Thursday, February 28

Impeach Trump? Defend Him? Cohen Hearing Shows Perils for Both Parties

A copy of Mr. Cohen’s testimony on the floor of the hearing room.
"The searing portrait that Michael D. Cohen delivered on Wednesday — of a lying, cheating, racist president who used money and threats to conceal immoral and illegal behavior — will test both parties as they hurtle toward a confrontation over the fate of the presidency. Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, ripped away the veneer of loyalty that he had maintained for more than a decade and further imperiled the president by offering an insider account at the heart of the criminal investigations that have consumed Washington for nearly two years. The five-hour hearing offered a glimpse of a confrontational year ahead between Republicans still loyal to Mr. Trump and newly empowered Democrats seeking to investigate and weaken the president by demanding his tax returns and business records, and appearances before Congress by his former advisers and associates. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Michael Cohen Accuses Trump of Expansive Pattern of Lies and Criminality (Video)
Guardian: Michael Cohen's explosive allegations suggest danger for Trump on two fronts (Video)
Guardian: Trump-Russia investigation
NY Times: Opinion - ‘He Is a Racist, He Is a Con Man, and He Is a Cheat’
NY Times: Michael D. Cohen’s Congressional Testimony (Video)

John Dean testifying before the Senate Watergate committee in 1973.

Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk & Postmodern Science - Edited by Larry McCaffery (1992)

"The term 'cyberpunk' entered the literary landscape in 1984 to describe William Gibson’s pathbreaking novel Neuromancer. Cyberpunks are now among the shock troops of postmodernism, Larry McCaffery argues in Storming the Reality Studio, marshalling the resources of a fragmentary culture to create a startling new form. Artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, multinational machinations, frenetic bursts of prose, collisions of style, celebrations of texture: although emerging largely from science fiction, these features of cyberpunk writing are, as this volume makes clear, integrally related to the aims and innovations of the literary avant-garde. By bringing together original fiction by well-known contemporary writers (William Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Kathy Acker, J. G. Ballard, Samuel R. Delany), critical commentary by some of the major theorists of postmodern art and culture (Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Timothy Leary, Jean-François Lyotard), and work by major practitioners of cyberpunk (William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Pat Cadigan, Bruce Sterling), Storming the Reality Studio reveals a fascinating ongoing dialog in contemporary culture. ..."
Duke Press [PDF]
W - Storming the Reality Studio

2015 May: Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology - edited by Bruce Sterling (1986)

Wednesday, February 27

Viola da Gamba

Wikipedia - "The viol /ˈvəl/, viola da gamba [ˈvjɔːla da ˈɡamba], or (informally) gamba, is any one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed instruments with hollow wooden bodies and pegboxes where the tension on the strings can be increased or decreased to adjust the pitch of each of the strings. Frets on the viol are usually made of gut, tied on the fingerboard around the instrument's neck, to enable the performer to stop the strings more cleanly. Frets improve consistency of intonation and lend the stopped notes a tone that better matches the open strings. Viols first appeared in Spain in the mid to late 15th century and were most popular in the Renaissance and Baroque (1600-1750) periods. Early ancestors include the Arabic rebab and the medieval European vielle, but later, more direct possible ancestors include the Venetian viole and the 15th- and 16th-century Spanish vihuela, a 6-course plucked instrument tuned like a lute (and also like a present-day viol) that looked like but was quite distinct from (at that time) the 4-course guitar (an earlier chordophone). ..."
Wikipedia (Audio)
NY Times: How a Movie Helped Fuel a Viola da Gamba Revival
Fiddles, Violas da Braccio, and Violas da Gamba
YouTube: Phantasm - Viol Consort

Jan Verkolje, Dutch, c. 1674, Elegant Couple (A Musical Interlude).

Eek-A-Mouse (Ripton Hylton)

Wikipedia - "Eek-A-Mouse (born Ripton Joseph Hylton, 19 November 1957) is a Jamaican reggae musician. He is one of the early artists to be described as a 'singjay'. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Eek-A-Mouse began his music career when he was in college, releasing two roots reggae singles under his own name, which were produced by his mathematics tutor, Mr. Dehaney. These early works were influenced by the music of Pablo Moses. He then went on to work for various sound systems over the next few years and also released a few more singles. He adopted the stage name 'Eek-A-Mouse' in 1979, taking the name of a racehorse he always bet on; it was a nickname his friends had used for some time. ..."
YouTube: My Fathers Land, No Wicked Can't Reign, Terrorists In The City 12" Mix, Creation, WA-DO-DEM, Slowly But Surely, queen elizabeth

Tuesday, February 26

Cairo’s House of Knowledge

Although the building that held Cairo’s Dar al-’Ilm, or House of Knowledge, disappeared long ago, it stood not far from the Mosque of al-Aqmar, right, along Muizz Street, a thoroughfare that dates back to the founding of Cairo in the 10th century.
"On March 24, 1005, a man reputed for madness came to his senses long enough to establish one of the most progressive and influential academic institutions of the Middle Ages. 'On this Saturday ... the so-called House of Knowledge in Cairo was inaugurated,' wrote the chronicler al-Musabbihi, a friend of the new institution’s founder, Caliph al-Hakim, who had assumed his title nine years before. Though al-Musabbihi’s original manuscript is lost, copied sections survive in the writings of 14th-century Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi. As al-Musabbihi and others at court well knew, staying on al-Hakim’s good side could be tricky. The 'Mad Caliph,' as he was later called, could be mingling jovially with his subjects in the streets at one moment and ordering the summary execution of an esteemed courtier the next—or the extermination of the city’s dogs because their barking annoyed him. ..."

Dar al-’Ilm drew scholars from across the Muslim world. It was established in 1005 with books donated by Caliph al-Hakim, whose own palace library was said to hold some 400,000 volumes.

Hainbach - Gear Top 7: My Personal Favorites In 2018

"Ever since Nick Hornby invented lists in the nineties, humans never got tired of things ordered by numbers. Here is my completely biased and absolutely personal list of instruments and gear released in 2018 that inspired me, be it bought or endorsed. SPOILERS: 1. Koma Elektronik Field Kit FX 2. AC Noises AMA 3. Morfbeats Gamelan Strips 4. David Bellinger eKalimba (Patch Point) 5. Bastl Thyme 6. Oto Machines Boum 7. Squarp Hermod. Disclaimer because transparency is important to me: no company colluded with me to make this list. I did get endorsed with a few products over the year but with no set of directions or agreements to promote them, especially not in a video like this. Also, there is a joke about lists in the opening statement of this description. Happy New Year!"
YouTube: Gear Top 7: My Personal Favorites In 2018

2018 October: Distressed Tape, 2019 February: Sandpaper Is a Form of Change

Monday, February 25

Remember the Warriors: Behind the Chaotic, Drug-Fueled, and Often Terrifying Making of a Cult Classic

"The D, F, N, and Q trains all converge at Stillwell Avenue near the southernmost tip of Brooklyn. Visitors are funneled through the newly polished Coney Island Terminal, past the growing line of souvenir shops, until they are shot out toward the bustle of Surf Avenue and Bowery Street. The boardwalk’s iconic Wonder Wheel spins lazily behind Nathan’s Famous, the 99-year-old hot dog joint, which serves as something of a welcome center for those seeking the winding row of amusements that line the beach. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name. ..."

2010 August: The Warriors, 2014 September: BAM: Retro Metro, 2015 January: Screaming Phantoms, Tomahawks, Phantom Lords, Dirty Ones and other gangs of 1970s Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2015 September: Cast of 'The Warriors' to Reunite in Coney Island One Last Time

Sonny Stitt Plays Jimmy Giuffre Arrangements (1959)

Wikipedia - "Edward Hammond Boatner Jr. (February 2, 1924 – July 22, 1982), known professionally as Sonny Stitt, was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom. Known for his warm tone, he was one of the best-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording more than 100 albums. He was nicknamed the 'Lone Wolf' by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern because of his relentless touring and devotion to jazz. Stitt was sometimes viewed as a Charlie Parker mimic, especially earlier in his career, but gradually came to develop his own sound and style, particularly when performing on tenor sax. ..."
The 1959 Project - February 16, 1959 (Video)
W - Sonny Stitt Plays Jimmy Giuffre Arrangement
Discogs (Video)
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: For All We Know, New York Blues, Giuff, For All We Know

2018 March: Stitt Meets Brother Jack (1962)

Sunday, February 24

Cooking with Patrick O’Brian By Valerie Stivers

"The discovery of a new series of novels to love is often accompanied by joy (a new lifelong friend!) and resentment (why did none of you tell me about this?). These were precisely my feelings upon finding the Aubrey–Maturin books, a series of twenty naval adventures written by the brilliant British historical novelist Patrick O’Brian (1914–2000). The books take place during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15) and explore the friendship between Jack Aubrey, a jolly and bellicose naval captain, and Stephen Maturin, his ship’s surgeon, a laudanum-addicted naturalist. Most of the action occurs at sea—the first volume starts on the island of Minorca (at the time a British possession), with Jack waiting desperately to be assigned a ship and Stephen ducking out on his lodgings because he’s unable to pay the rent. Shore time, when it comes in the second volume, is set in the carriages and country houses of England. I realized about halfway through Post Captain that O’Brian is like a male Jane Austen, writing from the point of view of the soldiers who populate Austen’s fiction. ..."
The Paris Review

2009 September: Patrick O'Brian, 2013 July: Harbors and High Seas - Dean King and John B. Hattendorf, 2015 October: HMS Surprise (1973), 2016 May: Post Captain (1972), 2019 February: Aubrey–Maturin series

Death in Venice - Thomas Mann

"There is possibly a no more overwhelming death in cinema than the one that ends this adaptation of Thomas Mann's novella of homosexual desire. Feted composer Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde), his face smeared with tragically unbecoming makeup, sits on the beach at Venice Lido watching the object of his affections. To the unbearably bittersweet strains of the adagietto from Mahler's 5th symphony, Aschenbach sees the beautiful Polish boy, Tadzio, get beaten up by an older boy, before he himself is carried off in a Wagnerian liebestod. In Mann's novella, Aschenbach is a novelist. Visconti's decision to make him a composer instead opened the treasure houses of Mahler's 3rd and 5th symphonies. Otherwise the film is faithful to its source: Aschenbach has come to Venice to recover from personal and artistic stresses. ..."
Guardian - Death in Venice: No 14 best arthouse film of all time
Guardian - Digested classics: Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
W - Death in Venice (film)
W - Death in Venice
[PDF] Death in Venice - Thomas Mann
YouTube: Death In Venice - Official Trailer - Luchino Visconti

2017 November: Albert Camus - The Stranger (1942), 2019 January: The Leopard - Luchino Visconti (1963)

Saturday, February 23

Black History Trail Makes 200 Stops Across Massachusetts

The slave quarters were close to the manor house so slaves could keep the grand house functioning around the clock for the Royalls.
"MEDFORD, Mass. — During Black History Month, Massachusetts likes to point out its reputation as the enlightened 19th-century hub of the abolition movement. The state was one of the first to end slavery, long before the 13th Amendment formally banned it nationwide in 1865. Less well known is that Massachusetts was the first to legalize slavery, in 1641. Even before then, merchants in the Massachusetts Bay Colony had enslaved Native Americans, and by 1638 were bartering them for Africans in the West Indies. The slave trade grew from there and soon became a pillar of the colonial economy. Two professors at Tufts University, Kendra Field and Kerri Greenidge, are among the many scholars who have been tracing the history of Massachusetts’s African-American residents, from slavery to Black Lives Matter. Their research, a collaboration with students and nonprofit organizations, has evolved into what they call the African American Trail Project, a website that maps out more than 200 historic sites across the state. ..."
NY Times
African American Trail Project

The mural “Faces of Dudley” depicts actual residents of Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, including Malcolm X, who lived nearby in the 1940s.


"Breeding in open air since 1964, Sir James and King Johnny are the figureheads of the mysterious L’ENTOURLOOP collective. Feed with good grains from Sounds Systems, vinyle’s culture (Scratchs / Beatmaking / Sampling) and rocked by the epic dialogues of a certain cinema, L’ENTOURLOOP concocte with love a music half-way between Kingston, London and New York! With already a lot of collaborations & remixes in their pocket, the first album. ..."
Discogs (Video)
Soundcloud: (Audio)
YouTube: L'Entourloop • DJ Set • Le Mellotron 55:43

Friday, February 22

"Downtown Train" / "Tango Till They're Sore" - Tom Waits (1985)

"Tom Waits would never be described as a particularly commercial artist. Depending on if you ask someone like my mother about albums like Mule Variations or Bone Machine, he could also be described as incoherent, cacophonous, or The-Reason-Why-We-Ask-You-To-Keep-Your-Door-Closed-Upstairs. But before Waits had the gravel / broken glass / whiskey throat transplant that music writers have carbon dated to sometime before 1983, he wrote piano-based lounge music that even Lorise Reed could stomach. Waits released his debut record, Closing Time, along with its lead single 'Ol’ 55' in the spring of 1973 and snagged himself some of that sweet, sweet 70s stadium rock cash when The Eagles covered the song a year later. Waits described their cover as 'antiseptic.' Somewhere between the gentle crooning of his early work and the moment he started writing songs about how God has turned his back on the human race, Tom Waits released Rain Dogs in 1985. ..."
WRITERS ROUND: Tom Waits - "Downtown Train" (Video)
W - "Downtown Train"
Genius (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Downtown Train, Tango till they're sore

2012 July: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, 2013 March: Burma Shave, 2013 May: "Ol' '55", 2013 July: The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), 2014 January: Blood Money, 2014 March: Telephone call from Istanbul (1987), 2014 November: Rain Dogs (1985), 2015 February: Mule Variations (1999), 2015 April: Swordfishtrombones (1983), 2015 July: Alice (2002), 2015 September: Tom Waits On The Tube Live UK TV 1985, 2015 December: Franks Wild Years (1987), 2016 January: "Bad as Me" (2011), 2016 April: 'It's perfect madness', 2016 May: Real Gone (2002), 2016 October: Tom Waits Sings and Tells Stories in "Tom Waits: A Day in Vienna", a 1979, 2017 January: Bone Machine (1992), 2017 April: Bad as Me (2011)

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, February 22 – March 2

In the dawn sky, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are all pulling away from each other.
"Friday, February 22 • Winter still has a month to go, but a preview of spring stars awaits you if you step outside after about 11 p.m. By then tonight, the waning gibbous Moon will have risen in the east. Look for Spica to its lower right by about 7° (less than a fist at arm's length). Four times farther to the Moon's upper left shines brighter Arcturus, pale yellow-orange. Both are iconic stars of warm spring evenings. ..."
Sky & Telescope (Video)

Thursday, February 21

Liberation and Loss: The Tangled History of Zimbabwean Music

Thomas Mapfumo, 1988
"In 1986, a group of five young Zimbabwean musicians called the Bhundu Boys arrived in the UK for their first foreign tour. They had the charisma of a young Beatles, reflected in soulful vocal harmonies, exuberantly enmeshed electric guitars, pumped-up grooves, synchronized stage moves and hook-laden songs that easily transcended the language barrier. ... They were typically nimble, gliding along in 12/8 time with I-IV-I-V harmonic progressions that likely owe something to the hymns and songs sung in colonial-era churches. They focused on matters of daily life, accompanied by anything from gourd shakers and ngoma hand drums to an array of acoustic guitars. Curiously, the word jit isn’t even found in the Shona language. It came from South Africa – along with terms such as jive, marabi and tsava-tsava – describing a feeling of giddiness and celebration rather than an identifiable set of musical characteristics. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)

Various - Down & Wired

"Few would challenge the claim that the 1960s and 70s have been the most fertile two decades in the history of popular music ever - a period which, regardless of genre, laid the foundations for everything that has followed. What is more, this period was so fertile that the speed with which tastes changed left a colossal amount of incredible music to gather dust - perhaps most famously a profusion of funk, soul and jazz. It was a musical legacy that lay mouldering until the rise of sampling in late 80s hip-hop precipitated a mad scramble for lost crates and suddenly, the music that became known as 'rare groove' - for obvious reasons (it was rare and very groovy) - experienced a phoenix-like rebirth. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
DeeJay (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Chain - Down And Wired

Wednesday, February 20

In Don Newcombe, Baseball Got Its First Black Ace

Don Newcombe was the first black player to win 20 games. He did so three times in his career.
"... Being around (Don) Newcombe, who died on Tuesday at 92, gave (Dave) Stewart unfiltered access to what Mudcat Grant, another top black pitcher, would one day describe as a Black Ace. Grant, who wrote a book on the subject, had simple criteria for that distinction: an American- or Canadian-born black player who won 20 games in a season. That’s it. Newcombe did it first, winning 20 for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, just four seasons after his eventual teammate, Jackie Robinson, broke baseball’s color barrier. In the 67 seasons since, 195 pitchers besides Newcombe have recorded a 20-win season, and only 14 of them were black — a select list that includes Stewart, who won at least 20 games in four consecutive seasons, from 1987 to 1990. ..."
NY Times

The New World: Comics from Mauretania - Chris Reynolds (2018)

"Strictly speaking, The New World is not new. All the comics included in it have been published before; the earliest date from the 1980s. But in another, more important way, it is entirely novel. Designed and edited by Seth of Palookaville fame, and luxuriously published by New York Review Books, it gathers together between hard covers a variety of work by Chris Reynolds, the cult Welsh-born artist who remains both underrated and too little known. The result is a collection that isn’t only beautiful to look at and to hold; turning its pages, it strikes you that though these ineffably strange strips were written in another time, they work better in ours. Here, after all, is a world where technology must be treated with suspicion, workers perform random jobs whose nature is essentially pointless, and loneliness is the presiding spirit of the age. Could this be Reynolds’s moment? Perhaps. ..."
Guardian - The New World: Comics from Mauretania by Chris Reynolds – review
Investigating Mauretania

2018 May: Black and White and Black: On the Comics of Chris Reynolds

800 Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts Are Now Online: Browse & Download Them Courtesy of the British Library and Bibliothèque Nationale de France

"Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Buried Giant begins with an immersive depiction of what it might have been like to live in a European village during the middle ages. Or what it might feel like for us moderns, at least. The couple at the center of the story spends several pages fretting over the loss of a candle, their only one. Without it, their nights are pitch black. In the day, they wander in a fog, unable to remember anything. Though the cause of this turns out to be dark magic, one can’t help thinking that a smartphone would immediately solve all their problems. This was a time not only before mobile video, but when images of any kind were scarce, when every book was painstakingly copied by hand in careful, elegant script. ..."
Open Culture

Tuesday, February 19

Lou Reed, John Cale And Nico - Le Bataclan '72 (1972)

"After decades of being circulated on inferior-sounding bootlegs, the January 1972 reconvergence of Velvet Underground (VU) co-founders Lou Reed (vocals/acoustic guitar), John Cale (guitar/viola/piano/vocals), and Nico (vocals/harmonium) in Paris at Le Bataclan has been committed to commercial release. A suitably noir mood hangs over them as they stonily amble through VU staples and key entries from their concurrent solo endeavors. They commence with a slow and almost methodical "Waiting for the Man" as Cale offers up a simple piano accompaniment to Reed's casual guitar and lead vocal. Reed aptly describes the bleak torch reading of 'Berlin' as his 'Barbra Streisand song' before unveiling a profoundly minimalist interpretation. It captures the unnerving mood inescapably defining the city in the wake of WWII. ... While fans and pundits hopefully proclaimed the performance as the return of the Velvets, alas it would not be so. Le Bataclan '72 (2004) is a no-brainer for all dimension of VU, John Cale, Lou Reed, and/or Nico enthusiasts."
W - Le Bataclan '72
YouTube: Lou Reed, John Cale, and Nico at Le Bataclan 1972 (Live) 17:39
YouTube: Le Bataclan '72 Live (Full Album) 1:17:59

2010 August: Heroin, 2011 June: All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground, 2011 June: The Velvet Underground, 2012 November: Songs for Drella - Lou Reed and John Cale, 2013 October: Lou Reed (1942 - 2013), 2014 June: The Bells (1979), 2014 August: New York (1989), 2015 June: Capitol Theatre Passaic, NJ 9/25/1984, 2015 October: The Blue Mask (1982), 2016 March: New Sensations (1984), 2016 May: Coney Island Baby (1976), 2017 March: Celebrating Lou Reed: 1942–2013, 2017 November: Watch Footage of the Velvet Underground Composing..., 2018 February: Street Hassle (1978), 2018 October: Lou Reed at The Ritz (07-16-1986)

‘The Hooligans Were the Club’

The stadium where Wisla Krakow won eight championships over the past two decades. More recently, the team has been in dire straits and needed one of its former players to rescue it.
"MYSLENICE, Poland — The dark, uneven soil at Wisla Krakow’s training facility in this village 40 minutes south of Poland’s second largest city was frozen solid last month as a few hundred supporters trudged through the snow to greet Jakub Blaszczykowski. Blaszczykowski, a 33-year-old midfielder, has played in some of soccer’s biggest matches, including the 2013 Champions League final as a member of Borussia Dortmund, two European championships, and a World Cup with Poland’s national team. But on this January afternoon, Blaszczykowski was a long way from those moments. Instead, he was about to play his first exhibition game since rejoining Wisla Krakow, one of Poland’s most decorated teams. Wisla is the club Blaszczykowski made his name with, and the team he had promised to someday return to when he signed with Dortmund in 2007. ..."
NY Times

What CTA Workers Know

"Most of the hundreds of thousands of people who ride the L or take a city bus every day don’t pay much attention to transit employees — at least until something goes wrong. When that happens, those workers get an earful, and sometimes worse. They also routinely have to deal with sick passengers, rowdy teen­agers, violent drunks, fare skippers, suicide jumpers, and homeless people desperate for shelter, to say nothing of the demands of keeping trains and buses running on time 24 hours a day in a congested city in all kinds of weather. Chicago asked a dozen CTA workers to speak anonymously about their jobs. Their anecdotes and observations are by turns funny, disturbing, moving, and just plain bizarre, an account of everyday encounters colored by both custom­ers’ astonishing rudeness and their incredible compassion. Few of the men and women we talked to see their job as a calling, but most exhibited a deep­-seated sense of pride in keeping the city moving. Here are their stories, nuggets of wisdom, rants, and revelations, in their own words. ..."
Chicago Mag

Monday, February 18

Three pebbles

"What is a pebble? Is it an object or a thing? A weapon or a tool? Is it naïve or is it sentimental? Is it a token of the real, or a fragment of ideology? Can you do more than skip it or hurl it or mark a grave with it? What is the pebble to poetry? Of what might the poem make it speak? ... The pebble is a thing, a fragmentary rock, a bit of nature that fits easily in the hand, yet which can scarcely serve effectively as any sort of weapon or simple tool. The pebble is an individual marked by its participation in and never more than partial emergence from multiplicity; a heap of pebbles is a figure for, or metonymic of, multiplicity itself. To pick up a pebble is to separate it from its fellows, arbitrarily removing it from the multitude of other pebbles — on the beach, in a ravine, out of a quarry — among which it is invariably found. Each pebble is marked by its never more than partial emergence from something larger: rounded, worn, unimaginably old, each the result, if Francis Ponge is to be believed, of 'scission from the same enormous grandfather,' the primeval 'hero' of the earth itself, a 'fabulous body' that, 'having been liberated from Limbo … is nowhere to be found.' ..."

Francis Ponge

2008 February: Francis Ponge, 2011 September: Soap, 2012 March: Things, 2018 May: Nioque of the Early-Spring

The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight (1956-58)

Wikipedia - "The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Volume Eight is an album by pianist Art Tatum and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, with Red Callender on double bass and Bill Douglass on drums. The 1956 session was originally released in 1958 on a Verve Records album produced by Norman Granz, but Granz re-acquired the masters in the 1970s after the album was allowed to go out of print. He reissued the material as one of a series of eight Group Masterpieces featuring Tatum in collaboration with other artists, also issuing it as part of a boxed set, The Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces. The album has been reissued on CD, including a January 31, 1992 version with bonus tracks. The album was critically well-received, with critics singling out the combination of Webster's tone with Tatum's elaborate piano playing. The album is listed in several volumes as among the best in jazz and is recommended by the Music Library Association as an important piece for music libraries. ..."
YouTube: The Tatum Group Masterpieces 57:15

Saturday, February 16

Black History Month: Post-Soul Culture Circa 1992

"... In the March 17, 1992, issue of the Voice, contributor Nelson George surveyed the 'post-soul' landscape and discovered that, 'as a musical genre, a definition of African American culture, and the code word for our national identity, soul has pretty much been dead since Nixon’s reelection in 1972. But what’s replaced it? Arguing in these pages in 1986, Greg Tate tried to establish a ‘new black aesthetic’ as a defining concept. He had a point, though I’d argue there was more than one aesthetic at work. For better and worse, the spawn of the postsoul era display multiple personalities.' Indeed, over seventeen pages George explores a broad spectrum of post-soul black aesthetics, and the Voice’s art department helped with diptychs comparing and contrasting Malcolm X to KRS-One and Muhammad Ali and Bundini Brown to Chuck D and Flavor Flav, as well as triptychs of Lisa Bonet and Magic Johnson. ..."


Opinion: Phony Wall, Phony Emergency

President Trump on Friday after he declared a national emergency.
"'I didn’t need to do this,' President Trump insisted at a Rose Garden appearance on Friday, as he declared a national emergency aimed at shaking loose a few billion dollars in financing for his beloved border wall. The president’s assertion was both ludicrous and self-defeating. If a declaration was unnecessary and the wall on track (the wall is 'very very on its way,' the president said earlier in the week), how could he claim to be addressing an emergency? As Mr. Trump explained it, 'But I’d rather do it much faster.' A presidential desire for speed does not constitute a crisis — no matter how eager a president is to camouflage his failures. In reality, the wall is not a done deal, and Mr. Trump has spent the past few months — the past two years, really — failing to convince either Congress or Mexico to pay for it. ..."
NY Times

Eliane Radigue - Adnos I-III

"These three magisterial compositions were realized between 1973 and 1980 by Paris-based composer Eliane Radigue, who was formerly a student of musique concrète guru Pierre Henry, until he uncharitably dismissed her immaculate slow-motion minimalism out of hand. Time has happily proved him quite mistaken. Describing Radigue's work with the simple (and these days overused) epithet "drone" is somewhat misleading, for unlike classic examples of the genre, from La Monte Young and his erstwhile violinist Tony Conrad, Radigue's music is almost constantly on the move. But very, very slowly, putting ARP synthesizer to use in ways Herbie Hancock never even dreamed of, Radigue builds the sonic geology of her works in strata. ... here's a lot of 'drone' music around these days, because people misguidedly think it's easy to do, but when confronted with authentic masterpieces such as these, the difference between the wheat and the chaff is abundantly clear. Hopefully, Pierre Henry, if he's still wearing a hat, will doff it in reverence. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
MixCloud (Audio)
YouTube: Adnos I-III

2018 May: Trilogie de la Mort (1988-1993), 2018 October: The Deeply Meditative Electronic Music of Avant-Garde Composer Eliane Radigue

Friday, February 15

Gravity - Fred Frith (1980)

"Gravity is a 1980 solo album by English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith from Henry Cow and Art Bears. It was Frith's second solo album and his first since the demise of Henry Cow in 1978. It was originally released in the United States on LP record on The Residents's Ralph record label and was the first of three solo albums Frith made for the label. Gravity was recorded in Sweden, the United States and Switzerland and featured Frith with Swedish Rock in Opposition group Samla Mammas Manna on one side of the LP, and Frith with United States progressive rock group The Muffins on the other side. Additional musicians included Marc Hollander from Aksak Maboul and Chris Cutler from Henry Cow. Gravity has been described as an avant-garde 'dance' record that draws on rhythm and dance from folk music across the world. AllMusic called it one of the most important experimental guitar titles from Fred Frith. ..."
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Gravity [Full Album] 1:09:37

Green New Deal

"... Their last big plan — the American Clean Energy and Security Act — passed the House in 2009 but went on to die an unceremonious death before reaching the Senate floor. Since then, there’s been nothing to replace it. Plenty of Democratic politicians support policies that would reduce climate pollution — renewable energy tax credits, fuel economy standards, and the like — but those policies do not add up to a comprehensive solution, certainly nothing like what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests is necessary. Young activists, who will be forced to live with the ravages of climate change, find this upsetting. So they have proposed a plan of their own. It’s called the Green New Deal (GND) — a term purposefully reminiscent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original New Deal in the 1930s — and it has become the talk of the town. ..."
Vox: The Green New Deal, explained (Video)
NY Times: “The Argument” (Audio)
W - Green New Deal
Jacobin: A Green New Deal for Housing

Thursday, February 14

Sonny Rollins ‎– East Broadway Run Down (1966)

"Around the ten-minute mark of the title track, things get very interesting indeed -- moody and spooky as Jimmy Garrison hangs on a single note, making his bass throb along while Elvin Jones widens the space and fires drum and cymbal hits in all directions. Coming off bass and drum solos that never seem to fit anywhere in the piece, it's a supreme moment of tension-building, one that gets repeated after Rollins and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard restate the theme in unison. This is the sound of Rollins' group working in unity. For much of 'East Broadway Run Down,' though, the rhythm section is off doing their thing, usually together, while Rollins meanders about in limbo, seemingly trying to figure out what it is that he should be doing. That Rollins was having an off day for this recording is a suspicion that's strengthened by Hubbard's part -- where Rollins is wandering, Hubbard is charging ahead, focused and tight, fitting with the rhythm section, keeping the tension up. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
New York Mag: When Sonny Gets Blue
W - East Broadway Run Down
Discogs (Video)
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: East Broadway Run Down ( Full Album )

2012 September: The Singular Sound of Sonny Rollins, 2012 December: Village Vanguard, 2015 September: Rollins Plays for Bird (1957), 2016 February: Saxophone Colossus (1956), 2016 May: Plus 4 (1956), 2017 June: Inside Sonny Rollins’s Jazz Archive, Headed Home to Harlem, 2018 April: Tenor Madness (1956), 2017 May: Moving Out (1954), 2018 November: The Bridge (1962)

Digging Out

The Sunset Park waterfront.
"Growing up in South Texas, blizzards were the stuff of fantasy. A few flurries could shut down the streets of San Antonio, and a snow day was almost inevitable in the unlikely event that the white stuff stuck. After living in New York City for seven years, I still react with the childlike glee when the first flakes fall. How quickly that feeling fades after New Year’s, when New York winters settle in for the long haul.I braved the snow on Tuesday to capture this seasonal slump in photos, exploring the Sunset Park waterfront I’ve grown so fond of after calling the neighborhood home for the past three years. ..."

A statue at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, on 42nd Street.

Wednesday, February 13


"Launched in 2017, is dedicated to preserving North Africa’s Jewish musical past, one record at a time. For much of the shellac era (roughly the first half of the twentieth century), Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian Jewish vocalists and instrumentalists played an outsized role in pioneering and preserving the various Arabic-language musical forms of North Africa –– and then some. These records, then, provide a soundtrack to the twentieth century Maghrib. In fact, these brittle discs –– surviving until the present against all odds –– reveal not just their time and the music animating it but so too lay bare a world of Jewish-Muslim cultural entanglement from the not too distant past. In other words, when it came to music in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, Jews and Muslims –– performers and fans alike –– were inseparable well into the twentieth century. For years, I have been collecting these records –– one by one. In the process, I have assembled the first archive of North African 78 rpm records of its kind. That archive now has an online home at ..." Montreal, Quebec
Gharamophone | About
The Life and Death of North Africa's First Superstar - Chris Silver (Audio)
Gharamophone (Video)
Soundcloud (Audio)
twitter, Facebook

Tuesday, February 12

The Duncan/Olson dichotomy

Photos of Robert Duncan (left) and Charles Olson (right) by Jonathan Williams, from the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection.
"Here are two elusive pieces of the context of midcentury American poetics. The Robert Duncan/Charles Olson letters have been available, until now, only in the brief reviews of each other that the poets extracted from them ('near-far Mister Olson' and 'Against Wisdom as Such'), passages quoted by scholars who have been able to visit the archive at Storrs, and handfuls in Sulfur, Poetry, and Olson’s Selected Letters. Duncan’s lectures on Olson can be heard at PennSound, but his idiosyncratic delivery, an incredible contrast with the mastery of his prose, makes the recordings, and the verbatim transcript of one of them published by Lost and Found, hard to follow. In these two companion volumes from the University of New Mexico Press, edited by Robert Bertholf and Dale Smith, the letters are complete, the lectures are beveled, and a nimble apparatus of introductions, notes, glossaries, bibliographies, and indices nearly half as long as the texts themselves collapses the distance between these documents’ moment and our own. The middle of the American century is itself a key context for our own practice. ..."

2009 January: Charles Olson, 2009 April: Rockport Harbor, 2010 September: Charles Olson: The Art of Poetry No. 12, 2011 July: Charles Olson: February 21, 1957, 2012 April: A Trip to Charles Olson’s Gloucester, 2012 June: In Which We Lather Our Sensibilities At Length, 2013 January: Mass.Charles Olson, 2013 May: The Maximus Poems, 2013 November: A Guide to The Maximus Poems of Charles Olson, 2015 March: "In Cold Hell, in Thicket" (1950)

2008 March: Robert Duncan, 1919-1988, 2011 May: Robert Duncan: May 18, 1959, 2012 January: Ten Poems, 1940 to 1980, 2013 May: An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle, 2017 January: Robert Duncan's notes on Ron Silliman's 'Opening'

Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on 16 November 1581 - Ilya Repin (1883 / 1885)

Wikipedia - "Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on 16 November 1581 is a painting by Russian realist artist Ilya Repin made between 1883 and 1885. The picture portrays a grief-stricken Ivan the Terrible cradling his mortally wounded son, the Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich. The elder Ivan himself is believed to have dealt the fatal blow to his son. The work is variously referred to as Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan, with or without the date, or Ivan the Terrible Killing His Son. Repin's painting has been called one of Russia's most famous paintings, and is also one of its most controversial. It has been vandalised twice, in 1913 and again in 2018. The artist used Grigoriy Myasoyedov, his friend and fellow artist, as the model for Ivan the Terrible, with writer Vsevolod Garshin modelling for the Tsarevich. In 1885, upon completion of the oil on canvas work, Repin sold it to Pavel Tretyakov, for display in his gallery. It remains on display in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. ..."
Guardian: Ivan the Terrible painting 'seriously damaged' in pole attack
NY Times: ‘Ivan the Terrible’ Painting Damaged in Russia in Vodka-Fueled Attack

Which Rolling Stones Records Should I Buy?

"If one band came in on a wave of danger, kicked everything over, and looked great doing it, it has to be The Rolling Stones. Few bands are as mythologized, imitated, revered, or (to be honest) as lampooned as they are. But, instead of focusing on Keef, illicit behavior, creative dance moves, and high-priced tickets, we’re going to take a look at the records. The Rolling Stones are one of the biggest bands in the world and they absolutely deserve to be. The more you dig into their discography, the more great stuff you’ll find. For those new to navigating the expanse of their releases, here are some quick choices. ..."
LP Reverb

2015 August: Exile on Main Street (1972), 2015 October: "Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday" (1967), 2015 December: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971), 2016 January: Some Girls (1978), 2016 January: The Rolling Stones (EP), 2016 March: Five by Five (EP - 1964), 2016 May: "The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling — Ireland 1965", 2016 December: Singles Collection: The London Years (1989), 2017 June: Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967), 2017 September: "Sister Morphine" - Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Marianne Faithfull (1969), 2018 March: "Miss You" (1978)

Monday, February 11

Dele Sosimi - You No Fit Touch Am (2015)

"Dele Sosimi is one of the leading forces carrying the torch of afrobeat. A longtime keyboardist for Fela Kuti‘s Egypt 80, bandleader for Femi Kuti‘s Positive Force, and the founder of his own orchestra, Sosimi is preparing the release of his new album 'You No Fit Touch Am,' a 7-track collection of compositions that are steeped in socio-political messages and showcase classic 1970s Lagos songwriting. Okayafrica spoke with Sosimi via e-mail about the concept behind the new full-length, his first in almost a decade. Read our interview with Dele Sosimi and stream our premiere of 'You No Fit Touch Am,' due May 25 on Wah Wah 45s, below. ..."
okayafrica (Audio)
Dele Sosimi (Audio)
W - Dele Sosimi
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: You No Fit Touch Am (Felabration 2016 - Live)
YouTube: E Go Betta [Wah Wah 45s], You No Fit Touch Am, I Don't Care, Where We Want Be, E Go Betta (O'Flynn Re-Edit)