016 April: Bernie Sanders and the History of American Socialism, 2017 January: Reason, creativity and freedom: the communalist model - Eleanor Finley, 2017 February: Socialism’s Return, 2017 July: Don’t March, Organize for Power, 2017 December: Vermont Progressive Party, 2017 December: The 2017 Progressive Honor Roll, 2018 February: Catalyst, 2018 April: Are You Progressive?, 2017 April: Capitalism and the Family, 2017 August: America Has a Long and Storied Socialist Tradition. DSA Is Reviving It., 2017 August: Socialism: As American As Apple Pie, 2018 May: A Democratic Spring: 12 Left Challengers Taking On the Party Establishment in 2018, 2018 July: The Ballot and the Break, 2018 August: What You Need To Know About Democratic Socialism

The Roots of Dub


"For such an influential genre, very little is known about dub’s origins and protagonists. Delving into its history is a wonderful, challenging journey into the world of one-off dubplates and dirt-encrusted 45s – the available evidence of its incubation and development in Kingston, Jamaica in the early ’70s is more akin to oral traditions in mythology than meticulously written documentation. Even the trainspotting skills of an experienced record collector are not especially helpful here. Retrospectively trying to piece together a timeline of dub’s development via record label credits ends in frustrating attempts to glean release dates and producer credits from hard-to-locate 7" singles, often with multiple label issues and conflicting information written in patois. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
W - Dub Music
Dubbing Is A Must: A Beginner’s Guide To Jamaica’s Most Influential Genre
Dub Music: A History of Jamaica's Criminally Underappreciated Musical Artform (Video)

Friday, August 24

Tom Clark (1941-2018)


"Very sad news in the poetry world: the poet Tom Clark died this week at the age of 77 after being struck by a car while walking across a street in Berkeley, California. A prolific and controversial writer, Clark was the author of over 25 volumes of poetry and biographies of Jack Kerouac, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley. He was a pivotal figure in the New York School’s second generation, both as a poet in his own right and for the important role he played as poetry editor of the Paris Review, a post he held from 1963 (when he began at the ripe old age of 22!) to 1973. ... In later years, Clark certainly courted controversy in various ways, but there is no question that with his sudden, tragic death, he leaves behind a complicated but important legacy for the poetry of the New York School. For more on Clark, see here and here, for a 2003 interview, and this tribute by Terence Winch."
Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets
The Paris Review: Tom Clark (1941–2018)
W - Tom Clark
amazon: Tom Clark

Baseball

The Five Things You Need to Know About European Soccer


"It’s way too early to say anything definitive about the European soccer season—the Bundesliga hasn’t started yet, and no one else in the big five leagues has played more than twice—but that doesn’t mean interesting things haven’t happened! Ahead of this weekend’s games, let’s take a look at what the small sample size hath wrought thus far. ..."
The Ringer (Video)

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou: Echos Hypnotiques - From the Vaults of Albarika Store 1969-1979


"... Four years in the making, Analog Africa finally presents the second volume of Africa's funkiest band, the mythical Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Volume One (The Vodoun Effect - Funk & Sato from Benin's Obscure Labels, 1973 - 1975), released by Analog Africa at the end of 2008, was a collection of amazing lo-fi recordings produced for various labels around Benin. Volume Two showcases superbly recorded tracks, courtesy of the EMI studios in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the best studios in the region. All tracks here were recorded for the mighty Albarika Store label and its enigmatic producer, Adissa Seidou. The idea for this compilation was born five years ago when Samy Ben Redjeb, Analog Africa's founder and compiler, first heard the addictive funk track 'Malin Kpon O' (included here), which was originally released in 1975 on Albarika Store. ..."
Analog Africa (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
amazon
YouTube: Se Ba Ho (Live), Houzou Houzou Wa (Live), Azoo De Ma Gnin Kpevi, Mi Ve Wa Se

Thursday, August 23

The Hobo Code: An Introduction to the Hieroglyphic Language of Early 1900s Train-Hoppers


"Many of us now use the word hobo to refer to any homeless individual, but back in the America of the late 19th and early 20th century, to be a hobo meant something more. It meant, specifically, to count yourself as part of a robust culture of itinerant laborers who criss-crossed the country by hitching illegal rides on freight trains. Living such a lifestyle on the margins of society demanded the mastery of certain techniques as well as a body of secret knowledge, an aspect of the heyday of hobodom symbolized in the 'hobo code,' a special hieroglyphic language explained in the Vox video above. 'Wandering from place to place and performing odd jobs in exchange for food and money, hobos were met with both open arms and firearms,' writes Antique Archaeology's Sarah Buckholtz. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
W - Freighthopping
W - Hobo
Don't Call Them Bums: The Unsung History of America's Hard-Working Hoboes

Never Trust A Hippy - Adrian Sherwood (2003)


"Never Trust A Hippy is Adrian Sherwood’s eclectic, compelling, and lovingly crafted solo debut. The timing, it seemed, was right. Still, it took Real World, no mean trailblazers themselves, to provide the framework. 'Even then it was by chance,' notes Sherwood, 'when Real World asked me to do a remix album, an Adrian Sherwood version of their catalogue.' But for a variety of reasons – some tracks he chose were religious songs and couldn’t be touched, others he was unable to get clearance for – the concept proved a non-starter. Sherwood, predictably enough, had other ideas. ..."
Real World (Audio)
W - Never Trust a Hippy (Adrian Sherwood album)
YouTube: Boogaloo

YouTube: Never Trust A Hippy (Full Album)

Wednesday, August 22

Michael Cohen Says He Arranged Payments to Women at Trump’s Direction


"Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, made the extraordinary admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen acknowledged the illegal payments while pleading guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges, a litany of crimes that revealed both his shadowy involvement in Mr. Trump’s circle and his own corrupt business dealings. He told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payments to the women were made 'in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,' implicating the president in a federal crime. ... The plea represented a pivotal moment in the investigation into the president, and the scene in the Manhattan courtroom was striking. Mr. Cohen, a longtime lawyer for Mr. Trump — and loyal confidant — described in plain-spoken language how Mr. Trump worked with him to cover up a potential sex scandal that Mr. Trump feared would endanger his rising candidacy. ..."
NY Times (Video - The Ever-Changing Hush Money Story)
NY Times: Opinion - All the President’s Crook
Guardian - Donald Trump: 'worst hour' for president as Manafort and Cohen guilty (Video)
The Atlantic: What Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Means for Trump
Salon - President Donald Trump’s worst day yet: Manafort, Cohen fall and the walls are closing in

Paul Manafort, Trump’s Former Campaign Chairman, Guilty of 8 Counts
"Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted on Tuesday in his financial fraud trial, bringing a dramatic end to a politically charged case that riveted the capital. The verdict was a victory for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, whose prosecutors introduced extensive evidence that Mr. Manafort hid millions of dollars in foreign accounts to evade taxes and lied to banks repeatedly to obtain millions of dollars in loans. Mr. Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 counts, and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges. Kevin Downing, a lawyer for Mr. Manafort, said the defense was 'disappointed' by the verdict and that his client was 'evaluating all of his options at this point.' ..."
NY Times (Video - A Trail of Scandals)
The Atlantic: Blind Confidence Couldn’t Save Paul Manafort
The Atlantic: The Plot Against America (March 2018)

New Republic: The Worst Day Yet of Trump’s Presidency
The Atlantic: The President Is a Crook
Washington Post: Is this the worst day of Trump's presidency? (Video)
YouTube: The NY times Michael Cohen Says He Arranged Payments to Women at Trump’s Direction

Tuesday, August 21

Studio Caroline: The Parisian Laboratory of African Pop


"Paris in the ’80s was arguably one of the largest global hubs for African music, playing host to musicians from across the African diaspora and generating an enormous volume of releases that few other cities could rival at the time. The situation came about early in the decade, through a perfect storm of affordable studio spaces, newly relaxed broadcasting laws that saw a flourishing of commercial and community radio stations and a record-hungry public with the necessary disposal income to fuel the musical output. At the end of the ’70s, producers and musicians from across the diaspora were setting up shop in the city, selling records from across Europe and Africa as well as the lucrative 'DOM/TOM' market – the French territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana and Réunion where many African artists would also tour. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)

K. Leimer - Threnody (2018)


"Threnody by K. Leimer is a music of disorientation, error and loss. Free of any particular sense of continuity or structure, Threnody dwells in an absent-minded and forgetful state, inhabiting an aftermath of events too disorienting to be completely comprehended. Highly atmospheric, the music draws from influences as diverse as Arve Henriksen, David Sylvian, Taylor Deupree and Biosphere. Shattered phrases emerge among shrouded details in a state of sustained incompleteness. In a departure for Leimer, this music is highly improvised, mostly studio-generated in real-time. 'I approached the work by repeatedly abandoning it and, at some later time, after pursuing some other task, after days or weeks of new outrages, wandered back and tried to once more pick up the threads.' Threnody is music tuned to a fractured time. ..."
Boomkat
Soundcloud: THRENODY: FAINT AND DEFORMED STILLNESS, THRENODY: THE STANDARDIZATION OF EXPERIENCE
amazon

Monday, August 20

The West Hoped for Democracy in Turkey. Erdogan Had Other Ideas.


"In Western capitals a decade ago, Turkey’s now-paramount leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held promise as a potential beacon of democracy for a region rife with religious conflict. Turkey was a stalwart NATO ally bridging Europe and the volatile Middle East. As Mr. Erdogan sought to secure a place for his country in the ranks of the European Union, he presented himself as a moderate and modernizing Muslim leader for the post-9/11 age. He catered to perceptions that Turkey was becoming a liberal society governed by tolerance and the rule of law. But that was before Mr. Erdogan began amassing supreme powers, and before his brutal crackdown on dissent following an attempted coup two years ago. It was before Turkey descended into a financial crisis delivered in no small measure by his authoritarian proclivities and unorthodox stewardship of the economy. Whatever was left of the notion that Mr. Erdogan was a liberalizing force has been wholly extinguished. ..."
NY Times

2016 February: The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating -  Debbie Bookchin, 2016 May: Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn, 2016 July: How Turkey Came to This, 2017 March: As repression deepens, Turkish artists and intellectuals fear the worst, 2017 July: A Long March for Justice in Turkey, 2017 July: Radical Municipalism: The Future We Deserve, 2017 September: Istanbul: Memories and the City - Orhan Pamuk, 2018 January: Turkey’s State of Emergency, 2018 April: The Unlikely New Hero of Turkeys, 2018 June: How My Father’s Ideas Helped the Kurds Create a New Democracy, 2018 June: How Nietzsche Explains Turkey

Mille Bornes


"Arthur (AKA Edmond) Dujardin was born in Ecuador and raised in France where he became the author of, among other things, bilingual dictionaries and driving-school materials. After the war he tried his hand at designing several automotive-themed games, including Coup d’essai, Coup de maître, Carrefour and in 1954, 1000 Bornes. Dujardin described 1000 Bornes, as 'la Canasta de la Route,' but the game is not based on canasta but rather on William Janson Roche's 1906 classic Touring, with the addition of safety cards and the novel Coup fourré play. The game was a popular alternative to Bridge and, as Parker Brothers stated in the US introduction, became 'a French Card Game Craze.' To keep up with demand Dujardin moved production from the basement of his family’s home in Arcachon to a renovated fish factory. In all, more than a million copies were sold in France in the 1950s. ..."
Codex99
W - Mille Bornes
amazon

Binky Griptite - Adventures in Record Collecting


"For more than two decades, Binky Griptite has been the voice of the Dap-Kings, the hard-hitting funk and soul eight piece behind the incomparable Sharon Jones. As the band’s guitarist and emcee, Binky would introduce the group as it warmed up, then in the style of James Brown cape man Danny Ray, announce the arrival of “100 pounds of soul dynamite” as Jones danced her way to center stage. Binky toured the world as a founding member of Soul Providers, Antibalas and the Dap-Kings—and he picked up a lot of records along the way. After Jones passed away and touring slowed, Binky shared his talents as an emcee and collector by hosting a weekly all-vinyl radio show on WFUV. 'The Boogie Down With Binky Griptite,' which airs Saturday nights 8-11 PM EST, showcases his chops as a soul and funk aficionado as well as his commitment to supporting working soul groups. ..."
Dust and Grooves

Sunday, August 19

3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman


"In May of 1950, Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini married Swedish actress-turned-Hollywood-icon Ingrid Bergman. Earlier that year, the two had welcomed a son amid a flurry of tabloid gossip and moral accusations. The pair met less than a year prior, after Bergman had expressed interest in working with Rossellini, and though each were married at the time, a personal and professional relationship developed, resulting in perhaps the most fruitful collaboration in cinema history to that point. Despite the outside conditions (both director and star were constantly harassed by the media during these years), it stands to reason that it was this very environment that inspired such emotionally and aesthetically brave decisions on the part of Rossellini, who had already helped popularize his home country’s neorealist movement throughout the preceding decade. The films Rossellini and Bergman made in the early ’50s were something altogether different, and not only in comparison to the director’s prior output. ..."
Slant
senses of cinema
W - Stromboli, W - Europe '51, W - Journey to Italy
Criterion
amazon
MUBI: Stromboli
YouTube: Journey to Italy, Rossellini about Bergman, Isabella Rossellini talks about her parents and about the film Stromboli

Where ‘Block Party’ Has a Score of Meanings


Kahlil Robert Irving, “Street Block: Lost/Found/Chance,” collagraph and collaged found objects, 2017.
"Crushed cans, old playing cards, burned out cigarette butts, a lone, fading and bright red bow — the beauty and detritus of urban life — were culled from the streets by Kahlil Robert Irving, a 26-year-old artist who has mixed found objects into a collagraphic print hanging in a turn-of-the-century Brooklyn limestone that houses the Jenkins Johnson Projects. The work, 'Street Block: Lost/Found/Chance' is a fitting introduction to the gallery’s latest exhibition. Called 'Block Party,' a riff on the New York summertime tradition, the group show features an array of emerging voices including Devin N. Morris, Alex Jackson and Kenturah Davis. What’s refreshingly missing are the images one might expect of a city in seasonal repose. Instead, the exhibition casts its gaze on the grittier, more pressing concerns people in urban communities discuss when they come together: race, gender, immigration, violence and gentrification. ..."
NY Times

Three Tales - Gustave Flaubert (1877)


"I found myself a copy of Flaubert’s 1877 short story collection Three Tales in order to read ‘Herodias’, his piece about the last few days of John the Baptist. I did this because I’m interested in John the Baptist. Accuse me of whatever you like. I’m not ashamed. ‘Herodias’ is the final tale in the book and, being a pedant, I felt obliged to read the two that proceeded it first. These were ‘A Simple Heart’ and ‘The Legend of Saint Julian Hospitator’. The opener, and the longest of the three, details the life of a serving woman. ... I enjoyed this slim volume and will almost certainly rectify the shameful situation of my never having read Madame Bovary as soon as possible. Great stuff."
Triumph of the Now
W - Three Tales (Flaubert)
amazon

Saturday, August 18

Ancestor Work In Street Basketball


"I had just attended the 2013 Community Awareness Tournament in Roxbury. It was dark. I walked aimlessly along St. Mary’s Street near Boston University. Painful images of the young boys and men of Roxbury flooded my head. That afternoon Russell had asked me to read Marvin’s 'Let It Be Magic' poem at halftime to the crowd. I couldn’t do it. Grief racked my body. I left the game. Tears rolled down my eyes as the full impact of the interviews and stories of Boston’s black young men hit me. This wasn’t a few suffering individuals — it was a collective injury. Take Marlon, whom I mention in the introduction. He was a long and skinny six-foot-two-inch player from Roxbury, versatile as a Swiss army knife. He shot threes from deep, made defenders fall with his hesitation dribble, and dunked on players off of one leg. A rhythmic beat reverberated through his head and the sound would grip his body during games. ..."
Longreads
Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball

2011 June: American Basketball Association, 2012 July: Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, 2012 November: Your Guide to the Brooklyn Nets, 2013 March: March Madness 2013, 2013 October: Rucker Park, 2014 January: History of the high five, 2015 February: Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015), 2015 June: Basketball’s Obtuse Triangle, 2015 September: Joint Ventures: How sneakers became high fashion and big business, 2015 October: Loose Balls - Terry Pluto (2007), 2015 November: The Sounds of Memphis, 2015 December: Welcome to Smarter Basketball, 2015 December: New York, New York: Julius Erving, the Nets-Knicks Feud, and America’s Bicentennial, 2016 January: The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (1994), 2016 January: A Long Hardwood Journey, 2016 March: American Hustle - Alexandra Starr, 2016 November: 2016–17 College Basketball, 2017 November: 2017-18 College Basketball, 2017 March: N.C.A.A. Bracket Predictions: Who the Tournament Experts Pick, 2017 June: The Rise and Fall of the High-Top Sneaker, 2018 January: Chaos Is This College Basketball Season’s Only Constant, 2018 February: Heaven is a Playground, 2018 March: The End of March Madness?, 2018 March: The 2018 March Madness Cinderella Guide

"Habibi Funk 003 Mix" by Jannis of Jakarta Records (Mix of Arabic 60s & 70s Vinyl)


“'Earlier this month, I was in North Africa for another digging trip and ended up finding quite some records I didn’t know before or I had no copy of, so I felt it was time for another mix,' says Jakarta Records’ Jannis Stürtz of his June 2015 excursion. He has previously laid down some Arabic heat for those of us who obsess about finding previously unheard tunes. Thus, Jannis drops Habibi Funk 003 Mix, with music from Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. 'After every mix I make, I feel like, Uhh, getting enough records I like for the next one will be tough,' he continues. 'But every time, I end up getting proven wrong by the rich musical heritage of Arabic musicians that worked on combining local influences with Western musical traditions. Just like Dalton, the Tunisian band we just re-released on our new Habibi Funk label, who are also prominently featured on this mix.' ...”
Wax Poetics (Audio)
Soundcloud (Audio)

Friday, August 17

The Pan American


"In at least one instance, a book by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano may have saved a life. In 1997, Víctor Quintana—a Mexican congressman and anticorruption activist—was abducted by paid assassins, brutally beaten, and threatened with death. By his account, he survived by distracting his assailants with stories about soccer—quirky and lyrical tales drawn from a history of the game that Galeano had recently published. After listening to the adventures of Pelé and Schiaffino, Maradona and Beckenbauer, the killers decided to let Quintana live. 'You’re a good guy,' one told him. In another case, a book by Galeano proved less propitious. A battered copy of The Open Veins of Latin America, his seminal history of hemispheric exploitation, was found in the knapsack of a guerrilla who was killed fighting El Salvador’s death-squad government. 'The book was mortally wounded,' Galeano later recalled. 'A bullet hole went from the front cover right through the back.' ..."
The Nation
NY Times: 'There Is a Woman Stuck in My Throat'
amazon: The Book of Embraces


2015 April: Eduardo Galeano (3 September 1940 – 13 April 2015), 2017 August: Soccer in Sun and Shadow (1993)

The Strange World Of... Jon Hassell


"Now in his seventh decade of making music, the electronic pioneer Jon Hassell joins us to look back on some of the albums he has made that have shaped the way he performs and thinks about music. Always a visionary, with an interest in the esoteric and the sensual as well as the technical and the cerebral, Hassell is maybe best known for developing the otherworldly musical style known as "Fourth World". The term summed up his very unique way of blending the minimalist techniques he’d studied with African percussion, world music and his own electronically manipulated trumpet playing. Since the 1960s he’s also worked on film scores, immersive meditative installations, Indian ragas and collaborations with the likes of Talking Heads, Björk, Moritz Von Oswald and Carl Craig. ..."
The Quietus (Audio)
world music magazine #5 - 1994
Discogs (Video)

Thursday, August 16

A Free Press Needs You


"In 1787, the year the Constitution was adopted, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to a friend, 'Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.' That’s how he felt before he became president, anyway. Twenty years later, after enduring the oversight of the press from inside the White House, he was less sure of its value. 'Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,' he wrote. 'Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.' ... In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are 'fake news' is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the 'enemy of the people' is dangerous, period. These attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States, already buffeted by the industry’s economic crisis. ..."
NY Times

Meet Me at the Fair: In Praise of Film Books


"I’m holding in my hands a novelization of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s masterpiece A Matter of Life and Death. It’s an elegant, slim hardcover, published in 1946. The author credited is Eric Warman. I’m familiar with movie novelizations, of course, but I think of them as having had their heyday in the Sixties and Seventies. In truth, they’ve been around since the days of silent cinema. Either way, it’s fascinating to see one from 1946 — for a title that was extremely hard to see for many years, no less. (Happily, the film is now out on Criterion, and all is right with the world.) I haven’t read this novel, and I don’t plan on buying it, but it does feel good to be able to hold the delicate little thing in my hands. It’s just one of the books on display at the Metrograph’s first annual book fair, being held this Saturday and Sunday at the Lower East Side cinema. The idea of a book fair grew out of the theater’s plans for its own bookstore, which is located on the second floor. ..."
Voice